This month, we 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.

It’s nine at night and we are sitting in the cockpit of Adamant 1 enjoying a glass of wine and watching the sun turn the sky brilliant reds and oranges. We reminisce about our day. We climbed the hills at The Benjamins, we kayaked around all the little islets, we swam in the cool clear water and we shared sundowners with three other couples. It doesn’t get any better than this. We are on holiday in the North Channel! And we think we are the most fortunate sailors on earth.

The islands, channels and fjords that stretch from Desolation Sound northwest to Queen Charlotte Strait make up one of BC’s most inviting cruising grounds. Here’s how to get there and what to expect. North of Desolation Sound there is a special cruising ground that is rustic, remote and majestic. It offers some of the finest cruising in the world through deep channels and fjords, with vistas of snow-capped mountains beyond. Up here, the cruising just seems to get better the farther north you go.

Celebrate summer cruising with our choice of our favourite boating spots and experiences on the West Coast. This month, to celebrate summer and the best of the boating season, we’ve assembled a roster of prime cruising spots, activities and diversions. They’re not intended to be “bests” by any means – that would really be stepping out on a log boom! – but favourites selected by ourselves and some of our regular contributors. We’d love to hear what you think of our choices – and we’d love to hear about your favourites.

Named ‘place of harmony’ by its Finnish founders, this historic village is a beguiling destination just outside the Broughtons. On BC’s long and storied coastline, the ambitious cruiser’s bucket list is sure to contain literally hundreds of high-profile “don’t-miss” spots. But over the years, one destination popped up regularly in our conversations with cruisers and landlubbers alike, people whose opinions we trusted. They spoke of this place reverently and urged us not to miss it.

Georgian Bay

Across the country the wilderness, spectacular scenery and animals of Canada’s National Parks have served as inspiration for artists for over a century. Georgian Bay Islands National Park is rekindling the traditional link between the park and the arts with their Artist in the Park program which has successfully run for more than five years at several other national parks. Visitor experience manager Graham Lamb said there is a long tradition of the landscape inspiring artists. “Georgian Bay in general, as well as specific locations within the park, were both the inspiration and actual location for several works by


Solace at AnchorEach summer, in a Canadian cruising tradition, thousands of Western Lake Ontario sailors join the annual summer migration to the Bay of Quinte and the Thousand Islands.  The route,  for most of us, begins somewhere in the heavily populated environs of the Greater Toronto Area and takes us along the North shore of Lake Ontario through the protected waters of the Bay of Quinte ending in the crystalline waters of the Thousand Islands.  This year, four of us decided to head east in two boats.   Our companions, Alex and George,  are racing sailors who take three weeks off each year to cruise in Merlin, their C&C 27. My wife Eileen and I are travelling in Solace, our well-loved Oday 240. 

The San Juan Islands offer an eclectic alternative to Canada’s Gulf Islands, including eight superb destination marinas. Few cruising grounds can match Washington State’s Puget Sound for its wide array of natural beauty, wildlife and idyllic boating conditions. Right across the border from Canada’s Gulf Islands lies the eclectic group of islands known as the San Juans, a favourite destination for Canadian cruisers for decades. One of the great pleasures of cruising in the San Juans is the islands’ impressive selection of welcoming and well-run marinas. Here are eight great marina destinations for you to visit, explore and enjoy.

Let’s be honest. In terms of Canadian small cities Belleville is just another one. However, as a boating destination and as a historically important sailing force, it punches well above its weight. Cruising in Lake Ontario from Toronto has but one truly significant voyage and that’s to the Thousand Islands.  Getting there can be a lot of the fun unless you’re in a rush simply blasting through and going outside Prince Edward County. If you choose to take the scenic route, the journey through the Murray Canal to Belleville and then on to Kingston is as picturesque and historical a cruise as you’ll find anywhere.

