One of our Simply Sailing students who just recently completed the basic cruising course through our day sailing program chartered a sail boat. I was invited to join and coach him on his first sailing adventure along BC’s spectacular coast.
Our home for the week was a Dufour 385, a beautiful boat, well equipped yet simple to sail.
On day one, we set sail from Powell River towards Savary Island and drop the anchor just short distance off it’s white, sandy beaches for short swim in the warm water.
In light winds, we head north and spend the night in Squirrel Cove on Cortez Island. Before sunset we explored the tidal pool and two of us even went for a short snorkeling expedition. Cortez Island is the gateway to the Desolation Sound, one of the worlds most beautiful cruising destinations.
Secluded anchorages, stunning waterfalls, hidden lakes, and white beaches invite the sailor to explore and discover.
A light breeze pushed us up the east side of Cortez Island and we sailed into Teakerne Arm where we set anchor just west of Cassel Falls.
While the others rowed ashore I tended to the boat as there were two power boaters who had their anchors stuck and maneuvered around our sailboat too close to comfortably leave the boat alone.
Once they were sorted out, I jumped in the refreshing cold water, pushing a dry bag with my cloths in front of me, swam to shore and joined the other sailors for a fantastic swim in Cassel Lake.
Teakerne Arm, is not recommended for overnight anchorage. Holding is erratic, and sudden strong winds are common. Reluctantly we leave this wonderful spot behind and head north, through Lewis Channel.
Winds were light and sailing was very slow and we decided to start the engine. More than 200 years ago, Captain Vancouver, without the luxury of having an engine, took four frustrating days to sail out of Lewis Channel. Disgusted with the fluky winds and the endless inlets that lead to nowhere he named the place ‘Desolation Sound’. Amazing, how perception has changed over time!
Our next destination was Von Donop Inlet. A deep channel cuts almost right through Cortez Island and we end up spending the night just half a mile from Squirrel Cove, only on the other side of the island.
Leaving Desolation Sound we were sailing towards Quadra Island. After a wonderful morning sail, we were becalmed. It was too early to head for the anchorage and we decided to visit Mitlenatch Island, the “Galapagos of British Columbia”. Home to five bird colonies it is the Strait of Georgia’s most important seabird breeding ground. An treeless rock, more than a kilometer long it used to be called “Ma-Kee-Lay-La” (meaning: It looks close, but seems to move away as you approach it). We even saw a seal giving birth, simply amazing.
Weighing the anchor at this most wonderful place behind, we once again pointed the bow of our boat north and found a beautiful spot set anchor on Rebecca Spit (Quadra Island). The next morning we set sail in a brisk breeze and head for Uganda Passage and Shark Spit where we anchored for lunch. The sandy beach was covered in sand dollars.
The wind was stronger in the afternoon and we enjoyed the sailing in the sun and the building winds. That night, Gorge Harbour was our stop for the evening. While we anchored on a little bay all by ourselves, we checked out the marina facilities and were blown away: Grocery stores, fire pits by the beach, a restaurant, cabins, real showers!! and even a swimming pool.
The next day was our last sailing day and we set course for Powell River. The wind forecast called for strong winds. Through the day the wind built to over 20 knots and everybody had a blast. As the wind picked up we reefed the sails. Perfect conditions for sailing. We practiced some crew over board procedures, as these are the conditions who want to master those skills.
Tired, but with a smile on our faces we snugged down the boat late that evening at her dock in Powell River. A great sailing adventure came to an end.
Your Simply Sailing Team
Christof is the owner and operator of Simply Sailing. An enthusiastic sailor he loves to share his knowledge with other sailors.
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