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Joe Cove

Dreaming and Conspiring at Joe Cove – Eden Island, Broughton Islands, BC

Joe Cove – Located on the South Side of Eden Island – Today we moved a whopping 12 miles. It was a foggy, damp and still day, everything looked grey and green, even the water. We were determined to head back out into Queen Charlotte Straight in our quest to find those allusive whales. Again no luck on that front, but the fog made our cruise through Arrow Passage, Sunday Harbour and Misty Passage that much more remarkable, from a visual perspective. We can only imagine what it would have been like on a sunny day. We entered Joe Cove on Eden Island to find complete solitude – we were the only boat to use the cove for shelter that night. Guess now is as good a time as any to talk about how it felt to be out in the wilds of British Columbia for three weeks. We have anchored out a good deal during this trip and most anchorages have no viable walking…

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Waddington Bay

Settling Into Waddington Bay for the Night – Broughton Islands, BC Canada

Waddington Bay – Located Off Bonwick Island – After waking up to a thick fog, we departed Goat Island and cruised up Knight Inlet for seven miles in search of whales. Having no luck finding any, we retraced our path through extremely calm water, moving in and out of the dense fog to make our way to the mouth of Knight Inlet. We skirted into a channel by Midsummer Island and out into the base of Queen Charlotte Strait. Still idling through heavy fog, not seeing much past the bow of Kismet we went up Arrow Passage, still looking for whales. With none yet to be seen we moved on into Waddington Bay, off Bonwick Island where we found a wonderfully scenic and remote location to drop the hook at the end of the cove in 15-feet of water. We spent two days on the hook watching, unsuccessfully, for bears grazing on shore and dinghying around the bay chatting with boaters anchored nearby      We were the…

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Alert Bay

Alert Bay – An Aboriginal Cultural Destination – Broughton Islands, BC

Welcome to Alert Bay –  Having provisioned in Port McNeill, we were good for another two weeks while exploring the Broughton Archipelago. First stop, Alert Bay, an aboriginal cultural destination. Alert Bay is home to about 1,300 Namgis people, a First Nations band within the larger Kwakwaka'wakw nation of northern Vancouver Island. The members of the village community coexist side-by-side, in harmony with the largely non-native population that resides in the village on the south-side of Cormorant Island. We tied up at the Government Marina for a few hours. Our mission was to walk around the village, grab some lunch and visit the U’mista Cultural Centre Museum. The Centre is a First Nations Museum collection of historically significant masks, totem poles, photos and educational videos of the area and there way of life. First we walked the docks at the village marina. Lots of old fishing boats and a few unusual pleasure boats and yachts graced the harbor docks. Next, we headed up into…

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Port McNeill

Port McNeill for Provisioning – Vancouver Island, BC

Port McNeill – Back to Civilization for a Brief Moment Port McNeill, located on Vancouver Island's northeast shore on Queen Charlotte Strait, is a gateway to the remote spaces of the Broughton Archipelago. An old base camp for loggers and named after Captain William Henry McNeill (Hudson Bay Company), Port McNeill was settled back in 1936. We were in need of many things... phone service, wifi, water, groceries, post office and drug store. Before we could go back out into the wild, we needed to take care of some business. Port McNeill is a very walkable town, we found everything we needed within a short distance of the marina. We stocked up on food at the local grocery store and were surprised that even Port McNeill, on Vancouver Island, has a hard time getting supplies. Lisa had wanted to buy chicken and couldn't find any, a worker in the meat department said the chicken only came on certain days of the week,…

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Goat Island

Goat Island is in the Village Group of Islands – Broughton Islands, BC

Stopping at Goat Island on Our Way to Provision at Port McNeil – It had been 11 days since we had been to a grocery store and the boat cupboards were getting bare! We certainly had enough canned goods, so we wouldn't starve, but we craved fresh produce. Also, our fresh water tank was about empty. With that in mind we departed Sullivan Bay Marina for a scenic cruise within the Broughton Archipelago past Pierre’s Echo Bay Marina and Knight Inlet to an anchorage at Goat Island, it was a 20-mile run.   At Goat Island, we found low lying islands surrounding our anchorage. Calm with blue skies all day, but woke to a dense fog in the morning. Only one other boat anchored with us tonight. It was an interesting trawler with lots of toys on it. The next morning we woke up to heavy fog but not heavy enough to stop us from venturing out to meet slack tide at the top of Hanson…

