Sample Itinerary: Pacific Northwest, BC
This sample itinerary for a 10-night motor yacht charter in the
provided by m/v Pacific Yellowfin.
Desolation Sound and the Broughton Archipelago
By m/v Pacific Yellowfin
10-Day Sample Itinerary
m/v Pacific Yellowfin - 114 ft
Please understand that this is just a sample
itinerary. While cruising in the Pacific Northwest, tidal streams,
weather conditions, and wildlife determine our routes and
Desolation SoundDesolation Sound, the largest and perhaps best-known archipelago in
British Columbia, is considered by many boaters to be one of the top
three cruising grounds in the world, along with Fiji and New Zealand's
Bay of Islands. The waters of Desolation Sound are calm, sheltered and
warm with lots of protected anchorages, and plentiful oysters, clams,
prawns and salmon. The archipelago consists of more than 14,000 acres of
high land and 6,350 acres of shoreline and water. There are also
numerous lakes and waterfalls in Desolation Sound, and the warmest salt
water north of Mexico (75 - 82° degrees Fahrenheit!) awaiting swimmers
in Pendrell Sound.
Captain George Vancouver who first sailed here in 1792, saw a silent and
remote coast. He named the area Desolation Sound. The shoreline varies
from low rolling hills to 4500-foot peaks with many protected anchorages
tucked into bays, coves and inlets.
The sheltered waters, islands and bays of Desolation Sound are suitable
for exploration by small boats, kayaks and canoes with many
opportunities to enjoy swimming, fishing, picnicking and hiking.
- Stops in Desolation Sound and enjoying the warmest water north of Mexico. Pacific Yellowfin has all the toys onboard.
- Shoot the rapids at Yuculta and head into Johnstone Strait
- Do some prawning and enjoy the rewards on the back deck.
- Visit Sointula, envisioned as a utopian community by Finnish
emigrants in the last century, now a quaint fishing harbour lined with
Victorian Homes. Contrast with Alert Bay native community across the
channel with its huge totem poles and Kwakuitl (People of the Raven)
- Go tide pooling at low tide. Witness and touch some of the most abundant, and slimy, life anywhere on the planet.
- Head into Johnstone Strait and Blackfish sound by tender or, if you
really want some adrenaline, by kayak to view magnificent Orca Whales.
Listen in on their conversations through the hydrophone.
- Cruise the shoreline early in the morning at low tide, the best time to see black bears patrol the beach for breakfast
- Take a tender to Glendale cove and watch black or grizzly bears fishing for spawning salmon.
- Speaking of salmon- grab a rod and meet on the back deck.
- Look for glass beads on the beach at Karlukwees, village site for
Kwakuitl Natives for 6000 years. Check our petroglyphs on the way back
to the boat.
- Enjoy a book or movie in your stateroom, or peruse the charts on the bridge and plan tomorrows adventure.
- Meet with local inhabitants.
Arrive via charter seaplane to the Pacific Yellowfin at anchor at Taku
Resort on Quadra Island. Champagne reception and lunch. Assist the crew
in checking the prawn traps previously set, hopefully we will be having
prawn cocktails that evening. Depart for Manson’s Landing.
Enjoy breakfast aboard followed by a walk to the lagoon to view sand
dollars in the tidal pools. Should it be high tide we can do an easy
introductory kayak ride. Hike on the old school house trail with a visit
to Cortes Museum, showcasing past island life. At all times keeping our
eyes open for bald eagles. After lunch, cruise to the sheltered waters
of Squirrel Cove for a guided kayaking tour. If the tides are right we
can shoot the falls into a tidal lake.
In the morning cruise to Teakerne Arm before heading north keeping a
lookout for harbour seals and Dall’s porpoises. Visit the oyster farm
and chat with the resident oyster lady, aka the real female version of
Crocodile Dundee. Visit her oyster floats and have a marine biological
extravaganza with all of the wildlife that live on the floats: sea
urchins, sea slugs, sea anemones, and lots lots more. Visit Cassel
Falls and take a leisurely hike through the forest followed by a swim
and rock diving in Cassel Lake. Afternoon cruise to Mink Island.
Resident minks still run free on this island, as it was once a mink farm
in its past days.
