Log #59u From Barkley Sound to Esquimalt

April 11, 2016 in Log Series 50-59, Logs by Series, Series 59, The Logs

Columbia, New Mexico

April 11, 2106

Hi Folks,

We are spending a few lazy days in Pancho Villa State Park in Columbia, a small New Mexico town only three miles from the Mexican border. It has been described as a ghost town that hasn’t died yet. I enjoyed the bit of history of this town as described below about Pancho Villa.This attached Log #59u From Barkley Sound to Esquimalt finally completes our passage down the west coast and circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.

Pancho VillaColumbia’s claim to fame is the attack by Pancho Villa in March of 1916 which killed ten civilians and eight U.S. soldiers. A week later General Pershing led a “Punitive Expedition” into Mexico to seek and destroy Pancho Villa’s militia. The ten month incursion, with 10,000 soldiers was unsuccessful in routing Pancho Villa. However it proved a good exercise for converting from cavalry to mechanized movements which brought the U.S army into the 20th century. The troops involved in this abortive attempt at punishment were the backbone of the U.S. expeditionary force which went overseas when the U.S. finally declared war on Germany in 1917. In fact this raid by Villa was one of the causes of the U.S. to enter the war as it was suspected that German agents were actively supporting Villa and other Mexican revolutionaries to syphon off U.S. support and armaments for Britain and France in their war with Germany. Incidentally, one of the officers of Pershing who led much of the Punitive Expedition was one Lieutenant George Patton who gained fame in WW II.

Our AnniversaryYesterday was our 36th anniversary since we got together and today our 28th anniversary when we got married. We crossed the border into Mexico for a nice Mexican meal to celebrate. Like many Mexican towns near the border, we could park on the U.S. side, and walk across into Mexico for meals shipping souvenirs, or medications. Crossing into Mexico, there is no inspection or passport checking. However, when returning we have to show our passports.

Desert CampingWe have greatly enjoyed our economical dry camping in southern Arizona and New Mexico over the past few months. I enjoy the space and the isolation of the desert. I have written an article Dry Camping in the Desert but I am not sure if I have sent it out. It will be on my website at www.veledaiv.ca shortly. The views from the trailer are impressive.

  Log #9 Trailer view from Lost DutchmanCampsite
View from our campsite View from our campsite 2
  All the best,



Log #59u Barkley Sound to Esquimalt

Kartchner State Park, AZ

March 21, 2016

Sounds of the west coast of Vancouver Island

Barkley Sound was the last of the five sounds we transited down the west coast of Vancouver Island. The first was Quatsino Sound, scenic, but with many logging operations and fish farms up its extensive arms. The next was Kyuquot Sound, great for fishing. Nootka Sound embraces the large Nootka Island, and is noted for the first landing of Captain Cook at Resolution Cove on Bligh Island in 1778. Clayoquot Sound has a myriad of islands, and has Tofino as its main port. All of the sounds have extensive and scenic inlets, islands, and bays to explore. One could spend an entire summer exploring just one of these. Quatsino and Kyuquot Sounds have no road access and can only be reached by water or float plane.

Ucluelet was our favourite town. It has a dramatic location on the peninsula. There is a trail to Amphitrite Point with spectacular vistas of the Pacific waves crashing on the rocky shores.

Eco tourism is popular with kayaks, canoes, whale watching expeditions, in addition to sports and commercial fishing.

Whale Watching Headquarters

Our first anchorage up the sound after leaving Ucluelet was on the north side of Refuge Island (49 01.670N, 125 18.730W) at the entrance to Pipestem Inlet. We took our dinghy up Lucky Creek. This is a spectacular stream that meanders from a scenic waterfall a half mile inland down to open water. It was deservedly give a “must see” recommendation in our Waggoners Cruising Guide.

We dinghied up the tree lined creek

Looking up Lucky Creek

to see a small double waterfall at the end, plunging into a rocky granite enclosed pool.

The stream coming out of the pool was not navigable, and so we landed at the outer side where I explored the rocky shoreline. Judy did not want to try climbing the sheer craggy rock wall, and so she remained in the dinghy. I clambered up to the top of the twin falls to overlook this idyllic sight.

On our way back we dinghied up a bit of Pipestream Inlet, a long narrow inlet fringed by tree clad mountains. The shores are steep to with no good anchorages in the inlet.

Pipestream Inlet

When we returned to Veleda, we weighed anchor and headed seven miles over to the Broken Group of islands straddling the middle of Barkley Sound. These islands, for northwest boaters, provide a holiday experience considered the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. They extend from the wind and wave lashed outer islands to peaceful scenic islands deep inside Barkley Sound.

