Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coastal BC Cruising - Day 2

To exit Big Bay we had to time our departure so we would have slack water to get safely through Gillard Passage and the Dent Rapids. As we were waiting, two boats arrived from the south chased by dolphins. We could see them leaping alongside the lead boat almost all the way to the docks. We left about half and hour early and motored slowly north through some ripples and whirlpools in Gillard.

Our first stop was Mermaid Bay at the southern end of Dent Island. This protected area provides emergency anchorage for tugs in bad weather or when they can’t make it through the series of rapids in one period of slack water. Here is a sign forest from generations of tug operators who have used the anchorage. Painted signs are nailed to trees and wedged in the rocky cliff above.

When we got to Dent Rapids they were all but calm. We got back up on plane to travel through Cordero Channel to Mayne Passage along the north side of East Thurlow Island. Our destination was Blind Channel Resort on West Thurlow Island. The resort is open with fuel, a store and a restaurant for evening meals. The extensive docks didn’t have one boat moored when we were there. We got some snacks and drinks at the store to fortify ourselves for the big time, Johnstone Strait.

Johnstone Strait can get some pretty nasty winds, waves and tidal action all mixed into one. The last time Wayne came here on a solo trip, he said he was getting spray from the waves all the way up on the command bridge. Fortunately today, the wind was light, to our backs and with the tide. We couldn’t have asked for better.

At Okisollo Channel we turned back east. We weren’t able to time our arrival with the tides, so we decided to stop at Owen Bay on Sonora Island near the Lower Rapids. It was a good thing we were stopping as the swirls, whirlpools and ripples were getting pretty strong for my liking. There are several places to anchor in the big bay. Even though it is more “populated” we chose the southeast corner where we would get the most sunlight into the evening. Since it is early in the season, only one other boat shared our space. It was a quiet afternoon for reading and relaxing in the warm June weather. -- Margy


  1. Being a boater I know what you mean about Johnstone strait...winds can come up unexpectedly anytime.....last week we started out in calm waters ended up with 3 foot swells with a chop on top....but that is boating........prepare for the worst and hope for the best....I wouldn't have it any other way....we were up Comox way last week....yesterday we were over just past Hornby Island....we are so blessed to have all of this so close at hand....

  2. This is terrific! I love the photo of the view from the top of the stairs and of the little lighthouse.

  3. Yes, SmalltownRN, we are blessed with great cruising destinations. Thanks Tash, it's so fun to take shots with interesting points of view. You get a lot of great ones down PV way. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy