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Bear Sighting in Downtown Chemainus, Vancouver Island, Canada

Multiple Bear Sightings in Chemainus! Always on the lookout for something new to experience, we decided to visit Chemainus on our return trip south, through the Gulf Islands, on our way back to the U.S. The name, Chemainus, originates from the native shaman and prophet “Tsa-meeun-is,” which stands for Broken Chest. Legend goes that the man survived a massive wound to his chest and then became a powerful leader, his people took his name to identify their community, Chemainus First Nation. Later founded as a logging town, in 1858, the town is now famous for 39 beautiful painted murals that grace the downtown buildings depicting the town’s history. Apparently the murals helped rejuvenate the town in the early 1980s when the larger sawmill was replaced by a smaller, more efficient version. We had to dodge a lot of logs along this stretch (above and below), probably because of the sawmill in Chemainus. After a beautiful cruise from Nanaimo, we tied up at…

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At Anchor in Departure Bay for One Night

Out Into the Strait of Georgia Again, Heading for Departure Bay! We left Jedediah Island refreshed and confident in heading out again. We continued our crossing of the Strait of Georgia the day after being literally blown off the water. As you can see Lisa's taking photos again. While this day looked much better it was still a little stormy when we started out. However with some blue sky showing up on the horizon. The water conditions were still a little lumpy, but comparing it to the day before, it was a walk in the park, so to speak. By the time we completed the last 10 miles of our crossing we had protection from the leeward side of Vancouver Island, making the last 15 mile run down to Nanaimo very pleasant indeed. We ducked into Departure Bay and worked our way down Newcastle Island Passage. We found there a peaceful anchorage just off of Newcastle Island Marine Park, where we…

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Santana Docked At Pender Harbour, Canada

Pender Harbour – Calm Before the Storm

Pender Harbour – As nice as Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls were, it felt good to be back in civilization with hot showers – We timed our departure from Chatterbox Falls to catch the first slack tide at Malibu Rapids; once back into Jervis Inlet we enjoyed a leisurely cruise, retracing the 40-mile route as we headed for our end of day destination, Pender Harbour. A lot of the Canadian boaters we met during our Desolation Sound cruise this summer recommended a stay at Pender Harbour, a natural harbor just off of the Strait of Georgia. The harbor has a number of marinas and a few good anchorages to choose from along with a little town, grocery store and several restaurants close by. By the time we idled into the harbor, although there was plenty of daylight left, it was getting late in the afternoon. We radioed the Madeira Park Public Wharf looking for dockage but got no answer. The closer…

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Chatterbox Falls, Princess Louisa, Canada

Better Vantage Point of the Falls from Princess Louisa Inlet

Because of the recent rain there were falls all over Princess Louisa Inlet when we first got there. While out in Princess Louisa Inlet, exploring by dinghy at high tide, we idled in as close to the falls as we dared. Waterfall mist soaked us as we floated over the seabed we had walked on earlier that day. We were also able to get a better vantage point of the waterfall in it's entirety as we got farther away from the dock. We found that using our dinghy to explore was the best way to get to know the inlet. We could stop and pull it out of the water onto some rock and walk up into the woods. We could also get close to the rock walls to investigate the flora and fauna. For those so inclined, anchoring in front of the falls is possible, providing the best viewing of the falls because you are out in front of it. In…

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Chatterbox Falls, Canada

Princess Louisa Inlet Provincial Marine Park – The Inner Sanctum

Princess Louisa Inlet Provincial Marine Park Called Suivoolot (Sunny and Warm) by the Sechelt Nation Natives We felt that sunny warmth today. Princess Louisa Inlet and Provincial Marine Park was created in June 24, 1965. Sitting on the other side of Jervis Inlet with Malibu Rapids acting as the dividing point, the park is a 5-mile long spectacular fjord. The park is urrounded with 3,000 foot high, waterfall littered, snow-tipped mountains. The inlet boasts about a 1,000-feet of water depth and measures no more than a half-mile wide. At the end of Princess Louisa Inlet is the equally stunning 120-foot tall Chatterbox Falls. The Princess Louisa Inlet and Provincial Marine Park is only accessible by boat or plane, there are no public roads. The only access a boat has is through the Straight of Georgia by way of Jervis Inlet and finally the terrifying Malibu Rapids. Boaters consider Princess Louisa Inlet to be the Holy Grail of cruising! After making our way uneventfully through Malibu Rapids,…