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Sullivan Bay Marina

Sullivan Bay Marina, A Floating Community – Broughton Islands, BC

Sullivan Bay Marina is on the Edge of the Broughton Archipelago –  After two peaceful nights on the hook at Turnbull Cove we pulled anchor to head a short seven miles to Sullivan Bay Marina. We timed our stay at Sullivans to coincide with their prime rib dinner, a weekly, scheduled event. Sullivan Bay Marina is a remote floating island community, only accessible by boat, sea plane or helicopter. Besides dockage there are many float homes, a convenience store, fuel dock and restaurant.   Lisa taking photos while Jim drives the boat. When we arrived we stopped at the fuel dock to top our tanks. We were warmly greeted by staff and other boaters when we arrived. We checked out the nearby grocery store to see what the offering were and ordered our cinnamon rolls for the next morning. Fresh produce was what we craved, but the prices were of course quite high – understandably. Lisa immediately asked Jim for a two-night stay.     …

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Turnbull Cove

Slow Dancing Our Way Through the Broughton Islands – Turnbull Cove, B.C.

Exploring Picturesque Waterways On Our Way to Turnbull Cove – After enjoying only a one-night stay at Laura Cove, we decided to move on. Having limited time to explore the Broughtons, we need to stay on task. Our day’s charted course consisted of a cruise through Sutlej Channel past Sullivan Bay Marina. Then we cruised up picturesque Dunsany Passage and Grappler Sound into the pristine and remote Kenneth Passage.   We were rewarded with a two-bear sighting this morning in Mackenzie Sound We passed by Turnbull Cove, our days final destination, for a sightseeing cruise and black bear hunt in Mackenzie Sound followed by a cruise to Little Nimmo Bay. During our chart review with Anca, at Kwatsi Bay Marina several night before, she had told us there are often black bear at the end of Mackenzie Sound. This is where the mountain river dumps into the sound providing good feeding ground for bears. Anca also mentioned the mountain views were specatular. When we arrived at the…

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Laura Bay

Laura Bay is a Popular Anchorage in the Broughton Islands

Laura Bay, south of Penphrase Passage, is a popular anchorage with good protection behind a scenic, un-named island. The Broughton Islands are comprised of 200-plus remote islands included in the over 240,000 islands between northern mainland British Columbia and the north-end of Vancouver Island. From Anacortes Washington to the Broughtons is about 233 miles. At least a week's worth of cruising for the serious boater to get to the Broughton Islands from the US border. The number of year-round residents in the Broughtons is less than 1,000. Keeping all this in mind, we have a lot of remote wilderness to explore during our three-week adventure. The day of our departure from Kwatsi Bay, we cruised 15 miles to Laura Bay and our second anchorage in the Broughtons. Along the way we saw two eagles and many dolphins as we slowly worked our way up Tribune Channel. Being new territory for us, we took a side trip and to cruised up into Watson Bay to get up close to Lacy Falls. Not much water…

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Kwatsi Bay Marina

A Warm Welcome Awaits – Kwatsi Bay Marina – Broughton Islands, BC

Kwatsi Bay Marina is Just One of Many Floating Communities in the Broughton Archipelago! Kwatsi Bay Marina was just around the bend from our anchorage, so it was a short trip to the dock soon after breakfast. We have never thought it made sense to go into a marina at the end of the day if there is an anchorage situated nearby. Maybe it’s the Scotch in us, but why pay for a full day when you don’t have to? This family owned and operated marina has a well-known reputation for being a friendly, hospitable stop. After teaching and then managing the Scott Cove Salmon Hatchery, Kwatsi Bay Marina owners Max Knierim and Anca Fraser, along with their two children, towed their existing float-home to an empty Kwatsi Bay in 1995. This marina will be our introduction into the many floating communities in the Broughtons. Taking a page from the logging industry, very few buildings in the Broughtons are actually built on shore. Most…

