Circumnavigating Vancouver Island

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Vancouver Island is not a journey for the faint of heart or those unprepared. This is the wild Pacific Ocean and it has constant swells and large waves and conditions change rapidly, turn left and the next stop is Japan. The few marinas are rustic at best, often with no water or power. The Canadian Coast Guard maintains excellent radio and weather coverage along the coast but you need to be well prepared and self sufficient as help can be far away if you have problems. During the entire month of July we only saw about a dozen other cruising boats, most headed in the opposite direction. Temperatures rarely got above the mid teens (Celsius) even on the warmest days, and often dropped below 10C. I had time to wait out bad weather, but I still encountered the roughest conditions I have experienced in over 30 years of boating.

Ensure that your vessel and crew are self sufficient, adequately prepared, and carry appropriate spares.�� Since the downturn of commercial fishing, marine services are scarce and the guidebooks are not current. Substantial ground tackle and radar are both essential, as are the appropriate paper charts – don’t rely on electronic navigation. Lastly, cellular coverage is extremely spotty at best so it is best to leave a flexible float plan with your loved ones.

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