Desolation Sound 2021: Day 8: Toba Wilderness to Octopus Islands | NW Explorations


Desolation Sound 2021: Day 8: Toba Wilderness to Octopus Islands

Waking up at the docks of Toba Wilderness, we all were shocked by the layer of fresh snow along the peaks Mount Grazebrooke and Mount Wheildon. Families were checking in with their loved ones via phone and through video chat, saying hello before we planned to hit the sea at slack tide. Given we weren’t leaving until around noon, we all took advantage of the slow morning and either romped along the local trails again or utilized the gorgeous pavilion for waking up, drinking our coffee, and reading our books.

We got our boats ready and said goodbye to the ground’s keeper, getting the boats off one by one and heading back into Pryce Channel. We made our way through the passage and chatted a bit about farming fish as we passed a salmon pit and discussed the effects on the environment and how the only real benefit is to try and fit the demand of people destructing the balance of natural wild salmon populations for their own gain.


And today turned out to be the day of our dreams, we turned the corner into Raza Passage and unusual white caps headed our way caught our eye. We took a closer look on about 3 miles off Deception’s bow we had what looked like over one hundred white sided dolphins leaping through the air. It was an incredible sight to see these animals at top speed breaking the surface of water with such force they were creating their own turbulence.

In the grey day their wake was such a bright white it was hard to look away. These animals can top out at speeds of 25-30 miles an hour, catching air as they propelled themselves into the air as they cruised. But with that kind of speed, we were all questioning what was initiating such a disturbance…

Sure enough, after a bit of time watching these dolphins, we spotted four Bigg’s Killer Whales making head way in the channel towards Raza Island off Tibbs Point. In the pause of it all I took the time to explain the difference between the Bigg’s Killer Whales, also known as Transient Killer Whales, to the Southern Resident Killer Whales. What to look for to que you into who and what kind of apex predators you are hanging out with.

We were with a big male whose dorsal fin was almost, if not, 6 feet tall that made identifying him from the rest an east feat. As we took a closer look at the group the white sided dolphins scurred the other direction as we stayed back the respectful distance and saw this family had a calf that’s white spots were still yellow, letting me know this individual was still a handful of months, maybe even weeks, old.

With that, we turned the corner of Maurelle Island and one by one snuck through a pass called Hole in the Wall, a bit narrow but stunningly close enough for each boat to check out the geology and marine animal life tucked into the countless the little coves.

Octopus Islands are off the east side of Quadra Island, and just a bit southwest of the islands we hunkered down in Waiatt Bay. Anchoring up and inviting our fleet to raft with us was a perfect solution to another classic Pacific Northwest Fall afternoon. We all cozied up for the night, drank our tea and got back to reading our books and watching movies, spending quality time with the crew of our own vessels.

Tomorrow’s forecast looks like it should be gorgeous, and we are all really excited to spend one more day here in Waiatt Bay, already planning out our hikes and activities.

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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