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Tugging Together – Gorge Harbour on Cortez Island, BC

We had a two-eagle sighting and cruise to our destination, Gorge Harbour on Cortez Island. We were one day early for our reservation, so we anchored in the harbor for the night.  The 2016 Ranger Tugs Desolation Sound Cruise had started a few days prior, in Comox (on Vancouver Island) and was culminating with the arrival of 40 some boats at the Gorge Harbour Marina for the final two days of the cruise. We’ve been looking forward to a return to Gorge Harbour Marina to use their pool after roughing it during our two weeks in Desolation Sound. A swimming pool is a rarity in the hinter lands of Desolation Sound. But even more than that, we were excited to spend a few days socializing with other Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats owners.   After spending a relaxing night on the hook within sight of the marina, we were tied up early, by 11:30 a.m. Once settled in we went directly to the swimming pool…

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Roscoe Bay

Roscoe Bay Anchor–Hike to Black Lake for a Refreshing Swim

Roscoe Bay Provincial Marine Park is known for the thousands of moon jellies that congregate there annually. We woke this morning to a clear blue sky and knew it would be a great day. We only had a handful of miles to travel for our 11 A.M. arrival for a 2-day stay at anchor in Roscoe Bay. Our day started off with freshly baked sticky buns and coffee. It was a slow cruise on calm water as we made our way around the south side of West Redonda Island to get to our destination. Roscoe Bay is known for the thousands of moon jellies that congregate there annually. Roscoe Bay has a narrow, dry shoaling entrance that leads to a full, 360 degree, protected bay. Most boaters have to negotiate this channel on a rising tide. As we passed over the shoal, we saw a crystal clear sandy bottom which appeared to be within a hand’s reach. However, we knew…

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This is What We Came For – Pendrell Sound – Desolation Sound, British Columbia

Pendrell Sound Provided a Break from All Distractions! From Tenedos Bay we cruised over to Waddington Channel and finally into Pendrell Sound, on East Redonda. We went all the way to the end of the sound, through a fjord like channel to anchor. That way we'd be facing toward the snow-capped mountain range to the south. From this spot we would also have a view of all boat and sea plane traffic in the sound. It was a gorgeously hot summer’s day. During our three days at anchor in Pendrell Sound it all sunk in. This is what we came for. Stunning mountain ranges, scattered islands, winding waterways, scenic vistas, surprising wildlife sightings and peaceful seclusion. We found relative isolation from the busyness of the fast pace world we left behind. No connectivity of any kind. Our phones did not work here, no TV reception and no internet. We lazed the days away without access to a news source, entertainment or man-made social functions or interactions.…

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Tendedos Bay

Tenedos Bay to Anchor for Hike to Unwin Lake

Tenedos Bay is Located on the Mainland Side of Desolation Sound – East of Mink Island After two windy days at dock in Heriot Bay, it was nice to have a calm water day for our 27-mile run to Tenedos Bay. The location of the bay is on the mainland side of Desolation Sound, to the east of Mink Island. Having anchored in Tenedos Bay previously, we thought we’d like to try a different spot. First, we slowly cruised the perimeter of the anchorage on the opposing side of the bay. Staying to the right after entering the bay instead of to the left where we previously anchored. There were two protected coves that looked appealing, but they already had boats anchored there. Leaving not much room for another. Desolation Sound is starting to get busy now (July). When we arrived in June there weren’t many boaters here and finding a good position was fairly easy. We ended up in the same spot as before after exhausting options for…

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Provisioning at Heriot Bay on Quadra Island

The Proximity of Heriot Bay to Desolation Sound, Gave Us Another Option for Provisioning The need to provision mid-way through our month-long stay required a major shopping trip. Unlike our two-week trip to Desolation Sound three years ago. Since we are consuming breakfast, lunch and dinner – all on the boat every day, we eventually ran out of the supplies that keep our bodies happily fueled. Provisioning while cruising in Desolation Sound for a longer stay is a little bit of a challenge. The options nearby are limited to Refuge Cove. Although centrally located within Desolation Sound, the products available at Refuge Cove are limited and quite expensive. It's a fun stop! If you are only staying a week or two in Desolation, you won't starve. You can catch up on most chores, use wifi, enjoy a fresh baked cinnamon roll, fuel up and restock the propane and water tanks. Just like we would at any marina. But thrifty boaters that we are, after two weeks we…

