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Old 05-15-2019, 01:04 PM   #1
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Question Summer BC Cruising Itinerary - Need advice

My husband and I just purchased a 2014 Beneteau Swift Trawler 50 and plan to cruise to BC this summer. A little background on us - weve been boating for almost 20 years and have visited Desolation Sound 3 times already and have been as far North as Dent Island. Our previous trips were on express cruisers so this will be our first trip with our Beneteau.

Ive finally had some time to start working on our itinerary and although we can cruise at 17 knots, we really would like to do some of our cruising this summer at a more leisurely 9 or maybe 12 knots when possible. We have 3 weeks for the trip, leaving from Seattle and there are several areas that my husband wants to try to fit in. I was able to map out the trip hitting all of the destinations my husband wants (using Navionics) however there is little wiggle room for weather or unknown issues and I feel as though were being too ambitious with our itinerary.

This is what I have so far and it does appear that well be eliminating Princess Louisa from the itinerary in order to allow more days in either Desolation or the Broughtons. Are we crazy to attempt to make so many stops on this trip?

Date Destination
Friday, July 19, 2019 Kingston
Saturday, July 20, 2019 Telegraph Harbour
Sunday, July 21, 2019 Vancouver
Monday, July 22, 2019 Vancouver
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 John Henry/Pender Harbour
Wednesday, July 24, 2019 Princess Louisa
Thursday, July 25, 2019 Princess Louisa
Friday, July 26, 2019 Lund
Saturday, July 27, 2019 Grace Harbour
Sunday, July 28, 2019 Grace Harbour
Monday, July 29, 2019 Teakerne Arm
Tuesday, July 30, 2019 Blind Channel
Wednesday, July 31, 2019 Sullivan Bay
Thursday, August 1, 2019 Sullivan Bay
Friday, August 2, 2019 Echo Bay
Saturday, August 3, 2019 Echo Bay
Sunday, August 4, 2019 Blind Channel
Monday, August 5, 2019 Comox
Tuesday, August 6, 2019 Ford Cove (Hornby Island)
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 Brentwood Bay
Thursday, August 8, 2019 Brentwood Bay
Friday, August 9, 2019 Roche Harbor
Saturday, August 10, 2019 Roche Harbor
Sunday, August 11, 2019 Elliott Bay

We feel well prepared as far as our systems - we will be up to date on maintenance, we have a Rainman watermaker and our boat is equipped with overboard discharge. What is new to us is running a boat with a semi-displacement hull and running at slower speeds (our Sea Ray ran at 28 knots!).

Thank you for any advice you can provide. One of my biggest concerns is transiting Johnstone Strait and wanting to allow a weather window on either side of entering and leaving the Broughtons. This would be our first trip cruising up to the Broughtons so Im trying to do everything I can do get educated on the best routes, recommended marinas and anchorages, etc.

Sandy
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:48 PM   #2
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......however there is little wiggle room for weather or unknown issues and I feel as though were being too ambitious with our itinerary.

This is what I have so far and it does appear that well be eliminating Princess Louisa from the itinerary in order to allow more days in either Desolation or the Broughtons. Are we crazy to attempt to make so many stops on this trip? .....
I don't think you're crazy. It all depends upon what type of cruise you want. See lots of places quickly? Or slow down, see fewer places, enjoy each place more. I don't mean slow boat speed, I mean spend more time at each place. Do you want to live on the hook as much as possible? Or be at marinas every night?

I've cruised that area quite a lot and prefer to have a start location / date and an end location / date. Good info on interesting places and just let it flow. One cruise was Port McNeill to Pender harbor in 3 weeks. We spent most of the time in the Broughtons exploring the upper reaches of the inlets.

I think your decision to drop Princess Louisa is a good one. It's a long run up Jervis Inlet and back to find in prime cruising season big crowds.

