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As I work through my winter maintenance list, I keep thinking about the great trip last summer...it helps keep things in perspective.

Last August my co-owner and I had an unexpected opportunity to spend three weeks sailing from our home port in Anacortes, WA to Desolation Sound in British Columbia.

A typical sailing trip of this scope is a week sailing north through the BC Gulf Islands to Nanaimo, across the Strait of Georgia to the mainland at Pender Harbor, and up the coast to Desolation Sound. Then spend a week making short hops from one spectacular anchorage to the next. Finally, turn the bow south and spend another week retracing your steps back to the San Juan Islands and home port.

On this particular outing, we stayed unexpectedly long at Nanaimo.

No complaints as it is a wonderful destination in its own right.

Unfortunately, we’d made it just that far when we realized that we had at least one house battery at the end of its life – not a good situation for consecutive nights on the hook. We took the opportunity to upgrade to 6V golf cart batteries and add a separate starting battery. While there we were treated to quite an airshow. Several days later, and with considerably lighter wallets, we headed north again for a fantastic sail across the Strait.

Pender Harbor is always a favorite destination for us, and we spent a fair bit of time exploring via kayak. The harbor is so large it would take a week to explore by kayak, but with so many little inlets, you can only see a bit at a time. We found a nice anchorage and stern tied to wait out a storm.

There are so many places to go in Desolation Sound, one hardly knows were to start. We found that different anchorages had very different flavors. Prideaux Haven is loaded with large powerboats. Just around the corner Grace Harbor is mostly sailboats with a few smaller powerboats. Farther inland we found a great little anchorage off the beaten path that was very private and had a spectacular vista. A night at Squirrel Cove presented us with a bit of a surprise. At high tide there is a small waterway that connects to a saltwater lake. We were able to paddle in to explore it. It was very quiet, with no sign of every being populated, which is very unusual. The trip out was a little more exciting as the tide had turned and there was a couple knots of current headed out the waterway. By morning the waterway had turned into a small waterfall.


A private anchorage in Desolation Sound

Heading south we stopped again in Nanaimo, this time Newcaste Island, which is a provincial park. We did some great hiking around the island and we always make a few new friends at the reasonably priced docks.

In three weeks cruising can become a way of life. It can be hard to learn to walk on land again!

Well, back to work. Maybe I’ll daydream about next season’s trip...

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Sailing across the Strait of Georgia

 


Desolation Sound Marine Park - a spectacular destination

 


Catalina Yachts • 21200 Victory Boulevard • Woodland Hills, California 91367 • Phone 818 884-7700
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