Prince Edward County is a confidence that boaters share with a few tourists and the locals, but it has yet to become a major tourist draw.  It’s very close to the mainland; only the Murray Canal, the Bay of Quinte and its associated waters separate it from the rest of Ontario, but it’s the largest island in Lake Ontario and comes with all the wonders that islands develop. “The County” has only been an island since 1889 when the five miles of the Murray Canal was completed; prior to that it was a peninsula, but we’ll cut some slack on that.

Boat Reviews

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Bernie Luttmer of Swan’s Yacht Sales, has finally had his brainchild come to life, and he tells me ...
The BC builder takes a big step forward with its largest yacht to date: stylish, fast and ...
Modern graceful elegance is what Dufour’s Umberto Felci was trying to achieve when he designed the ...
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From the first glance the wide open decks large cockpit and overall look and feel of this boat are ...
The brand new Cruisers Yachts 328 Bow Rider is one of a new breed of boats that is redefining our ...

DIY & How to

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Winterizing your boat in the fall is important and may be a daunting task for some boat owners.  ...
Boaters who prefer to be on the hook, such as ourselves in our Islander 36 sailboat Holole’a, ...
Will traditional paper charts soon be a thing of the past? And what will that mean for recreational ...
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If you are new to boating, how do you start searching for the right boat at boat shows? We put the ...

Environment

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Boating and astronomy can be a match made in the heavens. The inky black canvas above the boat is ...
The 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay is a boater’s dream destination with crystal clear waters, ...
New rules severely restrict where and how salt-water boaters can discharge sewage. Is your boat ...
Many Canadian Yachting readers have likely experienced the beauty of British Columbia’s Gulf ...
Many newspaper headlines appeared in the spring of 2012 with these two names highlighted. The ...
Investing in a reusable winter cover is a sound environmental choice and a practical way to ...
I’m on vacation! Things can turn ugly in paradise when you finally reach that secluded anchorage. ...
I've been a pilot for 37 years and spent 28 years flying passenger aircraft for the airlines ...
There's been lots of talk about electric boats recently, but few examples are actually out on the ...
I think it’s a given that as a Canadian Yachting reader, you are passionate about ...

Lifestyle

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If you are ready to start your Holiday baking or just plain need a great chocolate fix these ...
It doesn’t seem to matter if you are on the east coast, in the Prairies, or on the west coast, ...
An easy salmon dish with homemade teriyaki sauce and a Sriracha cream sauce that will knock your ...
Soup season is in full swing and this Tomato Tortellini Soup with Pesto is just the recipe to warm ...
This flavour-infused pasta dish is terrific for any season.  It takes a little bit of prep time but ...
As the season's evenings grow cooler boaters will be looking for heartier galley meals to extend ...
Cooler days and cooler nights make everyone want to prepare something warm and comforting... This ...
This is a simple recipe too.  The only challenging part is rolling up the tortillas without ...
This recipe is great for a make-ahead easy yet satisfying on board meal.  You can use chicken or ...
The formation of Glacial Lake Iroquois, at the end of the last ice age, was to have a lasting ...

Marine Products

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Just like diamonds, stainless steel is forever. Combining beauty and strength, stainless steel ...
The compact McMurdo Smartfind Plus G5 GPS EPIRB features a high performance, multi-channel GPS ...
50 amp cordsets from marine electrical products manufacturer Furrion feature Powersmart™ blue LEDs ...
The Yacht-Master II is designed to meet the needs of professional sailors. This regatta chronograph ...
Sweden-based Radinn, a company aiming to "revolutionize the watersport industry,” is trying to make ...
Taylor Made Systems is introducing a new range of glass sunroof systems for the boating industry at ...
KVH TracVision® owners in the U.S. can now enjoy satellite TV from DISH Network® on their boats and ...
Douglass Simpson, a winner of the Globe and Mail's Top 12 Canadian Innovator awards in the ...
Whether chilling snacks for a quick outing or supplying auxiliary cold storage for longer trips, a ...
SunZone SprayWet has been specifically designed to be applied on wet skin. Its formulation is able ...