The graceful double-ended St. Lawrence rowing skiffs were a swift and effective way to travel through the area in the 1800s carrying cottagers to their islands, visiting millionaires to the fishing grounds and transporting all manner of goods through the beautiful and sheltered island area. Today, you still see St. Lawrence rowing skiffs as well as kayaks, sailboats ranging in size from dinghies to yachts and powerboats of all kinds from trailerable family-runabouts to super yachts and all the way up to Great Lakes freighters that are hundreds of feet long.
Some may say that the sailing experience of monohulls versus catamarans is as different as chalk & cheese. Until recently, Frank (my husband) and I never gave much thought to catamarans. We rarely saw them over the years of monohull sailing on the West Coast. However, they’re very popular in warmer water destinations, especially the Caribbean. When we were presented with the option to sail on a catamaran for an autumn Desolation Sound Flotilla (organized by Cooper Boating, Vancouver), it intrigued us – What is catamaran sailing all about? We wanted to find out for ourselves. Our curiosity peaked further when we learned the catamaran or ‘cat’ was a luxurious 40’ Lagoon 400!
Cruisers who venture north of the BC coast’s major tidal rapids quickly learn that they’re not in Kansas anymore. The big passes not only divide the popular cruising grounds to the south from the less-travelled country to the north. They are gateways between the “civilized” south – where humans are in charge – and the “wild kingdom” that is home to some of North America’s most formidable wildlife.
However, the drive was such an exhausting part of the journey, it had the reverse effect of stress relief. That was when we finally realized our calling to transition into boating. Our first boat was to be big enough to sleep on and to entertain our family and friends.
Clayoquot is one of the major sounds on Vancouver Island’s wild West Coast, and a haven for cruisers in search of peaceful, remote harbours.
At the dock in Victoria, we were filled with the anticipation of a new adventure. We were fully provisioned and had carefully reviewed the weather window, consulted the charts and checked all of the vital equipment on Ocean Mistress, our American Tug 41. Like children on Christmas Eve, we pretended to sleep before we departed for our trip. We only had time for a short vacation and desired a place away from the crowds. The west coast of Vancouver Island was our objective.
I have lived in Ontario my entire life but have likely explored more acres outside my own province and perhaps even country than within. Shame on me! Because clearly there’s definitely more to discover here.
If You Don't Know Me By Now
If you had told me a year ago that I would be enjoying our “calvacade of colour” cruising up the Rideau Canal in a houseboat, you’d have knocked me over with a feather. And although travelling by houseboat may have never been on my ‘to do’ list then either, I’d certainly add it to yours now.
Maurice and his wife, Hélène, traveled on Mystic Blue, a Mainship 30 Pilot Classic. Terry and his wife, Linda, voyaged on their Camano Troll, 4 Buoys.