|For Carl: "In the clear
morning we sailed for Prideaux Haven, a favored anchorage in the heart
of 14,000-acre Desolation Sound Marine Park. On a tip from a veteran
yachter from Sacramento, we stopped at the Curme Islands for oysters.
Astounded at their bounty, we feasted as we gathered them from the rocky
B.C. Marina and Fuel Dock Telephone numbers are listed on p. 336 of the Waggoner Guide.
Charts/GPS agreement According to an article in Latitute 38, charts and GPS seem to be in perfect sync in these latitudes.
Good Information from BCboatNet
Old Salt says:
Vancouver Island lies SE to NW for about 300 nm. from about 48/20N to 51N. The wind pattern in the ditch between Vancouver Island and Mainland B.C. will generally be NW in July but storms can and do come from the SE, even in summer months. To make it interesting for sailors, when the inland area of the Mainland heats up during the summer day, the up inlet winds can get pretty fierce in the afternoons and will be at right angles to your SE/NW line of travel.
The tidal currents generally follow the ditch but the "hitch in the ditch" is that the flood enters from both the south end of Vancouver Island via Juan de Fuca Strait and the north end via Queen Charlotte Strait. They meet near the south end of Quadra Island. Don't be there when it's blowing. There are 2 high tides and 2 lows in about 25 hours in the area you will be traveling, roughly 6 hours apart. You must consider the outflow from the major rivers, and you must consider current and wind direction when you pass the mouth of an inlet (generally on the Mainland shore).
Your task when traveling will be to go when the tidal current and the wind are in the same direction, obviously faster when they are behind you. Avoid current against wind, especially when both are strong, as the seas get quite steep. The Strait of Georgia is a wonderful teacher.
Capn Druid response to Reach
You're right there - best wind is SW side of the Strait, and since it's always blowing either up the strait or down, crossing usually is the best sail.
Old Salt again:
Capn: Dave may need a little help with your terminology here. What do you mean by "SW side of the Strait"? Do you mean the east side of the Gulf Islands or the east side of Vancouver Island north of the Gulf Islands or both? The "Qualicums" actually blow from the SW and their strength can last all the way to Sister's Island and False Bay. They can come on very suddenly and never fail to make me wish I were somewhere else.
Well, as you know, although we talk about "north and south", the main Strait is almost east and west. So the "west" side is actually SW, sometimes almost S. And I was referring to the "main strait" from Sandheads to Lasquitti. There's an area from about Sisters to Sandheads I call "the chute" where the NW wind can get pretty boisterous in the summer. 25knots, and 6-8ft seas, almost getting to ocean-style swells. It's most prevalent off Balenas, Entrance and Thrasher. The NE side (Vancouver, Howe Sound, Sunshine Coast) is calmer. In fact, there's the "Bowen Island Doldrums" S of bowen Is: You come screaming across with a 25-knot NW on your tail, and just when you're saying "whew! guess I can put out more sail..." the wind dies altogether, and you're left bouncing in the leftover slop, watching out for ferries...
More from Old Salt
Dave: Depending on your location in the Strait, you may need to switch weather channels between WX1, WX3, WX4 (US Waters), and WX8 up in the rapids.
Also, if you are crossing the Strait and passing through Area Whiskey Golf, listen for closures on the WX's. If WG is closed, stay right away. A torpedo up the head can't be much fun.