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Circumnavigation Vancouver Island 2020 Cruise

Ward H

Nov 7, 2011
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
@jssailem , thanks for the lesson on the phone this morning.
@Michael Davis, Thanks for warming @jssailem up Thursday morning. He then spent several hours teaching me the same thing Thursday afternoon. OpenCPN and inputting the trip's GPX files on my MacBook is pretty cool.
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Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA

I have spent some time identifying conditional cruising routes and timing of passages in discussion of this adventure. While the sheltered East side of Vancouver draws many boaters to explore the inside passage, I see our trip as really a trip of two sides. Requiring different sets of skills.

While all of the west side and especially the Northern end can qualify as rugged and wild, there are 2 exceptional areas of focus when being on your game is important. We have talked about the Cape Scott/Nahwitti Bar currents and entering the Pacific Ocean challenges.

The last couple of days I have been focusing on the Brooks Peninsula, Cape Cook and the rugged coast line. I recently read a book about a solo kayaker who cruised these waters. He shared the concerns of weather, fog, swell, waves and the wisdom of patience. Listening to the wind in the trees, climbing the bluffs to watch the storms whip up a Peaceful ocean into a frenzy, where crashing waves smash in to rocks throwing water, logs and surf a hundred feet in the air. How sitting in a tent while rain pours down is preferable to being out on the water.

One of the tips I gathered from the Speakers at the boat show about cruising down the West Side, was to listen to the weather. Get a sense of the conditions over several weeks. Look for patterns that develop.

I have been doing that and while still lacking confidence in predicting the weather I have been getting better at deciding when not going out to sea might be a preferable decision.

Here is the weather conditions for today the 23 of February off the coast of Cape Scott. Last night and this morning early would have been BRUTAL:yikes:.

Date / Time
23 February 2020
09:00n/a44 (43.5)SSW 16 gust 22n/an/a29.4n/a
08:00n/a43 (42.8)SSW 24n/an/a29.4n/a
07:00n/a42 (41.7)S 32 gust 42n/an/a29.3n/a
06:00n/a42 (42.3)an/an/a29.4n/a
05:00n/a44 (43.7)S 36 gust 50n/an/a29.4n/a
04:00n/a45 (44.8)S 35n/an/a29.4n/a
03:00n/a43 (43.2)SE 21 gust 34n/an/a29.5n/a
02:00n/a40 (39.9)SE 46 gust 60n/an/a29.4n/a
01:00n/a39 (38.7) ESE 65 gust 73n/an/a29.4n/a
00:00n/a40 (40.1)ESE 54 gust 71n/an/a29.5
Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I would strongly agree Michael. Besides we have your weather diviner on board (Bev). It sounds like it would be wise to listen to her suggestions.
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Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Quatsino Sound to Nootka Sound…
We last cruised up Quatsino and said goodbye to our NJ Crew members, sending them homeward bound from Coal Harbour.

Now our adventure down the West side of Vancouver Isle begins. This part of the cruise will be a mix of exploring the 5 sounds that reach into Vancouver Island’s interior, then open onto the Pacific Ocean and Open Ocean passages around headlands that have challenged mariners since the 1700’s.

The area is remote yet has been explored since the 1700’s by Russian, Spanish, and English sailors. All have left their mark and their names on the land of the First Nation.

We will travel down Quatsino Sound back to Winter Harbour finding a safe anchorage near Matthews Island and shelter from the open ocean and its weather. Winter Harbour offers some amenities should we need to replenish our provisions.

Our anchorage near Winter Harbour gives us a great location to await a good weather window for the rounding of the Brooks Peninsula, our next major passage.
Image 2-24-20 at 9.11 AM.jpeg

There are 2 options open to us for Brooks Peninsula.
  • One is the “Just Go for it” plan. A 40 nm shot out into the Pacific, around the Peninsula, Rocks and shoals that mark the west most edge of this mountainous promontory that extends 6 miles out from Vancouver Island. Rounding Cape Cook (named after Capt. Cook) is the second navigational milestone of our west side cruise. The automated weather station on Solander Island provides wind speed and direction for this headland.
  • Two is the “It is not looking good today” route that takes us into Inlets on the north side of Brooks Peninsula. Klaskino and Kalaskish where we can find sheltered anchorages from the weather.
Once around Clerke Point we can head East sheltering behind Brooks Peninsula into Nasparti Inlet and find Columbia Cove (sometimes called Peddlers Cove). It is a good place to shelter from a North West Gale.

