Saturday, September 17, 2011

Desolation Sound

If you hadn't guessed from my post at the beginning of the month, Mike and I spent the first part of September on a 10-day sailing trip in and around Desolation Sound.  Despite the relative popularity of this place (especially amongst west-coast sailors in the summer!), few people really know where it is, so I thought I'd start by showing you this little map...

(View this larger map, and then scroll south to find Vancouver)

Since I know my father loves to follow our trips using google maps, I'll give you the overview of our route, and then get to the photos. Are you ready Dad? Here goes...

We chartered the sailboat from Nanaimo, and had made it up to Lund by the second night (the first night we stayed in Smuggler Cove, on the Sunshine Coast).  We spent the next two nights in Prideaux Harbour, an anchorage in Desolation Sound Marine Park - that photo I posted the other day was taken in Prideaux Harbour.  We then sailed up and around the east side of East Redonda Island, and back down into Walsh Cover Marine Park.  Day Six brought a stop at Refuge Cove for supplies, and then a night in Malasipina Inlet, tucked in behind Neville Islet. On day seven we went to Gorge Harbour on Cortez Island, passing by the Royal Family-Owned Twin Islands on the way.  On day eight we finally had to think about heading south again, so we motored down to Comox, and stayed at the Sandy Island Marine Park.  We had an amazing day of sailing on day nine, which brought us down to Scottie Cove on Lasqueti Island (look on the North-West Corner for Lindbergh Island - we were one of the many boats you see anchored in behind it!).  Finally, for the last night, we went back to Nanaimo, and tied up to the charter dock.  They make you clear out of the boat for 10am on your last day, so staying anywhere else would've meant a really early morning - the fact that we were up and having coffee by 7am anyway isn't really the point!  :)  And now that you know where we went, lets have a look at some of those photos!  :)

To get to Nanaimo, you have to take a ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.  What the ferry crosses in less than 2 hours would take a whole day in a sailboat!
Goodbye Vancouver!

 Sunset at Smuggler Cove

This is the same sunset, but later on - we hopped in the dinghy and went out towards the entrance of the Cove to watch the sun disappear.

Starfishies!  I love how purple they are - so few things in nature are purple.  Why is that?

Sunset in Lund... no great photos from the day - its hard to take photos when you're sailing 8 knots!

This is the view as you sail towards Desolation Sound.  The pointy mountain is Mount Denman - at 6532 feet, it stands out pretty well!

At anchor in Laura Cove, one of the bays in Prideaux Haven
The evening sun makes the trees look really yellow!  :)

In the morning, the ocean is so still its like glass.  Of course that also means that there's no wind, but we weren't planning to sail that day anyway!

Oysters, anyone?  Sadly, there were signs in the area stating that the oysters in this particular area were contaminated due to the large numbers of boats that come into the area, and the fact that the water in these bays isn't well circulated - something about the tidal currents, combined with the deep bays, and the particular geographic location.  But we had neither the fishing license nor the very protective gloves required to harvest them, so it wasn't really an issue.

Instead, we went and played with the starfishies!
 (pulling the bigger ones off the rocks would have resulted in me falling out of the dinghy, so I contented myself with this wee baby one instead!)

 We found this little deer as we were exploring the area in the dinghy the first night.  She wasn't the slightest bit afraid of us, so we were able to row the boat right up to the shore beside her.  In the end, we got bored and left before she did! :)

As you sail around this area, you can't help but be amazed at how the mountains just jumo up out of the water.  This photo was taken part way up Homfray Channel.  There is a spot not far from here where the channel is almost 2400 feet deep - its the second deepest sounding in North America.  And what makes it more spectacular is that right next to it is Mount Addenbrooke (on East Redonda Island), which is 5140 feet high....  so basically that's a 7500 foot elevation increase, over something like 2.5 miles.  Glad I don't have to climb that...  :)

Here's Mike after a long day of touring around.  You can tell its the end of the day because the wine has appeared... funny how it knows just when to do that!

At this point, Frobisher wants me to tell you that sailing is not all just looking at pretty scenery and meeting the local wildlife.  After spending several days getting his sea legs, Frobisher took over the running of the boat.  Driving the boat,
adjusting the traveller on the main sail,
 and then hauling in the sheets.  Of course, after a few hours of this, Frobisher decided he'd had enough, and let us take over again.
But he was sure to make his reappearance as soon as the wine and cheese came out!

On our way down to Walsh Cove, we turned into the mouth of Toba Inlet to have lunch, and take in some of the scenery.  The 'inlet' is really a giant fjord, about 20 miles in length.  The anchorages are pretty limited, so we didn't want to head up there on this trip.  These kayakers had made the journey though - with the deep waters of this area, its often easier to find a campsite than a shallow anchorage.

This was one of many seals we met on our trip.

We found many more of them resting on this rock in Malasipina inlet.

Sunset in Malasipina, not far from that 'Seal Rock'.  We had great sunsets on this trip.  :)

We had amazing weather on our trip -all the summer weather we didn't get in July and August showed up for early September, complete with clear skies and temperatures in the high 20s.  The drawback, of course, is that sunny skies generally bring very little wind.  Here I am motoring along, on our way from Cortes Island to Comox.

The full moon rises over Scotty Bay, on Lasqueti Island

The weather started to change on the last day, reminding us that it really was the middle of September.

And now that we're back (and its pouring rain again), I think I'm ready to move into fall.  Just think of all those warm woolly sweaters I can start knitting now!  :)


Mom and Dad said...

Dad really appreciated your map and pictures of your travels. So happy the weather was good. The pictures look so beautiful. What a wonderful place to sail around.
Dad and Mom

Tiffany said...

yay, you're back!