Saturday, December 17, 2011

Favorite Anchorages: Jedediah Island Area

In previous posts, I have provided information on crossing Georgia Strait.  In this post I'm going to describe a few anchorages that I have come to depend on when we cruise up or down Georgia Strait.  If the weather permits we try to break up the long "slog" of crossing Georgia Strait into two days, otherwise it makes for a very long day.  One of our favorite stops is the "Bull Passage" area.  Bull Passage is formed by Lasqueti (pronounced "Laz-kee-tee") Island to the west, and Bull and Jedediah Islands to the east.  This little archipelago is not only a convenient stop-over but beautiful and unique too.
Click on image to enlarge

Lasqueti Island has quite a few homes on it - some vacation homes, some permanent residents.  Jedediah and Bull Islands are a BC Provincial Marine Park.  These islands are great for gunkholing about in a dinghy or runabout.  If you are a photographer or artist you will have hours and hours of items to photograph, sketch, or paint.   The rock walls combined with the reddish arbutus trees and lighting are so beautiful.  On Jedediah Island you can even find small cactus growing in small nooks and cracks within the rocks.  I found these cacti by painful accident while sitting one day.  You can even find some hiking trails about.  There's plenty of wildlife too.  There are feral sheep on Jedediah Island left over from long ago homesteaders.  We have seen otters, seals, and whales in the area.  Sheer and Rabbit Islands have nesting colonies of sea birds.  There's good salmon fishing nearby too.  Oh, one downside about this archipelago - it's mosquito heaven.  On all the anchorages we have been bothered by these little voracious biting beasts.

There are several anchorages in this archipelago each one with it's own advantages and disadvantages and qualities.  On the chart you will see Long Harbour but I avoid it because it is shoal.  Occasionally on some neap tides I have seen boats anchored in Long Hbr, but I never have.  Many of the small bays and nooks in the area are too deep, shoal too quickly by shore, or are too shallow.  As a result, I have experience with six (6) different anchorages in the Bull Passage/Jedediah Island area.  They are in order of my preference when anchoring in this area.
MV Independence at anchor in Boho Bay.
  1. Boho Bay.  This is a scenic and popular anchorage.  Anchoring depths vary from 40' to 60' feet on a hard mud bottom.  Holding is good.  I've seen as many as 6-8 boats anchored here.  There are some stern tie rings on the Lasqueti Island side.  Many boats anchor near Boho Island.  I use this anchorage in any kind of weather - NW or SE winds on the Strait.  The downside to this anchorage is that it can be popular and there is a research facility at the head of Boho Bay that has pump noises, lights, and small boat traffic.
  2. "Sheep Anchorage."  This anchorage has the name "sheep anchorage" because late in the evening the feral sheep on Jedediah Island will come down to the shore to graze.  It's interesting to be in your boat and hear the bleating of sheep nearby.  Commonly we have enjoyed incredibly beautiful sunsets from this anchorage.  Anchorage depths vary from 20' to 40' over a mud and gravel bottom.  Holding is good.  Few boats use this anchorage.  Once we had two other boats with us anchored here.  I only use this anchorage in calm weather or if a SE wind is blowing.  NW winds will make this anchorage a bumpy one.  Remember the winds in Georgia Strait often start to blow after midnight.  So in the evening you settle down to a calm anchorage only to wake a few hours later thinking you are in a washing machine.  Another downside to this anchorage are wakes from passing boats as they cruise Bull Passage.
  3. "Paul Island Cut."  This is a small and often crowded anchorage.  A stern tie to shore is required.  There are stern tie rings available.  Depths are 20' - 40' feet.  Holding good to fair.  This anchorage can get crowded and I generally avoid it.  I compare it to staying in a "trailer park."  It is scenic though.  Good protection in any kind of weather, though I get nervous in winds because of the closeness of neighboring boats even when stern tied.
  4. "Little Boho Bay."  This anchorage is seldom used and I only use it if the other anchorages are full.  Anchoring depths are around 40' on a gravel and rock bottom.  Holding is fair.  I only use this anchorage in calm weather.  The downside is the holding and the small research facility nearby.  A salt water pump to feed the fish tanks is located here and you will hear its motor running for most of the time - although it does shut down late at night.
  5. "Rabbit Island."  This anchorage located at the eastern end of the channel between Bull and Jedediah Islands and west of "Rabbit Island" is rarely used because of where it is located.  You have to be careful navigating the channel between Bull and Jedediah Island or coming from the Strait.  So, chances are you may be the only boat anchored here.  It is very beautiful with the steep rock walls and arbutus trees surrounding you on two sides.  Anchoring depths are around 20-30' over a mud and gravel bottom.  Holding is good to fair.  I only use this anchorage if a NW wind is blowing or in calm weather.
  6. "Always Taken Anchorage."  This anchorage is a one-boat anchorage in a small nook just off of Lasqueti Island.  It is quite protected in any kind of weather.  Good holding on a hard mud bottom in depths 20-30'.  The downside to this anchorage is that it seems to be always taken with another boat, hence the name.  Caution needs to be taken because there is a rock right in the middle of the anchorage entrance.  Once, another boater had to anchor here too giving me a restless night of "are we going to bump."  As a result I rarely use this anchorage.
Bull Passage is about 20 nautical miles from Departure Bay, Nanaimo and about 45 nautical miles to Lund via Malaspina Strait.  Or, about 34 nm via Sabine Channel (west side of Texada Island) to Lund.  It's about 55 nautical miles to Campbell River.  Commonly when cruising down Georgia Strait we will leave our anchorage in this area to get to Nanaimo before Area WG (Whiskey Golf) becomes active (listen to VHF Weather Radio 3).  Or, many times you will notice that Georgia Strait winds die down in the late afternoon and evening, so you can do the short cruise from Nanaimo to these anchorages and then get a good start towards Desolation Sound the next day.  Whichever way you go, I hope you try this great area out.
Sunset from "Sheep Anchorage"
To read previous posts about Georgia Strait and this area see:

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