2005 May 27: Princess Louisa Inlet – Cox Family Cruise

Photo Gallery. Dorothy’s sister and her family joined us in Victoria for a week of cruising. Five adult guests are the most we have hosted aboard ADAGIO, and we had a wonderful time. A few days in Victoria allowed us to gain our sea legs and accommodate to life aboard ship. Butchart Gardens was a hit.

A scenic and quick trip up through the Gulf Islands and across the Strait of Georgia brought us to Jervis Inlet on the British Columbia mainland coast. We craned our necks amazed at the soaring glacial valleys and snowy peaks. The weather was bright and sunny so we could see all of the snow fields on the tops of the surrounding mountains. The peaks were about a mile high and the water was 1500 ft deep. Talk about fjordland! Waterfalls tumbled down the mountains. We could sometimes hear a waterfall before we saw it. The cascades at the shoreline were tumultuous and the “bridal veils” down the bare, glacially polished rock faces were nearly a mile long.

It was a luxury having several extra sets of eyes to stand log-watch from ADAGIO’s bows. Our only complaint was the risk of sunburn. Our destination was Princess Louisa Marine Park, a small inlet at the head of Jervis Inlet. The Sailing Directions say, “Malibu Rapids flows through a narrow gorge. It is suitable for small vessels and should be negotiated at or near slack water…. tidal streams in Malibu Rapids attain 9 knots on the flood and ebb on large tides.” An “S” shaped turn is required to stay midchannel. You cannot see other boats entering the rapids from the other side. Steve steered us into the entrance to the rapids ten minutes before official low slack tide. A contrary current of 4 to 5 knots opposed our progress, and there were flat whirlpools but no strong rips. Three other boats passed us in the middle of the passage, even though we had announced on VHF channel 16 our intentions to enter.

Inside Princess Louisa Inlet, waterfalls surrounded us, and at the head of the inlet, lovely Chatterbox Falls roared and sprayed high into the air. We found a space for ADAGIO at the floating dock where numerous power cruisers and sail boats were barbequeing lunch, smoking fish, and sunbathing. Extra hands were on the dock ready to take our lines, and later complimented Steve on his maneuvering, saying that he did not really need any help.

We were quick to hike up to the base of Chatterbox Falls, where the spray flies high into the air, creating its own wind, and lightly moistening all who come near. One of the other cruisers told us that there had been much less water coming over the falls in the morning, and that as the sun warmed and melted the snow on the peaks, the flow of the waterfall at least doubled in volume. My sister and I botanized through the forest, identifying wild flowers and other Pacific Northwest plants.

Our transit out through the Malibu Rapids in the morning was beautifully uneventful, with broad whirlpools and a much wider channel at high tide.

We had planned to take our visitors to the vicinity of Powell River to catch a bus and ferry back to Vancouver. We were surprised that none of the marinas could accommodate ADAGIO, at such low tides. We altered course and headed for Cortes Island to the north. The new plan was to berth at Gorge Harbor where our visitors could catch a ride to the ferry to Quadra Island, and then another ferry to Campbell River. There they would rent a car and drive to Vancouver via the BC Ferry from Nanaimo.

Our weather had been extraordinarily beautiful. Dolphins joined us abeam of Copeland Islands, and seals lolled on the rocky islets. When we arrived at Cortes Island, we anchored in Cortes Bay, where we found our friend Joe on KATIEKAT and invited him to join us for dinner. The next morning we motored around the south end of the island and into Gorge Harbor, from where the marina owner generously drove our guests to the ferry terminal at Whalesong Cove.

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