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Desolation SoundGo to Slide Show

Beauty close to the lower mainland


Flowers And Sailboats
Desolation sounds is probably the closest "getting away" from Vancouver you can do with a sailboat.  It used to be pretty quite but now in the summer months it can be downright crowded.  My favorite charter company was doing a trip there (it's nice to always go to some place you haven't been before) and it went in late June - way less crowding!  There are two big gateway communities to Desolation Sound - Campbell River (Vancouver Island) and Lund (mainland).  Campbell river was our meeting point and we arrived just before dinner.


The Curve of Time was moored in the fisherman's wharf.  It's a working wharf - tugboats, log pushers and industrial fishing boats.

Bumper On TugJaws On TugRusty Metal On Tug

Helen Mock Casting
We arrived the night before we sailed (other than flying, there is no easy way to get from Vancouver to Campbell river by 9am) so we took a walk around the docks at sunset.  The local wharf on the outside of the breakwater was pretty much a mecca for fishing - no only were there permanent fishing chairs, there were also dozens of holes drilled into the handrails to support fishing rods.  It's amazing there is that much fishing right next to town.


Cape Mudge Lighthouse
The next morning we got up, load the last of our guests and headed out for our trip.   Quadra Island dominates the view from Campbell river and it took a while to go down the channel and clear the southern tip before we could head back North to our first destination - Rebbecca Spit.


Quadra Island - Rebbecca Spit

Loading Into Kayaks
I was actually quite keen to get in the Kayaks and out on the water.  Rebbecca Spit provides a sheltered bay so it would be a nice paddle.  Once we got out onto the water we found the wind was actually quite strong and without the rudder it was really quite difficult to not get turned across the wind.  As an experienced kayaker, it was no problem, but for the newer people in our group there were a few setbacks. 


Rafted Up

Walking On Rebecca SpitYellow Flowers On Shore

After our paddle we went inland to the spit and went for a walk.  The spit is a public park and like most of the gulf island, the parks play multiple roles.  This park had wild space and lots of plants to see but also had playing fields and picnic bench areas as well as a boat launch. 

Stormy Sky Over Bay

These islands are in a bit of a rain shadow so the plants you find here can be quite surprising - sometimes marine species, sometimes plants you would expect to find in more desert conditions.

Harvest BrodiaeaFools Onion

With the wind, we didn't really want to leave the protection of the spit.  We stayed at anchor that night and left the next morning.

Teakerne Arm Marine Park
The next morning we passed by Cortes Island on the way to our next destination.  Desolation Sound has relatively few good anchorages (it's quite steep in most areas which means the ocean floor is rarely flat and shallow) and a large boat like the Curve of Time needs a fair amount of space clear to set anchor.  Our earliest choice was already full so we poked into a few other spots going to our second choice anchorage.  First was the waterfall at the end of Teakerne Arm.  This wasn't a good place for an anchorage but the waterfall was neat to see and we went inland for a nice walk.

Waterfall From Crows NestHelen And The Waterfall
Base Of Waterfall


Again, the plant life was fun.  Very small spaces (perhaps a wetter part of a rock face or a shaded space) would hide plants that were quite nice to find.  It amazes me how a single example of a species can grow so distant from any other example.

Monkey FlowerTwo Tiger LiliesSpleenwort Peaking Out From Under Rock


Refuge Cove
Desolation sound is pretty large and for a sailboat without a freezer it could be quite a while to go without resupply.  The major towns of Campbell River or Powell River are both a long way away (by sailboat standards) so there is a need for a nautical version of the "corner store".  Refuge Cove hits that niche and we were heading by with a boat full of women - we had to stop in for a bit of shopping.

Girls Going ShoppingLots Of Dock SpaceRefuge Cove Store

Sadly, the ice cream counter was closed (no sign - but they would have had a dozen customers).  We looked at the boats moored at the docks and while the majority of them were American, most boats were relatively local.

