Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Vancouver Island circumnavigation UPDATE: Posts updated with photos

Just a quick note...

We have now added photos to our posts for our Summer 2016 circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Vancouver Island circumnavigation: the numbers

[Under construction...]

Total distance: 976 nautical miles
Total number of days: 79
Number of nights at anchor:   55      At a dock: 20         On a mooring: 3
Number of new (to us) anchorages/docks/moorings: 18

Engine hours: 178.6 hours
Number of days with (some) sailing:  13
Longest sail: 26.2 nm (Scotch Fir Point to Copeland Islands)
Number of days travelling in thick fog (visibility <1 nm): <1 day total ( an hour here and there)

Favourite anchorages (tied): Battle Bay/Nuchatlitz/Lucky Creek
Most stunning anchorage views (tied): Princess Louisa Inlet/Nuchatlitz
Favourite towns/villages (tied): Sointula/Port Alice/Ucluelet
Favourite docks: Sointula public docks (Malcolm Island Lions Harbour Authority)

Worst experience: Tofino waterfront and "anchorage"

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Back to the mountains...

Wildflowers on Whistler Mt
Our circumnavigation of Vancouver Island is now complete, and we are back home in Whistler, enjoying the mountains. It's hot up here!

We ended our circumnavigation with a few nights on Pelagia in the Gulf Islands. Beautiful as ever, but oh so crowded. We really were spoiled on the west coast of the island as well as in the Broughtons. Prior to the Gulf Islands, the most boats we had in an anchorage was 14 (the one night in Joe's Bay in the Broken Group), and that was an aberration (other places in Barkley Sound had only  1-4 other boats anchored).

So, we were happy to get Pelagia back to her home berth at the Vancouver Rowing Club.

Black Tusk from Whistler "High Note" trail

Overlord Glacier and Mt. Fissile from Decker Loop trail (Blackcomb Mt)

Friday, 5 August 2016

Back down south...

South entrance to Dodger Channel from inside (shallow at zero tide) -- Cape Beale behind
We spent two nights at Dodger Channel*, trying to judge weather, allowing us some kayak time. Dodger is a great location: a wild, west coast anchorage (you can hear the swells breaking outside, yet it is calm inside), close to Cape Beale and hence a great jumping off spot to head south/east to Sooke and beyond.

* Note: the South entrance to Dodger Channel is only about 3 feet at zero tide, contrary to the 9+ feet indicated by at least one popular guidebook, as well as the 2.8 metres (>9')  suggested by the CHS chart (however, the CHS chart does not indicate this is the minimum depth).
After a couple days in the anchorage in Dodger Channel, we headed East/South towards Port Renfrew.  We elected (slept in)  to leave Dodger Channel later (10 am)  in order to miss the fog and hopefully to get some afternoon wind..  We were successful with the fog (none all the way past Victoria),  but the wind didn't come up until Port Renfrew.  We were going to anchor at Thrasher Cove,  but it was blowing 15-20 knots with wind waves in this small anchorage.  Fortunately,  the new "Pacific Gateway"  marina in Port Renfrew had space.  (This brand new in 2016 marina has great docks and,  importantly,  an excellent high rock breakwater.  Space for larger boats is limited so making an advance reservation is recommended.)

Next day,  we waited again for fog to clear, and (hopefully) for winds to pick up.  This time we were lucky,  with a wonderful sail from San Simeon all the way to Becher Bay,  with Fin our Hydrovane steering us (and no fog!).

It was blustery in Murder Bay (Becher Bay)  but it was nearly empty, no seas and an excellent anchorage.

Next morning,  we waited for slack current at Race Passage, then motored the 35 nm all the way to Sidney in the sun, helped by a flood current in many places.

Our trip down the west coast of Vancouver Island completed.