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Old 04-28-2015, 10:32 AM   #1
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How crowded is desolation sound in late august

We are planning our first trip north from Sidney this summer. I have read numerous opinions about crowds. I'm wonder inning if it's a relative thing (we are from so calif) or if there really are issues of walking across boats swim steps while stearin tied. We did some cruising in the san Juan's and gulf islands last summer and never saw any crowds. Your opinions/experience will be greatly appeeciated
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:50 AM   #2
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You are correct, it is relative. From mid July until Labor Day, as one works their way North from Seattle the crowds lessen, incrementally up to the Boughtons. Dock space and the good anchorages can be full if you arrive late in the day.

It is a big area though so arrive at mid afternoon and you should be OK for anchorages. Four generally safe places to anchor that always have room are Henry Bay off Denman Is, Rebecca Spit, Squirrel Cove and Blunden Harbour just North of Wells Passage.
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Old 04-28-2015, 02:45 PM   #3
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In my experience the Gulf Islands are much more crowded in the summer that Desolation Sound. Prideaux Haven possibly excepted.

But as Sunchaser says, if you arrive early to mid afternoon you shouldn't have a problem in most places.

Any stern platform walking among stern tied vessels would only be between boating buddies and they are relatively rare; certainly not intrusive.

Some other spots that are pretty much guaranteed to have space are the Octopus Islands, Von Donop Inlet, and further north, Cameleon Harbour. All gorgeous of course!
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Old 04-28-2015, 02:50 PM   #4
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Headed that way this time next year! Can't wait and we will be experiencing the early arrival and the late summer arrival as we make our way up the inside passage, then the journey back home...
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Old 04-28-2015, 03:30 PM   #5
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I heard it is kinda desolated.
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Old 04-28-2015, 03:56 PM   #6
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I heard it is kinda desolated.
Only if you listen to Captain Vancouver. He must have been there on an off day.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:25 PM   #7
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As mentioned, all relative.
Desolation is as crowded now as the Gulf Islands were in the 80's.
Broughtons as crowded now as Desolation in the 80s.
Neither a worry about having to jump across swim grids. Enough people around to help if you need it, and enough distance that you can have privacy if you want it.
We always anchor, so no personal experience with moorage, though I have heard to book ahead in the remote resorts if you are banking on them.
All are beautiful - go and you will never regret it!

(P.S. Avatar is Prideaux Haven in the peak season - we got an anchor spot just fine, and always have)
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:43 PM   #8
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Your opinions/experience will be greatly appeeciated
It's crowded enough, or has the potential to be crowded enough, that we never go there in the summer. Our cruising season starts in September and runs through the end of May. From May through August we avoid all the places that attract crowds. Fortunately, we have some great destinations in the islands that crowds can't go because they're private. Not private anchorages but there is no shore access so the only people who go there are the local property owners and residents.

Bottom line is that we would never go to Desolation Sound in July or August. We have always gone in September or later and in many cases had places that are wall-to-wall boats in the summer almost--- or entirely--- to ourselves.
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:30 PM   #9
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The Loony has tanked and diesel is down .20 a litre or so... Yes, it will be crowded this summer.
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:35 PM   #10
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PS--- The fact that Desolation might be crowded does not mean it's not worth going, particularly if one's only window for going there is July-August. The place is still beautiful and there are still all kinds of cool things to see and do.

The difference will be in the challenge of finding spots to anchor and the need to put up with more noise, dinghies zooming around, and sometimes annoying, rude, or stupid behavior on the part of other boaters.

While the off-season, particularly September, still sees boats up there in some spots, the boaters themselves are very different in our observation than the July-August crowd. The September/October boaters tend to be retirees, some of them returning from longer cruises farther north in BC or SE Alaska, and thus much more experienced (yes, this is a generality). Because of this they tend to have a lot more respect not just for their fellow boaters bur for the place itself.

In our experience and observation, this same thing holds true in the San Juan and Gulf Islands, particularly the Gulfs.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:35 PM   #11
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Thank you for everyone's input. Bottom line well go when we can and enjoy the spectacular area. We'll be there end of August early September. Hope to see you up there.
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Old 04-29-2015, 01:17 AM   #12
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... We'll be there end of August early September. Hope to see you up there.
Hopefully it will have a more accurate updated name by then.
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:02 AM   #13
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Hopefully not.
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Old 04-29-2015, 12:21 PM   #14
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Desolation Sound was named by Capt. Vancouver when he arrived there. There are two reasons for the name. One is the foreboding look of the place with its apparent lack of life, wild and human.

The second is because Vancouver had some pretty serious mental issues and went back and forth between moods, some of them pretty dark. It is assumed from his notes and whatnot that he was in one of his dark (depressed) moods when he arrived in the area. That simply made the place seem even more gloomy to him.
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:24 PM   #15
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He also named Devastation Channel just south of Kitimat. Aptly named during strong north winds

Edit...just googled it and Devastation Channel wasn't named by Vancouver, but it still fits.
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