Days 8 to 11 – The Johnstone Strait

After leaving Pendrall Sound, we headed up the Waddington Channel – and straight into a pretty blustery NW wind right in our faces. Simultaneously, the water temperature started to drop as well, putting paid to our hopes of swimming. Guess that’s the ‘summer vacation’ part of the trip done! After motoring through Pryce Channel, we were thinking about anchoring in Redonda Bay but it had an active logging operation there so we diverted onto Francis Bay.

At that moment though, we noticed a bunch of other boats making a run through the Gillard/Dent Rapids, so we decided to go for it as well! There are a bunch of rapids in this area that you have to time correctly else you get caught in 10 knot currents (Gudgeon’s max speed is 6.5knts) and a cartoon-style massive whirlpool called ‘Devils Hole’.

Right as we approached the Gillard/Dent rapids we suddenly changed our minds and decided to swing through the ‘Hole in the Wall’ set of rapids instead. We’d missed slack by 15 minutes but I was pretty sure it’d still be ok… espically since a powerboat came in after we started our run.

We motored down the narrow channel, and then got blasted by a steady 20 knot wind, which then started gusting to over 35 knots. The boat was heeling a ton even with no sails up, and we had to hang onto our hats! The powerboat behind us in their full enclosed cockpit got quite the show.

Finally we made it through, and turned into the octopus islands, which were extremely pretty. We ended up anchoring in Wiatt Bay and then collapsed, exhausted.


We had no cell phone service and I had to dial in for work in a couple of days (and the internet is a big help in planning trips), so the next day we took a quick jaunt out to see if we could find any. Found some very briefly but it was blowing REAL hard so we retreated back into Wiatt Bay for the day


In the afternoon I resealed the bathroom floor, ready to install a shower as we could no longer just go for a swim/solar shower rinse to get clean.

The next day according to the VHF weather forecast was going to be a bit of a weather break so we made a run for it, through yet more rapids (Upper Rapids it was called). This went completely fine, and we ended up ducking into Otter Cove, as the wind started picking up AGAIN.

This cove was extremely nice, and as we were there so early we had lots of time to mess around. We went and explored the little island, and I took the portabote and went jigging – caught lots of little rockcod (which I returned) and we put down the crab trap with steak bones in for bait (which didn’t get anything except one giant fat Sunflower Sea Star, continuing the non-edible theme of the catch so far).

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After Otter Cove we went along the Johnstone Stait, and timing the currents so we were zipping along at 9 knots for a lot of it. Went to Forward Harbour – as apparently it had a BAR there according to the charts!

Arriving there, it became clear that there was no bar, and the online guidebook had something about ‘cougar ate my dog on the beach’ in the review section. Alright then.

At least it was a good looking bay, even if infested with predatory large animals and lacking beer


We also saw a seal jumping straight out of the water vertically a bunch of times. Very strange!

The next morning we got up at 5:30 to catch the currents, and finished up the Johnstone Strait. Really nasty patch of water near Harwick island had us thinking the day was going to be wet and uncomfortable but it soon cleared up and we spent an uneventful day motoring down. We went into Telegraph Cove, but it was an extremely tight fit, and after we’d tied up and paid I realised that at low tide we’d be grounded…. so I had to go get a refund, and then head out. It was a VERY small squeeze and I had to do some ‘sick nasty’ maneuvering, as it’s called in the boating biz.

Then it was struggling against a strong tide and dodging debris as we went to Alert Bay, where a nice dock hand took our $28 for the night, we tied up and went to sleep!




  1. Alert Bay is a great choice anyway. You sure are picking a roundabout route 🙂 I am terrified of Hole in the Wall and have never heard of Otter Cove until now. I hope you enjoy(ed) some time in the Broughtons…it sure is a special place.

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