Logbook: Rounding the Brooks Peninsula and to the Bunsby Islands

We left San Josef Bay for water, fuel, laundry and provisions in Winter Harbor at the edge of Quatsino Sound. We didn’t have many must do places in Quatsino Sound and we have been trying to focus on spending more time in fewer places like the 8 nights we spend just South of the Brooks in Sea Otter Cove and San Josef Bay. This means that we are going to need to skip some of the inlets and sounds on the W Coast of Vancouver Island if we want to be inside by the end of the Fall. Winter Harbor isn’t so much a town as it is a collection of fishing charter operations and a marina with a general store which had very little fresh when we visited.

You can see the “M” above the word “Quatsino” in this image. That is our anchorage in North Harbor just South of the tiny village of Winter Harbor. After two nights and our day of fishing, we had a gale forecast for our area so instead of going South, we decided to head into Quatsino Sound to Varney Bay which has a river at its head that leads to a canyon and a lake (the purple circle half way into the island).

brooksWe weren’t very excited about heading that far into the inlet because although you can often sail in (if the weather is blowing in from the sea) but you usually have to motor a long way back out, plus another narrows to time. Both things making us feel that going deep in the sounds means more suck than we want unless we are going to play inside for a while.

When we got out into Quatsino Sound there was NO wind and it looked only moderately windy at sea so instead of taking a left to go inside the Sound we took a right and rounded the Brooks Peninsula (see red arrow). The Brooks Peninsula is this big thumb that sticks out of the W Coast of Vancouver Island. Or perhaps a wee beaver tail?  The winds are often much stronger at the South tip of the Brooks than they are on either direction which was true for the day we rounded it as well. We had 10-15 knots which built to 20-25 as we rounded it but things died back down as we headed inland toward the Bunsby Islands.

The Bunsby Islands (see blue dot) are kayaker central. We have seen and chatted with kayakers, seen boats delivering kayakers and chatted with other sailboats with kayaks aboard. We are having a fantastic time and I’ll write a separate post with kayaking photos. We anchored for the first 4 nights at Scow Bay. The next night there was 44 knots recorded at the island at the North tip of the brooks but we were tucked away and saw nothing more than occasional gusts in the teens which wrapped into the harbor and then immediately died.


IMGP2544 On our second night we celebrated with some sparkling wine which was a bon voyage present from our friends Dave & Allison – THANK YOU!

Let the socializing begin! We’ve had this anchorage either to ourselves or shared it with one other boat each night. On our third night we met a young couple aboard a 44 foot Nordic called SV Northern Lights and had them aboard for pre-dinner drinks which turned into a 4  hour, very fun, chat/drink/snack fest. They live in Campbell River so perhaps we will see them again before we head South. On our 4th night we were offered (and accepted) some excess salmon by a man kayaking from another boat (MV Ms. Al) in the anchorage and we had them over for sundowners, fresh bread with balsalmic/oil and chocolate berries they brought (yum) and the next day we went out fishing on their boat. He also gave Carol some advice and bit of fishing gear that he had constructed/designed for bottom fishing from a kayak. Carol has already caught two reasonable sized rock fish with it.

- L

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