The weather can't be planned in more than the general sense. You'll want to be flexible and not make reservations, assuming you are marina hopping, that don't allow some slop.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:40 PM   #3
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Sdu, Your concern about Johnstone Strait is justified, but in the summer months, it's passable more often than not. If you're going up the inside through Desolation Sound, at slack water proceed past Dent rapids to Forward Harbor at the base of Sunderland channel. Forward Harbor is a good place to stage yourself for a run up Johnstone. Listen on the continuous vhf weather reporting for Fanny island's observations. Anything more than a 20 kt head sea is rough....square waves and close together. Take a right at Havana channel, about 20 miles up, and you're out of Johnstone and inside.

If you want to read up on Johnstone strait in depth, read 'Local Knowledge, a Skippers Reference' by Kevin Monihan, published by Fine Edge. Kevin is the authority on all things Johnstone.

On your itinerary, you may have trouble tying up at Lund. Very busy and full in the highseason.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:42 PM   #4
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I don't think you're crazy. It all depends upon what type of cruise you want. See lots of places quickly? Or slow down, see fewer places, enjoy each place more. I don't mean slow boat speed, I mean spend more time at each place. Do you want to live on the hook as much as possible? Or be at marinas every night?

I've cruised that area quite a lot and prefer to have a start location / date and an end location / date. Good info on interesting places and just let it flow. One cruise was Port McNeill to Pender harbor in 3 weeks. We spent most of the time in the Broughtons exploring the upper reaches of the inlets.

I think your decision to drop Princess Louisa is a good one. It's a long run up Jervis Inlet and back to find in prime cruising season big crowds.

The weather can't be planned in more than the general sense. You'll want to be flexible and not make reservations, assuming you are marina hopping, that don't allow some slop.
You make some very good points. When we went to Desolation Sound the first time we were more scattered and tried to see as much as we could in the time that we had. The last trip we focused on 3 or 4 of our favorites and spent more time relaxing. Right now it's a matter of coming to an agreement with my husband on where to go. I tend to be more cautious and plan meticulously, while he tends to want to just take off and see where the wind takes us. I guess it's good to have both perspectives!

Our boat is well suited for being on the hook and we'd like to do more of that this summer if possible - it also keeps us flexible in case we decide to change up our itinerary once we arrive to the Broughtons which very well might happen. Since you have experience in that area, besides the stops that I have listed, which would you consider "must-see" anchorages or marinas in the Broughtons?

Thank you!

Sandy
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:46 PM   #5
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Sdu, Your concern about Johnstone Strait is justified, but in the summer months, it's passable more often than not. If you're going up the inside through Desolation Sound, at slack water proceed past Dent rapids to Forward Harbor at the base of Sunderland channel. Forward Harbor is a good place to stage yourself for a run up Johnstone. Listen on the continuous vhf weather reporting for Fanny island's observations. Anything more than a 20 kt head sea is rough....square waves and close together. Take a right at Havana channel, about 20 miles up, and you're out of Johnstone and inside.

If you want to read up on Johnstone strait in depth, read 'Local Knowledge, a Skippers Reference' by Kevin Monihan, published by Fine Edge. Kevin is the authority on all things Johnstone.

On your itinerary, you may have trouble tying up at Lund. Very busy and full in the highseason.
Hi Ken!

Thanks for the feedback regarding Johnstone. We've had some rough crossings in the Strait of Georgia before we learned to read the weather and now we are pretty good at timing our crossings so that they're uneventful. I saw a note on another thread about that book "Local Knowledge" and ordered that today. I plan on reading that thoroughly once it arrives.

Regarding Lund, we were there last summer and really enjoyed it but we did have a reservation (and a smaller boat). If we're eliminating Princess Louisa from our itinerary then we might just run up the coast after leaving Vancouver and maybe just stop in Lund or Westview to top off fuel before heading to Desolation the same day. I will check out Havannah channel to avoid much of Johnstone. Thank you!
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:43 PM   #6
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Pretty aggressive schedule, not our style, but then we are retired.
Just remain flexible and don’t move if the weather isn’t right. A snotty day in rough water will stay with you a long time.
Enjoy your trip.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:45 PM   #7
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.....which would you consider "must-see" anchorages or marinas in the Broughtons?

Thank you!