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Grizzly Encounter at Brem Bay – BC, Canada

We Hit the Jackpot of Grizzly Sightings at Brem Bay! During our last day at Toba Wildernest, a sailboat pulled up to the dock late in the afternoon. Soon after, we overheard the crew exuberantly sharing their grizzly bear sighting further up Toba Inlet. Brem Bay to be exact. We decided it was worth the scenic nine-mile trip to see if we’d have any luck spotting a wild grizzly bear, or two, ourselves. Brem Bay lies on the NW side of Toba Inlet. The bay sits at the base of a huge valley at the mouth of Brem River. The river forks out into the grassy estuary wetland area and into the inlet. The cruise up was calm, but overcast with the sun and blue sky sometimes peaking through the fog and clouds periodically. It was our first time that far up into Toba Inlet. Here the inlet takes a sharp turn to the northeast of the mainland of Canada. When we arrived at Brem Bay, we…

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Owen Bay Anchor – Discovery Islands, British Columbia

Hiking to View Hole in the Wall Rapids from Owen Bay We pulled anchor at 9:30 the morning on the third day of our stay at Octopus Islands. We timed our departure to coincide with slack tide at the upper rapids of "Hole In the Wall." This time we will be heading to Owen Bay (See map below) and yet another anchorage. Owen Bay is located on the southeastern shore of Sonora Island, one of the outer islands of the Discovery Islands, British Columbia. The rapids were so “slack” the water was absolutely smooth and undisturbed, we idled through effortlessly into Owen Bay. We spotted two more eagles before we dropped anchor. Owen Bay is not far from the juncture of the Hole In the Wall Rapids. Once settled at anchor we took a short dinghy ride over to the government dock, just around the point by the bay. Another boater had told Jim about a hiking path that leads to a spot overlooking the rapids at Hole In the Wall. We thought it…

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Transiting Rapids at Hole in the Wall – Octopus Islands Marine Park

We Were Surprised – Only a Few Boats Anchored at Octopus Islands! – We timed our departure from our anchorage at Von Donop Inlet, so our arrival at the “Hole in the Wall” rapids would coincide with “slack tide.” Our plan was to get to Octopus Islands Marine Park to anchor for a couple of days. Knowing when slack water, or tide, occurs is important in tidal waters. This is more important where you need to negotiate a narrow pass where water has limited space to move through. With these conditions, water turns into a rapids that can be dangerous to pass through in most any condition other than slack tide. Slack Tide, described by Wikipedia is: "Slack water, which used to be known as 'the stand of the tide,’ is a short period in a body of tidal water when the water is completely unstressed, and therefore no movement either way in the tidal stream, and which occurs before the direction of the tidal stream reverses." We’ve had to learn about timing our travels to meet up with optimal…

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Anchoring in Von Donop Inlet – Ha’thayim Marine Provincial Park

  We Chose Von Donop Inlet as an Anchorage Twice During Our Stay in the Desolation Sound Area – Von Donop Inlet is situated on the northwest side of Cortes Island, it can be entered from northern Sutil Channel. The inlet is part of the Discovery Islands, not Desolation Sound Marine Park. We had to leave Desolation Sound on two occasions to provision. So, we used Von Donop as an anchorage both times. First was a trip to Campbell River and another time on our way to Heriot Bay. The inlet is long and narrow and, although we cruised past many boats already anchored the length of the inlet, we chose to go all the way in to the bay at the south end. We felt it afforded the most protection from high winds and we felt a storm brewing. Rainy Day Blues in Von Donop Inlet We love to read and have lots of books downloaded to our iPads. But for rainy days on the boat, ones where you don't even want to read anymore, walk…

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Toba Wildernest – Experience the Magic!