Prideaux Haven
Kayaks At Sunset
Our anchor for the night was Prideaux Haven.  The large anchorage is actually a number of islands that form an outer barrier and then inner islands that segment the space into shallow and deeper anchorages.   We felt like we were nearly alone here.


Green Sea Eurchins
The next morning (on a coincidentally low tide) we went out for a paddle.  The low tide and quite weather made for some beautiful glass like conditions.  Tidepooling from a kayak is actually quite reasonable - you can get to within inches of walls that go right to the depths and some species come up on walls where they would never be caught on flatter land.  Some of the bright species like star fish and sea cucumbers can be spotted quite a ways down.



Agregating JellyfishLions Mane Jelly Open WaterLions Mane Jelly Near Shore

Glassy ReflectionClouds Parting Over Glassy WaterKayaking Up To Sailboats



Helen Opening Oyster
After a lovely morning Kayak, we came in for lunch and found the crew had secured us some lovely local oysters.  We all got a shot a shucking which was easier than I seem to remember it - I think the thick gloves gives you a bit more bravery about using the knife.
 


In The Zodiak Going To Village Site
In the afternoon we went for a zodiak ride to explore what might have once been a native village site.  The conditions were good - fresh water supply, more than one exit, good lookout potential, nice beach, but this area probably hasn't been habitated for 150 years and it was logged at some point in the last 100 years. 


Orange Stained Ocean
As we came around the corner I saw something I'd never seen before - a small patch of the ocean was orange.  I've seen brown ocean from cedar stained streams but Orange was totally new to me.  We came in to take a look and there was a strong fishy smell.   Current theory - one of the shell fish species around here is coming to reproduction season and they are heat sensitive - when the ocean hits the right temperature, they let go.  Orange Ocean.  Cool.


Old Growth Stump
We landed on the beach and walked around through the second growth forest.  The forest was pretty open and the floor was a combination of soft moss mats and rotting logs - almost like walking on a mattress.  One of our group was stung by a wasp (I was stung 5 times the year before so I know how much it sucks) and the guide had an innovative solution - banana slugs excrete a slime than numbs things.  We used a banana slug to reduce the pain.

Treating Bee StingPacific Sideband Snail

Walsh Cove
 
Pointing Out Pictographs
The next morning we moved the Kayak up to Walsh Cove.   Walsh Cove is further inland and the terrain is steep here - without the ocean this would probably be a canyon.  



More Abstract
At some point in the past, this site was a native settlement.  On the rock cliffs above the cover (protected from the elements) are pictographs painted onto the rock.  Some of the figures can be made out quite clearly, even though they must be more than 100 years old.  Some figures are quite easy to match to real world objects - other graphs are completely alien.

Fish And RacksFace
As we kayaked around, we noticed the orange water had caught up with us.  The spawn was thicker in protected areas where the waves and wind didn't push it around.  I half expected a humpback whale to show up for the food, but we weren't so lucky.  (We did briefly see a minke whale but he was cruising and we had no chance of keeping up).

Orange Water Around ShipPaddle Stroke In Spawn Shellfish In Orange Water

  Marbled MurreletSeal Poking UpCommon Murre
 
Oyster Farm
Across the arm from our anchorage was an oyster farm.  It's basically a bunch of floats holding ropes seeded with baby oysters.  The oysters get bigger and eventually some boat comes by pulls up the ropes to harvest the oysters.

Gulls On Oyster Farm FloatsGulls Taking FlightTwo Gulls On Floats

Helen Driving The Boat

While we were away, the crew had set a prawn trap.  Not knowing how productive our drop site was, we went out late that evening to check out our catch.   Sadly, we caught more fish than prawns (small fish can also get into prawn traps and the rapid ascent from the bottom kills some species.  We hoped for better luck over night, but the next morning had a pretty poor showing.


Cortez Island - Whaletown
Sadly, all good trips come to and close.  This trip ended with a twist - on the way back out of the wild we stopped in at Cortez Island.  Gorge Harbour has a gorge entrance and lots of good places to moor.  We came ashore and went for a walk to "Historic Whaletown".