Sandy
I can't recommend marinas. We are on the hook cruisers and stay out as much as possible. Our style is to try to explore the lesser traveled inlets. If memory serves we stopped at Sullivan Bay for supplies. It was the 3rd week of August and the shelves were bare. The store keepers limited what we could purchase wanting to do business with the steady customers not transients.

I can't recommend anchorages because I don't have the logs here. Just some raw GPX files from a handheld GPS. I don't know how to import them to Navionics online chart viewer.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:03 PM   #8
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I have done two, 2 week trips to Desolation Sound and back. I have a slower boat and typically cruise at 7 knots. For me, your proposed schedule would be a little too aggressive. I enjoy long days of traveling but my wife, not so much. What we do enjoy is spending a couple days at a nice spot.


I would strongly suggest you consider cutting out a lot of your proposed destinations and concentrate on fewer areas. If you want to get to the Broughtons, get there and enjoy and explore and skip exploring the Sunshine Coast and Desolation. OTOH, my wife and I absolutely love spending time in the warmer waters of Desolation Sound and could spend three weeks just getting then and enjoying that area and coming back.


You will have a great time regardless of what you do, but I look at your proposed trip and I see 3, 3-week trips there.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:19 PM   #9
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Pretty aggressive schedule, not our style, but then we are retired.
Just remain flexible and dont move if the weather isnt right. A snotty day in rough water will stay with you a long time.
Enjoy your trip.
We're still working and I'm a business owner so I can't be gone for more than 3 weeks and in fact I even need to run a payroll for our employees while I'm gone. One day I look forward to being able to cruise for 2-3 months at a time but we're not there yet. The schedule is definitely changing - we just need to refine our top priorities.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:26 PM   #10
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I have done two, 2 week trips to Desolation Sound and back. I have a slower boat and typically cruise at 7 knots. For me, your proposed schedule would be a little too aggressive. I enjoy long days of traveling but my wife, not so much. What we do enjoy is spending a couple days at a nice spot.


I would strongly suggest you consider cutting out a lot of your proposed destinations and concentrate on fewer areas. If you want to get to the Broughtons, get there and enjoy and explore and skip exploring the Sunshine Coast and Desolation. OTOH, my wife and I absolutely love spending time in the warmer waters of Desolation Sound and could spend three weeks just getting then and enjoying that area and coming back.


You will have a great time regardless of what you do, but I look at your proposed trip and I see 3, 3-week trips there.
What you're saying is what I've been telling my husband. In the end I know we'll come to an agreement but not before I have to go through the exercise of putting together an aggressive itinerary only to finally back off to something that is more reasonable. We haven't been to Vancouver by boat since 2001 (based on a really bad experience in the Strait of Georgia on our former 30' boat) so I know that is one stop that we will need to make.

After chatting at lunch we decided to focus on Desolation and the Broughtons and skip the Sunshine coast and Princess Louisa stops. Because we can cruise at 17 knots for the longer stretches that will give us the ability to cruise slowly in the areas where we don't need to cover as much distance. We definitely enjoy being at a location at least two days if possible. I don't mind overnights if we're on our way to a specific cruising ground but once we're there I like to relax and enjoy.

Is the weather in the Broughtons at the end of July as nice as Desolation or is it cooler?
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:47 PM   #11
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Hi Sandy! Welcome.

I agree with Crusty. My suggestion would be this: Dump the schedule. Go to a place like Pender Harbor. Then from there just pick a place you haven't been before. I would recommend the Broughtons first. Not as many folks and cooler weather.

Pickup a copy of the Waggoner and Tides and Current. You can plan from that. The Dent rapids are a piece of cake so long as you cross at or near slack. The Tides and currents shows you the slack at Gillard Island. Easy pezzy......

Now go out and have fun. Meet some folks, always have snacks for Happy Hour and had out your boat cards.

