- Strait of Georgia.
(from Waggoner) Weak frontal systems passing over the area produce
northwesterlies of 20-25 knots. These winds can blow around the clock
for three days or even longer, effectively closing the strait to small
craft. Summer afternoon winds known as Qualicums can blow as hard as
40 knots between Qualicum Beach and False Bay, at the northern tip of
Lasqueti Island. When wind opposes current in Sabine Channel, between
Lasqueti Island and Texada Island, 8-foot seas can result. Malaspina
Strait, between Cape Cockburn and Grief Point, can be rough,
especially when wind is against current. Currents from Howe Sound and
Burrard Inlet meet off Point Atkinson, and create rough seas. Wind
makes them worse. When the wind is up it produces a difficult 4-5 foot
chop-sometimes higher in the middle of the strait away from land
influences. Strait of Georgia seas are steep and close together. A
well-handled boat often can run with these seas, but taken on the bow
or beam they are no fun at all. Dangerous 8-foot seas are not unknown,
especially off points or in channels where mountains funnel and
accelerate the wind. Even in calm conditions, you will find tide-rips
off many of the points, and wherever passes or channels join the
strait. When the current flows out of a pass or inlet into the strait,
confusion results. Add wind, and big confusion results.
- Vancouver Harbour.
(from Waggoner) Vancouver Harbour is entered under the Lions Gate
Bridge through First Narrows, in the northeast corner of Burrard
Inlet. Because of heavy commercial traffic, strong currents and narrow
channels, sailing craft must be under power from westward of First
Narrows until well into Vancouver Harbour. No sailing is permitted
through Second Narrows, either. In First Narrows, a strong ebb current
meeting a fresh northwesterly can create high, steep seas. A friend in
a large Cheoy Lee motorsailer suffered damage while exiting First
Narrows in such conditions. Monitor VHF 12 for Vancouver Vessel
- DO monitor/communicate on channel 12 V.H.F.
when in the harbour area.
- DO Observe the Aircraft Operation Zone -
Coal Harbour, Canada Place, Burnaby Shoal. First Narrows.
- NO SAILING, personal watercraft, rowing, or
- KEEP TO THE RIGHT of the Channel.
- DO NOT cross the channel until clear of
Brockton Point when Inbound.
- DO NOT cross the channel until clear of
Dundarave when Outbound.
- FOLLOW RULES 9 & 10 of International
Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. One sail sheeted home is
allowed for stability purposes when under power in the Narrows -
otherwise sails are to be lowered in non-sailing areas. Vessels less
than 20 metres in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the
passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within a narrow
channel or fairway. [Rule 9(b)]
- Point Atkinson.
(from Waggoner) The waters just off Point Atkinson can be very rough,
especially on a large ebb flowing against a fresh onshore wind. Often,
a course well to seaward is called for, and even that can be heavy
going. Vancouver boaters give this area great respect.
- Horseshoe Bay.
Horseshoe Bay is the eastern terminus of the ferries that serve the
Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast, and Vancouver Island. Boaters transiting
this area are urged to use caution because of the steady procession of
large ferry boats.
- The Gap, a sandy shoal with a
least depth of approximately 1 fathom at zero tide, lies between Keats
Island and Steep Bluff. Although waves off the Strait of Georgia tend
to break on this shoal, if you know your draft and the state of the
tide you can approach Gibsons from the Strait of Georgia via The Gap
and have no problems unless it's rough, and then you should go around
Keats Island. See p. 186 of Waggoner for entering instructions.
- Cruising to Princess Louisa Inlet
(from Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). anchor at either
Harmony Islands Marine Park or tie up in Egmont Marina. These are the
best choices to stay for the night before heading up to Princess
Louisa Inlet. Harmony Islands (1) are located in Hotham Sound on the
north side of Jervis Inlet. The best anchorage is in Kipling Cove,
among the three northern-most islands. This is the prettiest of the
anchorages along the entrance to Jervis Inlet. The water is warm for
swimming and there is a waterfall that tumbles 1400 feet down sheer
mountainside near the Harmony Islands. You could also choose to stay
at Egmont. Egmont (2) is located on the Sechelt Peninsula, on the
south side of Jervis Inlet, and is near the entrance to Skookumchuck
Narrows (3). There are two marinas here, fuel, a general store, and a
pub. There are no safe anchorages, beyond these points, up Jervis
- By now you will have checked your tide
tables at least ten times so you know exactly when slack water occurs
at Malibu Rapids (4) which mark the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet.
