2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 1, Day 3 – Pender Harbour to Prideaux Haven | NW Explorations


2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 1, Day 3 – Pender Harbour to Prideaux Haven

Leaving Pender Harbour, we were greeted by clear blue skies and a warm rising sun. One by one we started on our way north through the Strait of Georgia with Texada Island off our port side, cruising 51 nautical miles into Prideaux Haven, keeping our eyes peeled for any wildlife or interesting landmarks to start conversation about.

One of the most interesting finds of our day was weaving through the Copeland Islands Marine Provisional Park and spotting the well-hidden pictographs tucked in the rock faces along our starboard side. Near the middle of the channel, you can find remnants of old logging operations and near these artifacts about a third of the way up the wall you can spot faint red markings in a white patch of granite with three individual pictographs painted in what researchers have found to be a powder form of iron that was mixed with saliva and fish eggs to create a rich oil like paint stain.

Exiting the slender channel, we take one step closer to entering Desolation Sound, crossing between Sarah and Mary Points before we know it and gazing up and the stunning tide water peaks on this crisp blue afternoon. George Vancouver’s influence still holds up in the way many of the locations in coastal British Columbia are named, with the example of Sarah and Mary Points being named after his two sisters, however the most notable is the way his experience coming into this area on a dreary day coined a name that so wrongly perceived such a rich destination as desolate and void of “a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye.”

Turning the corner of Sarah Point we are greeted by the breathtaking Mount Denman at an elevation of over 6,000 ft straight up from the water with all its neighboring peaks creating a crown like mountain scape officially welcoming us into Desolation Sound.

Prideaux Haven is one of our favorite anchorages here in Desolation Sound, especially in the shoulder seasons before the summer rush comes in or the winter weather prevents safe travels. Cruising into Melanie Cove, Deception finds a sturdy stern tie, sets anchor, and calls in all the participants from the fleet who would like to be alongside us!

As the raft gets settled, we all bask in the sun, share drinks, dip our toes, and even swim for a while in the water enjoying the warm surface layers. It may be late spring, but we all agreed that it’s definitely starting to feel like summer! We cut open a watermelon and pass it around to the fleet, sharing the summer-like moment with our lovely flotilla family here in Prideaux Haven.

Melanie and Laura Coves have a long history as a safe haven and winter site for the Coast Salish First Nations with shell middens and rare arrow heads found throughout the anchorage. In more recent times Prideaux Haven has acted as a European settlement site that nurtured non-native fruit trees and vegetable gardens suppling folks who called these coves home an ability to survive and even thrive in what prior explorers saw as arid and infertile.

Tucking in for the night we enjoy the warm glow that illuminates the trees surrounding us and listen to the local wildlife wrap up their own evenings as we set our tables and wave goodnight to the rest of the raft.


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