Toba Wildernest – One of Our Favorite Spots in the Desolation Sound Cruising Area – Toba Wildernest is a picturesque mountainside marina and resort located at the mouth of Toba Inlet. The inlet is a deep fjord on the mainland of British Columbia, adjacent to Desolation Sound. The marina is well-protected by Double Island. The first thing that strikes me as unique about this inlet is the most unusual, milky, greenish blue color of the water leading to and around Toba Wildernest. It continues as far as one can see. The beauty of Toba Inlet opens up my heart and soul! I believe the many boaters who come from all over the world to visit the Hunters’ in their little slice of paradise, can’t help but be transformed internally and perhaps spiritually by one of nature’s masterful creations. A scenic panorama of truly massive proportions has the ability to make a human being feel humble and almost insignificant in the scheme of things –…

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First Time in Campbell River, BC

Campbell River is a Good Place to Provision When Cruising Desolation Sound – Today we headed to Campbell River, located on Vancouver Island. We like to balance our boating time between anchorages and marinas. We do this because we like the social aspect marinas offer with a taste of small town life and a chance to interact with local boaters. We also need to provision for the next stretch out on the water. Our routine is roughly 65% at anchor and 35% at marinas. Campbell River is one of the larger cities on Vancouver Island and within reasonable distance from Desolation Sound. If you need a lot of groceries and other necessities, it's the best place for a grocery run with a Super Store just a short walk up from the marina. When we checked in at Discovery Harbour we weren't told their showers or laundry were not working until we tied up and settled in, both of those activities played a major part in our decision to…

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Laura Cove – Rocky, Scenic and Popular

Laura Cove, Like Most of the Prideaux Haven Area, is Strewn with Large Boulders and High, Rocky Tree Lined Shores. We departed Refuge Cove for a short eight-mile run up Homfray Channel to the Prideaux Haven area of Desolation Sound Marine Park. Laura Cove, next to Melanie Cove, was in our sights as our preferred anchorage. We anchored here during our trip three years ago, and it was one of our favorite spots. On our way in we cruised through the adjoining Melanie Cove to see how many boats were already anchored. We arrived a couple of days before Canada Day (July 1st) a long Holiday weekend for Canadians, hoping to get settled before the rush which never really came. For a National Holiday we didn’t feel there were many boats in Laura Cove, seven at anchor on our first night and only 13 on our last. This was good for us as we gained more personal space for a relaxing long weekend.…

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Refuge Cove – A Hub of Activity and Social Gathering Spot in Desolation Sound

Refuge Cove is Chock-Full of Character Situated on the southwest corner of West Redonda Island, Refuge Cove is centrally located in Desolation Sound. The small general store is good for minor provisions, fuel, water and propane. Besides being a unique little waterside community, it's a hub of activity and social gathering spot for the myriad of boaters spending their vacations cruising Desolation Sound. During this visit to Refuge Cove, we wanted to dock overnight to really experience life in Refuge Cove for more than the two hours we spent in 2013. We typically don’t come back into a marina for a while after we’ve just been to one. Only two days ago we were at Powell River for a two-night stay, but I forgot to pay bills. So, after we left Grace Harbour, we headed to Refuge Cove where we heard WiFi was available. During our stay, we fueled up, refilled a propane tank, paid bills, updated the blog and bought some cinnamon sticky buns all…

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Grace Harbour – First Anchorage in Desolation Sound 2016

Grace Harbour is a Good Starting Point for Our Desolation Sound Cruising Adventure! Keeping true to form, we decided to begin our Desolation Sound cruise by anchoring in Grace Harbour, just as we had done in 2013. Grace Harbour is a small anchorage and Marine Park on the mainland of British Columbia accessed by Malaspina Inlet. The anchorage is extremely well-protected from wind and waves. The harbour has a little beach with a restroom facilities and a hiking trail. A Slow Start to the Boating Season! The anchorage was not very crowded this time, a fact we would soon wonder about as we proceeded north through the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast, Jervis Inlet and finally Desolation Sound. We were here, starting our cruise, in late July three years ago. Maybe the season is off to a slow start, because we had a hard time finding a good spot last time. Timing makes all the difference when cruising British Columbia. We started…

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Stopping at Powell River to Provision

