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Old 04-29-2015, 02:16 AM   #1
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Circumnavigating Vancouver Island

Planning a 2+ boat cruise, next May. Anybody else done it in a trawler? Planning clockwise, against the wind (and popular advice). Expecting Brooks Penninsula and Cape Scott to be the scary parts. Comments?
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Old 04-29-2015, 01:00 PM   #2
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In case you haven't seen this one yet:


Lots of good info.

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Old 04-29-2015, 04:59 PM   #3
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These folks did it with two other boats in 2013 I think. Here's their blog At Sea Level
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Old 04-29-2015, 05:30 PM   #4
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Although we went a lot of places further in Alaska in between we also went up the inside passage and returned outside.
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Old 04-29-2015, 05:42 PM   #5
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I did it in my 22' C-Dory a couple years ago. Actually had dinner aboard N60 Sea Level II in Tofino.

The only rough water I had was around Estevan Point. 20-25 knots of NW wind blowing for days on end. I surfed my way around...

Going around Brooks Peninsula was flat calm and foggy. Actually I had a lot of fog...you have radar, right? Be alert for small sport fishing boats running fast no matter the conditions.

The lightstations and lightkeepers are a phenomenal weather resource. Get the latest info from them on the continuous marine broadcast.

Other than in Barkley Sound I only shared a couple anchorages with other boats.

Here are some of my favorite spots...
  • Julian Cove, Quatsino Sound. Scenic, good anchorage.
  • Columbia Cove, Brooks Peninsula. Hike to beautiful sandy beaches, explore rocks and surf by dinghy/kayak.
  • Bunsby Islands. Gunk holing paradise.
  • Walters Cove, Kyuquot Sound. Super friendly people at the Kyuquot Inn.
  • Rugged Point Marine Park. Gorgeous beaches, great hiking. Last summer there was a cougar attack, so be careful.
  • Nuchatlitz, Esperanza Inlet. Interesting exploring, excellent anchorage.
  • Hisnit Inlet, Nootka Sound. Beautiful anchorage, saw a bear on shore.
  • Friendly Cove, Nootka Sound. Fascinating history. Visit the light keepers, too.
  • Hot Springs Cove, Clayoquot Sound. Visit the hot springs before about 9:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. to avoid the big tourist crowds. I watched a whale breach while sitting in the hot spring...can it get any better??
  • Bacchante Bay, Clayoquot Sound. Beautiful, spacious anchorage.
  • Lucky Creek, Barkley Sound. Take the dinghy at half tide or better up Lucky Creek. The pools at the end are great for swimming.
  • Pinkerton Islands, Barkley Sound. Peaceful, beautiful anchorage.
  • Robbers Passage, Barkley Sound. Port Alberni Yacht Club has an outstation here that is open to the public. Nice stop.
  • Broken Group, Barkley Sound. Too many great spots to list. The outer islands were my favorite...watching the surf roll in is very cool for those of us who spend most of our time in protected waters.

A few other notes...

Tofino is a tough place to visit by boat. Limited visitor moorage and strong currents at the dock. Ucluelet is much easier to visit and you can always go by land to Tofino.

In 2013 there was no cell phone service from the entrance to Quatsino Sound until almost Tofino.

No dogs are allowed ashore in the Broken Group.

Bamfield has an apparently amazing Music By The Sea festival in early July.

Let me know if you have specific questions.
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Old 04-29-2015, 05:56 PM   #6
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Great summary by Retriever.

Why would you want to go clockwise given the choice?
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Old 04-30-2015, 12:08 AM   #7
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"Why would you want to go clockwise given the choice?"

In general, and assuming settled weather and prevailing winds, the May/June time period is usually best for a clockwise transit.

July/Aug/Sep - counter clockwise seems to get most cruisers' votes.

One of the challenges for a 7 knot trawler departing the US and making a clockwise transit, is that the only customs port on the WCVI, is at Ucluelet. This usually requires staging at Neah Bay, and making the final leg from there.
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Old 04-30-2015, 04:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
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"Why would you want to go clockwise given the choice?"

In general, and assuming settled weather and prevailing winds, the May/June time period is usually best for a clockwise transit.

July/Aug/Sep - counter clockwise seems to get most cruisers' votes.

One of the challenges for a 7 knot trawler departing the US and making a clockwise transit, is that the only customs port on the WCVI, is at Ucluelet. This usually requires staging at Neah Bay, and making the final leg from there.
Wouldn't customs in Victoria work? Or, are you definitely staging at Neah Bay?
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Old 04-30-2015, 05:21 PM   #9
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Wouldn't customs in Victoria work? Or, are you definitely staging at Neah Bay?
We went at one point from Port Angeles to Victoria and cleared in and it was very convenient.
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:37 PM   #10
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Thousands of trollers (yes, in the day, "T'ousands and T'ousands") would make the trek up the WCVI. You pick your weather and deal with what comes your way. My neighbour (former troller) did tell me that you may have buck into some weather, and a lot of guys would go up Johnstone Straits, on a favourable tide and run across Nahwitti Bar when the conditions were favourable and then work their way down. It all depended where they started their trip initially and where they wanted to start their fishery. The prevailing winds swells travel from the Northwest. But there is nothing wrong with starting from Juan de Fuca and working north, if you pick your weather windows.

