In late May we drove out to Nanaimo, BC to start a 2-week sailing trip.
At 4 pm the evening before our charter started, we arrived at the charter company from whom we had rented a sailboat for 2 weeks. After loading our gear, I attended a chart briefing where I obtained information about the area we had selected to cruise along with the appropriate charts. Then it was down to the boat for a quick rundown of where everything was stowed and how the equipment operated.
Our friends flew in that evening and we were at the airport to pick them up. After a welcome drink at the pub at the marina it was back to the boat for a good night’s sleep.
Our plan for the two weeks was to visit Princess Louisa Inlet at the head of Jervis Inlet and then to spend some time in Desolation Sound. This would all be new territory to me.
At about 10 am we left the dock to cross Georgia Straight. As we passed Lasquetti Island we were treated to a number of porpoises passing a little distance to starboard. Our destination for the first night was Secret Cove on the Sunshine Coast north of Sechelt. I have been into Secret Cove many times over the years. It is a convenient destination after crossing the Straight.
The second day took us past Pender Harbour, up Agamemnon Channel, to Egmont. Once tied up at the Government dock we went on a stroll to explore the little town. Of course, one disappointment was that the bakery was closed by the time we got there!
I had chosen to overnight in Egmont as it is a convenient jumping off point for the long trip up Jevis Inlet. It is about 35 km up the fiord-like inlet to Princess Louisa Inlet with no place to anchor on the way up. By sailboat this means a 6 hour trip which has to be timed so as to reach Malibu Rapids at the mouth of Princess Louisa Inlet, at slack water. Currents in the rapids can reach 9 knots which make them very dangerous. Passage through them can be made quite safely, though, at slack water which is the time when an inflowing (flood) tide turns to an out flowing (ebb) tide, or visa versa. At this point in time water stops flowing which means there is no current.
On this afternoon slack water was at 3:17. I had allowed 7 hours so we arrived a bit early and sailed around for a bit to kill time. About 5 minutes before slack I entered the s-shaped channel through the rapids. As we went through the rapids we were treated to a view of Malibu Lodge, owned by Young Life, a Christian organization that uses the lodge as a summer camp for youth. Roughly 5 minutes later we were safely through and on our way to Chatterbox Falls at the far end of Princess Louisa Inlet.
Pretty much from when I started sailing and reading about the BC coast about 30 years ago I have wanted to see Chatterbox Falls. I finally made it and was not disappointed. At one end of the beautiful Princess Louisa Inlet, several whisp-like waterfalls cascading a thousand feet or more down mountainsides converge into a larger falls at the bottom. It is quite magical to tie your boat up at the dock close to the falls and hear the roar as you enjoy the scenery.
The next morning we timed our departure to again get to Malibu Rapids at slack water. Once through we made the return trip back down Jervis Inlet to once again spend the night at Egmont, this time at the Backeddy Marina.
In the next installment, we continue our trip to Desolation Sound.