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Old 03-02-2013, 21:23   #1
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When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

Hello All,
I'm planning on going round Vancouver Island this summer in my Islander 32, up the inside down the outside. I get about 5 weeks off to do it and I'm trying to pick the best months from June, July, August and/or September. I know the weather can do whatever it wants whenever it wants. Would like to hear opinions or options from those that know (or don't). Also do the Canadians require (besides a passport, boat registration)) any thing else to cruise their waters? Would be leaving from the Port Angeles/Port Townsend area.
Thanks to All
Nikolina
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Old 03-02-2013, 21:59   #2
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

Plan on a lot of motoring on the inside with delays for tide changes, current, etc., to try and reach Cape Scott by no later than August 20, IMO. good anchorages and a heap of Govt docks you can overnight at. Once you hit the west coast, it is a sleighride down on prevailing NW winds. But as you pointed out, it is always a crapshoot. There are a number of safe harbors on the west coast from the top all the way to the bottom that you can duck into but privisioning for fuel and food above Brooks Peninsula is spotty except for logging camps. Plan on spending time around Hot Springs Cove/ Tofino area as well as Barclay Sound. Fog will be an ever present delight and make certain you are comfortable reading Canadian charts (in meters) because there are a heap of rocks out there.
Remember that handguns are not permitted in Canada but you are allowed 1 or 2 long guns. Check with Canada Customs for the latest laws. Pasports for all aboard are a must and I believe there are seasonal Canada Customs and Immigration offices in the southern Gulf Islands to check in. you can do the passage easily in 5 weeks.
Enjoy your trip... cheers, Phil
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Old 03-02-2013, 22:01   #3
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The best weather will also be the most crowded on the inside esp. Desolation, but August is probably your best bet for warmth. Mid summer is a hard time to find sailing wind to head North but you should have good sailing on the outside on the way down.
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Old 03-02-2013, 22:02   #4
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Also, you are limited on the amount of booze you can bring up.
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Old 03-02-2013, 22:09   #5
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

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Originally Posted by Nikolina View Post
Hello All,
I'm planning on going round Vancouver Island this summer in my Islander 32, up the inside down the outside. I get about 5 weeks off to do it and I'm trying to pick the best months from June, July, August and/or September. I know the weather can do whatever it wants whenever it wants. Would like to hear opinions or options from those that know (or don't). Also do the Canadians require (besides a passport, boat registration)) any thing else to cruise their waters? Would be leaving from the Port Angeles/Port Townsend area.
Thanks to All
Nikolina
I have been around in May, June, and September. 10 times total.

Counterclockwise is the right way.

It can be a bit of a crap shot. August is often refered to as "Fogust". I have had strong winds that caused me not to go around in April and July. One July I blew an alternator and had to turn back.

You just need to clear customs - in your case in Victoria with a passport and boat papers - no cruising fees. Five weeks is a lots of time and will give you lots of opportunity to explore. The hardest part is getting through the passes east of Campbell River and then crossing the Nahwitti Bar and getting around Cape Scott. Johnstone Strait can be a bit of a bear but is not that tough.

I am going around in late may, early June.
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Old 03-02-2013, 22:12   #6
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

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Also, you are limited on the amount of booze you can bring up.
Apples and potatoes are an issue as well.

Do most of your provisioning after you clear customs. Vancouver island produces great local beers.
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Old 03-02-2013, 22:12   #7
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

Good point, Livia... I forgot about the booze!!! By the way, jackdale has more current info than I. It has been many years since I worked and cruised those waters...Cheers, Phil
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Old 03-02-2013, 22:20   #8
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Have a Driftwood Ale for us!
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Old 04-02-2013, 00:08   #9
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

We went around early June to late July. That worked well for us. Fog increases substantially in August. We got a fair amount of fog in late July in Barkley Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Don't schedule yourself too closely. You need time to wait out storms. You can't just waltz around Cape Scott or Cape Cook whenever you choose. Barkley Sound is crowded (relatively - nothing like the San Juans or Desolation Sound), so spend a lot of time farther north. There is a lot to see.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:31   #10
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

BTW - Is this whole route new to new to you? Are there some parts you know well and can give a pass this time?
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:57   #11
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

Again thanks for all the helpful info. I'm somewhat familiar with "fogust" having seen the fog roll down the straits like a fire worm without the fire! So it seems that less fog in June and July but cooler temps, more fog in August but warmer temperatures and more people. Does the fog lift during the day? And is it present around the whole island?

