Desolation Sound Overview
Desolation Sound is, as the name suggests, an area of mostly wilderness carved during the ice age into a natural shelter of inlets, coves and bays. The Sound lies at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, and a full day trip from Vancouver.
The spectacular fjords, mountains, and wildlife of Desolation Sound are accessible only by boat and float plane, making it a favorite remote destination for those willing to adventure a bit farther afield. Summer (June-August) is busiest time because of great weather and calm conditions, but shoulder seasons April-May and September-October can also be nice; you may find yourself alone in pristine surroundings.
Yachts and kayakers enjoy exploring the islands and coves that make up the Desolation Sounds Marine Provincial Park, which is the largest marine park in British Columbia. Warm water, forested shoreline, and lots of snug harbors make this a boating paradise. Among the most popular destination anchorages are Prideaux Haven, Tenedo’s Bay and Grace Harbour.
Teakearne Arm waterfall provides an ideal swimming lake at the top of the falls, attracting boaters from all over the region. Putting out a primary anchor and reversing in to attach a stern tie onto the shore is a a secure way to moor in this location.
A 58 foot motoryacht nestles into a gap in the rocky coast. Deep water means you can anchor close to shore and quickly explore the coves and waterfalls.
Princess Louisa Inlet is a frequent stopover for yachts on route to Desolation Sound from Seattle, the San Juan Islands, and Vancouver. This majestic inlet is carved deep into the coastline. It is accessible from Jervis inlet via the Malibu rapids, which required careful navigation, but is well worth the effort.
North of Desolation Sound, the Dent Island Marina and Resort is at the confluence of the Arran Rapids and an inside passage near Butte Inlet.
Kenmore Air offers crew and supply deliveries for yachts up and down the inside passage. Their float planes are a frequent sight thanks to the daily summer stops in Desolation Sound. This is a good way to pick up or drop off guests.
Prideaux Haven is the most popular anchorage for power and sail alike, though there are hundreds of more hidden spots with warm swimming waters, rope swings, fishing holes, and great hiking trails. Arrive early to get a good location.
Desolation Sound is a perfect charter destination for families with kids of all ages. Warm waters, so rare in the Pacific Northwest, as well as protected flat seas, fresh water swimming holes, and easy access to family arriving and departing by float plane, combine to lure many cruising and chartering families.
The approach to Desolation Sound has great salmon fishing, and grizzlies and killer whales ply the fast moving waters. Keep your tide and current charts handy.
Family-friendly cruising is one of the many reasons to visit Desolation Sound by boat. There are so many points of interest and great wildlife to watch.
Anchoring off a deserted rocky shoreline is one of the many treats of cruising in this wild area. Shellfish can be found in these small coves, a welcome addition to the evening barbecue.
With the mountains as a backdrop, the warm waters are even more of a contrast.
Charter companies in the Pacific Northwest that offer boats in Desolation Sound include:
Find a yacht to charter in Desolation Sound
Photos by Neil Rabinowitz