Desolation Sound 2021: Day 11: Gorge Harbour to Buckaneer Bay | NW Explorations


Desolation Sound 2021: Day 11: Gorge Harbour to Buckaneer Bay

Today was a passing for the pros to really show their stuff! Making our way out of Gorge Harbour we set out on a 4-hour cruise from Octopus Islands to Buckaneer Bay. Given the weather we decided as a fleet to sail on for another hour past Jedediah marine park to take refuge in a cove a bit more protected off the southwest tip of Sechelt Peninsula. Our route left Cortes Island headed south down the Strait of Georgia, and it’s as if we were riding the boundary between two very distict weather regions. Off our starboard we were witnessing blue skies and fluffy white clouds, and to our immediate port we had fall weather rearing its head. But what made that dark grey so incredible was the way it made the colors of fall along the coasts of Texada Island pop against the backdrop.

Our journey through the Strait of Georgia Brought us flocks of migrating snow geese, sea lions and harbor seals, and to our astonishment two separate sightings of Humpback whales. One pair was moving right alongside us, headed south a few knots shy of our own and they rode our wake as we passed by in the middle of the strait. However, hugging the west shore of Texada, we were astounded to see a pod of 5 Humpbacks headed north, passing by us with blows reaching 20 feet high. These animals will start to migrate back down south for the winter, making that turn at the beginning of fall. They head north during our summers here in the northern hemisphere to dine on the nutrient rich water and turn back to warmer waters when both the temperature and sun availability start to decline.

As we made our way between Lasqueti and the southwestern tip of Texada Island, we said hello to yet another Humpback. This fellow seemed to be sleeping, better known as logging, where the animal tucks themself in a protected body of water and preforms what is known as conscious breathing, where they remain alert enough to ensure their blowhole is at the surface of the water in order to take a breath. This voluntary action requires that they keep part of their brain awake and firing to trigger each breath once at the surface. Another way scientists have discovered whales and dolphins to reach a state of rest is by allowing only one half of their hemisphere to ‘sleep’ at a time. The other half remains alert and in partner, the opposite eye. The attentiveness allows these animals to keep track of their own breathing and their pod member’s whereabouts, resting the other half of its brain and opposite eyeball every other 2 hours.

We continued on making headway alongside Texada and sure enough as we turned around the southern tip of Texada Island we hit rollers that made for a fun20 minute roller coaster east towards Thormanby Islands. The weather was now clearing up on either side of us and the sun greeted us as we pulled into Buckaneer Bay, making us consider putting some sunscreen on for our beach walk!

Most boats hopped in the dinghies once anchored and we grouped up for a fun beach walk. Given the rollers out in the Strait of Georgia, the shores of the outer islands were covered with oceanic debris, mostly seaweeds and shells but every once in a while we would find feathers and tiny starfish.

Groups wound down on the beach and started making way back to their vessels once the sun was down and tucked in for a warm meal and a stunning sunset. The sky lit up orange and red as at higher elevations the clouds passing overhead were dropped snow along the high peaks of British Columbia.

It’s bittersweet to be counting down the days until we pull back into port in Bellingham, but tomorrow’s trip to Chemainus will be a perfect send off from our time here in Canada and given we were able to shave off an hour of our float time, our 15 miles crossing across the Strait of Georgia will be a brisk breeze.

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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