Inside Passage the Sunshine Coast

Searching for Sunshine Along the Sunshine Coast

Friday, February 26, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA

Cambria stern-tied in Deep Bay in 2013.
We left Carrington Bay (Cortes Island) early Monday morning, stopping off in Heriot Bay (Quadra Island) to buy some provisions and fill the water tanks before setting off on a 60-mile day. Our destination: Deep Bay, Jedediah Island. Our plan: to spend a couple of days mooching around and generally enjoying life in an area called the Sunshine Coast. Our problem: we couldn’t get a good set with our anchor and stern-tie.

Deep Bay falls on the small side when it comes to anchorages and requires a stern-tie. When we arrived that evening, there were already three boats there – two tied to the northern shore and one tied to the southern. Squeezing in proved to be a little difficult, but we dropped the anchor, got a set, tied to shore and settled in for a peaceful night with the idea of staying for a couple of days while waited out another frontal system that was due to hit the area.

Cambria had other ideas. We were getting ready to go to shore the next afternoon when the boat started to get a little too close to the rocks, thanks to the prevailing wind out of the southeast (which put it just forward of our port beam). Deep Bay offers good protection out of that quadrant, but Cambria has a fair amount of windage and started to crab a bit so we upped anchor and tried again, coming up with the same result. We tried one more time but couldn’t seem to improve the boat’s final position (most likely over thinking it at that point). With the wind forecasted to increase to 40 knots over the next day or so, we called it quits and moved over to Tucker Bay on the northern end of Lasqueti Island.

The promised gales in the Strait of Georgia arrived early Wednesday morning and continued through Thursday. We saw a steady 15 to 18 inside the protection of the anchorage while nearby stations were reporting much higher sustained winds with gusts in the upper 30s. To the south of us, near Nanaimo, it was only blowing 11 to 16 knots. With nothing better to do than watch the rain fall, we decided to find out why the “split” occurs here.

A quick look at a chart told us all we needed to know – Alberni Inlet.

Environment Canada breaks the Strait of Georgia into two sections for its weather forecast: North of Nanaimo and South of Nanaimo. Honestly, we’d never given it much thought and just assumed the reason was the impact from Johnstone Strait on the northern waters and the impact of Juan de Fuca Strait on the southern waters. To some extent, that’s true. But that’s not the whole story. Alberni Inlet runs deep into Vancouver Island and is open to the Pacific Ocean. Winds can funnel up the channel and scream down the eastern side of Vancouver Island by way of Qualicum Beach, impacting the weather in the area . . . and we placed ourselves smack dab in the middle of it.

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  1. Oh yeah. Those winds come screaming in from the Pacific and rock the place to heck and back. And the rocks...the rocks. We have had 'discussions' about how close rocks our to our precious hull. The always just seem to loom. That's such a beautiful boat. Don't blame you for protecting her one bit!

    1. They sure do! And the rocks are a real issue (for me especially because my depth perception is not very good), but we like Jedediah Island a lot so I'm sure we'll give it another try (even if our stern-tying skills leave something to be desired).