Today you are travelling almost 45 miles up Jervis Inlet, which ranges
from 1 to 1 1/2 miles wide and is more than 600 feet deep. Currents
are light and you are more affected by wind than current. As you
approach Malibu Rapids, turn your VHF Radio on to Channel 16 so you
can warn other vessels 1. when you are about to enter the rapids and
2. the direction you are travelling. Only attempt the passage at slack
water. The currents run to 9 knots and the channel is very narrow and
- Once through the Malibu Rapids, you are
into the famous Princess Louisa Inlet (5). The Inlet runs 4 miles long
and is surrounded by mile-high mountains that drop almost vertically
into deep water (1,000 feet deep) below. Beautiful waterfalls stream
down the mountainsides. Halfway along the inlet, 4 mooring buoys have
been installed behind MacDonald Island. At the head of the inlet you
will find Chatterbox Falls (6) and an 895-foot park dock. You may have
to tie alongside another yacht if it is really busy. The dock is free
but stays are limited to 72 hours. There is free water at the dock,
but it is non-potable (unfortunately).
- Head out at morning slack water and trek
back down Jervis Inlet. Maybe drop into Egmont and top up on fresh
- Malibu Rapids. Use Chart 3514
or Chartbook 3312. Malibu Rapids mark the entrance to Princess Louisa
Inlet. The rapids are narrow and dogleg-shaped, and boats at one end
cannot see the boats at the other end. It is courteous-and wise-to
warn other vessels via VHF radio that you are about to enter the
rapids, and the direction you are traveling. Most boats use channel 16
because it is the one VHF channel everyone is supposed to monitor. The
transmission can be brief "Securrte, Securite. This is the
37-foot motor vessel SURPRISE we use our own boat as example],
outbound from Princess Louisa Inlet through Malibu Rapids."
Currents in Malibu Rapids run to 9 knots, and create large overfalls.
Run this passage at slack water. High water slack occurs about 24
minutes after high water at Point Atkinson, and low water slack about
36 minutes after low water at Point Atkinson. High water slack is
preferred because it widens the available channel somewhat. High slack
or low, before entering or leaving Malibu Rapids, local knowledge says
to wait until the surf created by the overfall subsides entirely.
- Sechelt Rapids. Sechelt
Rapids, also known as the Skookumchuck Rapids (Sechelt is pronounced
"SEE-shelt"; skookum means "big" or
"strong,'' and chuck means "body of water"), can be
extremely dangerous except at or near slack water. At full flow the
rapids are a boiling cauldron, with 8-foot overfalls and 12-16-knot
currents. Even an hour before slack, when many other rapids may have
calmed down, the Sechelt Rapids can be menacing.
- Times of turn and maximum current are shown
in the Tide and Current Tables, Vol. 5. On neap tides the maximum
current call be as little as 1-2 knots, and quiet. But the next
exchange could have a 7.4-knot current and be very dangerous. Check
the tide and cur-rent tables and plan accordingly.
- Lacking prior experience, do not even think
about going through without Chart 3514 with its 1:20,000 insert of the
rapids, or Chartbook 3312, with large scale insets not only of the
Sechelt Rapids but also of Secret Bay. Sailing Directions says the
best route through the rapids is west of Boom Islet (choked with kelp,
but safe) and west of the Sechelt Islets Light. We, however, have run
a dogleg course without discomfort through the middle of the channel,
between the Sechelt Islets and the unnamed islet directly north of the
Sechelt Islets. This area is where dangerous whirlpools can develop on
ebb flows, so be careful. Give Roland Point a wide berth, especially
on a flood. You may meet tugs with tows in the rapids.
- Either direction, Sechelt Rapids are just
fine at slack, and if you time it well (easily done) you'll slide
through with no problems at all. But when the rapids are running,
their roar can be heard for miles. They aren't the place to show off
how brave and hairy-chested you are by going through whenever you
happen to get there.
- Before making your own entrance it can be instructive to walk to the
rapids from the public dock, to watch the channel in full boil.
Although we have not seen it ourselves, we're told that at night on a
spring flood tide the water will glow with phosphorescence. The sight,
we are assured, is amazing.
- Inflow winds can blow from south to north
in Sechelt Inlet, and up Salmon Inlet and Narrows Inlet. Even when the
northern part of Sechelt Inlet is near calm the southern part can be
increasingly windy. In Salmon Inlet and Narrows Inlet, the inflow
winds will grow stronger as the inlets deepen and narrow. Outflow
winds can develop at night, but in the summer they often don't unless
a strong south-easterly is blowing out on the strait. The tidal range
does not exceed 10 feet in Sechelt Inlet, and the times of high and
low tide are 2-3 hours after Point Atkinson. Two secondary ports,
Porpoise Bay and Storm Bay, are shown in Tide and Current Tables, Vol.