Enjoy stunning views of the provincial marine park on a morning cruise
to Pendrell Sound. Swim in the Sound, also known as the Mexico of the
north, with waters reaching 28 degrees Celsius (82 F) in the summer.
Spend the afternoon playing in the waters on the Pacific Yellowfin’s
water trampoline and slides. If speed is what you are looking for we can
take the Seadoo for a ride on the flat waters of this massive fiord. In
late afternoon cruise to Black Lake for a hike to see the beaver
working her dam.
After breakfast, take a short cruise to Refuge Cove. Visit the general
store and grab an islands-style Starbucks. Continue on to Von Donop
Inlet where we cross the reef to a protected anchorage under an amazing
bald eagles nest. This nest is always active with chicks. Grab our
swimming gear and do a leisurely hike through the rain forest to a
mountaintop lake for a refreshing swim. Back to Von Donop where we can
wakeboard, water ski, tube, hot dogs, or kayak until dinner on board.
Roasting marshmallows over and open fire is always good way to end the
Cruise to Thursten Bay in Nodales Channel. This journey goes through the
largest rapids on the coast, the Yuculta Rapids, Dent Rapids, and
Gillard Pass. This transit must be made at slack water and once we are
through we are now in prime Orca whale watching territory. This area is
the beginning of a home to 250 orca whales that cruise the Johnston
Straits area. While at anchor in Thursten Bay, a sharp eye has to be
kept for bears foraging on the beach.
NOTE: We can see orca whales at any time from here to end of the
charter. We also see Pacific White Sided Dolphins (last year in a
school of 70-100).
Day seven is an all day boat journey cruising through Johnstone Straits
to reach the Broughton Archipelago, which is home to many First Nations
bands. We will have the opportunity to visit a few sites. Most routes
pass old native sites and pictographs (ancient rock paintings). From the
Pearce Group we take a small boat crossing to Swanson Island, 15
minutes away. This is an excellent opportunity to see black bears
foraging on the beach for crab at low tide. Very close encounters from
the safety of the vessel. These bears are mainly concerned with eating
and don’t mind the company. Mink whales are common on the islands north
shore and some grey whales, which have only returned to the area in the
last five years, could be seen as well.
We are under way to the next island to visit Cormorant Island, the
village of Alert Bay, which holds the largest First Nations population
in B.C. This community recently reclaimed their historic carved crafts
which were seized by the Government under the Potlatch Laws and
dispersed to museums across North America. They are now housed in a new,
award winning showcase museum, the U’mista Cultural Centre. From the
waterfront approach, Alert Bay is very colourful against the brooding
back drop of old-growth forests. Gaily painted houses have now become a
summertime attraction for the Vancouver-Alaska cruise ships. An
ecological walk through these ancient forests reveals a boardwalk, which
crosses a swamp at the summit of the Island. This area is biologically
diverse and hosts a multitude of bizarre science fiction views.
Or, we can go to Telegraph Harbour, only 30 minutes away. A rejuvenated
sawmill town set on a small cleft in the coastline. Most of the wooden
buildings are originals, set on piles over the waters edge, connected by
boardwalks. This is a rare glimpse of how British Columbia’s coastal
communities were construction in a land with very level ground. Very
colourful and quaint, the village showcases the Whale Museum. This old
building is now an interpretive centre housing biological samples, whale
skeletons, and other displays.
Visit the Polkinghorne Group for excellent kayaking opportunities with a
picnic ashore. These islands stand alone in the Queen Charlotte Sound
because they each have a different flora and fauna showing a distinctly
different feel. We continue north to Carriden Bay, a voyage of only one
hour to arrival. The anchorage is a large bay ringed with cliffs and
mountains, Ansell Adams type scenery, and great views of snow-clad Mt.
Stevens. Try some small craft exploration to Embely Lagoon for bears and
an overflow basin with a waterfall and tidal rapids at Neph Lagoon.
Hike to a freshwater lake above Turnbull Cove to see the massive cliff
faces in Mackenzie Sound. This area would easily take a minimum of two
days alone to see the significant features by small boat.
Without retracing our path we will cruise to our point of departure,
Port McNeil. On the way we will visit Numas Islands where one may find
vintage Japanese glass fishnet floats. Rendezvous with your chartered
seaplane flight back to Vancouver.
itineraries > Pacific Northwest : Desolation
Sound, British Columbia, Canada