We are currently in Port McNiell waiting weather until Friday to cross Cape Caution. You will love the Broughtons!! I guarantee it!!!


https://www.amazon.com/Waggoner-Crui...s%2C425&sr=8-1

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Old 05-15-2019, 05:49 PM   #12
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Is the weather in the Broughtons at the end of July as nice as Desolation or is it cooler[/I]?
That's a really good question on weather. We've been going to Desolation Sound and the Broughtons since the 1980's. We've seen that there is often a significant difference in weather, on any given day Desolation Sound being hotter and drier, and above Johnstone Strait being cooler and wetter. Certainly this is not always the case, but we've seen it many times.

The comments from Dave and Crusty suggesting not to rush your schedule are good ones. We are retired and now spend summers in Alaska, but when we were working, we were in the same mode as you....work like hell to get the boat ready, cover lots of ground, explore lots of places. Go, go , go. The trap was when we got back home after the trip, we were often exhausted rather than refreshed. Travelling at a more relaxed pace and spending a few days at nice places ultimately worked best for us. Don't bite off too much.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:53 PM   #13
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What you're saying is what I've been telling my husband. In the end I know we'll come to an agreement but not before I have to go through the exercise of putting together an aggressive itinerary only to finally back off to something that is more reasonable. We haven't been to Vancouver by boat since 2001 (based on a really bad experience in the Strait of Georgia on our former 30' boat) so I know that is one stop that we will need to make.

After chatting at lunch we decided to focus on Desolation and the Broughtons and skip the Sunshine coast and Princess Louisa stops. Because we can cruise at 17 knots for the longer stretches that will give us the ability to cruise slowly in the areas where we don't need to cover as much distance. We definitely enjoy being at a location at least two days if possible. I don't mind overnights if we're on our way to a specific cruising ground but once we're there I like to relax and enjoy.

Is the weather in the Broughtons at the end of July as nice as Desolation or is it cooler?

I can't answer to the weather in the Broughtons other than the water will be a lot cooler than Desolation.



I've not been into Vancouver by boat and have only gone up the East side of Vancouver Island and crossed the Georgia Strait from Naniamo or Comox. Lund is nice, but don't overlook Westview as a potential stop-over on your way North. It is friendly and convenient.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:32 PM   #14
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Hi Sandy! Welcome.

I agree with Crusty. My suggestion would be this: Dump the schedule. Go to a place like Pender Harbor. Then from there just pick a place you haven't been before. I would recommend the Broughtons first. Not as many folks and cooler weather.

Pickup a copy of the Waggoner and Tides and Current. You can plan from that. The Dent rapids are a piece of cake so long as you cross at or near slack. The Tides and currents shows you the slack at Gillard Island. Easy pezzy......

Now go out and have fun. Meet some folks, always have snacks for Happy Hour and had out your boat cards.

We are currently in Port McNiell waiting weather until Friday to cross Cape Caution. You will love the Broughtons!! I guarantee it!!!


https://www.amazon.com/Waggoner-Crui...s%2C425&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Ports-Passes-...0212B877DWEJ6G
I'm a total planner and dumping our schedule entirely would make my eye twitch for days!! Ha ha! But I get what you're saying and I appreciate the advice to slow down and relax - that was my instinct too. I just received my copy of Ports and Passes - now just have to learn how to use it!
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:40 PM   #15
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Ford Cove, you will probably have to anchor, which is OK, limited transient space, although I have been lucky on one occasion. Great rock formations on beach and a short walk to pub. Rogue is currently heading north at a slow pace, cleared Customs Monday, anchored now at our third anchorage and have travelled 13 miles since Customs at Bedwell. My sort of pace.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:41 PM   #16
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That's a really good question on weather. We've been going to Desolation Sound and the Broughtons since the 1980's. We've seen that there is often a significant difference in weather, on any given day Desolation Sound being hotter and drier, and above Johnstone Strait being cooler and wetter. Certainly this is not always the case, but we've seen it many times.

