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Old 08-10-2008, 21:13   #1
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Circumnavigating Vancouver Island

has anyone sailed around vancouver island does anyone have any links know where one could get some information about this.. thanks
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:15   #2
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Yes, yes I have. 3 years ago.

Nope, no links I know of. But if I have time in a couple hours or so I'll do some searches.
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:37   #3
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Only in large grey ships. You could check this site: Official Website for the 2007 Cadillac Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race

Have fun

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Old 09-10-2008, 23:44   #4
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Okay, I'm getting around to doing research on this one...

  1. Blackfish Sailing Adventures had a program in 2008 to organize groups of boats heading around. May do again in 2009?
  2. Tim Whelan's website Around Vancouver Island is about his trip in 1995/1996 (how did he take so long? I did it in a 25' boat, 18' lwl, in a bit over 3 weeks with plenty of lay days.)
  3. Sula Adventures photo essay of their 2002 voyage 'round.
I'm finding plenty of blogs, etc., but I guess that's likely not what you're looking for. What you probably want is a cruising guide. There are several available for the inside portions, but really only one comprehensive one for the west coast - my copy is on my boat so I don't have the specific title for you. You will also want to have the latest edition of the Wagoneer guide.

In addition to a couple of good cruising guides for the inside, and the west coast one, you should have John Chappell's Cruising Beyond Desolation Sound.

My experiences going round are some of my fondest cruising memories. The region beyond Desolation Sound to Queen Charlotte Sound is generically known as "The Jungles". Getting from Georgia Strait or Desolation Sound is the trickiest bit of the inside, in my opinion.

My solution was to pass through Surge Narrows, which I've since done several times. Timing is critical; done properly at high slack you can carry out on the tide a very long way, but you'll be unable fit the current at several points so must make your plans before you are committed. Remember the tide is setting north, and will already have changed farther up the channels. When I went through this way I flew up the channel, into Discovery passage, past Chatham Point light (was terrified by a commercial fisherman barging the channel here), and on to around Goat Island on this one tide.

I tucked into Port Neville, and spent the next day exploring when Johnstone Strait got a little boisterous. I took my time through this north section, spent a couple days in Port McNeil, then jumped up to Bull Harbour. I crossed the Nahwitti Bar the next morning, but in my anxiousness to get going I left at least an hour too soon. (There's a tricksy way to sneak up on the bar by tucking in close to the Vancouver Island shore, between the shore and the kelp beds.) The bar was rough, the current foul, when I crossed. The Nahwitti Bar is something you should be concerned about, but a well-found boat can handle it far better than the crew will. Make sure you have taken your dramamine well before you get there.

The Cook Bank on the north end of Vancouver Island is shallow, has nasty currents due to the intersection of three currents, and is a great place to get suddenly seasick. But I also had wind I could work with for the first time since Surge Narrows, so was putting up sail alternating with feeding fish, but once the sails were drawing things seemed to settled down a bit. My timing for Cape Scott was also a bit early; the tides are extremely important at that end of things, and can make your ride either miserable or fine.

Once beyond Cape Scott, I hurried to Winter Harbour due to threats of scary weather. Where an eagle broke my radio antena. But from here down the coast everything was marvelous. There was almost no wind for a week, and I must have motored half the way down the coast. Nice breeze into the Juan de Fuca, which I sailed up at night hoping to avoid the daily afternoon gale force summer breezes - worked very well, except I was motoring not long after midnight.

My biggest advice is to slow down and not be in a hurry. This is a cruise to be taken as slow as possible, preferably with at least 8-10 weeks during latter half of summer.
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:16   #5
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thanks amgine sounds like a great trip. would love to try and get some people together to do a trip like this i think it would be one of those life experiences that you never forget.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:21   #6
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I'm up for another trip 'round! It could be done in "stages", so boats can meet up at certain points to set off together and then meander along to the next meet up place/time. (Lets those of us who are waterline length impaired get there when we can.)
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Old 10-10-2008, 14:02   #7
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Waggoners' cruising guide has a pretty good section on going around. Three different scenarios depending on time available.
We are planning to do the trip next summer and take 6-8 weeks. We'll shoot straight to Desolation and then take our time to the north end and allow for bad weather delays on the west side. We had to hole up in Tofino for three days once because it was blowing 45k with 20+' seas.

Have fun, John
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Old 10-10-2008, 14:13   #8
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My wife and I spent six weeks going around Vancouver Island in June and July of '99'. Although we took a slightly different route through Desolation Sound and the Broughtons our experience was much the same as Amgines. We started encountering fog in the mornings when we left Bull Harbor and from that point on we really wished we had radar for safer traveling in the early mornings when catching the tide was important. That aside, it was a beautifull experience we will never forget. Jesse
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Old 10-10-2008, 15:14   #9
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Did either of you walkabout on Hope Island? It's an indian reserve, and they charged for the privilege.

I walked over to the north side, which is a large singing beach open to the Pacific swell. The storm wrack is pushed quite high, and there's a line of the most amazingly huge mussel shells, in the 8-12" range. I never had the chance to see the mussels live, but it was an amazing place.
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Old 10-10-2008, 19:27   #10
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Yes, we were invited to tie our dinghy up to the fisherman's float by a skipper from Sointula who had a net full of Cod and was waiting for a better price. He was the only person we saw on the island. The buildings looked like they might have been Coast Guard and had a sizable radio tower if I'm remembering correctly. The place had a lonely feeling when we visited. The fisherman gave us a fresh Cod on our way back. Jesse
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Old 18-10-2008, 19:45   #11
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2009

Okay folx...

I talked with the mate, and she's in favour of a circumnavigation for next year, with a variety of possible methods of doing so. And, to help us out over the winter dreaming/planning stages, we took off by car to come north and check out a few things in person - I'm in Port Hardy for the night.

Our tentative plans are either for me to head up solo and the family to join at some point, or for us to make a more abbreviated cruise with a 4 week time limit, so less dawdling in interesting backwaters.

I don't know if anyone else is serious about a circumnavigation for next year, but maybe we could start making plans if your are.
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Old 18-10-2008, 20:36   #12
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amgine im up for this something ive wanted to do for a while now.
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Old 19-10-2008, 00:20   #13
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I am planning this trip for either summer 2009 or 2010. I have done the inside passage to Port Hardy many times via both Desolation and also passed Campbell River left at Chattam point etc.
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Old 03-11-2008, 15:59   #14
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Will any of you be going up the inside passage the last week of May to the first week or so of June? I should be there then. How much sailing can you really do on the upper stretches? It looks like to me that you just motor a lot past Des. Sound.
BTW- Hi everyone, I am new here but kinda a old fart sailing. Thanks for letting me butt in (I hope)
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Old 03-11-2008, 16:24   #15
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A little later if possible

I'm hoping for a bit later start this time. I went up in mid-May last time and while I didn't have any particularly bad weather, it was chill and rainy most of the trip.

Once past Georgia Strait/Desolation Sound I didn't really have any sailing until just past Nahwiti Bar. The wind tends to be from the NW during the warmer season iirc, straight down Johnstone Strait and on the nose although there are opportunities for SE winds, usually as a low approaches. In addition, you're usually flying along with a current, or bashing into it, which can be frustrating when sailing. The one day en route I had a bit of wind I spent about 4 hours trying to get past Malcolm Island before giving up and firing up the iron genny and even then had trouble getting over the race.

But I could have waited about in some of the wonderful anchorages and ports for a favourable breeze & tide. I just wasn't patient enough at the time.
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