Desolation Sound 2021: Day 10: Octopus Islands to Gorge Harbour | NW Explorations

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Desolation Sound 2021: Day 10: Octopus Islands to Gorge Harbour

The float from Octopus Islands to Gorge Harbour was one of our most intricate navigations yet. Our plan is to pass through a few narrows that deemed us needing to time those crossings perfectly with the slack. Leaving the shallows of Octopus Islands was an easy feat as we were already familiar with the routes and the need to keep watch at certain angles. Entering Hoskyn Channel and heading south was a new territory for us and our 9 boats following close behind. Passing Read Island on our port was a gorgeous sight to see. As we crossed sheer point on the west side of Read Island, it felt very similar to the structures we have in the San Juans and exploring the geology and similarities in natural history were incredibly interesting. We were able to time the tides through Surge Narrows perfectly and made it through Beazley Pass with evident expertise.

Turning the corner of the south tip on Read Island, Read Point, not only were the Coast Mountains peeking out astern of us, but the local peaks on Vancouver Island morphed into the most prevalent sight on our horizon. We traversed Sutil Channel and made way to Cortes Island, passing Marina Island on our starboard and crossing over a shallow on the northern tip of the island called, Shark Spit. Once a bit more protected from the oceanic currents through Sutil Channel, we turned into Gorge Harbour with a slow and steady pace that made sight seeing along their vertical walls a main event to the entrance.

The wildlife tucked in this protected body of water was baffling! In a matter of minutes, we passed by six Bald Eagles, a flock of Harlequin Ducks, Harbor Porpoise, Harbor Seals, Loons, Common Murres, and tens of bright purple Ochre Sea stars that were scaling the walls as the tide receded.

Each boat fell in line, and we cruised in, hailing the docks to specify our assigned slips and thanking them for accommodating us, as everyone got excited for our group dinner at their dockside Floathouse Restaurant. Deception crew docked first, and we hopped off, pulled each boat in swiftly, tying lines and touching base with each boat’s crew.

Cozying up into the docks, crew gathered their reusable bags and made a beeline for the corner store right off the shore, gathering their provisions for our last few days afloat. A handful of us placed our groceries in our vessels and set out to explore the local land, finding trails and creek crossings, impressed with the upkeep of the grounds. It was lovely pass time to watch the wildlife move around the harbour and find their ways in and out, watching boats dock and undock and saying hello to the people we were sharing the space with.

There seems to never be a dull day on the water, as long as you are looking and watching and paying attention to the life around you. Blue Herons traversed the sky and seagulls made themselves known. It’s incredible what you see existing alongside you when you take a breath to be present.

Around 6:30, the crew all stepped off our vessels and made way to the restaurant atop the docks. The staff at Floathouse Restaurant had served their last open house the night prior but were kind enough to serve us a limited menu for tonight and hold all our guests inside for dinner, with the whole works of a starter, entrée, and even a dazzling dessert. Once everyone wrapped up we walked back to our homes and fell asleep full and happy to the sound of the soft rain on our hatches.

P.S. Is Desolation Sound on your bucket list? We can take you there! Reserve your spot on our 2022 Desolation Sound Flotilla today. 

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