SAMPLE FIVE-DAY ITINERARY
Check out this typical adventure to get an idea of what - and where - is possible in 5 days.
We can implement this plan, adjust it as desired, or create a unique adventure for your group!
Sample 5-day route across Georgia Strait and thru the Gulf Islands, with the 4 overnight destinations shown.
Cast-off and Connect
DAY 1: GIBSONS to NANAIMO - first crossing of Georgia Strait
Leave the shore and worries behind, enter the magical space of sea & sky.
Settle in for a sail across gorgeous Georgia Strait to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Or participate in managing the boat as lookout, at the helm, or on the sails. The spectacular islands and mountains of the Howe Sound fjord recede into the distance as we make our way into the strait. We'll see seals, and if were lucky, even some dolphins and perhaps a couple of whales.
As we approach Nanaimo, the famous sandstone bluffs of Gabriola Island will be closeup on our port side. Once we arrive at our destination in Nanaimo Harbour, we'll tie up at Newcastle Island, a beautiful island park. After a little walk ashore, we'll enjoy a BBQ or dinner onboard, or take the tender over to the Dinghy Dock Pub and Floating Restaurant on nearby Protection Island.
After dinner, you can explore historic Newcastle Island with its fascinating tidal effects, old-time millstone quarry, and natural beauty. Or get out on these sheltered waters with the kayak to explore the shoreline closeup or paddle thru the tidal channel between Newcastle and Protection channels. Or just chill at the pub, or relax on the boat for the evening with some fine wine and a good book, play cards and visit... or all of the above.
At some point each evening, will plan out the next day's itinerary based on the latest wind, tide, and current forecasts, especially when our route will pass through a narrow channel for which timing our passage at slack tide is critical.
DAY 2: NANAIMO to CHEMAINUS - sailing among the Gulf Islands
We'll wake up slowly and, after a leisurely breakfast, cast off on a new day's adventure.
We can stop at the Port of Nanaimo for a gourmet coffee in one of its many waterfront cafes, and perhaps pickup some world-famous Nanaimo bars, and/or do a bit of shopping.
We'll head south amid the northern-most of the southern Gulf Islands: Gabriola, Mudge, Valdez, and Thetis to name a few, timing the passage through Dodd's Narrows with precision (since getting there at the wrong time, when the current is flowing at 5+ knots, makes it impassable). Stuart Channel then opens up into a soul-stirring vista of sea, sky, mountains, islands, forests, and peace.
We can make a stop at Ruxton Island for a swim around its unusually smooth rocky shoreline; then make our way to the small port of Chamainus and - after stopping in the little town - settle for a mooring buoy by the beach on its outskirts.
FYI: Chemainus is a little town snuggled between a mountain range and the ocean on Vancouver Island's east shore. When its only industry failed, Chemainus showed the world its true spirit and determination, and achieved fame through the hands of artists (extracted from "The Little Town that Did"). On a practical note, Chemainus has great bakeries, shops, street murals, and a bustling little harbour.
Explore & Discover
DAY 3: CHEMAINUS to MONTAGUE HARBOUR
Our day can start with a swim around the boat on its mooring buoy or over to the beach.
We can breakfast aboard or head over to one of the excellent bakeries and restaurants in Chemainus. Once ready to go, we'll head out and sail around the northern tip of Saltspring Island, coming alongside Wallace Island (famous for its former Hollywood visitors like Marilyn Munroe).
After a sweet day of sailing the protected waters between the Gulf Islands, we approach the southern end of Galiano Island, and arrive at Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park, our next overnight port.
We'll tie to a buoy in sheltered Montague Harbour, rich in natural and cultural history with white shell beaches, open meadows, tidal lagoons, towering forests, craggy headlands climbing 180 metres, and abundant bird life. Gray Peninsula, on it's north side, was inhabited by First Nations peoples before the arrival of Spanish explorer Dionisio Galiano in 1792.
This is a great place to kayak, hike, picnic, swim, and catch a beautiful sunset!
Land & Sea
DAY 4: MONTAGUE HARBOUR to SILVA BAY
Montague Harbour is one of our favourite overnight destinations because it offers so much!
We'll delay our departure until noon to enjoy some kayaking, hiking, swimming, exploring Galiano Island, or just relaxing on the beach.
After lunch we'll get underway, with three options for our sailing route, based on which of the three passes (Active Pass, Porlier Pass, Gabriola Passage) has the best timing for slack tide and currents. Either way, we'll sail part of the trip on the Georgia Strait side of the Gulf Islands to end up at Silva Bay at the south end of Gabriola Island for the evening.
Silva Bay offers stunning views of the Flat Top Islands and across the Strait to the Coastal Mountains. On the rural south end of Gabriola Island, within walking distance of farms, art gallery, wooden boat shops, kayaking, and fishing, as well as a resort with a pub and liquor store. There's something for everyone!
DAY 5: SILVA BAY to GIBSONS - second crossing of Georgia Strait
After one last leisurely morning on the boat and the adjacent Gabriola Island shore, we'll head out for our second crossing of Georgia Strait, and return to our home port of Gibsons.
With favourable winds, we'll enjoy sailing at its best and make good time. If the Strait is beclamed, we'll motor across at an easy pace, with a stop midway where we can enjoy a refreshing swim in the pristine waters 10+ kilometers from any shore. Either way, you'll have a great opportunity to take a turn at the helm and/or work the lines (if you wish).
As we approach Gibsons, we'll discover the entrance to Howe Sound, the most southerly fjord on the west coast on North America, to be a stunning welcoming scene. In the distance to the east, we'll see Vancouver with a new perspective - what a beautiful city it is!... with its downtown skyline next to Stanley Park, and the Lions Gate bridge crossing Burrard Inlet to the majestic north shore mountains.
We'll return home feeling relaxed and inspired by our sailing adventure!