Circumnavigating Vancouver Island Flotilla | Day 23| Nettle Island to Robbers Passage

September 11 – Barkley Sound is nearly deserted this time of year. We’ve only seen a couple other cruising boats, so we figured we’d likely be able to get at least a few spots at the dock at the Port Alberni Yacht Club outstation in Robbers Passage. This is a wonderful stop, with short trails to walk around on ashore and an amazing coastline nearby to explore by dinghy. The docks themselves don’t have many amenities (no power or potable water), but the yacht club members are friendly, welcoming, and full of local knowledge.

We were surprised to arrive and find the place empty! Not a single other boat! We quickly got everyone tied up (it was pouring rain) and we hoped the weather would clear sometime in the afternoon so we could explore the area.

Sure enough, by early afternoon the rain stopped and the sun peeked out. We dinghied through Robbers Passage, along the Tzartus Island shoreline, and then around Fleming Island.

This might be our favorite dinghy trip yet on the west coast. The terrain is rugged, the swells surge in and explode ashore, numerous sea caves and tunnels indent the coast. Some of these caves are small, and at the right tide and swell conditions, waves roll in and slam together, making a loud bang or sneezing sound.

Other tunnels are huge, big enough to dinghy through if the swells are small enough (they weren’t today). It’s a remarkable coastline, and something you just can’t experience on the inside waters.


Seeing the swells come ashore is sobering. Even on a nice day, the forces are tremendous. Not a place you want to end up aground!

Sam took his drone up from the dinghy while we were out exploring:

Later in the afternoon while the sun was out, Kevin took a drone up for some aerial shots of us at the dock and the surrounding area:

Kevin and Ralph and Vince all went out in their dinghies to do some more fishing in the afternoon, and came home with a nice coho for dinner!

We took advantage of the nice weather to barbecue and eat at the picnic tables on the dock! This was the last night Billywig could be with the group (they had to get home unexpectedly early). We had a great farewell dinner with them and will miss their company! We cooked up some zucchini, corn, steaks, chicken kabobs, garden burgers, and of course, the freshly caught coho, and served with salads and beer bread and a variety of before dinner nibbles.

The grill, cooking today’s catch and more!

Today’s route: 6.6 nautical miles, 1 hour 13 minutes underway
Flotilla total: 584.4 nautical miles, 88 hours 11 minutes underway

Nettle Island to Robbers’s Passage