Anchors up at 9:30am on our way to Princess Louisa on this beautiful sunny day as we cruise slowly past the Double O’ Seven crew enjoying their morning coffee! Our voyage is timed to arrive at Malibu rapids at high water slack. It is imperative that we arrive at that time as the entrance at Malibu rapids is narrow, rocky and can be perilous when it floods and ebbs. We departed Pender Harbor under relatively calm conditions and edged along Malaspina Strait towards Agamemnon Channel.
Malibu rapids is about 45 miles from Pender but time spent in Jervis Inlet is breathtakingly beautiful keeping us well entertained as we travel up the fjord. Carved by glaciers thousands of years ago, this inlet varies from one to one and a half miles across with depths reaching 600 feet deep, making anchorages few and tenuous.
As we travel further into the inlet, the walls rise straight up from the water’s edge and the inlet becomes narrower and steeper. Mountains and snowcapped peaks over a mile high tower above us. Waterfalls cascade down from the tops of mountains from lakes we can only assume exist. In some places, forest filled u-shaped valleys hang along the sides, giving us a glimpse into the wooded habitat in this area.
Above us, great faces of charcoal grey granite cracked with what resemble massive claw marks, geometric shapes and what resemble eagles’ beaks, remind me of carefully carved lines seen in the local indigenous art. Waterfalls along the inlet offered places to pause for photo opportunities.
We arrived at Malibu rapids at slack as planned and passed through smoothly. The slack water gave us time to admire the Young Life camp perched on the shores of the rapids in a stunning setting with massive walls of the fjord reaching up to the sky. Up to 450 teenagers arrive each week at the Christian camp which provides numerous opportunities such as hiking, kayaking and even a ropes course. The camp is open for eight weeks in the summer.
Arriving at our destination at the headwaters of the inlet, Chatterbox falls, shrouded in its own mist, provides a magnificent welcome. At the top of the dock, the boardwalk, surrounded by moss-covered maple trees, massive cedars, Douglas firs and delicate salmon berry bushes offering up tasty golden berries, leads to Chatterbox falls. There are so many options to explore. They include kayaking, paddle boarding, dinghy rides along the shore and hikes that vary from easy walking trails to more challenging trails. MacDonald landing provides a ramp leading to short well-maintained trail. Another area leads to a trail that climbs up to a series of pools carved by a cascading waterfall and there is also an unmaintained and very steep, extreme trail to a defunct trapper’s cabin 1,050 feet above us near the top of the dock.
All the boats in the flotilla were able to moor along the dock, allowing everyone a chance to mingle and get to know each other better. As evening fell, we settled in for dinner and a quiet evening surrounded only with the sound of the Chatterbox Falls and the trill of birds in the forest.