Saturday, August 9, 2014

Campbell River, Staging for the “Gateway” to the North

Thursday, our last night anchored at Squirrel Cove in Desolation Sound with Jan and Jim, was lovely, nearing the full moon.


Friday morning brought an early departure to arrive at Campbell River in time for Jan and Jim to catch a plane back to Vancouver. It was great having them aboard, fun and easy, and we were reminded how much we enjoy traveling together. Layers of mountains as we continued north were spectacular. The water was, at times, more than 1,000 feet deep.


We pulled into Discovery Harbour Marina at Campbell River, Jan and Jim were whisked away to the airport, and we went into high gear to get through our list: re-provisioning groceries, laundry, a few minor maintenance issues, catching up on email and phone calls to a few folks. Lots of beautiful boats in this place.


Tomorrow morning, Sunday, we begin a journey into the more remote stretch of this trip. Depending on the route we ultimately decide to take, we’ll pass through 1 to 5 tidal rapids, which require a significant amount of planning in order to travel them safely. The complexity of this section makes it the first “gateway” on the northbound trip up the Inside Passage. It also results in most of the recreational boaters deciding to stay in the Desolation  Sound area.

In the photo below, Campbell River where we are now, is the red tear-drop in the bottom right-hand corner. The land mass taking up the lower half of the photo is Vancouver Island. The waterways interspersed among the islands above make up the southeast half of the Inside Passage to Alaska. Cruise Ships travel the larger waters of this route.

Recreational boaters, like us, mostly take the smaller byways. Johnstone Strait, the largest east-west waterway, or alternatively the many channels north of there, end at The Broughton Islands archipelago where we plan to spend a couple of weeks before heading back south.

The big waterway on the left edge of the photo connects to Queen Charlotte Sound, a major body of water open to the Pacific Ocean, and which serves as the second major “gateway” that keeps lots of boaters from continuing further north. We met a couple last week who made the trip once, and because they found themselves in 22-foot swells on Queen Charlotte Sound, said they’ll never go to Alaska by boat again, except on a cruise ship.

We don’t expect to have internet again for . . . a while. But we’ll send SPOT satellite messages showing our location each time we move, and those will appear here on the blog. The weather here continues sunny, dry, warm (80-ish) with a light breeze, perfect!


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