5. Current predictions for Tzoonie Narrows, in Narrows Inlet, are
shown under Secondary Stations in Tide and Current Tables, Vol. 5.
- Pender Harbour has good
marinas, anchorages, eateries and shopping. Two fuel docks here.
- Malaspina Strait separates
Texada Island from the mainland, and is about 36 miles long. While the
Strait looks protected from the open water of the Strait of Georgia,
storms can create high seas. Especially on an ebb tide, confused seas
often build up off the mouth of Jervis Inlet and extend almost to
Texada Island. Grief Point, at the north end of Malaspina Strait, is
another bad spot in a southeasterly. Other than the mouth of Jervis
Inlet, however, in settled weather Malaspina Strait poses no threat.
- Grief Point marks the
northern end of Malaspina Strait on the mainland side. When the wind
is getting up, the seas off Grief Point can be very rough.
- Welcome Passage.
(from Waggoner) Welcome Passage separates South Thormanby Island and
the Sechelt Peninsula, and is used by boats of all types bound up or
down the Sunshine Coast. Currents run to 3 knots at the north end of
the pass and 2 knots off Merry Island at the south end. When wind and
current oppose each other, the waters can be rough and uncomfortable.
Watch for drift. The passage west of Merry Island is deep and easily
- Savary Island (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). SAVARY ISLAND has some
great beaches with very warm water for swimming. Unfortunately, the
Government Dock on the northern shore is only for drop off or pick up,
you cannot stay there. Dropping a lunch hook for a swim is great but
DO NOT anchor overnight. There is no protection from the north at all
and winds can shift very quickly.
- Lund (from Desolation
Sound Yacht Charters web page). Once past Savary Island, the winds are
very often more westerly as they tend to blow up the Sound. The town
of LUND (#1) is just past Savary Island. There are no anchorages but
there are good moorage facilities. Fuel, water and limited provisions
are available as well as a coffee house, bakery, and hotel with
restaurant, store, showers and laundromat.
- Thulin Passage (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). THULIN PASSAGE, between the
COPELAND ISLANDS and Malaspina Peninsula, is just north of Lund and
well worth going through. There are NO overnight anchorages in the
Copelands. You may see boats anchored here, as well as the northern
side of Savary, but that does not mean it is safe!
- Cortes Bay (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). GREAT CAUTION MUST BE TAKEN
WHEN APPROACHING CORTES BAY! The area between THREE ISLETS and the
bluffs to their north has some very dangerous and poorly charted
rocks. DO NOT PASS THROUGH THIS AREA! Pass to the south of Three
Islets going into and out of Cortes Bay.
- Cortes Bay offers a choice of a Government
Dock or anchoring. There is no fuel or water at the Government Dock,
and no store is within walking distance. If anchoring, do so only in
the west end, taking care that the hook is well set and you have
plenty of scope. The holding is OK but not exceptional.
- Squirrel Cove (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). An excellent anchorage.
Before reaching the anchorage, you will see a Govenment Dock. There is
no fuel or water but there is a sizable store open year round. It is
well stocked with food, alcohol, ice, propane and limited amount of
hardware. Hours are 9-6, Monday to Thursday and Saturday, 9-9 on
Friday and 10-4 Sundays. Hours are extended in July and August. This
is also one of the few places you can drop your GARBAGE. There are
large bins right out at the end of the dock for the convenience of
boaters, though this once free service now costs you a nominal fee. DO
NOT OVERNIGHT at the Government Dock. It is very exposed to ANY wind
and even passing tugs throw a hefty wake.
- Directly north of the Government Dock, just
off BOULDER POINT, there is another poorly charted rock. GREAT CARE
must be taken to give this point a very wide berth if approaching from
or heading toward the north. The rock has been marked with a day
beacon which is mounted directly on top of it. Unfortunately there is
still more rock to hit out beyond this beacon. STAND WELL OFF THIS
- As you approach the actual Cove, enter by
the WEST ENTRANCE ONLY, a narrow passage opening into a large, well
protected backwater bay. This is one of the best protected bays in the
Sound. Good anchorage can be found anywhere in the bay except the very
northern corner. There are logs and cables on the bottom, from the old
logging days, that could snag an anchor.
- A fun thing to do in Squirrel Cove is to
take the dinghy into the tidewater lagoon at the end of the Cove. The
entrance to this lagoon is known as the "Reversing Rapids".
Salt water flows in on a rising tide, then out again on a falling tide
and all at quite a fast rate. The lagoon is very beautiful and the
ride in or out is always exciting (so long as you have enough water).