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Malibu Club, Malibu Rapids, Canada

Transiting Malibu Rapids to Gain Access to Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls

Malibu Rapids has Two Slack Tides a Day In order to gain access to the inner sanctum of Princess Louisa Inlet and subsequently Chatterbox Falls, you first have to negotiate the entrance to the inlet, Malibu Rapids. (This is also where the Malibu Club sits promptly on top of the big boulders at the entrance to the inlet.) Although it is unwise to transit the rapids any other time but slack tide. Slack tide is when the current changes direction and the condition in between when the tide stops going out and before it starts coming in, or vice versa. It’s at this point that the current is minimal and, in boater terminology, this condition is known as slack tide. We have evidence that not all boaters heed that golden rule (see video below). Transiting the rapids is no ordinary task when conditions are slack, let alone any other time? Before and after slack tide the current can run as fast as…

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Kismet Cruising Jervis Inlet, Canada

Jervis Inlet to Malibu Rapids

Jervis Inlet is a 45-mile long fjord that leads to Malibu Rapids Unfortunately we had a rather cloudy day for our cruise up Jervis Inlet but even with the gray skies and murky waters the mountains stood superbly majestic as they lined our route to Malibu Rapids. It was a little tense for the crew onboard Kismet because we were a little anxious about transiting the Malibu Rapids. Cruising up Jervis Inlet in this immense and awe-inspiring wilderness was a little overwhelming. For most of the day we cruised solo up Jervis Inlet while passing only a few trawlers or fishing vessels.

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Rock Formations, Hardy Island, Canada

Positioning Ourselves at Hardy Island for the Run Up to Chatterbox Falls

The Anchorage at Hardy Island is Located at the Base of Jervis Inlet We were somewhat protected by Texada Island as we cruised 21 miles southeast from Powell River to Hardy Island. The anchorage at Hardy Island is located at the base of Jervis Inlet. We are positioning ourselves for the cruise up to Princess Louisa Inlet, Malibu Rapids and finally Chatterbox Falls. Entering Blind Bay we found calm waters ideal for anchoring in a narrow, well protected, cove within Hardy Island Marine Park. As we were scouting for a spot to drop our hook we came across a small black bear strolling by the waters edge. The bear was just as startled as we were. He immediately hightailed it up the rock cliff and into the  woods never to be seen by us again. This would end up being our only bear sighting during our PNW cruise. The real reason for anchoring at Hardy Island was to position ourselves for…

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Kismet Cruising To Powell River, Canada

Wet and Bumpy Ride to Powell River

Conditions on the way to Powell River were not scary, just very bumpy and unpleasant. We had strong, guess you could almost say instinctual, reservations about leaving Lund, for Powell River, the next day. It was rainy and quite windy, so we waited a bit to see how the rain and wind conditions would develop. Our intent was to cruise to Hardy Island to anchor out for the night. From the protection of the marina in Lund, we noticed several boats heading south. So we decided to give it a try ourselves, thinking we could always turn back if it was undoable. At first, conditions were acceptable. But, as this scenario often seems to goes, it quickly deteriorated and within a short five miles we were starting to look for an exit strategy. Lisa hasn’t had to deal with seasickness in quite awhile, but on this day it really took her down. The conditions were not scary, just very bumpy and…

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Boats Anchored Roscoe Bay, Desolation Sound

Wrapping Up Our Desolation Sound Cruise in Beautiful Roscoe Bay

We saved the last two days of our Desolation Sound cruise for Roscoe Bay. Once inside the narrow entrance to the inner cove (which guide books state is best navigated on a rising tide), we took our time to slowly cruise the perimeter of the anchorage (photo-below), we wanted to find the perfect spot before we dropped anchor and stern tied to shore. There was plenty of room available, so we could be choosy about our selection which was located all the way up into the bay. Surrounded by pine trees and high rock bluffs, the cove offered, not only a picture perfect setting but, a lot of protection from any potential foul weather. The anchorage was lined with boats of all kinds. We cruised almost all the way back into the bay where there were a few less boats. It was cloudy and overcast when we arrived, but it cleared up to give us a sunny day where the…

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Squirrel Cove Town Dock, Desolation Sound

