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Old 23-03-2011, 13:08   #1
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PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

We're planning a sail from Anacortes to Desolation Sound and return in September of this year. Probably about 10 days is what we have.

Are there any experienced sailors that recommend places along the way to stop?

Any hints as to what to be on the look out for?

Thanks in advance.

Kind regards,
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Old 23-03-2011, 13:43   #2
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Anacortes to Desolation in 10 days will not allow you see much. It is probably 4-5 days to get there and 4-5 days back; unless you want to do some night passages.


You will need to clear customs and immigration going both ways. Bedwell Harbour is probably your best choice. Roche Harbor or Friday Harbor is the likely best choices on the way back.

What route are you contemplating? Inside the Gulf Islands or up the Strait?
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Old 23-03-2011, 15:08   #3
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Smuggler's Cove was one of our favorite anchorages. Loved that place, can't wait to go back.
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Old 23-03-2011, 15:50   #4
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

If you are going after Labor Day stay in the San Juans and Gulf Islands. The crowd really drops off then. The biggest mistake that we have made is trying to cover too much ground in too little time. There is a lot of great stuff within a daysail of Anacortes. Our favorites are the boundary islands, Sucia, Patos and Matia.
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Old 23-03-2011, 15:59   #5
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Here is a list somewhat in order:
Poet's Cove - Bedwell (Cndn Customs)
Ganges
Montague Harbour
Nanaimo
Secret Cove
Pender Harbour - Garden Bay
Squirrel Cove
Refuge Cove
Prideaux Haven
Roscoe Bay
Dent Island Lodge - $$$$
Blind Chanel

You could spend four to six weeks to doing it comfortably.
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Old 23-03-2011, 16:06   #6
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Sylvia Bay is quite pleasant for an overnight stop but I would steer clear of Nanaimo, the new regime is only interested in you if you have deep pockets and have a desire to pay for all facilities!!!!
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Old 23-03-2011, 16:08   #7
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Some others

Port Browning
Lyall Harbour
Princess Bay (Wallace Island)
Conover Cove
Pirates Cove
Silva Bay
Jedediah Island
Musket Island
Ballet Bay
Melanie Cove
Laura Cove
Walsh Cove
Von Donop Inlet
Octopus Islands
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Old 23-03-2011, 16:18   #8
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Comox. Martine's Bistro. One of the best meals I've ever had, really, ever.

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Old 23-03-2011, 16:29   #9
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Depends on what your looking for John. If you hope to sail most of the time the gulf islands can be a little slower going but there are some great places to stop.

If you are hoping to spend more time in Desolation then you probably need to sail Georgia Strait. If the winds are right and you start early in the morning each day you can get up there faster. You have less choices where to drop anchor if you make that decision.

Winds in the Strait usually blow out of the NW or the SE but sometimes a Westerly comes out of Qualicum. Last time I went from Gabriola it was two full days up, and two really easy days back. Wind from the NW. With a real early start and decent conditions it can be done in one day.

Saanich to Gabriola can be done in a day through the islands but it's nicer in two and again if you're sailing it can mean a lot of tacking so doing it in a day may not be reasonable!
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Old 23-03-2011, 17:17   #10
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Your looking at around 160 knot.mi. one way via Bedwell and cutting into the Salish sea at active pass. I figure 3 days up depending how fast things happen at Bedwell. I remember waiting 4 hours after calling in. If the custom guys are at the dock it's fast. After labor day they may have to come in from a ways out. The first day may only get you to Bedwell. If you do it in three days you won't see much. Watch your tides because they can make a big change in you headway. Plan ahead and allow for extra. A lot depends on if you plan on sailing only and how fast your boat goes on motor only. Your route will determine some of that.
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Old 23-03-2011, 17:38   #11
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

I see you have a decent size boat, probably good for 7 knots. I'd stay on the east side and just head north.Stops at Jeddidiah, the Copelands, and a side trip to Princess Louisa would be my fill for a 10 day trip, but then you'd only be getting up to Desolation, not cruising it. My favorite Desolation destination is Von Donup Inlet on Cortez Island...heck, just all of Cortez Island...and don't forget Melanie Cove, awsome.
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Old 23-03-2011, 18:28   #12
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Cortez is pretty special. I like it down Malaspina Inlet too. Great oysters if you're into that kind of thing.
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Old 24-03-2011, 12:16   #13
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Aloha all,
Thanks for the great input. It sounds like 10 days to Desolation Sound is a bit too ambitious. Unfortunately we'll be chartering a Catalina 32 or similar and won't be making breakneck speed.
So, skipping Desolation Sound but seeing the sights closer to Anacortes is probably what we'll end up doing.

More recommendations for closer to Anacortes?
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Old 24-03-2011, 12:27   #14
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

Here we go again. There are many great stops in the San Juan/Gulf Islands. Make sure to bring your passports to get back in the states, Canadians seem much more understanding. Some of my favorites: Matia, Sucia, Patos, James,and Roach Harbor in the San Juans. Portland Island, Pirates Cove and Bowman Bay are our favorites in the Gulf Island area, but it's hard to pick a bad place.
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Old 24-03-2011, 12:38   #15
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Re: PNW: Anacortes to Desolation Sound

I'm partial to the guf islands but then they're home

Portland Island is a marine park and a great place to walk in nature. Ganges on Saltspring is nice for a town experience. Montague has a bit of both. The beach is nice and I've had some magical evenings anchored on the NW side of the park. Pirates Cove on De Courcy is one of the most popular spots which means it can be crowded. If you make it this far Silva Bay Gabriola has a lovely restaurant where you can look over the boats in the harbour and enjoy a nice meal. There really is too many great spots to list them all. A lot of people like Pender. You can grab a ball at the park in Bedwell, the wife can take in the spa at Canoe Cove, you can take the dink through the canal and visit the pub at Browning. Todd Inlet down the Saanich Inlet is another spot. You could visit Butchart Gardens.

A cruising guide is a good idea so that you can adjust to the winds.
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