- Refuge Cove (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). South of Teakerne Arm on
West Redonda Island is REFUGE COVE. There is no anchorage here but
dockside moorage is available. This is your only place to get fuel,
water or provisions in the immediate area of the Sound. If you just
need water, please do not use the fuel dock. It is quite all right to
tie up on any of the other docks to water up and/or get provisions. As
well as a good store, you will also find a liquor store, craft shop,
shower, washer & dryer and a hamburger stand that has recently
been enlarged with the addition of a CAPPUCCINO BAR with FRESH BAKED
goodies. Refuge Cove is open daily from June 1 to mid-September
(9am-5pm) with extended hours in July and August (9am-6pm). BEFORE
JUNE AND AFTER MID-SEPTEMBER fuel and water are available on Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday, 1 to 3 pm only. The residents of this quaint
little community do ask boaters to respect their privacy and refrain
from trekking through their residential properties. Although there is
no garbage collection at the marina, that task has recently been
undertaken by an enterprising gentleman who has his boat tied to a
small barge that you will see on your way into Refuge Cove. He will
gladly take your garbage for a nominal fee.
- Tenedos Bay (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). Going south around West
Redonda Island, past Martin Islands and on around the south side of
MINK ISLAND, there is a cove in the NE corner of TENEDOS BAY. Good
holding stern-to may be obtained along the area south of the creek.
(Take care of the rock lying straight out from the creek.) From here
it is a short hike up to Unwin Lake which is very warm for swimming
from June to September. There are also endless hiking trails all
through this area. At the entrance to Tenedos Bay there is another
very dangerous and poorly charted area of submerged rocks. They lie
between a little islet called RAY ROCK and the bluffs off BOLD HEAD to
the north. DO NOT pass through this area. Another bad, submerged rock
(are there any good ones) lies just inside the entrance to the NE of
Bold Head. Don't be daydreaming when traversing this area.
- Prideaux Haven (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). Around the corner and up
into HOMFRAY CHANNEL is one of the best known, most photographed and
prettiest areas in the Sound, PRIDEAUX HAVEN. Care must be taken to
avoid SKYPILOT ROCK. It lies just north of OTTER ISLAND. The best
anchorage here is MELANIE COVE. It MUST be approached from around the
NORTH side of EVELEIGH ISLAND, then through a narrow passage around
the east end of the island. YOU CANNOT ACCESS THE COVE VIA THE SHALLOW
PASS ALONG THE SOUTH SIDE OF EVELEIGH ISLAND. A second choice is LAURA
COVE), very close to the NNE of Melanie Cove. Though not as large, and
requires anchoring with a stern line (too narrow to swing), it has
excellent holding. DO NOT ANCHOR AT THE WEST END, it is riddled with
rocks. The remains of Old Phil the Frenchman's cabin, as mentioned in
The Curve of Time, is at the east end of the cove.
- Roscoe Bay (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). Across from Prideaux Haven
on West Redonda is ROSCOE BAY. This is the only anchorage where you
are restricted by tide getting into and out of it. There is a bar part
way along the narrow entrance that almost dries at low tide. Consult
your tide tables carefully. It is essential to know the tide level
before entering and you will also want to know when you can get out
again the next day. Once past the bar, excellent anchorage can be
obtained anywhere in this beautiful bay and it is a very short hike to
BLACK LAKE, another very warm lake for swimming. Further hiking can be
had along the lake shore.
- Teakerne Arm (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). Just north of Squirrel Cove
on WEST REDONDA ISLAND is TEAKERNE ARM. At its NE end there is a 90
foot waterfall cascading right out of CASSEL LAKE down into the bay.
This is a MUST SEE in the area. Temporary anchorage can be had to the
left of the dinghy dock (please do not tie your vessel up to the dock
itself). The water in Cassel Lake can reach over 20oC (70oF). The
falls are therefore very warm to shower in. It is also quite easy to
hike up to the lake by a path that takes off from the dinghy dock.
Swimming and diving off the rocks is a lot of fun. Unfortunately you
CANNOT stay overnight at this anchorage. You will be dropping the hook
in 45 to 65 feet of water with a sternline ashore. Your stern will not
be far from the shore, the holding is very poor and there is no room
for error. A southeasterly drives a fair size sea right into this
corner and moving anchorage in the middle of a dark night with no
navigational aids is nobody's idea of a fun, or safe time.
