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.
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.