Princess Louisa Inlet
Linda's favorite anchorage in Desolation Sound
You can look through the cut to see the Strait of Georgia
Various waterfalls and Chatterbox Falls
We had decided to have an early start on the summer cruise since it would be the last one aboard Helios. We had decided to put Helios up for sale when the summer cruise was done. We had Helios built in Sarasota, Florida and took possession in April 2008. We sailed her from Sarasota to Key West to Ft. Lauderdale where we shipped her on the deck of a freighter to Nanaimo, British Columbia. We kept Helios in Tacoma until 2018 when we started storing her on the hard during the winter in Anacortes, while we were living in Arizona.
Helios went in the water on May 25th, and we spent a couple of nights getting settled in Cap Sante Marina before heading out into the San Juans. We weren’t in any rush as this trip was one in which we would revisit some of our favorite stops in the San Juans, Gulf Islands, Princess Louisa Inlet, Desolation Sound, and the Discovery Islands. We had the capacitor fail on the generator after 15 years and had our Sidney mechanic Nathan from Bayside Diesel order replacement and install. We didn’t get a lot of sailing in as the wind didn’t cooperate, so we did buy some expensive diesel, as I figured it was about $7.50 a gallon. We enjoyed Deer Harbor and the TYC outstation in May and August. We spent time coming and going on Stuart Island in Prevost and Reid Harbors before moving on to the Gulf Islands with a couple of stops in Sidney, but also Otter Bay, Port Browning, and Mill Bay marinas, along with anchorages in Winter Cove and Tod Inlet before moving north to Telegraph Harbour Marina. We stopped at Ladysmith LMS marina going and coming as this small town is one of our favorites as is the marina. We left Ladysmith to cross the Strait of Georgia to Pender Harbour before heading up the Reaches to Princess Louisa Inlet. I proposed to Linda in the cockpit of Fjaera 24 years ago here in the Princess. We spent four days and nights enjoying the beauty, before going back down the 40 miles of fjords for a one-night stay in Pender Harbour and then it was off to Gorge Harbour. We made a new friend at Gorge as Patrick was moored across the dock from us. We went to dinner at the Floathouse to celebrate his birthday and made plans to meet up later in the summer in Pender Harbour. Patrick cruises on a 56’ Sea Ray that he had reconfigured, and a 1984 22’ Donzi that he had reconditioned. He took us for a ride in the Donzi from Gorge Harbour to Refuge Cove to shop, then Lund for lunch and back to Gorge Harbour in 3 hours, our top speed was 93 kph, which is almost 60 mph. From Gorge Harbour we went to Desolation Sound and Laura Cove in the Prideaux Haven area. This is Linda’s favorite anchorage and we always it a stop when we are in the area. We set our anchor near the head of the cove. After a few nights we took the long route to Grace Harbour so we could run the watermaker and top off the tank. Grace Harbour had quite a few boats but there was room for us to anchor for a couple of nights. We left Grace for Gorge and topped off the fuel tank. After 3 nights, we left Gorge Harbour and moved to the north end of Cortez Island and Von Donop Inlet Provincial Park and a wonderful anchorage. We explored the park in the dinghy and visited with some of the other boats anchored, and we had visitors stop by to visit with us.
We left Von Donop and headed north to Hole-in-the-Wall and the Octopus Islands Provincial Park. We found a little niche in Wiatt Bay and dropped anchor. It was some of the warmest weather we experienced on the trip. This was our farthest point north as we decided to pass on the Broughtons because of timing and the approaching cool down in September. We returned to Gorge Harbour for a couple of nights to do laundry and unload our garbage. From Gorge we made the long run to Pender Harbour and John Henry’s Marina for a couple of nights, before moving to Painted Boat Marina courtesy of our new friend Patrick, who has a vacation condominium there, and that is where he moors his boats. We enjoyed meeting his family and friends and entertained the 11-year-old boys by providing a jumping platform from our arch. We left Painted Boat and Pender Harbour to cross over to the Gulf Islands and the town of Ladysmith. We had wind with a northerly component and were able to sail almost the whole 50+ miles at speeds faster than we could motor. After 3 nights in Ladysmith, we headed to Sidney for 4 nights and then over to Winter Cove where we anchored and then took the dinghy through the cut to Belle Islets to check out the birds and seals. The next day we crossed over to the San Juans clearing customs with a phone call and our Nexus information. We grabbed a buoy in Reid Harbor for a couple of nights. It was off to Deer Harbor and the TYC outstation, which was empty, but we had a couple boats come in, one rafting to us. We left Deer Harbor for Anacortes and Cap Sante Marina, where it was time spent meeting with Brokers and getting Helios ready to be put up for sale. You have 15 years of stuff that needs to be sorted as to what is left aboard, thrown away or taken back to the desert, and Linda did a wonderful job.
We will miss Helios but are looking forward to future trips using autos and planes.