Ultimate Cruising Grounds of British Columbia

There are four major groups of islands that can be considered the ultimate cruising (and fishing) areas of the B.C. west coast. We have been privileged to have explored them all. Our only regret is that we did not spend a whole summer in each of them. The groups I am referring to are those of the Broughtons, Desolation Sound, Bunsby Islands and the Broken Group. There are many other idyllic cruising areas of B.C. I have not included the Gulf Islands or the San Juan Islands (even though in U.S. waters) as they are too civilized. We like remote areas. Others such as Howe Sound, virtually a suburb of Vancouver, and where HMCS Annapolis was sunk as an artificial reef, Jarvis Inlet extending up into the glorious Princess Louisa Inlet, the islands, inlets, and passages along Queen Charlotte Sound, and the Inner Passage going to Alaska; all have their cruising attractions.

This coming summer will see our last season on the west coast as we make our way up to Haida Gwaii, before heading south to the Mexican Baja.

Dinghy Excursions

In the Broken Group we anchored for two nights over in the well sheltered Turtle Bay (48 54.881N, 125 19.595W) on Turtle Island. The bay is sheltered by the offlying islands of Willis and Dodd Islands. Puttering around these islands in our dinghy was a most enjoyable experience.

Every once in a while I think we should take a hand held GPS in the dinghy as when we motor through a group of islands, narrows and passages it is easy to lose our bearings to find our way back to Veleda. Another item we should take with us in the dinghy is our hand held VHF radio. The dinghy is equipped with all the other safety gear including life jackets, bailer, anchor, line and paddles. We could include an air pump, repair kit, and a small jerry can for extra gas, plus a repair kit for the dinghy, including fresh spark plugs, wrenches, spare cotter pin, and even survival gear. But we don’t.

Barkley Sound – Dotted red lines indicate dinghy trips

We weaved between one island and the next, skirting close to the shorelines, and meandering into various bays. The islands are part of the Pacific Rim National Park, and I don’t think there are any private cottages on them. However as we came through a narrow passage we saw a temporary shelter that someone has erected, including a float buoy for his boat.

I don’t know whether such is legal, but he has a beautiful location for his seasonal dwelling. I had some neighbors up in Espanola in Northern Ontario who each summer would erect a tent on a wooden platform on Sagamuk, a nearby Indian reserve, and they used it as a family summer camp on the shores of Lake Huron. A lovely get-away! The north shore of Lake Huron is excellent cruising grounds. We may return with Veleda up there in a couple of years.

Next day, Aug. 20, we anchored over in Effingham Bay, just four miles south of Turtle Island, to explore the shoreline and have an easy exit out of Barkley Sound to finish our circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. Our next port was Port Renfrew, 45 miles down and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This is not a cruiser friendly port. Our anchorage (48 33.341N, 124 25.122W) off the docks was iffy, but the docks were reserved for local charter and fishing boats and the resort/condo development taking over the facilities. Settled conditions allowed us a comfortable night, but I would not trust the location in heavy conditions. It was just the most convenient spot between Barkley Sound and Esquimalt, a distance of about 100 miles.




Barkley Sound to Esquimalt

Aug. 21 got us to the Canadian Forces Sailing Association (CFSA) docks 48 26.310N, 123 25.903W) in Esquimalt by our west coast navy base. We are members of it, and I had spent several summers in navy reserve training at the base. I enjoyed the Small Boat Unit from which coastal navigation was taught using old YAGs. YAG 314 Caribou

I spent several summers in command of these small patrol boats sailing around the Gulf Islands teaching coastal navigation to officer cadets. Judy was green with envy! I was too early for the next generation of training vessels, the Orcas, beautiful vessels with a full navigation suite as would be found on our larger frigates.

Orca class training ship

As we entered Esquimalt harbour, we contacted the Queen’s Harbourmaster to let him know our destination was the CFSA. We could see HMCS Protecteur sitting high at her dock, a sad testimony to the neglect of the Royal Canadian Navy by the government. She will sail no more, and a temporary replacement from the Chilean navy was at her normal operational dock. We had one AOR (Axillary Oiler and Replenishment ship) on each coast to escort and supply our ships on overseas operations, but both are unserviceable and will be scrapped, with no replacements on line.

HMCS Protecteur

HMCS Protecteur in Esquimalt docks


The lack of support of our military by the government and the public is one of the reasons I did not want to make the Navy a full time career.

The arrival at Esquimalt was the culmination of our circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. We enjoyed the west coast of the island.

We are back in civilization and have a few other things to do with Veleda before we put her away for the winter as I will describe in my next log.