Our Journey on Scolamanzi II
Our Journey on Scolamanzi II

Desolation Sound



Phil Winterton and Karen Hougaard flew into Comox on the 20/9 and we departed the next day, heading for Desolation Sound. This area is the “Holy Grail” for many cruising yachtsman and it did not disappoint especially with two gifted characters as guests.



In calm weather we crossed the Strait of Georgia. Rounded Malaspina peninsula and anchored the first night in Grace Harbour. It was very protected and quiet. The water was warm and filled with millions and millions of jellyfish. Running the generator at anchor was a concern as we could suck them in thru the cooling intake. Thankfully no jellys ended in the strainer.

Grace Harbour:

The next morning we took the short hop to Prideaux Heaven and anchored in Melanie Cove. This area is a maze of waterways and anchorages – calm and secluded, surrounded by an amphitheatre of high mountains. Simply breathtaking! We stern tied close to a rocky and wooded slope which served as the perfect backdrop to the impromptu concert we enjoyed that evening. The stern spot lights lit the stage and both Karen and Phil excelled.

Melanie Cove:

That night it rained heavily for the first time in weeks. The following morning we set off for Toba Inlet – a 20 Nm fjord leading into the high mountains of BC. Along the way we saw the most unbelievable waterfalls cascading down from the high mountains. Some falling straight into the sea. After and long day of awesome sights we dropped anchor in Walsh Cove, near the northern end of Waddington Channel. That night there was no obligatory sundowner dingy ride and everyone turned in early after a great meal prepared by the Admiral.

Toba Inlet:


Walsh Cove:

We departed early the following day to explore Redonda Island. Scolamanzi poked hear head into every anchorage and we ended up anchored for lunch right up to the waterfall at the head of Teakerne Arm. The recent heavy rain caused the lake to strongly overflow. The current from the waterfall held Scolamanzi away from the cliff face 10 meters from the port side. It was a perfect windless and cloudless day which made for great photos. Lientjie and Karen were the adventurous photographers who climbed up the cliff to get some great shots of us anchored below the falls. That night we anchored in the calm and secluded inner bay at Squirrel Cove. During the late season, sharing an anchorage with other boats becomes less likely as most cruisers have moved south. After some re-provisioning the next morning at Squirrel Cove,  “The Store”, we headed up Calm Channel to The Hole in the Wall – this is a very short narrow passage thru which the current can race to 14 knots ( 21 km / h).

Teakerne Arm:

Squirrel Cove:

I calculated the correct time of slack water at “Hole in the Wall“. We arrived about 30 minutes early and with my usual eagerness to proceed, I entered the rapid a wee bit early which caused 80 tons of boat being tossed and rolled about. This resulted in a fair bit of excitement amongst the crew and a sharp turn to starboard to wait a while for the current and whirlpools to calm down.  This entertainment was captured by three of the guests on board … Here is a link to one of those YouTube clips:

We then proceed thru with the appropriate dignity to anchor inside the Octopus Islands. Beautiful, serine and protected. The weather was perfect and so was the on-board delights. We explored by dingy and trekked thru the forest of this magic place. After 2 days we dragged ourselves away with some difficulty.

Hole in the Wall rapids:


Octopus Islands:


From the Octopus Islands we passed thru Surge Narrows and Beazley Passage at slack water. As we waited for the current to slack at Beazley we were treated to the sight of a pod of Orcas feeding on salmon right next to the boat. Salmon often collect at these narrow passages to swim against the current. Killer whales know this. After this excitement we continued on to our lunch stop in Crescent Channel. After a quick post lunch nap we continued on to the amazing anchorage of Gorge Harbour. Here you enter thru a narrow cliff lined gorge, no more than 50 yards wide, to enter thus huge bay with plenty of good spots to anchor. On our sunset cruise we explored the bay and the gorge. It took us a while to locate the “Aboriginal” paintings hidden on the cliff walls (as per the cruising guides). The consensus of opinion amongst the crew was that it looks like a hoax perpetrated on unsuspecting yachties and probably painted by a hippie. (Hahaha!)

Surge Narrows and Beazley Passage:

Gorge Harbour:

We were up early on our second last day together to explore the west side of Cortes Island as far as Von Donop Inlet. This long tree and cliff lined sliver of an inlet was a fitting climax to a splendid few days cruising Desolation Sound together with very dear and special friends.

Von Donop Inlet:

After this we headed to the town of Campbell River on Vancouver Island. And what a surprise it turned out to be – there is a great vibe around town with lots of exciting things to do. They market themselves as the sport fishing capital of Canada and seem very much focused on adventure tourism. Campbell River is the last spot to provision before you venture further north to northern BC and Alaska. Our last day together was spent exploring the town and ended with a meal at The Rip Tide pub – what a spot!                                                                     – Johann

Campbell River:

It is sad to leave them behind … we really had so much fun!

– Henriette

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