Fighting Rapids at Squirrel Cove – Desolation Sound, British Columbia

We left Pendrell Sound this morning to motor over to Squirrel Cove. Several boaters recommended this spot as a very well protected anchorage and since our weather turned a little sour we decided the cove might just be the ticket for a good night's sleep. The photo below not only shows a pretty typical type of cruising boat in Canada's Desolation Sound but some of the huge logs boaters have to contend with when cruising this area. Squirrel Cove is a popular anchorage for cruisers! The cove provides a very protected anchorage for a large number of boats and, as a bonus, there's a small village nearby, Squirrel Cove – we love an opportunity to get off the boat. That's just what we did shortly after we got settled at anchor; we jumped into the dinghy and headed toward town. The wind had really picked up outside the cove and it was a pretty rough, one-mile ride in our little…

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Dinghy, Octopus Islands, Desolation Sound

Negotiating Rapids At Hole In The Wall – Octopus Islands Marine Park, Desolation Sound

After a restful time at Toba Wildernest we departed late morning for Octopus Islands Marine Park on Quadra Island in Desolation Sound. Our departure was timed according to the tide schedule to achieve safe passage to and from the Octopus Islands area. Boaters have to properly negotiate one to three sets of rapids through narrow, shallow passages, depending on one's chosen destination. "Rapids?" You may ask, "How the heck does someone do this in a boat?" First of all the key is to do it properly. The tide fluctuates twice per day, up to 12 feet per cycle, but usually only 8 to 10 feet. When the tide is coming in or going out the maximum current runs up to 12 knots on the flood and 10 knots on the ebb. When the water is running either way hard rapids are created because there is simply too much water being forced through tapered, shallow, channels. When the flow slows, close…

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Boats At Dock, Toba Wildernest, Desolation Sound

Something Special About Toba Wildernest

We found Toba Inlet to be some of the most beautiful areas in Desolation Sound. When we were there the water was that greenish color, almost like we'd see in the Bahamas. It seemed to have phosphorescent glow about it. As we approached Toba Wildernest Resort, we enjoyed a parade of boats passing us as they left the marina. Lots of boats coming and going from Toba Wildernest. As we slowly approached the marina dock I radioed Kyle, who gave me instructions to dock on the inside of the T dock closest to shore. My immediate concern was if there would be enough water being that close to shore. With Kyle still on the radio, I asked him if there was enough depth for our two-foot draft. His comment was that there was more than enough. Once tied up I noticed the distance beneath our boat was whopping 40 feet. I missed it the first few times, maybe you didn't, the…

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Kismet Stern Tied, Walsh Cove, Desolation Sound

Cruising Homfray Channel to Walsh Cove, British Columbia

Anchoring in Walsh Cove while waiting to get dock space at Toba Wildernest. One of the beauties of cruising in Desolation Sound is that when you leave one place you have plenty of spots to consider for your next days docking or anchorage. We left Laura Cove after the three-day holiday weekend and headed northeast up Homfray Channel. We passed Homfray Lodge, a stop recommended by some friends, but we decided to pass on it and continue cruising as we were hoping for a black bear sighting. We had heard bears were often sighted along the shoreline of the channel, however, after striking out on the bear sighting, we cruised up to Wildernest Lodge and radioed in to reserve a spot on their dock for the next day and night, we then proceeded on our way to Pryce Channel, down into Waddington Channel and finally into Walsh Cove where we decided to anchor for the night – all this within…

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Kismet Anchored, Laura Cove, Desolation Sound

Anchorage in Laura Cove For Canada’s Civic Holiday – Another Hike To Unwin Lake

We found a nice anchorage in Laura Cove, so we set the anchor and tied lines to the big rock. Lisa prepared lunch to take out on a dinghy exploration of the surrounding area. We ventured out of the cove into Homfrey Channel turned the outboard off and floated around while having lunch with a spectacular mountain view surrounding us off in the distance. Afterwards I dropped Lisa off at the boat and continued on, by dinghy, to a hiking trail located off Melanie Cove. I'd read about this trail somewhere and how it leads up to Unwin Lake, the fresh water lake we'd hiked to and swam in the day before when staying in Tenedos Bay. As I neared shore, I looked for a well worn path leading into the brush and I fairly quickly found a homemade sign indicating the path to Unwin Lake. As low tide had already passed (tide swings are around 10 feet) I knew I had…

