MAP A: GULF ISLANDS - SUGGESTED ITINERARY for a 6 day 120 n.m. cruise from Victoria to Galiano Island and return
Day 1: Departing from Oak Bay near Victoria we cross Haro Strait to Lime Kiln Park, an area strategic to whales, and follow the coastline of San Juan Island in search of these "blackfish". Our destination is Portland Island Marine Park, where we will anchor for the night. Lots of great hiking trails and sandy beaches for exploring and swimming. Day 2: Cruise to Ganges, the lively art community on Saltspring Island. We moor at Wallace Island, where we relive the pioneering lives of a couple who spent their honeymoon and most of their lives attempting to develop a rustic resort here: Keep the tradition alive; nail your carved sign on the wall or ceiling of their log cabin (if space). Day 3: A leisurely cruise to Montague Harbour on Galiano Island; hike and explore park beaches. Day 4: Cruise to Winter Harbour to hike Saturna Island, then anchor near Poets Cove Resort on Portland Island. Here we can hike Mount Norman for a grand view of the Gulf Islands, followed by a swim and hot tub at this fab resort. Day 5: Afternoon cruise to Sidney Spit Marine Park, where we can hike the sandy spit and adjacent trails. You will be treated to a view point you will long remember!. Day 6: Cruise back to Oak Bay visiting the uninhabited Discovery and Chatham Islands off Oak Bay. Here we can laze back and enjoy our last lunch at anchor in an idylic arbutus- flanked cove.
MAP B: PRINCESS LOUISA INLET and the SUNSHINE COAST- SUGESTED ITINERARY for a 7 day 140 n.m. cruise ending in Pender Harbour, WITH a 3 day extension if desired which would get you back to Nanaimo
Day 1: Depart Nanaimo for the Sunshine coast and Princess Louisa Inlet. We cross the Salish Sea (a.k.a. Georgia Strait) and pay a visit to scenic Buccaneer Bay before anchoring for the night in Smugglers Cove, an intimate `hole in the rock`providing opportunity to hike a scenic nature trail featuring a board walk built over a bog. Day 2: Head for Pender Harbour where we take time to experience a community described as the "Venice of the West Coast". Day 3: Visit Egmont to hike a trail overlooking the awesome, if not infamous Skookumchuk Rapids (a.k.a. Sechelt Narrows). Here tidal waters are among the fastest on earth - at times achieving speeds of over 20 knots. Our anchorage for the night is Harmony Islands Marine Park. This park is located close to 1,400 foot cascading Freil Lakes Waterfall! Day 4 : We head up Jervis Inlet for our much anticipated rendezvous with Princess Louisa Inlet. We discover that this classic coastal fjord inlet is an attraction unto itself, with mile high mountain walls rising precipitously on both sides; this serene beauty interupted only by the cascade of many waterfalls, the gentle rustle of trees stirred by glacier-fed winds, and the croaking of ravens stirred by our passing. We pass a buoy marking a depth of 3,000 feet, the deepest to be found on the Inside Passage! To avoid the formidable flow of fast water at Mailbou Rapids we wait for slack wate before proceeding. At the head of Princess Louisa Inlet we finally see the spectacle to which all mariners and romantics on the Coast, if not the world are mesmorized. Day 5: We spend another day and night anchored beside Chatterbox Falls to fully enjoy this amazing natural spectacle. If you are fit and adventuresome you can climb a steep trail to a look-out above these falls. Day 6: Cruise the length of Jervis Inlet to Musket Island Marine Park, a tranquil and scenic place to relax and anchor. Day 7: Cruise down Malespina Strait back to Pender Harbour, where warm showers and cold beers await!
OPTINAL THREE DAY EXTENSION TO B - From Pender Harbour to Nanaimo.
Day 8: Departing Pender Island, we head for the scenic and intimate Bull Passage which separates Lasquiti from Texada Island. A favourite stopover of mine is Jedediah Island Marine Park (a former homestead gone wild). Lots of great places to anchor and explore here. Hopefully there will be time to also visit Lasqueti , noted for its slow pace of life and near total `disconnect`with the outside world. Highlights here are exploring the `down-town`, its funky tea house, and post office, and chatting with the locals. . Day 9: Head over to Hornby Island and if winds are favourable, anchor either in Tribune Bay or Whaling Station Bay. But you must promise not to jump ship here as this Island casts a magical spell on everyone who is fortunate to experience it. Special experiences (apart from the endless sand beaches and warm waters surrounding) include hiking the steep cliffs of Helliwell Park which overlooks the southern straits, and exploring the limestone-pocked caves and oyster-fringed rocks surrounding the bay. I could go on... Day 10: Sail down the Salish Sea back to Nanaimo.
The following Cruising Maps and Suggested Itineraries are presented below. Click on the square on the top right of each map to enlarge.
A: GULF ISLANDS CRUISE(Victoria north to Galiano Island and return)
B: PRINCESS LOUISA & SUNSHINE COAST (Nanaimo to Pender Harbour with an optional 3 day extension finishing in Nanaimo)
C: SUNSHINE COAST & THORMANDY ISLANDS (Nanaimo to Comox)
D: DESOLATION SOUND & THE DISCOVERY ISLANDS (with an optional 4 day extension, finishing in Comox)