I used to manage the troll test fisheries for Fraser sockeye off WCVI in the late '80's and early '90's, with 4 vessels from Ucluelet to Winter Harbour. I visited the two boats in the south and one of the guys was ticked off at me. so when I wanted to get on the other boat, he put me in the skiff with only a single oar and I bobbed around, 5 miles off-shore of Portlock Point, for about half an hour until the other vessel changed tack and picked me up. It was flat calm and quite peaceful.

Jim
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Old 04-30-2015, 09:05 PM   #11
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I did a clockwise circumnavigation in 1999 on my sailboat and single handed most of the way. I choose clockwise because I wanted to avoid the August fog that can be bad so I could enjoy the west coast of Vancouver Isl. I would leave very early each morning I was on the ocean and try to be at my next destination before the afternoon winds picked up. The worst weather was rounding Cape Scott but there where gale force winds for 3 days preceding my attempt. Should have waited another day.


I cleared customs in Victoria and stayed on the Canadian side to Barkley Sound.


This is also the trip that made me rethink sailing and move to a trawler.
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Old 05-01-2015, 12:05 AM   #12
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BandB: "We went at one point from Port Angeles to Victoria and cleared in and it was very convenient."

The problem is that Victoria to Bamfield (first sheltered refuge in Barkley Sound) is 90 miles away (I do not consider the very limited protection offered by Port San Juan to be an intermediate option, except in an emergency).

Assuming an 0500 Victoria departure for a 7 knot boat heading for Barkley Sound, it's a 12-13 hour event depending on where/when you confront the strongest currents. This means that you are vulnerable to afternoon westerlies potentially going up against an ebb current and steep head seas without having a nearby safe harbor (You can turn around and head back to Sooke).

Staging at Sooke will reduce the leg from 90 miles to 73 miles, so an early morning departure from Sooke will reduce the exposure to afternoon winds.

For a May departure, you may not have the option of entering at Ucluelet because checking in is seasonal and didn't start until June 1 (when we transited in 2013).
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:29 AM   #13
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Circumnavigating Vancouver Island

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay N View Post
BandB: "We went at one point from Port Angeles to Victoria and cleared in and it was very convenient."

The problem is that Victoria to Bamfield (first sheltered refuge in Barkley Sound) is 90 miles away (I do not consider the very limited protection offered by Port San Juan to be an intermediate option, except in an emergency.

What?? Port Renfrew can be open to some breeze but you can tuck in around the corner near the Gov't warf. I've been in and out of San Juan on gill netters and seiners and none of them seem particularly worried about anchoring up in there. Really bad weather in there is pretty rare. I wouldn't hesitate to anchor up in Port Renfrew.

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Old 05-01-2015, 11:32 AM   #14
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Good information and interesting stories! Keep 'em coming.
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Old 05-01-2015, 12:00 PM   #15
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Hmmm! This just out...

http://digital.turn-page.com/i/505062-may-2015/78?

Anchorage, Port Renfrew:

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Jim


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Old 05-01-2015, 12:33 PM   #16
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JDCAVE: "What?? Port Renfrew can be open to some breeze but you can tuck in around the corner near the Gov't wharf."

What I saw in 2013 was a public wharf choked with charter fishing boats, and buoys/boats congesting the anchorage which has very limited room on low tides. While I just looked around, it was apparent that a low swell worked into the area. You can anchor further into the bay, but it is even more open to seas/swell.
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Old 05-01-2015, 03:10 PM   #17
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Looks to me like Renfrew is open to SW winds. But south winds in the area usually come from the SE. I wouldn't doubt some swell motion would be felt but very unlikely to be any kind of issue. A long combination rode may be helpful. I've been planing on anchoring there. Would pass on much wind or seas coming from the SW though.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:12 PM   #18
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I've anchored twice in Port Renfrew and both times where miserable. You look out the bay and the closest land is China to the west. I've never really explored the bay to see if a calm anchorage is possible. I hear it is, but I wasn't in it. You really are wide open to the Pacific Ocean.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:38 PM   #19
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I've anchored twice in Port Renfrew and both times where miserable. You look out the bay and the closest land is China to the west. I've never really explored the bay to see if a calm anchorage is possible. I hear it is, but I wasn't in it. You really are wide open to the Pacific Ocean.
Wifey B: Actually Japan is closer than China and that's without even thinking of turning a bit north and Russia....
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:49 PM   #20
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Wifey B: Actually Japan is closer than China and that's without even thinking of turning a bit north and Russia....
And I can see Russia from my cockpit......well almost...
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