By Brian Genge

One of Desolation Sound’s best-known anchorages…and a storehouse of cruising memories.

Lat/Long: 50° 8.2' N, 124° 42.6' W

Any list of the “Best of the West” iconic boating destinations (CYW August 2013) simply has to include Prideaux Haven. Indeed, many would consider this scenic anchorage in Desolation Sound one of the “Best in the World.”

Prideaux Haven, including Melanie and Laura Coves, is surrounded by numerous islands that create myriad bays and interconnecting coves that are a wonder to explore by small craft. Against the backdrop of the rugged BC coastal mountains, these islands provide excellent protection from the weather.   

As a boy, I cruised with my parents every July to Desolation Sound, and we always stopped in Prideaux Haven, usually for several days. I can remember at the time reading Muriel Wylie Blanchet’s The Curve of Time, and while I would envision myself alongside the other kids on the little Caprice, with all their interesting adventures, I nevertheless appreciated the relative comfort of our sailboat.

We would spend hours swimming in Prideaux Haven’s bathtub-warm salt water – back in the 1960s there would be only a very few other boats anchored nearby. I recall the kids being tasked to collect suitable material for our parents to build a small beach fire on which a just-caught salmon would be barbecued. And we would explore the remains of Phil’s and Mike’s homesteads and wonder just how they could have possibly survived in such a wilderness.

I now have the privilege of being able to anchor my own boat Papalani in Prideaux Haven some 50 years later.  The area is, thankfully, protected as a provincial marine park so it should remain unspoiled forever (notwithstanding its huge popularity in the summer months). As we enjoy the anchorage in the evening today, while fond memories of the past remain, I am also creating new memories, particularly as I introduce the area for the first time to friends and family. 

A third-generation boater on the BC coast, Brian Genge lives in Sidney and cruises local waters with his wife Cathy in his North Pacific trawler Papalani.

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Photo: The author’s Papalani tucked away in Prideaux Haven.

CREDIT: Brian Genge