I am always on the go. Even when I’m at home, not focusing on SALT, I have so many creative aspects that consume my thoughts. So when July rolls around, and it’s time to head out for our annual family sailing trip to Desolation Sound, I am happy to leave my many work hats behind and enjoy some time on the SALT water.
My family and I have been taking this trip since I was born. Desolation Sound and our sailboat have been a refuge for us over the years, as we all lead busy entrepreneurial lives. Our first trips were taken on board a small 27ft sailboat named Jubilie Blue. Just Mom, Dad, and two crazy kiddos setting off for a sunny adventure. Desolation Sound was full of childhood firsts for me. It is where I learnt how to row a boat, where I caught my first fish, and probably received my first rosey glow from the sun! These trips are just one of the ways I experienced the beauty of the natural world, and grew my profound love for the ocean at such a young age!
Over the years, our boat has grown multiple times and is now a 44ft sailboat named Akela. Alongside this growth has been the growth of the family. My parents are now known as Nan + Pops while I’m Auntie J! This change is what made this last trip to Desolation such a profound milestone for us all. Sharing this beautiful place with a new generation of wanderers and tiny earth warriors is just pure magic!
Desolation Sound is a boater's haven. It is one of BC's provincial parks covering 8,449 hectares of land with over 60 km of shoreline. It is nestled in the waters way up the Georgia Straight, past Savary and Hernando Islands. Days spent here are filled with fishing, sun catching, book reading, swimming, and hiking to nearby lakes and waterfalls.
This natural haven tucked between Vancouver Island and the mainland is home to a number of key anchorages but we choose our favourites and float between them! Mink Island is always our first stop, where we stern tie to a tiny island and jump in for our first experience of the warmer waters. The first evening is not complete until prawn traps are down and fresh oysters are harvested from the nearby rocks.
Each anchorage has its own charm. Pendrell Sound is known for warm water and fjord like mountains either side. Teakerne Arm is a favourite because of the walk to Cassel Lake and the waterfall that if feeds. I believe my family is one of the only to brave a crisp shower in the falls on the regular. It is a highlight, and the best outdoor shower I have ever experienced! This year, my niece, two year old Brynn was keen to give it a go! Sharing moments like these with little ones transforms one’s soul; it is pure joy to be a part of their new experiences, it takes me right back to my own childhood.
Living on the water requires being self sufficient. Power while at anchor and limited water are the two main factors we watch day to day. Yet, when we get low we head to Refuge Cove. This place has looked the same for as long as I can remember. It is one of the main supply stops for boaters in the area. It is a small shared community of about 20 families in the summer, and about 12 year round residents. The General Store is stocked by a barge from the mainland that rolls into the harbour weekly for the haul up the hillside to the store. You can get gas, liquor, and ice cream. There is a cafe, Upcoast Summers, that has changed management a few times over the years but is always awesome! You can sip Fantastico coffee that is flown in from Victoria by float plane daily, or stop in at the shed that houses used books and grab some local honey at the same time.
To me, this place is special, as all our natural spaces are. They deserve our care and respect. It is our duty to keep them flourishing for generations to come. So keep in mind to always pack out what you pack in. And try to leave these natural spaces better than when you found them. Enjoy these images, and I hope that you get to escape up here one day and bask in the salty water of the ocean on the beautiful BC coast!