Desolation Soundings

From our expensive fuel stop at Nanaimo – thanks Alberta – deep into Desolation Sound, Jupiter has been on the move, often beyond the reach of voice or data communicatons.

May 26th Nanaimo to Pender Harbour: 32 nm across Georgia Strait in the choppy wind against tide condition that we have read so much about.  The trip ended peacefully at John Henry’s Resort in Pender Harbour where surprisingly fine meals were consumed at the small café in the General Store.  In keeping with Canadian hyperbole this area is known as the “Venice of the North”.

Along the trail to Skookumchuck

May 27th Pender Harbour to BackEddy Marina: 13 nm with continuing breezy conditions in the precipitous Agamemnon Channel.  Upon arrival at this remote outpost, we were the lone cruising vessel moored to a long rustic float with a fuel pump, where we purchased Spot Prawns from a local fisherman pumping diesel for his practical aluminum fishing boat.  Late in the afternoon we hiked 5 km along a beautiful forest trail to Skookumchuck to view the inlet’s max flow; an impressive display of tidal whitewater complemented by bold kayakers surfing standing waves.


Sookumchuck rapids are actually navigable by vessels large and small four times per day at slack tide, and by kayakers at any time and tide
The treacherous Malibu Rapids guard the approach to Princess Louisa Inlet

The following noon we boarded a Cessna 180 float plane to reconnoiter the approaches to Princess Louisa Inlet, and landed at the remote dock below Chatterbox Falls where we spent a misty and deafening half hour.  We hope to make a mid-winter foray to Princess Louisa with a small flotilla of friends and a snow shovel.

Afloat in a soup of jellyfish in Grace Harbour

May 29th BackEddy Marina to Grace Harbour: 50 nm in blowing salt-spawned seas.  Grace Harbour is a deep, steep, wooded bowl with a narrow entrance that is no longer visible once inside.  We swung quietly on anchor all night, accompanied by several million small white jellyfish attempting to clog up the boat’s generator cooling water intake.

May 30th Grace Harbour to Toba Wilderness Marina: 21 nm via the marvelous Waddington Channel and other deep fjords of Desolation Sound.  Below our keel we found depths of 2,000 feet, as our way was flanked by snow-clad steeps-sided mountains of thrice that height.  Our moorage at Toba was the loveliest, loneliest and most dramatic location imaginable.

View from Jupiter’s stern at Toba Wilderness Marina


Below the wing.  Jupiter at BackEddy Marina

“There was not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye” – The explorer George Vancouver on the naming of Desolation Sound in 1792


  1. Woodson K. Woods says:

    I envy your health, freedom and location as well as adventures to come. Interesting report! Have fun! Love WK

  2. Constance McPheeters says:

    No need to go around the world when all this beauty is in your own back yard so to speak!

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