Got back from a great little trip from the San Juans thru the Gulf Islands to Princess Louisa Inlet a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share some pictures. I had been there before several years ago and always wanted to take Laurie up there. The weather didn't sound too good prior to leaving and we did have some rain but it turned nice. After leaving Blakely Is. in the afternoon we cleared customs at Bedwell Hbr. and anchored there just as it was getting dark in a fairly crowded bay off the park. The next day we mostly motored up to Pirates Cove on DeCourcy Is. and put a pirates flag in the treasure chest(yearly offering). The wind was supposed to come up that night so we decided to
move on to Silva Bay, having read that the mud in Pirates C. doesn't hold well(seems thick enough when you pull the hook!). Silva B. is well protected and is right on the west side of Georgia Strait so it is a good launching spot for departing in the morning to cross over to the mainland side of the strait. The wind did pick up over night, it was blowing about 18-20K with gusts to 26 when we headed out in the morning. Waves were pretty steep and short with the current opposing the wind, we'd put a double reef in the main before leaving and with the genoa furled in to the third mark it wasn't too bad. One 20+NM tack and we were across the strait and motorsailed up the coast through the islands to Pender Harbor where we pulled into the marina so we could get ice for the trip up Jervis Inlet.
The dog (Buster) was exhausted after the long day and had to take a break when we got tied up.
Explored the harbor by dinghy and went to dinner at the Galley Bay pub (excellent) and went to bed early planning to leave at 0530. Tried to leave as quietly as possible in the morning and motored out of Pender and then over to the entrance of Agememnon Channel just as it was getting light enough to see anything.
There was no wind so it looked like it was going to be a long day of motoring up into the mountains. It was drizzly with low clouds and I was worried that if it stayed that way Laurie wasn't going to see much in the inlet as the mountains go up from 5000' to 7000' right from the waters edge. It kept getting worse as we got closer to the mountains and we could see that it was raining hard ahead.
We did get to motorsail a bit in one of the reaches but didn't have much time to lose if we were going to make the slack water at Malibu Rapids. I'd figured it would take us about 6hrs 20min. to get from Pender to the rapids and by leaving at 0530 we should arrive an hour early. Had time to take a look at Frost Falls and then it was back to business.
We arrived at Malibu an hour before high slack and there didn't appear to be any current so we went on through into Princess Louisa. At spring tides Malibu can run at 7K so you need to hit slack right on the money, but we had very minor tide differences during the day.
As we entered the inlet it was cloudy and raining a little, but with some breaks so we could see some of the mountains as we motored the 4NM to the end where Chatterbox Falls and the dock are. The plus side to having it raining is that there are lots (seems like hundreds) of small waterfalls. We tied up to the inside of the dock with help from no less than 5 people waiting for us. After looking around and taking a walk up to the base of the falls we took a nap and heard the rain just pounding the cabin top. When we woke up it was sunny and clear and just absolutely amazing. There were waterfalls everywhere and Chatterbox had increased in volume quite a bit. After a while your neck gets sore from looking straight up all the time. We had some dinner and then went up to the fire pit and had fresh cookies that Laurie had baked during the day and chocolate and wine while listening to the roar of the falls behind us. On the way back down to the boat the sky was lit up by so many stars that you could see the outlines of the mountains all around us.
The next morning was beautiful, with blue skies and sunshine. We explored on shore for a while and then rowed around the end of the bay by the falls and had breakfast in the sunshine. Reluctantly, we untied around 1230 and headed out to the rapids to catch the slack and again mostly motored out to the Harmony Islands where we anchored and stern tied for the night. The next day we explored our way out of Jervis Inlet in light rain and fog until we got to Georgia St. where it stopped raining and a little wind came up out of the NE for our return trip across the strait.
Laurie sailed across part of the strait, dodging ferries, tugs with barges and freighters. We pulled into Silva Bay and dropped the hook again. The next day we got to sail almost all day back down through the Gulf Islands and stayed at Wallace Island. The wind came up during the night so I was up from 0300 on anchor watch. Beautiful anchorage and a great island to hike around on (the dog recommends it). We decided to head for Ganges on Saltspring Is. for breakfast and to go to the Saturday Farmers market there. Ganges is a great place to stop, we always try to make a Saturday stop there to pick up stuff at the market. We pulled the anchor after spending about 4-5 hours there and headed for Sydney Island where we would spend the last night before crossing Haro Strait and clearing customs at Roche Hbr. on San Juan Island and then home to Blakely. We were treated to a nice sunset over the neighboring sailboat.
Great trip, we were sorry to see it end. John