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Kwatsi Bay Anchor

Still and Quiet Beauty of Kwatsi Bay Anchorage

There are no roads to Kwatsi Bay. To access this remote gem you have to either boat or fly in. Located just north of Gilford Island on the north side of Tribune Channel, the Kwatsi Bay Marina sits on the edge of the Broughton Archipelago, in the Great Bear Rainforest, nestled on the side of a majestic granite mountain on the mainland side of the Broughtons. At the end of our day’s cruise to Kwatsi Bay from Forward Harbour, we were following a yacht through Chatham Channel into Knight Inlet. We saw them suddenly stop turning their bow to point up into Knight Inlet. Curious as to why they made the sharp turn and stop, it soon dawned on us that they had spotted something up Knight Inlet. Whales, of course! We sprung into action and followed their lead. Whale Sighting on first day in the Broughtons! We slowed to a stop and started to see the whale spouts at the…

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Forward Harbour

Seeking Protection in Forward Harbour

We departed Shoal Bay at noon to time our transit of Greene Point, followed by Whirlpool Rapids, at or near slack tide. All went smoothly until we approached the intersection of Cordero Channel and Loughborough Inlet. It was at this point the waves started to build into wild unpredictable rollers. The swells grew larger the closer we came to the fetch of the Johnstone Strait area. We continued until we made a much welcomed turn off the strait into Wellborn Channel. Johnstone Strait, 59 nm in its entirety, is notorious for strong winds, swift currents overall uncomfortable cruising. Riding those waves was exhausting. We were more than ready to leave the chaotic water of the strait to seek the protection of Forward Harbour.       For two days and nights we had gusty, gail force winds while on the hook in the protected cove of Forward Harbour. As always, our anchor held us securely in place. Last thing we wanted…

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Shoal Bay

First Time in Shoal Bay – East Thurlow Island in the Discovery Islands, BC

Shoal Bay – A Peaceful Oasis in the Discovery Islands! Once we successfully navigated through the rapids of Yucalta, Gillard and Dent we made our way another eight miles to the Discovery Islands and finally to Shoal Bay. This will be our first stop on the way to the Broughton’s. Shoal Bay sits, as the name implies, in a bay off of Cordero Channel, up Phillips Arm. The shoal part of Shoal Bay has to do with how shallow the bay is as represented by how far the old dock, built in 1927, extends from shore out into the bay. Originally a cannery town, Shoal Bay was once the largest town on the western coast of Canada.  Although no remains are visible today, save the massive 600-foot-long pier, Shoal Bay was once a hub of activity for mining and forestry in the 1800s. Today you can still hike up the mountain not far from the marina to the remnants of an old gold mine. Shoal Bay is…

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Broughton Islands

Pointing Kismet’s Bow North – Time to Explore the Broughton Islands and Mainland inlets

Exploring the Wilderness of the Broughton Islands! The crew of Kismet has been waiting for this day a long time. It is the day we point our bow north of Desolation Sound to reach a cruising wilderness known as the Broughton Islands. This archipelago is famously wedged against the coastal mountain range on the mainland side and Vancouver Island to the west. First we’ll cruise through the Discovery Islands, Yucalta, Gillard and Dent Rapids to our day’s destination of Shoal Bay. Our furthest reach north is located on the 50th parallel. Turnbull Cove is approximately 300 miles from Washington State’s San Juan Islands. Broughton Archipelago Park is situated at the mouth of Knight Inlet on the west side of Queen Charlotte Strait near the north end of Vancouver Island. William Robert Broughton was a British Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. He was part of the Vancouver Expedition led by Captain Vancouver, in the late 1700s. Cruising the Broughton Islands will afford us one of the most remote…

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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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Phenomenal Factory Rendezvous Turnout!

The Largest Boat Rendezvous in the World – Jeff Messmer When we made plans last fall to bring Kismet out to the Pacific Northwest for a full year, we knew we wanted our itinerary to include Fluid Motion’s (parent company of both Ranger Tugs and Cutwater boats) 2016 Ranger Tugs & Cutwater Boats Factory Rendezvous. This year the event was held at Roche Harbor, Washington the first week in September. 150 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats Attending the 2016 Rendezvous in Roche Harbor, Washington We’ve now been to three rendezvous in Washington state. Our first was in 2011, when we took possession of our Ranger Tug R27, it was held in Bremerton, WA. The second was in 2013 when we trailered our boat out for the summer season – mainly to join the Desolation Sound Cruise (a group cruise put on by the factory to help new owners get out on the water). The 2013 rendezvous was held in Anacortes, WA. With each event attended, we encountered a growing and cohesive boating…

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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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