It seems somewhere I read that you could take as much booze as needed for personal consumption (might need another boat). So I think I'll be okay with food and drinks. What about ice? Say around the northern end Bull Harbor to south of Brooks Peninsula?

Also as much as I love people and crowded anchorages (not), is the outside just as beautiful as the inside. In other words would I be just as impressed by spending more time north of Desolation Sound and the outside to miss the crowds or should I split it fifty/fifty? This will be my first time cruising past the San Juans!
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:03   #12
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

Here's an old thread on the same subject. There may be something in there that's usable >>>Circumnavigating Vancouver Island
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:31   #13
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

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Again thanks for all the helpful info. I'm somewhat familiar with "fogust" having seen the fog roll down the straits like a fire worm without the fire! So it seems that less fog in June and July but cooler temps, more fog in August but warmer temperatures and more people. Does the fog lift during the day? And is it present around the whole island?

It seems somewhere I read that you could take as much booze as needed for personal consumption (might need another boat). So I think I'll be okay with food and drinks. What about ice? Say around the northern end Bull Harbor to south of Brooks Peninsula?

Also as much as I love people and crowded anchorages (not), is the outside just as beautiful as the inside. In other words would I be just as impressed by spending more time north of Desolation Sound and the outside to miss the crowds or should I split it fifty/fifty? This will be my first time cruising past the San Juans!
5 weeks may not be enough time.

The Gulf Islands are great as are some of the areas up near Malaspina (Princess Louisa is fabulous). Desolation is wonderful.

But you can explore them at other times. Once you get past Desolation the crowds are smaller. I go through either Surge Narrows/Octopus Islands/Upper Rapids or The Yucaltas. I prefer the latter as it shortens my time in Johnstone Strait. Blind Channel has free wifi so I can check conditions in the Strait, before clearing Greene Point Rapids and Whirlpool Rapids. If the Strait is poor, Port Neville is a good bailout spot.

I might suggest a week to get past Desolation. Then spend a week in the Broughtons and area.

Then three weeks finishing up.

You can re-provision at Port Hardy or Port McNeil before heading around. The Nahwitti bar should be crossed at a high water slack in good conditions. if you get an early morning crossing spend the previous might at Bull Harbour. Then go around to Quatsino Sound. There is a store at Winter Harbour with some provisions and ice and fuel. I really like the Sound and would spend some time there. Pamphlet Cove on Drake Island is a nice anchorage.

Water can be an issue. The store at Winter Harbour says their water is fine. The ater at the government dock has a boil water advisory. You could go to Coal Harbour; the water is good there.

From Winter Harbour I usually do an overnight sail to Hot Springs Cove, but that is get night sailing time in for my courses. There are lots spots to drop a hook. I might suggest going up Esperanza Inlet to Tahsis and then down into Nootka to Friendly Cove.

Hot Springs Cove is a must. It can get lots of tourists, so I like to go up to the early in the day or later in the afternoon after the boats and planes have departed.

I skip Tofino in favour of Ucluelet, but you have time to do both. Barkley Sound is worth a few days at least. Barkley to Victoria is an overnight for me, Port San Juan is not a great anchorage.

Let me know if you have other questions.
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Old 04-02-2013, 14:58   #14
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

G'day, mate. We went up the inside during August and came down the west side the 1st part of September. Had a bit of fun finding out which town had the best Nanaimo Bars....the winner at the time...Tahsis. Enjoy the trip. Cheers.
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Old 04-02-2013, 15:07   #15
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Re: When's a good time to round Vancouver Is

i did in about 5 weeks in my 44 footer. A little hurried on the outside but not too bad. I think I was july and early august. I had no fog issues until crossing the Straight at the end. It's a great trip. Leave yourself plenty of time for the outside below Brooks Penninsula.
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