Circumnavigating Vancouver Island Flotilla | Day 9 | Bull Harbour to Sea Otter Cove

With an extended forecast for good weather, we weren’t in a rush to get to Quatsino Sound. In fact, the forecast looked like the best day for rounding Brooks Peninsula—our next major hurdle after Cape Scott—is still a few days away. It’s enough time to spend a day at Sea Otter Cove, but not enough time to explore the inner part of Quatsino Sound.

Our plan was to leave Bull Harbour at about 11:30 a.m., while the current was flooding across Nahwitti Bar. We planned to take the inner route through Tatnall Reefs, then fight the dying flood to Cape Scott. The flood would be running the same direction as the swells, reducing their intensity, and we’d arrive at Cape Scott at the afternoon slack, when the current doesn’t kick up the swells.

Epoch, the Nordhavn 47, wanted to leave earlier. They cruise slower, and the owners have been across most of the West Coast bars. They wanted to see what Nahwitti was like, and Sam on Safe Harbour agreed to accompany them. They left at 8:30 to hit Nahwitti at slack, escorted by playful Pacific white sided dolphins.

Predicted slack was a bit earlier than actual slack, so they crossed Nahwitti while it was still ebbing. With about a knot of current running against the swell, the sea stacked up, but it wasn’t bad. Maybe four feet, with occasional larger sets. Past the bar, conditions smoothed out. Not exactly a lazy swell, but not bad. Fog hung in the still air.

The rest of the fleet left a few hours later with Airship, an hour earlier than planned. They encountered similar conditions. We were all glad we waited a few days for relative calm!

Given the lack of visibility, the trip around Cape Scott was kind of boring. Thankfully, by the time we got to Sea Otter Cove, the fog began clearing and we glimpsed the west coast for the first time.

We were the only boats in Sea Otter Cove, and once we all settled in, some of us set off exploring by dinghy. This is a beautiful anchorage and a fabulous introduction to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Swells break dramatically on rocks surrounding the entrance. Giant, sun-bleached logs are tossed high ashore, evidence of the storms that lash this coast. Fog banks blowing through added to the threatening, mysterious vibe.

Several of us explored the cove by dinghy and went ashore to walk around a bit.

Sam took some aerial shots of our anchorage and the surrounding area at Sea Otter Cove:

The group converged on the Safe Harbour/Airship raft for Italian night: caprese salad to start, pasta with several sauce options, meatballs, garlic bread, and Caesar salad. Tomorrow, we’ll head back into the ocean and continue to Quatsino Sound!

Today’s route: 33.0 nautical miles, 4 hours 26 minutes underway
Flotilla total: 309.5 nautical miles, 42 hours 56 minutes underway