August 2001
Amigos' Cruise to Desolation Sound

(If you like, you can skip down through the prose and go straight to the pictures below!)

Milo Ormseth, from Portland Oregon, keeps his 1983 Islander 36 Amigos in Newport, OR, and sailed north for the cruise of a lifetime to Desolation Sound.

We're anxious to hear more about the trip when he gets time, but he's sent along these pictures to give us a tantalizing glimpse of the rugged beauty along the way. Dwarfed by mountains across sparkling waters, rich in seafood and wildlife, each day brings new vistas.

As one might expect, a trip like this can have its challenges, and we first learned of the adventure with an email looking for Pathfinder parts in the vicinity of Pender Harbor, British Columbia. The Islander network pitched in, and Milo sent this email and partial description of his trip.

Hi Rick and Harry.

Thanks for responding to my wife's request for help. We ended up having an entire fresh water pump flown in from Pat's Marine in Seattle after their first shipment of the forward half didn't fit. So we spent 3 days in Pender Harbour---actually a very nice place to be, but not what we wanted to do.

Getting to Desolation Sound does require considerable time, but it is an awesomely beautiful place and well worth the effort. Distance traveled in and near the Strait of Georgia depends a lot on tidal currents as well as wind, but you need at least 2 and preferably 3 or 4 days each way between DS and Vancouver unless you want to sail at night--which few do and we didn't. Once you're there, it would be easy to spend a couple weeks or more--but even a day there is worth the trip, since the trip itself is great sailing. A person sailing up from CA would probably want to stay closer to Vancouver Island until he reached Nanaimo and then cross the strait to Pender Harbour---but anyone coming that far really should explore both sides of the strait.

Islander 36ers may be interested to know that there is one of their own kind in a charter fleet in Nanaimo--sorry I don't know the name of the agent or boat. There are many good places to dock or anchor along both sides of the strait. (We usually dock at least every 3rd night in order to stretch our legs, charge our batteries and replenish our icebox.) There are also a few places (including Lund, the north end of #99) reachable by land and others served by scheduled ferries and float planes.

There are several good cruising books--we use and like Waggoner's (spelling?)-- that will enable even a first-time visitor to get along well and have a wonderful time. Detailed charts and Washburn's (sp?) tide and current tables are also a must unless you have Nobeltec or something similar--and I use them alot even tho we do have Nobeltec.

Click on images to enlarge, click "Back" to return. Photos by Milo Ormseth and Bill Griffiths.

Amigos riding to bow anchor and tree astern in Smuggler's Cove, 10 miles SE of Pender Harbor, B.C. Skipper Milo Ormseth in Desolation Sound, just north of Lund, B.C.
Crew Bill Griffiths shucking oysters in Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island in Desolation Sound. (Future)

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