Watching the sunset, Neville Islet

Summer 2012- Desolation to Johnstone Straight

Ours was a 15 day journey covering 362 nautical miles which saw us from our dock at False Creek, to Desolation Sound, north to Helmklen Island in Johnstone Straight and back south through the Octopus Islands to Rebecca Spit and home along the east shore of Vancouver Island.

2012 Route

1) Copeland Islands: arrived midmorning after our overnight passage. Spent the day recovering, reading and exploring the islands. Copelands are beautiful low lying islands with lots of nooks to explore on foot or by boat. They make a great stopping point before Desolation, but most boat motor right past them!

2) Neville Islet, Malaspina Inlet: this was our first venture into Malaspina Inlet. While the warm waters of Grace Harbour provide a popular anchorage, there are many nooks to drop the hook in total isolation. We anchored behind Neville Islet and enjoyed a peaceful evening in solitude.

3) Welsh Cove, West Redona Island: our favorite Desolation anchorage, for it’s warm waters and little islands to explore. We stayed here for two nights, so that we would have the day for swimming, exploring Pendrell Sound and finishing up some boat chores. We stern tie to the same island with the Walsh Cove park sign and enjoy the afternoon sun to the last drop.

4) Teakerne Arm, West Redona Island: After stopping by Refuge Harbour for fuel and ice cream cones, we anchored on the northern shore of Teakerne Arm. With its steep shorelines it can be hard to find a place to drop the hook. We stern tied broadside to the wind (it was very tricky), which died down around 4pm, so he headed for a swim and wash in Cassell Lake.

5) Dent Island Resort, Little Dent Island: We had planned to anchor in Leask Cove to explore the creek and the homestead, but found a new resort and dock taking up the bay. Instead we crossed Bute Inlet, dropped hook at Moh Creek and waited for slack at Aaron Rapids to spend the night at Dent Island Resort. Except we didn’t go to the resort but anchored in the rocky bay in front of it and sung with the current through Canoe Pass. It was a noisy night with the chain frequently dragging along the bottom. There were also millions of hungry mosquitoes…

6) North Cove, Helmkeln Island: As we had the morning to wait for slack tide, we took Otto over to Big Bay and hike around Eagle Lake, which was the start of the cold cloudy weather. Everything had changed at Big Bay since I was there last (about 10 years ago). It made me sad. The huge Sonora Resort across the channel really changed the feeling of the place. We headed up Cordero Channel, through the Blind Channel Rapids an hour past slack, and into Johnstone Straight were we sailed downwind to North Cove on Helmkeln Island. Loving the remote, northern feel of the island we stayed for two nights. We had the cove to ourselves and the anchor held firm in mud when the winds pick up to 18 knots early in the morning of our departure.

7) Cameloen Harbour, Sonora Island: heading back south, our first stop was off Tully Island, Cameleon Harbour.  We had a lot of fun exploring the bays around Nodales Channel in Otto. The weather was still overcast, but not as cold as up north. We anchored in 60 feet over a rocky bottom. After dragging the anchor a ways, she caught suddenly and held fast. No luck crabbing hear, but the best prawn haul near the fish farm.

8 ) Octopus Island Marine Park, Quadra Island: Octopus Islands is a popular cruising destination, and we shared it with at least 20 other boats. Luckily there is lots of space and different places to anchor so that it doesn’t feel too crowded. It is also the location of the hike to the clear waters of Newton Lake. The sun came out for us here (finally)! Quiet anchorage in mud. Evidence of red rock crabs but none in our traps!

9) Rebecca Spit, Quadra Island: Another one of our favorites, for the great views across Georgia Strait, warm water and lovely beach. We anchored in 60 feet and soaked in the sun. Otto took us for an ice cream in Hariot Bay.

10) Sandy Island: A newly discovered treasure for us, off the southern sandbars or Comox. We will defiantly return here. Good anchorage in 50 feet in mud, but completely open to southeast winds. Finally we caught to eating crabs off the one of the mud falts ( red rock and an ancient Dungeness). Traversed all across this unique island, with lots to look at along the way.

11) Taylor Bay, Gabriola Island: Put in a long day to travel from Sandy Island to Taylor Bay, especially with 20 knots on the bow and a messy 2 foot swell. Taylor Bay is our last stop before we are home and we enjoyed the Saturday Market, and visiting with Kolby’s parents.