Solar Gain

Day 2: The Sunshine Coast

The Flotilla departs the quiet Gulf Islands anchorage, forms a file afloat winding through islets and rock piles to enter the Georgia Strait. Fast ferries, rail barges and tug tows servicing nearby Nanaimo interrupt the rhumb line course to the Sunshine Coast 36nm distant.

A northwest wind double crosses a southeast flood tide keeping boats and skippers on their best behavior, but presently Pender Harbour opens its welcoming channels and convenient anchorages. Soon we are secure, lowering tenders to explore.

Gregg, the fleet’s yacht doctor, diagnoses and repairs a few mechanical squawks. The weather continues clear and unusually hot with a late August sun at 50º latitude, unrelenting until suppertime.

Group diners and laughter overtake the local cantina, Aquí es México, an uphill walk from the public landing where we tie tenders. The weather, the enchiladas and the margaritas contradict geography.

Day 3: Desolation Sound

After two days afloat the masters and commanders of the Florida fleet find and feel their pace and place, easily undertaking a long passage northwest along a pelagic wilderness interrupted by few settlements, islands and salient skylines growing more unfamiliar.

The unusually persistent solar shower affects the still air and the waters, warming our environs to surprising temperatures. As the boats enter the mountain mansions and dreamy archipelagos of Desolation Sound, the seas assume swim-able temperatures.

Our destination, Prideaux Haven, is congested with cruising yachts at the height of the season, but our scouting teams find anchoring, rafting and stern-tie possibilities. Jupiter lucks into a void in the anchorage and hooks fast the rocky seabed.

Settled into the communal scene we enjoy a long swim, circumnavigate Jupiter’s waterline and paddle about in this 74º Pacific grotto.

We invite four friends from the flotilla to share dinner aboard that we take in the cockpit only after Canadian sunset relieves us of intense insolation.

Serendipitously, a nearby boat is occupied by “R”, Prideaux’s classic rock entertainer who routinely serenades all afloat from his boat’s cockpit with beloved ballads. Two musicians from our Flotilla join him in lively accompaniment.

The night grows dark, the anchorage dissolves into silence and low tide settles all boats.


  1. Dana Starr says:

    Thanks for the Flotilla update. As always the photos are wonderful and they provide a great feel for the land, the sea, and the yachts that your fleet is enjoying. Plus swimming in the 74F water and listening to Rock ‘n Roll….hard to beat.

  2. Heather says:

    Wow! Desolation Sound looks spectacular! Love all the happy photos. Thanks for bringing us along through your blog!

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