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Pancakes And Blackberries

“What Day Is It?” – Tenedos Bay Anchorage

After our swim at Unwin Lake we followed the river and small rapids back to the dinghy. Just outside the woods in the open sunlight by the park entrance, where our dinghy was tied up, we came across a slew of blackberry bushes loaded with precious ripe berries. Risking bee stings and thorn torn hands and legs, we harvested enough for blackberry pancakes the next morning. But first, when we arrived back to the boat, sitting in our Tenedos Bay anchorage, a batch of martini's were in order to wind down a very enjoyable day. Lisa then whipped up one of our favorite dishes, red beans and rice. By this time in our trip I'd have to say we've become very VERY relaxed. Over a stack of blackberry pancakes the next morning, I asked Lisa, "What day is it?" and she said, "I don't know!" After spending five travel days trailering our Kismet across country, followed by a few days of preparations,…

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Backpack Unwin Lake

Hiking to Unwin Lake For A Refreshing Swim

Soon after we got the boat stern tied to shore at the anchorage in Tenedos Bay, we grabbed our bathing suits and towels and hopped into the dinghy for a short ride over  to Unwin Lake for a refreshing swim in the 75˚ water. There are no real beaches up at Unwin Lake, its all natural with lots of logs and rocks. We found an outcropping of boulders that provided us a bit of privacy and a shallow pool of water on a rock ledge, before it dropped off for swimming. We lingered eating apples and enjoying the mountain view on the shore of Unwin Lake. Refreshed from our hour swim and with clean bodies we made our way back down to the bay following a rushing stream of water.

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Tenedos Bay Anchorage

Tenedos Bay Anchorage – Desolation Sound

From Refuge Cove it was a short 7 to 8-mile hop over to Tenedos Bay. Once in the midst of Desolation Sound every port, cove or bay is no more than a days cruise from your starting point. This close proximity between points of interest allowed us to take our time, linger longer, leave later, and cruise slowly while still arriving early to any spot on our scheduled route. Tenedos Bay provided a tree lined canyon and well-protected spot just a short dinghy ride to the trail that leads up to Unwin Lake. Our chosen anchorage provided a tree lined canyon where we stern tied to shore in calm water. Tenedos Bay is one of the recommended anchorages John and Tracy, on Sea Change, gave us during our chart review in Ganges. Not only does it provide a beautiful, natural setting to anchor, but with a short trip across the bay in our dinghy we were able to hike up…

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Freshwater Lake, TeaKerne Arm, Desolation Sound

Teakerne Arm – A Waterfall And Fresh Water Lake

Teakerne Arm – A Waterfall and Hike to a Fresh Water Lake Leaving Grace Harbour, we had a short cruise to Lewis Channel before we made a turn up into Teakerne Arm and another anchorage in the British Columbia wilderness. In the open waters I kept seeing a distinctive peak off in the distance, it seemed to appear from behind and above the waterside hills, fjords and mountains as if it was following us as we worked our way around Desolation Sound. With a little research I found Mount Denman (the pointy tipped mountain in the middle of the photo below - taken from just outside Melanie Cove) to be 6,299 feet high, it rests at the end of Desolation Sound and is considered Canada's Matterhorn. At the head of Teakerne Arm one is greeted by a cascading waterfall spilling into the saltwater away from Cassel Lake, a fresh water lake just above the falls. We continued past the falls and…

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Ranger Tugs Cruise, Gorge Harbour, Desolation Sound

Gorge Harbour at Last – Desolation Sound

We could not have had a better weather day to cruise from Comox to Gorge Harbour, BC, the last stop for the Ranger Tugs group cruise, after a little down time and one last party at the marina, we'll all go our separate ways to explore Desolation Sound. As we all slowly trickled out of the marina, glassy water awaited us, the kind every boater dreams of for a first rate cruising day. We also got our first glimpse of some snow capped mountains off on the horizon. A short way out we crossed paths with the fishing boat we brought shrimp from last night (below). Gorge Harbour at Last! Upon our arrival to Gorge Harbour Marina Resort, on Cortes Island, we were officially considered to be in Desolation Sound. Desolation Sound is a group of islands that reside at about the 50th parallel north, between Canada's Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia, Canada, at the north end of the…

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Captain's Review On Kismet, Ganges, B.C.

