You will be collected from the airport by your personal crew who will be with you for the week. Make the short trip to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Colonial history can be seen throughout the city in the Victorian architecture and stately mansions that remain. After getting settled on your charter yacht moored in the harbour, venture into the city for a traditional high tea at the Empress Hotel, and take a leisurely wander around the shops and streets before returning for an evening on your yacht.
For the morning you will remain in Victoria, where you can watch the locals on their morning jog, bicycle ride, or heading to work. Known as BC’s garden city, you can’t leave Victoria without visiting the Butchart Gardens. Visit Chinatown and experience the amazing atmosphere of a different country within a city. While you explore your yacht will sail to the vibrant “Sydney-by- the-sea”, where you will meet it in the evening. Enjoy dinner cooked by your private chef and watch the ferries come in.
Originally called Admiralty Bay, the Ganges Harbour is a popular destination for a yacht holiday. The famous market can be seen on the weekends, and the numerous marinas are often filled with private yachts. The largest of the BC Gulf Islands, Saltspring Island is a particularly pleasant stop during blustery weather. Have dinner ashore at the Sussex-style manor of the Hasting’s House Hotel, where the chef is known for his dishes of local, organic lamb and fish.
Cruise north through beautiful islands and green coasts to reach ‘The Harbour City’, Nanaimo. The sense of community is strong in this small city and a visit to the lively farmer’s market in the summer will let you mingle with the locals and grab some souvenirs before you set sail for the iconic Desolation Sound. During summer the area sees 18 hours of sunshine per day and warm temperatures, making the bays of the Sound ideal for swimming and sunbathing. After taking in the scenery above water, go for a dive or snorkel and see the rich underwater landscapes and wildlife.
After cruising 30 miles past coves, islands, and mountains, you will reach the mouth of the Jervis Inlet. Here you will head upstream through the calm waters to the famous Princess Louisa Inlet. The area is popular with charter yachts as you can cruise to the bottom of the Chatterbox Falls, which lie in the Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park. Author Erle Stanley Gardner wrote that no one could see Princess Louisa Inlet and remain an atheist.
Desolation Sound is the oldest marine park in BC and has become renowned for its scenic islands and protected waters, which are now a haven for yacht visitors due to the many beautiful anchorages. Named by Captain George Vancouver, who referred to it as “a dark and gloomy”, the almost complete lack of settlements and high shadowed mountains do indeed give the region a moody and mysterious feeling. Now an attractive destination, the Cortes Island Museum, and Archives Society at Manson's landing will give you an insight into the history of the sound, told through the stories of local tribes and pioneers. The fjords are considered to be one of the top three cruising grounds in the world – beaten only by Fiji and New Zealand’s Bay of Islands – and you will motor through these, marveling at their imposing splendour, to moor at West Redonda Island. Your chef will prepare a picnic for you to take to the side of Cassel Falls, where you can spend an afternoon swimming and kayaking in the warm waters.
For your penultimate day, head to the tip of the sounds where you will anchor at April Point on Quadra Island, passing Quathiaski Cove on your way. The area is a hive of activity for the wildlife, with the nearby parks providing homes to bears, beavers, and eagles. There are a number of options for wildlife safaris in this area, or stay aboard and watch out for the sea lions, dolphins, and orcas that frequent sound. The lively community of the island is made up of diverse cultures, and you will immediately feel welcomed. Visit the shops and galleries for some special souvenirs, then stretch your legs in the resort of April Point, or treat yourself to an Aveda spa treatment.
Crossing part of an important shipping route, your final day will take you along Discovery Passage to the coastal city of Campbell River – touted as the salmon capital of the world. The Pacific climate gives rise to the green forests, fed by streams and lakes that will impart their serenity as you sail in for the last part of your cruise. Step into the history of the port at the Campbell River or Kwagiulth Museums, or drop by the community theatre or art gallery to experience the cultural scene. The many local restaurants offer fresh seafood including – of course – salmon, but you can find almost any cuisine. Follow the locals and have an ice cream on the pier before hopping on a floatplane to take you to the airport for your homeward flight.