Rapid Test

The Float Plan of Ocean Reef Yacht Club Flotilla takes our nine boats through nine tidal rapids or passes during the twelve-day cruise. Each passage is timed to meet the less turbulent slack tide, no small feat when the file of boats might be a mile long. If the timing for the first vessel is correct, the timing for the last is unlikely to be so.

Day 7: Arms of the Octopus

Today we depart Dent Island at 1100 allowing for a leisurely sleep-in, a breakfast ashore and a hike. We make our departure from the marina floats to transit the Barber Pass and Yaculta Rapids early in order to arrive at Hole-in-the-Wall, 8nm distant, at slack tide.

This strategy affords skippers the opportunity to test their boat’s steering and stability as well as their crews’ dance moves while attempting to hold an upright posture in the raging whitewater of upwellings, standing waves, overfalls and whirlpools. Those at the helm are avoiding floating logs and feeding porpoise, sea lions and one or more immense humpback whales rolling in the roiling navigation channel.

The fleet’s communications network, VHF Channel 88A, is alive with awed observations and banter.

The Hole-in-the Wall is made on time and passed uneventfully. Now an impossibly narrow passage opens to the fleet to become the day’s last nautical challenge. The manifold arms and anchorages of Octopus Islands Provincial Park welcome us and we spread ourselves across the spacious bay.

Fleet Naturalist, Shea, organizes a hike into the hills, through stippled groves of hemlock and cedar, to the prosaically named Small Inlet. The athletically inclined and inspired continue on up to Newton Lake on trails almost certainly authored by the mountain goats of Quadra Island.

Day 8: Into the Gorge

Yet another rapid passage determines the fleets’ mid-morning departure from the Octopus, and we assemble, more or less ready to take the Beazley Passage with whatever slowing current she allows.

Past the narrows, we turn to starboard for an uneventful cruise southbound to wend through the Uganda Passage and into the narrow rock-walled passage of The Gorge.

Managing the moorage of an unfamiliar charter boat in tight quarters requires skill and intuition, yet our Flotilla skippers make docking in tight quarters appear elementary. An admiring bystander comments “It looks like these folks are wearing their boats.”

The experience, knowledge and seamanship of the Flotilla crews is impressive.

Dinner tonight is at the Floathouse Restaurant, and all enjoy masterfully prepared fare among friends on a deck overlooking the floats below.

Day 9: Anchor Drills

The Flotilla untangles itself from whatever compact storage arrangements were made the day before and departs The Gorge on a long passage southeast down the Strait of Georgia, along the western side of Texada Island, past an immense limestone quarry near the island midriff, and into the Sabine Channel offering up interesting islands and coves.

As we approach our planned destination, Boho Bay, we discover the anchorage to be occupied by a large enough number of previous arrivals to limit fair anchorage for our fleet. Only four find sufficient swing room, and the fleet, normally disciplined and unified, is scattered to nearby shores.

Fortunately Jupiter and four other vessels locate two exceptionally remote and lovely anchorages where they spend a sublime and scenic evening under assault from wasps and three species of mosquito.

Crews fall to their usual amusements. Dinghies buzz from vessel to vessel like pollinating bees. The crew of Stella Luna steps ashore to explore the trails of Jedediah Island, the crew of Kohala enjoys a spectacular excursion by kayak, and the crew of Discovery tries to catch prawns.

Sunset at Boho Bay


  1. Tina Jones says:

    Enjoying the familiar and wonderful NW Pacific journey the ORC Yacht Club is on…thank you for the terrific blog updates. The weather looks perfect!

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