cirumnavigating Vancouver Island
Hey PNW'sters, I' m starting the planning process for a three week trip around the Island in July - up the inside, down the out side. I know three weeks isn't near enough time to see everything worth while so I'm hoping to hear from any one that has sailed the area. I'll bypass the Gulf islands and Desolation this trip so info north of Campbell river and down the west coast would be welcome.
You are in for a real treat! The island is a veritable cornucopia of awesome. I would definitely recommend Telegraph Cove. I went through there years ago and they were building a Whale Museum. I was given a tour but would love to get back and see it completed.
Are you going clockwise around Vancouver Island?
For those of you who have never been to British Columbia Canada. Dixon entrance at the North end and the Straits of Juan De Fuca at the south end of the island can at various times of tidal currents can make a day sail very stressful for a newbie.
Bilgewater over on Anything Sailing and Jack Dale from here and Anything Sailing have quite a bit of experience with the waters north of Campbell River.
Bilge is here too, as seayalatermoonglow. Excellent resource for those waters.
Three weeks is really pushing it - and doesn't allow for much in the way of weather window wait time....
We haven't done that trip yet, but have done the "up the outside" to Barkley Sound and back in July; beautifully rugged but long legs, high chance of fog and I really wouldn't want to do that trip without radar, esp with limited time.
Three weeks is whats on the calendar but if it goes four then c'est la vie.
The current plan is July 1st departure from Sand Heads but that's not in stone. If you had to choose an Ideal time would June be better?
Ya, it look like the tide table will come in very handy particularly from Campbell river to Cape Scott - 10' tides going through 2 or 3 kilometer wide straights. I've also read a little local knowledge is usefull for rounding Cape Scott- something about crossing a bar with an ebb tide facing the outside swells..may be better to go outside Hope Island.. anybody?
I believe the general consensus is that, from a fog perspective May/June is better than July/Faugust. Of course none of this is cast in stone and fog is possible at any time.
While May/June would naturally be considered cooler than later, in reality you can essentially lose your summer weather on that coast at any time. May/June is also, of course, "less crowded" but that's also not an issue in those areas.
If 4 weeks is "c'est la vie" then that will help. Another way to maximize your west coast time would be to really gumboot up the inside, pulling long days and even perhaps an overnight if tides are more favourable then, I suppose one could get to say Pt Hardy or Bull Harbour in quite a bit less than a week.
From some of the accounts and guides we've read, the upper Island looks a treasure of neat hideyholes, quiet, private harbours and it would be a shame to go screaming by all those unless the primary object is to be able to say you've been "around".
We spent two full weeks in Barkley/Broken group and could easily have done more... in that area alone. Not much between Cape Beale and Sooke, so that's another candidate for a long dash.
Fishermen regularly use an inshore route around Nahwitti Bar.. but I think local knowledge here is key.
Thanks for the compliment.
I have been around 8 times; 7 on courses that I teach and once on the Van Isle 360. Each time I have done it in 2 weeks, which is way too fast. Last July I sailed from Comox to Port Hardy and back.
- getting through the passes East of Campbell River. My first choice is the Yucultas: it looks imposing on the charts, but Dreamspeaker and Sailing Directions have excellent instructions. It can other be done once a day going north, twice a day going south. Second choice - Surge Narrows with a stop at Octopus Islands before clearing Upper Rapids. This will take down Nodales Channel past Chatham Point, which can be bad with high winds in Johnstone Strait. I would avoid Seymour Narrows, too much commercial traffic and cruise ships.
- Stop at Blind Channel to check out the conditions in Johnstone Strait. The conditions at Fanny Island are crucial. The wind can pick up very quickly.
- You can avoid some Johnstone by going through Wellbore Passage and taking Sunderland Channel instead of staying in Chancellor Channel.
- Port Neville is reported to be an OK anchorage, I go past it.
- Lagoon Cove is must. Go up through Havannah Channel and through Chatham Channel (the currents are not too bad and it is well marked by ranges and daybeacons as well as the kelp. If Lagoon Cove is too busy, Cutter Cove and Potts Lagoon as good anchorages.
- If you can get up to Broughtons proper.
- Telegraph Cove is cool stop over.
- I have not explored Alert Bay or Sointula, but they are on my list.
- Port McNeill is a good stop for provisioning etc..
- I stop at Port Hardy to re-provision, change crews, and set up the boat for going outside: hank on a staysail, get the dinghy on deck, engine checks, weather checks (weatherfax, grib files) etc..
-The Nahwitti Bar is easily doable if you go over at a high water slack early in the morning. This will give you a ebb all the way to Cape Scott. That will get you to the Pacific Ocean. :)
- Next stop Winter Harbour to prepare for an overnight sail to Hot Springs Cove via the South Brooks weather buoy. That gives the crew an idea about ocean passages. You might want to explore more. Quatsino Sound is worth a visit.
- From Hot Springs to Ucluelet (small boat harbour).
- A few days in the Broken Islands and Barkley Sound - a must.
- I leave Barkley in the mid afternoon for an overnight sail to Victoria. The really is no good anchorages along the way. Port San Juan is too exposed to the SW, although I have had to pull in to the fixed dock twice. Once returning from Honolulu and once on the way to Barkley - both times propulsion failure. Make sure you monitor Seattle traffic in Juan de Fuca.
If you have any questions, let me know.
So when you go around you go to the left? ;)
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