Local Knowledge is Important When Cruising Desolation Sound

When setting out to explore new cruising grounds it’s important to have a plan, ours is created first by doing as much research as we can from charts and guide books followed up by input from other cruisers we know, ones with a great deal of experience in the area we are headed to. However, over the years we’ve learned the best way to make sure you hit the high spots of an area are to talk with a boater who lives and cruises there. We Sought Local Knowledge Before and During Our Cruise in Desolation Sound. With that in mind I made it a mission to gain as much local knowledge as I could before and during our Ranger Tugs 2013 Desolation Sound trip so we could maximize our experience during our one-month in British Columbia. The first part of our plan was to poll as many Canadian Ranger Tug owners in Ganges during our two-day stay, ones that…

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Ranger Tugs Captain's Meeting, Comox B.C.

Fresh Shrimp Tonight in Comox, British Columbia

Leaving Nanaimo, we decided not to cruise with the pod on our way to Comox. It was an easy run with calm seas and sunny skies. Once settled in at the dock, there were more Ranger Tug owners to meet and hot showers to take. Happy hour consisted of another Captain's briefing on the outer dock. Jeff reviewed the events of the day and covered what would happen the next day. Cruising runs like we've done the last two days takes a lot out of you. Not much lingering on the dock in Comox after happy hour tonight. After reviewing our supplies, a trip to the grocery store seemed in order, so we asked Don and Brenda, on Kenji Maru to walk up with us. Comox has a full-sized grocery store not more than a few blocks from the marina. This being our first time in this area, we're not sure where the last big grocery store will be. When…

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Ranger Tugs Desolation Sound Cruise, Naniamo, B.C.

Rafting Up in Nanaimo, BC

From Ganges to Nanaimo, we could choose to join one of the pods or cruise on our own. After two days of socializing with other Ranger Tug owners at Ganges, the time came to organize the three-day cruise to our mutual destination of Gorge, BC. After that point we will all be on our own to explore as we will, Desolation Sound and surrounding areas. But first we had to get our “gaggle” organized. This is the third year Ranger Tugs has organized this Desolation Sound Cruise for their owners, we think they have all their ducks all in a row. Our first Captain’s Meeting was held during the second night at Ganges, on the dock just before happy hour. Jeff, V.P of Sales and Marketing at Ranger Tugs and the ringleader, had organized, along with key experienced boaters, a system for leaving the dock to leave for Nanaimo (Na-ni-mo) in the morning, which comprised of  groups with a “lead boat” and a…

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Forty-Five Ranger Tugs Gather at Ganges, British Columbia

Ganges Harbor, on Saltspring Island, is a short 10-mile run from Montague Harbor and the gathering point for the boaters participating in the Ranger Tugs 2013 Desolation Sound Cruise. We left early for Ganges, with yet another blue skied day with just a light breeze and fairly calm waters. We looked forward to meeting up with about 45 Ranger Tugs and their owners for five days of socializing, pot lucks, and finally taking three days to cruise together up to Desolation Sound, and this was just the Ranger Tug boats, we would meet up with a group of Cutwater's (about another ten or fifteen) in Nanaimo for the cruise to Comox. We met folks from Illinois, Georgia, Texas, California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon with most being from Washington and Canada's British Columbia, even Ganges. We wanted to arrive early so we could get our boat washed up and looking pretty, but much to my surprise and dismay I found out the…

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Swinging and Singing in Montague Harbour, Canada

Montague Harbour, on Galliano Island, is part of the Gulf Islands. When we left Sidney, we had one more day to explore before we met up with the Ranger Tug group (sixty some Ranger Tugs and Cutwater boats) to begin our cruise to Desolation Sound. So we left Sidney for Montague Harbour on Galliano Island part of the Gulf Islands. There is a Provencial Park in Montague Harbour which offers camp sites, a dinghy dock, hiking trials, a bakery on the shore and mooring balls – we picked up one of the thirty odd mooring balls available in the harbor. We'd heard from a friend of ours that the thing to do when mooring in  Montague Harbor is to take the bus up to the Hummingbird Pub on Galliano Island. Because the pub is up a ways from the harbor they have a bus that will pick up boaters from the harbor to get to the pub. What they hadn't told…

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