Pacific Northwest - British Columbia

This fabulous charter destination offers some of the best cruising grounds in the world. Tucked behind 290 mile long Vancouver Island is a stunning dramatic coastline, with picturesque sheltered coves, beautiful sandy waterfronts and a spectacular amount of wildlife and marine life.

In the south the Gulf and San Juan Islands with the sunshine coast offer so many itinerary options with very beautiful secluded anchorages and many sights to see.

Further North Desolation sound provides an opportunity to get in amongst nature in its wilderness and experience some of the most beautiful natural scenery possible from the comfort of your own boat.

Gulf & San Juan Islands

It is easy to see why the Pacific Northwest is rated as one of the world's top cruising grounds. The variety and number of islands makes this area a vacation paradise.

Secret coves, protected anchorages, lively ports of call in two different countries and what seems like open ocean all around are all yours to enjoy.

Wildlife abounds in these islands; eagles, cormorants, loons, herons, whales, dolphins, seals and otters are your companions. Their position in the lee of Vancouver Island gives them a drier climate, and better sailing conditions than most of the coast.

Sunshine Coast

The cruising grounds of the Sunshine coast offer uninhabited islands, marine parks, coastal villages, hidden anchorages and spectacular fjords. A trip to the Sunshine Coast is not complete without visiting super natural Princess Louisa Inlet.

Hidden by a curtain of mountains and protected by the Malibu Rapids, this odyssey-like entrance is the gateway to the natural wonders of Princess Louisa Inlet.

Desolation Sound

The spectacular Desolation Sound with its breathtakingly beautiful lakes, snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, fjords, pristine anchorages, and sea life is an incredible charter destination and remains BC’s largest Marine Park. The area has over 30 coves and bays to explore, and so much to see and do.

Cruise amongst a maze of interconnected waterways and the most amazing natural landscapes, allowing some time for hiking in this incredible countryside.

Local wildlife is diverse and abundant with orcas, bald eagles and wild Coho Salmon just some of the sights you may encounter.

» Picturesque towns
» Rugged natural environment
» Stunning scenery
» Explore huge cruising grounds
» Fishing and exploring

Weather Conditions

Climate

General weather for British Columbia

The Pacific Northwest climate is very favourable for sailors due to what is known as a “Rain Shadow”, the region on the leeside of a mountain where the precipitation is noticeably less than on the windward side. This occurs on the eastern sides of both the Olympic and the Cascade Mountain Ranges, therefore protecting the islands from heavy rainfall. In addition to the rain shadow, Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula shelter the cruising grounds from the Pacific Ocean swell and waves. This spectacular archipelago of numerous large islands also help to break up any locally created waves, providing calm waters and perfectly sheltered anchorages.

In the summer months, May to September, charterers can expect light winds between 8 to 15 knots, with the prevailing wind direction being westerly or north-westerly. These months are filled with long days of glorious sunshine and the average afternoon temperatures around the Islands and near the Sound are highs of 70 - 80°F with only a small chance of rain.

During Spring & Autumn the winds become stronger and more consistent offering fabulous sailing conditions and quieter anchorages. The precipitation increases slightly and average temperatures reach highs around 60°F.

In the late fall and winter the prevailing southwesterly and westerly winds produces a wet season beginning in October, reaching a peak in November. By November the winds have strengthened substantially due to quick moving fronts which are accompanied by increased precipitation. In the winter months charterers can expect a challenging and invigorating sailing experience.

Average Conditions - Pacific Northwest


  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

High Temperature (c)

6

9

10

13

16

19

22

22

19

14

9

7

Low Temperature (c)

1

3

3

4

7

9

11

11

9

6

4

2

Precipitation (mm)

131

115

105

75

62

46

36

38

64

115

167

161

Average Sunshine (hours)

2

3

5

6

8

9

10

9

7

4

3

2


Current Forecast:

Sidney
Day Temp Wind Wave Vis Weather
Wed
20th
15°C
W

6 kts

0.6 ft 2 miles
Thu
21st
15°C
WSW

5 kts

0.4 ft 1 miles
Fri
22nd
18°C
WSW

5 kts

0.4 ft 1 miles
Sat
23rd
18°C
SW

5 kts

0.3 ft 1 miles
Sun
24th
16°C
W

5 kts

0.1 ft 1 miles

General Information

Getting to the Pacific Northwest Coast

With three cruising areas you will have the option of where you would like to start from, Bellingham – Washington State in the U.S, Comox or Sidney , both located on – Vancouver Island, B.C. in Canada.

Bellingham: Bellingham International Airport is a fully commercial airport located south of the U.S. – Canada border. Airlines that service the airport are: AeroMexico, AirOne, Alaska/Horizon, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Continental airlines, Horizon Air, KLM, Northwest Airlines, SkyValue and Sky West airlines.

The charter base is located only 10 minutes drive from the airport, only 5 minutes drive from I-5, ninety minutes from Seattle and sixty minutes from Vancouver, B.C.

Comox: Numerous direct flights from the Vancouver International Airport, Calgary International Airport and the Edmonton International Airport land daily at the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) in Comox. The airlines that service Comox Valley airport are: Air Canada, Central Mountain Air, Pacific Coastla, Sunwing Vacations, Transat Holidays and Westjet.

