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western canada

cormorants hanging out in ladysmith

We bought Pino in North Saanich, British Columbia, Canada in 2016. We left in August 2016 to circumnavigate the Pacific Ocean. We returned to our home waters in August 2020 after our north pacific ocean crossing from Japan.

3 tugs transiting gabriola pass

Tide and Current Resources

The tide and current situation makes it tricky to sail in BC, but there are many resources to make it easier to safely plan a sail. Always refer to the CHS Current and Tide Tables[1] and/or Ports and Passes Tides and Tables[2] when going through high-current passes like Dodd's Narrows, Porlier Pass or more dangerous rapids like Seymour Narrows and Malibu Rapids.

The Canadian Hydrographic Service also has a Current Atlas[3] in print that makes it easier to visualize how the current moves between the numerous islands populating the Salish Sea(Strait of Georgia and Juan de Fuca Strait). Looking up the month, day, and time in the Current Atlas Tables[4] will indicate the correct current chart to refer to in the Current Atlas.

[1] Tide and Current Tables (published by the Canadian Hydrographic Service)
Available here. Volume 5, 6 and 7 cover the entire Canadian West Coast. Released in January every year. Adjust for daylight savings time, being an hour off when transiting a rapid can be very dangerous.

[2] Ports and Passes
Tide and current guide, similar to the CHS tables, covering Puget Sound, BC, and SE Alaska. Contains local knowledge, and how to use secondary tables to calculate tides and currents at any secondary station.

[3] Current Atlas - Juan de Fuca Strait to Strait of Georgia (published by the Canadian Hydrographic Service)
Available here. Used in conjunction with Vol.5 of the Tide and Current Tables and/or the list of tables listed below(Washburne, Murray's, borsboom & ports and passes). This book contains diagrams illustrating where to expect strong tidal streams or large eddies, as well as surface currents caused by the discharge of the Fraser River. Keep the same copy forever. The atlas explains how to use secondary tables to calculate tides and currents at any secondary station

[4] Current Atlas Reference Tables

Use these tables to quickly determine which chart of the Current Atlas - Juan de Fuca Strait to Strait of Georgia to consult to reference when planning a sail. Released in January every year.

[5] Salish Sea Nemo Model Daily Results (A UBC project)
Models of tidal predictions in the Salish Sea, with visualizations.

Pino sailing in Queen Charlotte Strait on May 20th 2024, shortly after leaving Port McNeill Photo credit: Viktor and Caroline on SY Moonshine.

Wind and Weather Resources

To sail the Inside Passage waters don't use tools like Windy or Predict Wind, the geography of this coast is complex, it affects the wind in curious ways that are not reflected in their predictions.

For more accurate wind forecasts, look at the conditions reported by specific buoys, automated stations and lighthouses scattered along the coast[5,6 and 7](click on the Weather Conditions tab and select the desired buoy or land station). To learn how land affects these waters(inflow/outflow winds, cape effects, sea breezes etc), read books by local authors like Marilyn Johnson[8].

Books About Anchorages

See also Sailing Directions for anchorages.

Sailing directions

Sailing Directions cover all of Canada, and are essential to navigating waterways in B.C. The directions also include anchorages, and dangers. The books are available online as PDFs, get the latest sailing directions.

Our Summer Sailing Routes

Since 2020 we've spent our winters on the Victoria docks, and summers cruising in the Salish Sea. Dotted lines indicate the return trip, with some overlap with the starting routes.

Summer 2021 route

2021 sailing route in bc canada

Victoria > Cadboro Bay > North Saanich > Wesport Boatyard > Genoa Bay > Glenthorne Passage > Ganges(SaltSpring Island) > Montague (Galiano) > Southey Bay > Gabriola > False Creek(Vancouver) > Gabriola > Clam Bay > Montague Harbour(Galiano) > Lyall Harbour (Saturna Island) > North Saanich > Victoria. Note. We had engine problems that year, so we didn't cruise around too much. See engine rebuild. We also did a lot of boat projects, like installing our woodstove, our dry toilet and dealing with thruhulls.

Summer 2022 route

2022 sailing route in bc canada

Victoria > Sidney > Glenthorne Passage (Prevost Island) > Montague (Galiano) > North Cove (Thetis Island) > Nanaimo > Secret Cove > Pender Harbour > sturt bay Texada Island > Grace harbour > Melanie Cove > Refuge Cove > hathayim marine park > Melanie Cove > Tenedos Bay > Sturt Bay > Bargain Bay (Setchel Peninsula) > Gabriola (Silva Bay) > Montague (Galiano) > Lyall Harbour (Saturna Island) > Sidney > Montague (Galiano) > Sidney > Cadboro Bay > Victoria.

Summer 2023 route

2023 sailing route in bc canada

Victoria > North Saanich > Glenthorne Passage (Prevost Island) > Montague (Galiano) > Glenthorne Passage > Westport Boatyard > Genoa Bay > Maple Bay > Telegraph Cove (Thetis Island) > Gabriola (Silva Bay) > Smuggler Cove (Setchel Peninsula) > Pender Harbour > Princess Louisa Inlet > Baker Bay (Hotham Sound) > Thunder Bay > Sturt Bay (Texada Island) > Roscoe Bay (West Redonda Island) > Melanie Cove > hathayim marine park > Heriot Bay > Octopus Islands > Waiatt Bay > Octopus Islands > hathayim marine park > sturt bay > Ballet Bay (Nelson Island) > Smuggler Cove > Gabriola > DeCourcey Island(SE anchorage) > Montague Harbour Galiano > Glenthorne Passage > Sidney > Oak Bay > Victoria.

Summer 2024 route

2024 sailing route in bc canada 2024 sailing route in bc canada 2024 sailing route in bc canada 2024 sailing route in bc canada

Victoria > North Saanich > Montague (Galiano) > Secretary Islands > Smuggler Cove > Pender Harbour > Ballet Bay > Sturt Bay > Galley Bay (Desolation Sound) > Refuge Cove > Frances Bay > Shoal Bay > Forward Harbour > Port Neville > Telegraph Cove > Port McNeill > Millbrook Cove (Smith Sound)> Fury Cove (Penrose Island) > Codville Lagoon (King Island) > Lizzie Bay (Hunter Island) > Higgins Passage (Price Island) > Bone Anchorage, Racey Inlet (Princess Royal Island) > Patterson Inlet (Pitt Island) > Captain Cove (Pitt Island) > Prince Rupert > us se alaska(see this page for the rest of the route).

Our Cruising Notes

We don't write notes on all of the passes, ports or anchorages we visit, but here are a few:

SOUTH COAST

Gulf Islands

The Sunshine Coast

Desolation Sound

Discovery Islands

Johnstone Strait (and islands adjacent)

Queen Charlotte Strait

NORTH COAST

For combined notes on the other anchorages we've stopped at, check out bc north coast anchorages.

a great blue heron in ladysmith morning fog at clam bay between thetis and penelakut island rowing teapot around Lyall harbor on saturna island pino sailing out of Princess Louisa Inlet