Circumnavigating Vancouver Island Flotilla | Day 22| Joe’s Bay to Nettle Island

September 10 – Since we arrived earlier than scheduled in Barkley Sound, we have some extra time to visit additional anchorages. Although the Broken Group is small—only about seven miles by five miles—there are many interesting anchorages. Today, we made the short run over to Nettle Island. This is another large anchorage in Barkley Sound, not quite as well-protected as Joe’s Bay, but perfect for most weather conditions.

Sam took the drone up for some foggy aerials:

After anchoring, some of us explored the area by dinghy, while others took Airship out fishing. Exploring these types of places by dinghy makes it abundantly clear why this area is so popular among kayakers. The landscape is varied, from sandy beaches to sea caves to sheltered coves with moss clinging to every surface. Seemingly endless channels weave between reefs and rocks and islands. It feels extremely remote, with hardly any development visible ashore and very few other boats.

Given the dreary weather of the last few days, we had comfort food for dinner. Laura made two kinds of chili (one meat and one veggie), Sam made his now famous instant pot mac & cheese, and we had sides of warm bread and a big salad.

Laura’s Texas-Style Instant Pot Chili
(Vegetarian version below)

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 large shallot (chopped)
8 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 28oz can diced tomatoes (including liquid)
1 4oz can diced jalapeños or green peppers (including liquid)
1 6oz can tomato paste
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper


Choose the “sauté” function on the pressure cooker. Add chopped shallot and sauté for 5 minutes or so, until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute or less, until fragrant.

Add the ground beef. Chop up with a wooden spatula while cooking for about 10 minutes, until the beef is browned.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the Instant Pot and stir to combine. I usually add about a cup of water or beef broth, then close the lid and seal. Cancel sauté and choose “meat/stew” or “manual” and pressure cook on high for about 35 minutes. Wait for the pressure to naturally release, and then keep on “keep warm” (which it will do by default) until you’re ready to serve.

Serve garnished with your choice of accessories. We usually put out dishes of shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, sour cream, and sliced jalapeños for people to add as they like.

For the vegetarian version, I didn’t use the Instant Pot, but instead a big dutch oven on the stove top. I sautéed diced shallots and garlic the same way, then added two 28oz cans of diced tomatoes, the same spices as in the meat version, and chopped fresh jalapeños, rather than canned, since I had some to use. Let this simmer for at least 30-40 minutes. When you’re close to wanting to serve, add three 15oz cans of beans of your choice. I used red kidney beans, pinto beans, and white northern beans. I also added two cups of chopped zucchini, one can of organic corn, and some fresh chopped red and yellow bell pepper. The veggies are interchangeable (you can use celery, carrots, etc.), but just don’t overcook the soft veggies. I simmered chili with veggies for another 5-7 minutes until zucchini was just starting to soften, then served veggie chili with the same accessories as the meat version.


Today’s Route: 7.98 nautical miles, 1 hour 11 minutes underway
Flotilla Total: 577.8 nautical miles, 86 hours 58 minutes underway

Joe’s Bay to Nettle Island