Like all good mariners check your ‘must-haves’ before you depart. You should have your dock lines (4), fenders (4 or more) and power cord (and adaptor if being used). Please take note of how your yacht is tied up, two breast lines and two spring lines. This is how you will want to tie back up when you return. Please familiarize yourself with the marina exit and check for float planes. Once your passage plan has been approved and you are ready to leave don't be afraid to ask any of our friendly staff for assistance getting off the dock.
Upon departing Comox Bay Marina, immediately turn to port and leave the TWO ROUND GREEN STARBOARD HAND DAY MARKERS outside the entrance to starboard staying within 30 feet (10 meters) of the west end of the rock breakwater, to avoid the shallows on your right. REMEMBER RED RIGHT RETURNING
Once clear of the breakwater, you are in deep water and Goose Spit is clearly visible ahead and to your left. Have your paper chart in hand but use the onboard GPS to give your exact location. You’ll recognize Goose Spit to the south by sandy beach with buildings halfway along it and trees towards its outer end. Goose Spit Light, a quick flashing red light on a 15′ solid white tower with a red band at its top. This marks the western extremity of the spit.
Head directly for the west end of Goose Spit. Once clear of the Spit, you will see Sandy Island to the southeast (off the northern tip of Denman Island). Head directly for this island until you can clearly identify the Red Cone Buoy P50 marking the channel across the Comox Bar.
Once identified, head directly toward that buoy. The other two buoys marking the channel are also red – a Spar Buoy P52 and a Bell Buoy P54.
Hazard Alert: DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY OTHER ROUTE OVER THE BAR. There are no green buoys marking the channel. Stay within 50 meters of the RED buoys, leaving them to port. Range markers are visible during daylight hours,
Crossing the Straight of Georgia - CHART 3513
Once across the bar find Cardinal Buoy PJ, an east cardinal buoy marking the outer reaches of Cape Lazo shoals (Note: this is not visible from the bell buoy P54, but is easily seen across the Strait of Georgia in line with the smokestacks in Powell River). Head directly for the stacks (20°M) and you will find Buoy PJ without any problem.
Once at Buoy PJ you have two choices to reach the Sound:
- Shearwater Passage, west of Harwood and Vivian Island.
- Baker Passage between Cortes Island and Hernando Island.
Winds from the southeast will provide the choice of either route. Winds from the northeast recommend Shearwater Passage.
Hazard Alert: Note that Manson Passage is Out of Bounds and it is not a true passage.
- Shearwater Passage: Once you have identified Harwood Island (flat, dark green and heavily wooded) from Buoy PJ, head for the western side of the Island (005°M), leaving it slightly to starboard. Vivian Island (treeless and mostly barren rock) will also become quite visible from about halfway across the Straits. You may approach Vivian Island, and watch for Steller Sea Lions sunning themselves on the rocks.
Hazard Alert: Favour the Harwood/Vivian Island side of the passage to avoid Grant Reef and Mystery Reef which both dry at low tide.
Tip for locating Mystery Reef: if you were to draw a line from the eastern tip of Savary Island and the northern tip of Harwood Island, you would see it marks off the clear water between the reef and the shore. If you can see that you have crossed this line and still have not picked up the buoy, turn NW and run parallel to the shore (290°M) and you will pick it up very quickly.
Keep this line in mind if you are tacking up this shoreline. You will lose sight of the buoy quickly as it soon blends in with Harwood Island.