Ferries services are also available to get from the mainland to the Vancouver Island.

Sidney: Victoria's International airport is located on the Saanich Peninsula, 22 km north of Victoria, the Capital of British Columbia, on Vancouver Island and has over 50 flights a day connect Victoria with Vancouver International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma Airport and several other major cities throughout Canada and the USA. Airlines that service the airport are: Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz, Airspeed Aviation, Horizon Air, Pacific Coastal, Skywest Airlines and Westjet.

The charter base is located only 7 minutes from the airport.

Vancouver Island is well connected by ferry and high-speed catamaran service with Washington State and mainland B.C. Arrival points include Victoria's Inner harbour, the Washington State ferry terminal and the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Bellingham, U.S.A. - The Visa Waiver Program entitles citizens of 27 countries in the program to enter the United States of America for up to 90 days without a visa. All travellers must have a passport and it must be valid for at least 90 days from date of entry (except for nationals of Andorra, Brunei and San Marino, who must hold passports valid for at least six months beyond the intended date of departure from the USA). Travel must be for holidays, transit or business purposes only and for a stay not exceeding 90 days.

Visa Waiver Program Countries: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

Nationals of Bermuda and Canada will need to provide a valid passport for entry.
Nationals of Mexico will need to provide a valid passport and a US Border Crossing Card.

All other countries will need a Visa to enter the U.S.A. and should seek advice from their Embassy before travelling.

Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada – Valid Passports are required by all passengers entering Canada except if you are a U.S. citizen, you only need a document such as your birth certificate and government-issued photo identification (e.g., driver's licence) to enter Canada. By June 1, 2009, or earlier, a new American law, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), will require anyone, including U.S. citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by land and sea to have a passport.

Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Canada: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (National Passport holders only), Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Republic of Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, and Western Samoa.

Language:

The official language of the Pacific Northwest – U.S. and Canada is English.

Health:

Always check with your doctor before travelling which vaccinations you will need.
Tap water in both U.S.A. and Canada is drinkable. If in any doubt always drink bottled water.
Sunscreen is always advisable as the sun is strong.
Medical facilities are excellent but expensive in both U.S.A. and Canada. Only emergencies are treated without prior payment and treatment can be refused without evidence of insurance or proof of funds.
Good medical insurance is essential.

Safety:

The US Department of Homeland Security has designated the terror alert status to high, for all international and domestic flights in the USA.
You should be aware of the global threat of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could take place in public areas, including those frequented by foreigners in Canada.
Petty theft does occur in America and Canada as it does in most countries.
Visitors should take common-sense precautions against petty crime.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and use safety deposit facilities if available.
Avoid wearing expensive jewellery and carrying valuable items in run down areas.
Do not leave valuables unattended on the beach or in cars.
Always lock up boats when going ashore.

Taxes and Service Charges:

Canadian Departure tax - Cdn $10 for domestic flights and Cdn $15 for international flights
U.S.A. Departure tax - None
Hotel Tax in Canada - 8 – 10%
Hotel Tax in U.S.A. - Usually included in the price quoted.
Canadan Goods and Service Tax - 7% that applies to most purchases.
Canadan Provincial Sales Tax - 7% that applies to retail merchandise and services. The PST and GST are calculated separately on the base price of an item. Service Charge both countries - 15%, often added to the bill so check before you leave further gratuity. Gratuity is discretional, usually 15 – 20% depending on the level of service.

Time Zone:

The sailing grounds of the Pacific Northwest come under the Pacific Standard Time (PST) which is GMT – 8 hours. This time zone observes daylight saving time that starts from the first Sunday in April and finishes on the last Sunday of October. This will make the time one hour closer to GMT, therefore Pacific Daylight Time will be GMT – 7 hours.

Electricity:

The Pacific Northwest cruising area overlaps from the U.S.A. and Canada. Both countries electrical systems are 110 volt at 60 hertz. You will need a voltage transformer/ converter for your electrical appliances if they operate on a different voltage. The plug socket will take a two parallel flat blade plug.

Communication:

International dialing code: For both U.S.A. and Canada is 1 + area code + local number
Pre-paid plastic calling cards are available from convenience stores and most petrol stations.
Internet access is widely available in both countries.

VHF radios are used as means of communications for yachts.

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Why book your charter with us?

CharterSearch is a trading name for Ocean Marine Group and we are an independent yacht charter agency specialising in bareboat, skippered and fully crewed yacht charters. We offer a complete charter package with high quality luxury yachts including sailing monohull yachts, catamarans and powerboats at extremely competitive prices.

We work with a large number of reputable charter companies, owners and operators worldwide and can recommend boats to our clients based on previous experiences, maintenance standards, customer service, and most importantly support they offer our charter guests. Feedback and reviews by our staff and our customers mean our advice is impartial and we will always have your best interests at heart. The team at CharterSearch all have vast experience and knowledge of the yacht charter industry having worked for many years for charter companies, travel agencies and sailing schools. We are in unique position to provide you with a first-class service.

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