- Pendrell Sound (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). PENDRELL SOUND, which
branches off from Waddington Channel and nearly divides East Redonda
Island in two, is well worth exploring. It has the warmest waters of
the Sound with temperatures reaching as high as 25oC (80oF) all summer
and is ripe with oysters and mussels. (Never go ashore anywhere in the
Sound with bare feet, and be very careful with inflatables). In
settled weather, anchorage can be found stern-to at the very head of
- Doctor Bay (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). This is the home of an
active fish farm which, unfortunately, precludes it as an anchorage.
There are no other anchorages in Waddington Channel because of oyster
- Note! Any area that
looks like an oyster lease or a fish farm must be avoided completely.
OYSTER LEASES are identified by rows of buoys and FISH FARMS look like
low barges with railings around them. Never approach either of these
types of facilities.
- Walsh Cove (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). Walsh Cove is a great
little anchorage. There are Indian pictographs (rock paintings)
on the cliffs at the northern part of the anchorage just inside the
bight of the cove. From the water they are partly hidden by trees, but
once ashore they are easily found. These are hundreds of years old and
were discovered by Vancouver's botanist Archibald Menzies in 1792.
- Toba Inlet. (from
Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). Moving north, there is
little or no current in the gap between West and East Redonda Islands.
Traveling through here you will have a great view up TOBA INLET, a
truly beautiful and remote area. It is 25 miles up to the head of the
inlet which, though very scenic, has no anchorages save Brem Bay in
good weather. No anchorage can be found at the head of Toba Inlet as
it is shallow, windy, and exposed. You are guaranteed however, to most
likely have the entire area all to yourself. Recently, a small
resort/dock called Toba Wildernest was built at the entrance to Toba
on the north shore just NW of Double Island. There is often overnight
moorage available at their dock.
- Homfray Channel is
the second deepest sounding in North America reaching depths of 2400
feet with peaks rising 5000' to 8000' around you. There are two good
anchorages. ATTWOOD BAY is a great spot now that the fish farm is
gone. However, take note that the small bight at the back of this bay
is NOT AS CHARTED and no anchorage can be found there. Another good
anchorage is just to the south in FORBES BAY (#9). Even though it does
not at first glance look that good, anchoring stern-to on the
northeastern shore will give you reasonably good protection from the
north and the south.
- Cortes Island - West Side
- Von Donop Inlet
(from Desolation Sound Yacht Charters web page). VON DONOP INLET leads
to a beautiful anchorage at its southern end. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ENTER
OR LEAVE THIS INLET AT A LOWER TIDE, and take very special care
negotiating around the rock about a quarter way into the inlet. You
will want to leave it to port when entering, starboard going out. The
anchorage at the end of the inlet is only about a mile from Squirrel
Cove and there is a trail between the two. It's a very pretty hike,
but it is a LONG mile.
- (from Waggoner web site). June 21, 2006. Managing Editor Stacia
Green just returned from eights days on board with Bob and Marilynn
Hale with an update on entering Von Donop Inlet: The 2006 Waggoner
Cruising Guide describes the rock about halfway in the entrance to Von
Donop Inlet (pg. 215). The rock is there. Upon entering, favor the
right side. We found the rock is almost directly opposite the inner,
or second, of the rock outcroppings (on the north side), covered with
lichen, moss and grass.
- Whaletown has a
Government Dock and pleasant walks. Please note that there is no
longer a store at Whaletown.
- Gorge Harbour is a
beautiful and extremely well protected bay. At its entrance, Indian
Pictographs can be seen on the cliffs on the west side and ancient
Indian burial caves can be found on the east side. Once in the bay,
the only anchorage is found at the NW end. Watch your depth carefully.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ANCHOR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THIS BAY. You will not get
the anchor to bight as the bottom is very shaley other than in the
west corner. If cruising around sightseeing, THERE ARE NUMEROUS AND
POORLY CHARTED ROCKS lying between the Tan and Ring Islands and the
northern shore, and around the Pill and Stove Islets. DO NOT PASS
THROUGH THIS AREA. There is also an excellent marina/resort with full
facilities near the NW anchorage called GORGE HARBOUR MARINA RESORT.
They have moorage, fuel, water, showers, a well stocked store and an
excellent restaurant open May through September. They monitor channel
- Quadra Island - East Side
- Heriot Bay offers
both a Government Dock and the facilities of HERIOT BAY INN AND
MARINA, an old and very quaint resort with fuel, water, and moorage.
Their restaurant has an excellent reputation. They monitor channel 73.
A grocery store is across the street as well as a liquor store and
- Drew Harbour, behind
REBECCA SPIT, offers reasonable anchorage, but is known as a place for
dragging. BE SURE YOUR ANCHOR IS WELL SET if anchoring overnight here.
It is within walking distance of Heriot Bay.