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Our First Experience with the Discovery Islands! British Columbia, Canada

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

When we left Campbell River on our way to the Broughton Archipelago, we initially did so with the intent of going straight up Johnstone Strait. For some reason we had this sense of urgency that told us we needed to get as far north as we could as quickly as we could.

However, things, like usual when sailing, didn't go to plan and we instead ended up spending a week in the Thurston Bay area, exploring, foraging and enjoying the amazing scenery. We stayed here for a week for two main reasons: the first was that we were still hoping for a weather window to open up so we could head north and the second was that it was so beautiful here and there was just so much to explore that we stuck around.

The Thurston Bay area is actually composed of quite a few small bays. It is just east of the end of Discovery Passage and a fairly short jaunt from Campbell River. The area also does not have as hectic of currents as Discovery Passage or Johnstone Strait either, which made exploring easy and fun.

map of northern discovery islands

We initially anchored in Handfield bay after attempting to anchor in Thurston with no luck. Thurston Bay gets deep quite quickly and there were already a few boats taking up the anchoring space. This, however, ended up being a blessing in disguise as it sent us around the corner to a much more beautiful and calm location. While in Handfield we explored the surrounded area, hiked across to No Name Lagoon and explored Chameleon Bay by dinghy. While here we foraged for food, tried our hand at fishing and crabbing and just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.

map of thurston bay

handfield bay, sonora island

After a few days we decided to head around the corner to No Name Lagoon. We scoped it out with the dinghy first to make sure it was deep enough to get in and out of with our 5ft draft- which was smart because it's definitely questionable at low tide- and then moved ourselves over there for a dew days. In No Name we did more of the same, but also explored more of the Thurston Bay area and went on a decent hike as well.

salmon berries and oyster mushrooms

a creek in the rainforest

This area was the perfect place to spend our first week outside of the Salish Sea. It was calm, quiet and gave us our first taste of being out of cell range on the new boat! If you would like to see more of this area as well hear more about our adventures here, I have linked both pics and videos below for you :)

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