Arbutus Growing In GorgePost Office In WhaletownChurch In Whaletown
 


Lions Mane Jelly Near Shore
Species: Cyanea capillata ()
Tags: BC fauna, jellyfish
Glassy Reflection
Tags: reflection
More Abstract
Altitude: 9m (29 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: art
Shellfish In Orange Water
Spleenwort Peaking Out From Under Rock
Species: Asplenium trichomanes-ramosum (green spleenwort)
Tags: fern, rock
Rafted Up
Tags: kayaking, panorama
Lions Mane Jelly Open Water
Species: Cyanea capillata ()
Tags: BC fauna, jellyfish
Two Tiger Lilies
Species: Lilium columbianum (Columbian lily)
Altitude: 25m (82 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Kayaking Up To Sailboats
Tags: boat, reflection, sailboat
Yellow Flowers On Shore
Tags: coast, flower, kayaking
Clouds Parting Over Glassy Water
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: kayaking
In The Zodiak Going To Village Site
Gulls Taking Flight
Species: Larus glaucescens (glaucous-winged gull), Larus canus (Mew Gull)
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: BC fauna, bird
Post Office In Whaletown
Tags: small town
Paddle Stroke In Spawn
Two Gulls On Floats
Species: Larus canus (Mew Gull)
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: BC fauna, bird
Cape Mudge Lighthouse
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: lighthouse
Orange Water Around Ship
Helen Opening Oyster
Altitude: 15m (49 feet)
Location: Go To...
Stormy Sky Over Bay
Common Murre
Species: Uria aalge (Common Murre)
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: BC fauna
Helen Mock Casting
Monkey Flower
Species: Mimulus guttatus (common monkey-flower, yellow monkey-flower)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Green Sea Eurchins
Species: Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis (Green Sea Urchin)
Tags: BC fauna, sea urchin, underwater
Orange Stained Ocean
Seal Poking Up
Species: Phoca vitulina (Harbor Seal)
Tags: BC fauna, marine mammal
Rusty Metal On Tug
Tags: boat, corrosion
Marbled Murrelet
Species: Brachyramphus marmoratus (Marbled Murrelet)
Tags: BC fauna, bird
Harvest Brodiaea
Species: Brodiaea coronaria (crown brodiaea, Harvevst Brodiaea)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Arbutus Growing In Gorge
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: tree
Base Of Waterfall
Tags: waterfall
Girls Going Shopping
Tags: boat, shopping
Helen And The Waterfall
Person: Helen
Fools Onion
Species: Triteleia hyacinthina (white brodiaea, wild hyacinth, Fool's onion)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Pointing Out Pictographs
Tags: kayaking, rock
Helen Driving The Boat
Person: Helen
Fish And Racks
Tags: art
Pacific Sideband Snail
Species: Monadenia fidelis (Pacific sideband)
Tags: snail
Flowers And Sailboats
Tags: boat, marina, sailboat
Loading Into Kayaks
Tags: kayaking
Bumper On Tug
Tags: boat
Agregating Jellyfish
Species: Eutonina indicans (Aggregating Jelly)
Tags: jellyfish
Refuge Cove Store
Location: Go To...
Tags: government dock
Waterfall From Crows Nest
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, coast, waterfall
Church In Whaletown
Altitude: 17m (55 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: place of worship, small town
Gulls On Oyster Farm Floats
Species: Larus canus (Mew Gull)
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: BC fauna, bird, farm
Face
Altitude: 9m (29 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: art
Walking On Rebecca Spit
Tags: forest, hiking
Lots Of Dock Space
Tags: dock, marina
Treating Bee Sting
Jaws On Tug
Tags: boat, reflection
Old Growth Stump
Tags: forest, stump
Kayaks At Sunset
Tags: coast, kayaking, sunset
Tags: BC fauna(9), boat(7), kayaking(6), flower(5), shallow depth of field(4), bird(4)
People: Helen(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Desolation Sound

Thank you so much for this wonderful pictorial display.
Vicki
Saturday, July 24th, 2010 at 18:11:13

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Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 01:23:24 Edit
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