Powell River – Great Place to Provision – After only four days spent at Chatterbox Falls, you wouldn't think we'd have to provision again so soon. Since our mode of transportation is walking from grocery stores with our shopping bags, we can only cart so much stuff back to the boat. It will be harder and more expensive to grocery shop in Desolation Sound, so we always stop at grocery stores when we can and stock up on important items such as beer and chocolate. Sometimes the grocery stores offer to drive us back to the marina, and we almost always take them up on the offer, unless we don't need much or need the exercise. We also needed to take care of some business while in Powell River. We'll be visiting a copy shop, the post office, a used book store and, of course, the grocery store. Shoe shopping is on the list, Jim is looking for new sandals, because his old ones…

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2016 Summer Cruising Season in British Columbia, Canada

Our Summer Cruising Season Will Take Us to the Broughton Islands –  Have you ever been somewhere before that you’ve loved so much you cannot wait to return? Have you ever wondered why it took you so long to discover it? In our early summer cruising adventures we never dreamed territory such as the Pacific Northwest, San Juan and Gulf Islands, Princess Louisa Inlet, Chatterbox Falls and Desolation Sound existed. We’ve returned this year to cruise some of our favorite summer cruising stops from 2013, then we’ll continue further north to explore the Broughton Islands, a territory rich wth wildlife and natural wonders. Our trip will start in Anacortes, Washington where we’ll provision and prepare for our three-month long adventure north to British Columbia. We’ll spend two weeks in Canada’s Gulf Islands exploring places we have not been to before. First stop will be Sucia Island in the San Juan Islands as we stage to cross over to Canada to Poets Cove for the Ranger Tugs/Cutwater…

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Change, Jim And Lisa Favors Kismet

“Change is the Only Constant in Life” – Heraclitus

Change is Good! The phrase, "Change is the only constant in life,” was written by a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus of Ephesos (around 500 BC). I’m sure when he wrote these now famous words he was not thinking about the cruising travel plans of Kismet (a Turkish word that stands for "fate" or "meant to be"). Lisa and I have have made a complete overhaul of our 2015/2016 fall and winter cruising plans, it must be "kismet." Our original plans, of cruising the Rideua Canal this fall, then heading to Florida for the winter, have changed dramatically. We’ve decided to trailer Kismet west, across country. We want to spend time with our grandson and family in Portland Oregon. Our tug will be moored in Portland, on the Columbia River. After the new year we’ll trailer Kismet further north to the Puget Sound area for some wintertime cruising in Washington State's San Juan Islands and British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, we've already reserved a slip in Victoria for one month. It…

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Kayaks, Rosco Bay, Desolation Sound

Seeking Crystal Clear Water of Black Lake

As Our Cruise in Desolation winds close to the end, Black Lake Was a Real Treat! One of the activities we came to enjoy while cruising Desolation Sound was hiking to the many inland fresh water lakes. Black Lake was one such lake located not far from our anchorage in Roscoe Cove. After a short dinghy ride it was easily accessed by hiking a fairly short woodsy remnant of a logging trail. The trail continued along the lake for awhile before heading up a big hill. Lush vegetation and huge ferns surrounded us as we explored the trail further up the hill. With the big trees and lush vegetation we felt like we had been plopped down in the middle of a Jurasic Park movie set. On two separate occasions, we landed our dinghy at the base of the trail and hiked up to the lake to cool off and freshen up. There are no beaches at the edge of the lake…

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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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Kismet Anchored, Pendrell Sound, Desolation Sound

Swimmingly Warm in Pendrell Sound – Desolation Sound, British Columbia

We left our anchorage at Octopus Islands late morning, during slack tide, to head to Pendrell Sound. Just as most days during this trip, we had sunny skies and calm waters for our day's cruise. "How was the swimming at Pendrell Sound?" We often get asked this question in regards to how a cruising territory meets some fairly typical cruisers desired water activities. The reason I bring this up in this post has to do with our stop in Pendrell Sound. British Columbia's Desolation Sound is located within close proximity to the 50th parallel. As a reference the only place above this parallel, in the United States, is Alaska. With that said you'd think the water would be too frigid to go swimming. Not so! If you look at a map you'll notice Queen Charlotte and Johnstone Straits are situated north of Desolation Sound, while the Strait of Georgia is to the south. In the middle sits Desolation Sound where the meeting of…

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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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