The comments from Dave and Crusty suggesting not to rush your schedule are good ones. We are retired and now spend summers in Alaska, but when we were working, we were in the same mode as you....work like hell to get the boat ready, cover lots of ground, explore lots of places. Go, go , go. The trap was when we got back home after the trip, we were often exhausted rather than refreshed. Travelling at a more relaxed pace and spending a few days at nice places ultimately worked best for us. Don't bite off too much.
Good to know about the weather. I had read a reference to rain in the Broughtons in July and had hoped that I misread or didn't recall that previous post correctly. I got a new stand-up paddle-board last summer and really enjoyed using it in Desolation. I would hate not being able to use it much this year.

Isn't getting a slower boat also about slowing down and appreciating your surroundings and not just rushing from marina to marina or anchorage to anchorage? In 20 years of boating we've never seen a whale - never. I'm sure that traveling at a slower speeds we might have a chance now.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:50 PM   #17
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You might want to try Texada Boat Club. I stayed there late last September and enjoyed it. There are two places to eat, the smaller one good for breakfast, the larger one, we used a gps to help get us there, all roads are twisty winding jobs. I love their name. You can imagine some guys sitting around a table saying they want to start a yacht club then some chiming in they didn't want it to be snotty, so they changed it to Boat Club...lol!

Its almost at the top of Texada Island on the East side, you can see Powell River when you go for a walk there;

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Old 05-15-2019, 06:51 PM   #18
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I can't answer to the weather in the Broughtons other than the water will be a lot cooler than Desolation.



I've not been into Vancouver by boat and have only gone up the East side of Vancouver Island and crossed the Georgia Strait from Naniamo or Comox. Lund is nice, but don't overlook Westview as a potential stop-over on your way North. It is friendly and convenient.
I can tell you how *not* to go to Vancouver from the Seattle area! It was our first summer in our 30' boat which had gasoline engines and required a refueling stop on the way. We looked at the charts and pointed the boat North to Point Roberts, refueled and (in our inexperience) continued going North to Vancouver by hugging the shoreline thinking that if we ran into trouble we'd be closer to land. What we didn't realize is that the wave action would be much worse in shallower water and with all of the silt that runs out of the Fraser river, our puny little depth meter on the boat would stop working. We were in 3-5' swells with 3-5' standing waves that we had to surf up and down for several hours until we arrived in Vancouver. It was miserable. The next morning we got up at 6:00 am and stupidly took the same route home and it was worse if that was possible. Checking wind/weather forecasts? We didn't know what we were reading even though we checked before we left. We've learned a lot in the past 20 years though I have to admit I'm a bit embarrassed that it's taken us this long to try to return. I think it has more to do with always finding other destinations that were more interesting than going back to Vancouver. This time we're going up to Telegraph Harbor and the next morning we'll run between Galiano and Gabriola islands and then cut across the shortest stretch of the Strait (checking wind and weather for the best time to cross).
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:52 PM   #19
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You might want to try Texada Boat Club. I stayed there late last September and enjoyed it. There are two places to eat, the smaller one good for breakfast, the larger one, we used a gps to help get us there, all roads are twisty winding jobs. I love their name. You can imagine some guys sitting around a table saying they want to start a yacht club then some chiming in they didn't want it to be snotty, so they changed it to Boat Club...lol!

Its almost at the top of Texada Island on the East side, you can see Powell River when you go for a walk there;

Texada Boat Club | Texada Arts, Culture & Tourism Society
I love it! Will definitely look into this. Thanks!
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:24 PM   #20
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I see you have already eliminated PL from your itinerary.
With that kind of flexibility, I suggest you take a page from ASD's itinerary and stop at
Montague Hbr
Nanaimo - Newcastle Island
Pender Hbr - watch out for Whiskey Golf, they monitor ch 10 "Winchelsea Control" and are very responsive to callers seeking the status of area WG.
fuel at Westview (best price below Campbell River)
Desolation Sound - Grace is good, but there are dozens more very nice places, so spend a while exploring. Water temps in DS are the best, especially if you have a new SUP to try out.
Blind Channel,
Echo Bay
explore around the Broughtons, there is so much to see you won't see 1/10 of what you want to see.
back by your homeward list.

Weather in the Broughtons should be measured after 1 PM. Earlier in the day there is often fog or rain. The water is colder north of the passes, so there will be no swimming and few places for SUP.
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