Cruising Desolation Sound... getting there is half the fun!
27 July 2018 | Lancelot Inlet, Desolation Sound Marine Park
Sunny, 28C, wind light NW, water temp 21C
We left Vancouver on July 14th. We had waited about a week for the strong north-westerlies to break and it sounded like a window would open allowing us to work our way back up the Georgia Strait the 80 miles north-west back to Desolation Sound. Not so! Outside the Lions Gate Bridge, we were met by 25 knot north-westerlies and short steep waves giving us a very nice impression of "the washing machine effect". So our first leg north-west became a reach south-west to Porlier Pass. After a brisk sail, we entered the calm waters of the Gulf Islands where we worked our way north to the very pretty anchorage at Evening Cove. On the way we passed many anchorages crowded to overflowing, so were relieved to share our anchorage with only two other boats. Our path north from here led us through Dodd Narrows, the most difficult pass in the Gulf Islands, navigable only for a 20 minute window at slack. So next morning we timed our approach and joined in a fleet of two dozen boats and ran through without incident. Dodd Narrows connects the Gulf Islands with Nanaimo Harbour and Newcastle Island Marine Park. So we dropped the anchor ijust outside the crowded mooring field in company with about 60 other boats. With excellent orotection from the North-westerlies, we wondered if we had not been mistaken about the winds. But a walk on the island along the shore assured us we were wise to wait. And we weren't alone. Counting the visitors in the mooring and anchorage and those in the many marinas, we estimated that there were more than 150 boats waiting for a break in the wind. For two days we waited, we hiked the island, walked the very nice waterfront of Nanaimo and watched the wind. Finally after two nights, we woke to calm air and were off at 7am, a very early start for us! I expected a major exodus, but we found ourselves alone, with only one boat a few miles ahead. On the strait, the wind had collapsed entirely. After a few attempts at sailing then motor-sailing, we just motored across the glassy waters. By days end we were tying up at the Texeda Island Boat Club docks in Sturt Cove. Tied up, we met Paul Nowlan and Kirsty Henderson on their Catalina 34, Canty. We would run into them again later and very much enjoyed their company. Next morning after a walk to the grocery store, we were off, again in light winds. Like the previous day, it involved a combination of motoring and sailing, but by day's end, we were safely anchored in Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island, tucked in with just 75 others!