2023 Princess Louisa Flotilla – Day 3 Sidney Harbor to Madeira Park | NW Explorations
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2023 Princess Louisa Flotilla – Day 3 Sidney Harbor to Madeira Park

Excited for the upcoming adventure on the other side of Georgia Strait, every boat’s crew was prepared with fenders and lines stowed and smiles all around! Joined by our new guests on Pilot House and Memories, we cast off and headed out into Swanson Channel.

On our way out the Sidney Harbor breakwater we waved to the crew on Double O’ Seven enjoying a leisurely breakfast and coffee, they have no need to rush.

The first part of the journey takes us through protected passages and scenic islands on our way north to Georgia Strait. As we neared Schwartz Bay, two BC Ferries passed in front of us. We weaved slowly through the islands for about two hours when sleek Double O’ Seven powered past us in Trincomali Channel, all smiles and fresh as ever. We may see them ahead of us in Georgia Strait, or perhaps on the other side?

Cruising through Gabriola Passage on our way to Georgia Strait, we leave the protection of the islands behind. The fleet spread out and traveled at their desired speeds as we settled in for the two-hour crossing. Patos, leading from behind, spotted a humpback just momentarily but unfortunately, couldn’t locate it again in the choppy conditions.

As we approached the mainland, snowcapped mountains loomed large ahead of us. Merry Island Lighthouse with its classic white buildings and bright red roofs marks the entry to Welcome Passage.

Shortly after entering the passage, three Transient orcas appeared to guide and entertain our flotilla. The towering six-foot dorsal made the large bull easy to identify but his two smaller companions may have been females, adolescent males or perhaps maybe even a female and her yearling calf? We throttled way back and enjoyed their company, all of us leisurely traveling in the same direction before they turned into a nearby cove.

We arrived and entered the complete protection of Madeira Park in Pender Harbor, where each boat chose their own spot to anchor. Maderia Park is a cozy cove that provides a calm safe anchorage surrounded by a beautiful community. A number of twisted, smooth, orange bark Madronas reached out over the water in search of more sun. It wasn’t long before Evan was busy fishing off Memories swim step. That evening the crew on Memories took their dingy ashore to visit with their friends who lived nearby.

These protected, quiet waters will make for a restful night’s sleep; a welcome peace to start tomorrow’s journey to Princess Louisa Inlet.

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