Oct 25, 2018

Desolation SoundSo! You think you would like to explore beyond Desolation Sound, where some of BC’s best cruising grounds lie just beyond a series of challenging tidal passes.

For the next several issues of CYOB West we will survey the major routes north of Desolation Sound, where some of BC’s best cruising grounds lie just beyond a series of challenging tidal passes.

Beyond Desolation Sound lies a beckoning labyrinth of forested islands, inlets and anchorages guarded by a number of tidal passes adjacent to Vancouver Island. Because of the strength and speed of the currents in these passes, boaters may be apprehensive about attempting the transit to the greener pastures ahead. But taking an informed and calculated risk at these gateways leads you on to greater rewards in cruising grounds and anchorages to the north.

Currents flood south in the passes leading to Johnstone Strait and Cordero Channel so cruisers need to catch ebbs to go north and floods to return home in the south.

The main commercial route is Discovery Passage, which starts opposite Cape Mudge and continues for more than 20 miles to Chatham Point. The main pass here is the infamous Seymour Narrows where currents can reach 16 knots on ebb. This is an excellent route and our favourite because it takes us quickly to Johnstone Strait once we come up the west side of the Strait of Georgia.

Desolation Sound ChartHowever, many northbound boaters choose the “back route” around the top of Sonora Island via Cordero Channel. This route – through the Yuculta Rapids, Gillard Passage and the Dent Rapids – is the most direct route north from Desolation Sound.

The other popular option for northbound boaters is the “middle route” between Quadra and Sonora islands, through Surge Narrows (or Whiterock Passage and Hole in the Wall) and the Upper and Lower Rapids in Okisollo Channel. This route offers the opportunity to stop at Octopus Islands Marine Park, where a cluster of islets provides a beautiful and sheltered anchorage that accommodates many vessels.

The middle route is the easiest for boaters new to these northern passes. Although Surge Narrows and Okisollo Channel can run fast, they have less turbulence and present a shorter section of strong current than the long stretches from Yuculta Rapids to the Dents or along Discovery Passage to Seymour Narrows.

The charts provided for in this article are meant to give the reader an overview of the area and should not be used for navigational purposes.

This just for the record. If you are involved in a boating accident on the west coast you will not be covered by insurance if you do not have proper paper charts onboard your boat.

By William Kelly
Photos and maps by Ocean Cruise Guides

Lifestyle

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Dufour 460By Katherine Stone

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Centrally located between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Paraty (pronounced “Para-chee”) holds the key to many natural wonders you can only discover by boat.

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