Next on our list of places to explore are the Bunsby Islands of the Malksope Inlet. The Bunsby’s are said to be Rocky, rugged and beautiful. Checleset Bay is reported to have a large population of Sea Otters. Once hunted to near extinction for their pelts to trade, they are back due to the successful results in 1969 to reintroduce them.
Image 2-24-20 at 9.14 AM.jpeg

We leave the Bunsby’s for Kyuquot Sound and an anchorage behind Rugged Point and the Rugged Point Marine Park. Depending on our crews, Kyuquot offers several places to visit. Fair Harbour Marina, Dixie Cove, Petroglyph Cove (sometimes called Blue Lips Cove due to the water temps), Hankin Cove, and others. At this point in the trip our Sundowner gatherings will include discussions on our next stops, as we find our way.

From Kyuquot Sound we venture back into the Pacific and head to Esperanza Inlet on the northern side of Nootka Island. Nuchatlitz Provincial Park offers safe anchorage in the bay east of Rosa Island. This was once an Indian village and offers much to explore about the First Nation tribes that once occupied this area.
Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 9.17.22 AM.jpeg

Our plan is to head up Esperanza Inlet thru Hecate Channel, Tahsis Narrows and to the town of Tahsis at eh head of Tahsis Inlet. Tahsis is a sawmill town that once thrived on the timber of the area. This site offers us an opportunity to replenish our provisions. The Waggoner’s Guide says the restaurant has live music and steak dinners. Perhaps it is a place to take a break?

Our route back to the ocean takes us down Tahsis Inlet to Friendly Cove Yuquot Point. A sheltered bay is the location where Captain Vancouver and Quadra met in 1792 where they attempted to negotiate the final details of the Nootka Convention where in Spain relinquished to England their claims to the Northwest Islands.
Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 11.49.28 AM.png

By this point we have completed about 24 days of travel around Vancouver Island, not counting layover days. We are about two thirds of our way through the cruise and are now beginning to see the more settled parts of the West Side.

Next up will be Hesquiat Peninsula and the rounding of Estevan Point.
Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
2020 Vancouver Isle 360 continued...

Well leaving Yuquot Point (Friendly Cove) we venture back into the Ocean to round Hesquiat Peninsula and Estevan Point.

The night before we will have decided to carry on to Hot Springs Cove,

or once clear of Chief Matlahaw Point on the South end of the peninsula steer our boats east and look to cross Hesquiat bar and explore Hesquiat Harbour.
Yuquot to Hot Springs Cove chart.JPG
At the east end of the Harbour is an anchorage called "Boat Basin". Located on the shore between the basin and Rae Lake is Cougar Annie's Garden. Waggoner's Guide ( Cougar Annie’s Garden in Hesquiat Harbour - A Special Place on West Coast Vancouver Island - Waggoner Cruising Guide ) provides an interesting description of this settlement. Started in 1915 by Ada Anne (Cougar Annie), her Husband and 3 children, Annie (over 70 years, bearing 8 more children and out living 3 more husbands :yikes:) cleared and cultivated a successful "Mail-Order" garden nursery. The Boat Basin Foundation is restoring the expansive gardens.
Cougar Annies.JPG

Just another of the many wonders that await the curious on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Ward H

Nov 7, 2011
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
As John develops and posts the route plans for this sure to be amazing trip, I'm thinking about changing my plans.
Originally I was going to join the group in Nanaimo, stay on for the trip around Cape Scott and depart for home in Coal Harbour.
Then about a week ago I decided to join John in Everett for the very start of the trip. After a conversation with John I decided I would arrive a few days before departure so I could help with provisioning and preparations.
Today I was re-reading the thread and thought "I have no obligations in July so why not keep going?"
So after a little more research and another conversation with John, I decided to go as far as I can.
My only other cruising experience was last winters Extreme Winter Cruise. Can I handle 3-4 weeks cruising? Sure. Can I handle 6-8 weeks cruising?
Only one way to find out.


Dec 15, 2006
Catalina Catlina 310 Campbell River BC
Just remember if John fails to make the turn to Cap Scott the next stop is Singapore, that's where Ward comes into play.
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