Circle Route in 10 Days
Based on early boarding and a 10-day charter, this is an itinerary for power yachts capable of a minimum of 8 knots.
After arriving in Comox and early boarding the previous day, be ready to leave the DSYC base early for your trip across the Salish Sea, via Mystery Reef and Lund. If you have time, you can stop at Lund and sample the world-famous cinnamon buns and coffee. Continuing up through Thulin Passage and the Copeland Islands, you are on a direct route to the very safe and pleasant anchorage of Squirrel Cove.
Today, you must leave at a time that will allow you to reach the Yuculta/Dent/Gillard Passage tidal rapids at just before slack, with the tide turning to Ebb (north). Consult your Ports and Passes book to determine when slack is and arrive early as the tide charts can be slightly off.
After passing through this area, continue for a few more nautical miles until you reach Shoal Bay, once the largest community north of San Francisco. This old mining community now consists of a pub, showers, government wharf, laundry and a challenging hike up to an old gold mine.
This is another day of getting through tidal rapids. Just after leaving Shoal Bay, you’ll reach Greene Point Rapids and further on Whirlpool Rapids. Both narrows can be transited in a single slack period. Remember to arrive at Greene Point just before slack and ebbing north.
Once through Whirlpool Rapids, continue down Sunderland Channel until you reach Johnstone Strait. Turn to starboard and hug the coast passing Port Neville. When you reach the Broken Islands and the entrance to Havannah Channel, turn again to starboard and cruise to Chatham Channel. This narrow pass requires you to keep the range markers fore and aft in line to transit. At the blowhole, navigate through and into Lagoon Cove, your home for the night. (reservations required).
From Lagoon Cove to Echo Bay, your destination for today is about 25 NM. After leaving the comforts of Lagoon Cove continue down Clio Channel until you reach Beware Passage. This stretch of water is littered with reefs and isolated rocks. Follow your charts carefully and you’ll navigate easily.
Continue north through a variety of islands. You will pass several old derelict First Nations villages, Karlukwees and Mamalilaculla. After a very pleasant cruise through the islands of the Broughtons, you’ll arrive at Echo Bay Marine Resort. Reservations are necessary and events are conditional.
This is your turnaround point.
There’s no travel today so take your dinghy into Shoal Harbour and explore or hike over to Billy Proctors Museum and logging display. Echo Bay provides a store, fuel, water, Wi-Fi, cell service and more.
Today you start your return journey to Comox via Tribune Channel and up and around to the top of Gilford Island passing the beautiful Lacy falls and on to Kwatzi Bay. Take time to experience the Falls and enjoy an exhilarating hike.
Back on board continue toward Chatham Channel passing the unique Minstrel Island. After transiting the Chatham Channel continue straight until you reach one of two good anchorages. The once large First Nations settlement of Matilpi or continue another nautical mile to Boughey Bay.
Here you can row ashore and discover the old logging community that was once a thriving settlement. See if you can find the paved road in the bush.
Heading south down Havannah Channel, you will once again exit onto Johnstone Strait at the Broken Islands. Do not attempt to cut through the Islands – go around. This is a long stretch of Johnstone Strait and is better navigated in the morning. Afternoons can bring Katabatic winds that roar down the Straight and cause uncomfortable seas. Your destination is the mouth of Mayne Passage and on up to Blind Channel Resort, (reservations required) a full-service resort offering a restaurant, fuel, water, store, hiking and more.
You will backtrack down Mayne Passage to Johnstone Strait and continue south passing Chatham Point Lighthouse until you reach Okisollo Channel. One of the most beautiful passages on the coast; this will lead you to Upper and Lower Rapids. Time your travel to arrive at Upper Rapids at slack tide leading to a flood. This will allow you to transit both sets of rapids with ease.
At the southern end of Upper Rapids, you’ll pass the west entrance to the famous “Hole in the Wall”. Your anchorage tonight is peaceful Waiatt Bay. There is a narrow but easily navigable passage that will lead you through the Octopus Islands and on into the Bay. There is a good anchorage at the westernmost portion of the Bay in good holding mud. Ashore you will find a hiking trail that leads over to the other side of Quadra Island.
This is a long day and so an early start is advised. You’ll experience your last set of rapids today. Beasley Passage is more commonly referred to as “Surge Narrows”. Time your passage for slack tide leading to a flood and you’ll be able to ride the southerly flowing tide down past Mittlenatch Island on your way to crossing the Comox Bar and your anchorage for the night, Henry Bay on the north end of Denman Island.
It’s a short motor over to Comox Harbour to refuel your yacht. Call DSYC base and advise them of your time of arrival at the fuel dock and a skipper will meet you and take you back to your slip. You must be off the vessel by 0900hrs. Make sure all your personal gear is accounted for.
We hope you had a great time and look forward to your next adventure with Desolation Sound Yacht Charters.