Vancouver Island & Desolation Sound
Sat 24th Aug – Wed 4th Sept 2019

Vancouver - Canada

Vancouver Island

The long haul destination for Sundowners in 2019 is Vancouver Island in Western Canada. Across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver City lies Vancouver Island. The largest island on the west coast of North America at 290 miles long and 62 miles wide. The Strait of Georgia  (also known as The Salish Sea) is framed by Vancouver Island, the British Columbia coastline and Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. Its protected waters offer a world of sailing experiences from urban waterways to mile-deep fjords and mazes of islands and passageways. The Salish Sea is studded with hospitable marinas, where hospitality and provisions are always nearby, even as you enjoy mountainous coastlines, waters full of marine life and that cozy cove all by ourselves.

Vancouver Map

Nanaimo Sunrise

Nanaimo Sunrise

Desolation Sound

Many experienced yachtsmen regard the Desolation Sound area as not only the most beautiful and varied cruising area in British Columbia, but equal to, if not better than, any other area in the world. This coastal haven of majestic fjords, towering 7,000 ft. peaks, cascading waterfalls, and pristine lakes provides countless well protected anchorages scattered throughout its spectacular cruising grounds.

The almost complete absence of development or settlement results in a superlative “wilderness” feeling. This quality, which led Captain Vancouver to name the area “Desolation Sound”, is the quality that many people today wish to experience.  Enjoy hiking ashore where bald eagles, deer and mountain goats are only some of the abundant wildlife to be seen or swim in one of the many warm fresh water mountain lakes.


Warm summer temperatures and the meeting of the tides jointly cause the Desolation Sound region to enjoy the mildest climate, richest sea life and warmest water on the British Columbia coast. This phenomenon is just one example of the uniqueness of Desolation Sound. Oysters grow in abundance in these warm water areas. Water temperatures in the Sound often exceed 75°F (22°C) from June through September and opportunities for saltwater swimming are numerous.

Curme Islands ©Jerry387

Curme Islands ©Jerry387

Killer Whales

Killer Whales


Humpback, Grey and Minke whales tended to avoid the inside passage off the British Columbia mainland, making their yearly migration far off the western coast of Vancouver Island. In recent years more and more Whales, Orcas and Dolphins have been spotted off the coast of Powell River and in the waters of Desolation Sound, especially during the summer months.

While usually long gone to the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico by this time, there is growing evidence that more and more big whales are not just using these waters as migratory routes, but some are even staying in the Strait of Georgia all year round.

On land the native bird life includes Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Turkey Vultures, Cormorants and Kingfishers.

On the shores and rivers you may see Sea Lions, Black Bears, Grizzlies and River Otters. Huge colonies of seals gather near the cliffs on the western shore of Kinghorn Island and at Major Rock north of Lund.


Starting at Nanaimo on the evening of the 24th August we will be collected by the charter company from the ferry from Vancouver and taken to our yachts, home for the next ten days. After provisioning up we head out north up the Strait of Georgia on Sunday morning.

The next 10 days will be a mix of small ports, uninhabited islands and deserted bays. There will be plenty of sailing as the area is huge.

Finally we arrive back at base on the afternoon of Tuesday 3rd of September where we can overnight on the boats before heading off to Vancouver should you choose to stay longer or home.

Melanie Cove  ©A.Davey

Melanie Cove ©A.Davey

Important Trip Information
Vancouver Island & Desolation Sound

Embarkation: 1600 onwards on Sat 24 August 2019

Set sail: 1000 on Sun 25 Aug 2019

Arrival Back in Nanaimo: 1700 on Tues 3 September 2019

Disembark: 0900 on Wed 4 September 2019

The Sundowners member price of the trip for the yacht charter is £900 which includes the following:

  • Transfer from the Nanaimo Airport, seaplanes and ferry terminals to the charter basebase.
  • BBQ
  • Dinghy and Outboard
  • Full Bedding and Towels
  • Galley and Head essentials.
  • End Cleaning

Not included in the sailing event price are: flights, transfers other than from Nanaimo to base, personal insurance, victualling, meals ashore, diesel, water, mooring fees, and any personal expenditure.

The Club’s standard terms and conditions apply. Full details can be found here but in summary:

  • Paying your deposit commits you to the trip and to paying all payments as and when required.
  • If you withdraw from an event you are still liable for the full cost unless a replacement participant is found.
  • If a replacement is found there will be an admin charge made for the change of participant.
  • You agree to bear the shared cost of any security deposit loss levied by the charter company for damages.

The full cost of the deposit is 4000$ Canadian per boat.

Return flights to Vancouver are available from London for approx £500 – £600 with Air Transat

Do not book flights until advised to do so by the event organiser.

Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount
Deposit Immediately £200
Mid Payment 1 March 2019 £500
Final Payment 3 June 2019 £200
Total Cost £900


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