Pacific Northwest Sailing Areas

The Gulf Islands / San Juan Islands

The Pacific Northwest sailing areas include the Gulf Islands, and more than a dozen large islands and countless small islets make up the island chain. With a blend of Mediterranean flavor and Canadian charm, this west coast Gulf Island paradise is an escape to a small slice of paradise.

View of Mt Baker in Pacific Northwest Sailing Areas
View of Mt Baker from the San Juan Islands

There are less than 30 inches of rain annually on the BC Gulf Islands. They lie southwest of the Strait of Georgia, between Campbell River to the north and Victoria to the south. Sheltered waters, strong tides, and dramatic coastlines surround this necklace of islands.

Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound Marine Park is another popular destination in the Pacific Northwest. This lake is truly magical, bringing boaters and paddlers from faraway lands. With more than 37 miles of coastline, Desolation Sound offers plenty of isolated bays and campsites.

Safe anchorages in Desolation Sound Marine Park, at the confluence of Malaspina Inlet and Homfray Channel, include:

Grace Harbour

Grace Harbour is a long and narrow bay, and the inner part of the harbor is completely protected from all winds and seas. There are a few wilderness camping spots at the end of the bay and a series of hiking trails. Follow the trail at the northern end of the harbor to a small, peaceful freshwater beaver lake.

Galley Bay and Isabel Bay or other bays provide anchorage for cruising boats and landing spots for kayakers wishing to explore ashore or set up camp for the night.

Thors Cove | Pacific Northwest

The wind from the southeast blows up Okeover Inlet and out of Malaspina, then blows down Lancelot Inlet and almost directly into Thors Cove. The most effective protection in these circumstances can be found at the extreme south end of the cove or directly behind a tiny inlet near the south end.

Theodosia Inlet

The current, though relatively slow on the outside of the Theodosia Narrows, is reasonably rapid within it. There is good anchorage throughout Theodosia Inlet as well as behind this islet.

Wootton Bay in the Pacific Northwest

Part of the sailing attraction in the Pacific Northwest is Wootton Bay. Several temporary anchorages are possible near the head of Wootton Bay with good protection from the nighttime westerly but somewhat exposed to anything from the south or southeast.

Mink Island

Even though it is outside the park, Mink Island is a popular anchorage in Desolation Sound. The outer anchorage is pretty deep and open to the east, and you will find better anchorage behind a small islet near the head of the cove.

Tenedos Bay

Tenedos Bay is a popular anchorage because it is protected and convenient to a freshwater swimming hole, Unwin Lake. Kayakers and campers can explore nearby Mink, Curme, and Otter Islands.

Prideaux Haven

Prideaux Haven is a lovely bay with islands, small coves, and passageways. It is one of the most beautiful anchorages in Desolation Sound, and this is a wonderful place to explore by kayak or SUP. You will find tidal pools, marshes, and wildlife on the land.

Melanie Cove and Laura Cove | Pacific Northwest Sailing Areas

These are favored anchorages for boaters, although anchorage is available at several shorelines. The park contains several parcels of private land.

Steep evergreen mountains surround the pristine waters of Desolation Sound, all abounding with wildlife. These waters are pleasantly warm in the summer, making them great for watersports like swimming and snorkeling. The scenery is breathtaking.

Many yachtsmen regard the Desolation Sound area as the most beautiful and varied cruising area in BC. With the variety of spectacular scenery, warm summer climate, and an abundance of shelter and anchorages, this area has everything you could want in a yacht charter destination.

The above are some of the Pacific Northwest Sailing Areas. Alaska would be an exciting alternative for a charter.

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