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Thursday, October 08, 2015

British Columbia by boat Day 12: Egmont

Everything went well as planned for a change, and we all piled into Arturo's van for a drive to Horseshoe Bay. The traffic was pretty bad, but it wasn't so horrendous that it derailed our ferry crossing. We grabbed lunch at Earl's Cove at a generic Korean/Japanese place that provided generous portions at a fair price, and then drove relentlessly towards Egmont, where we arrived at the marina just minutes before the boat arrived from the previous excursion up to the Princess Louisa Inlet.
If any excursion was custom-designed to provide evidence of my contention that the Sunshine Coast and Desolation Sound was motor-boat country, the Sunshine Coast Tours of the Princess Louisa Inlet is it. When Arturo and I planned our assault on the Inlet, we carefully read tide-tables (yes, multiple of them, as you had to consult multiple sources in order to derive proper timing) and painstakingly measured and re-measured distances so as to plan to arrive at the Malibu Rapids in time for slack-tide so our 7-knot maximum engine power would be able to traverse the rapids. With a motor-boat, not only was the all-day journey condensed into an hour, there was absolutely no consideration needed whatsoever given to the tides for Malibu Rapids: with a top speed of 30 knots, the excursion's powerboat could easily overpower any tide and make the traverse not only safely, but also without the need to coordinate with other traffic that may also have needed to use the slack-tide period in order to enter or exit the Princess Louisa Inlet.

The excursion was exceedingly well-designed, with stops to admire the pictographs on cliff-sides, some seals/sea lions, and the pilot was exceedingly well-versed in the history of the area. This was a nice and relaxed way to see the Inlet, with the disadvantage that we couldn't camp out at the Inlet. But given the cold weather and wind, we were happy not to have to camp out at all.

The Princess Louisa Inlet was written up in the books to be "The Most Beautiful Fjord In The World". By now we were very skeptical of the marketing literature written about the area. For instance, "The Sunshine Coast" has proven to have anything but Sunshine, and of course, the water temperatures might have only ever reached 80F for 1cm of the surface of any of the lakes or inlets of Desolation Sound. However, Arturo, who'd been to many Fjords in Norway and Chile, confirmed that it was indeed one of the top 5 Fjords in the world, and better than any Fjord he'd seen in Finland. The park was small, and the hike short, but it was definitely jaw-droppingly pretty. I wouldn't make any visit out to see it again, but there's a lot to be said for seeing it at least once, while you're in the area.

By the time we made it back to the car it was nearly dark, and we had to roust the inn-keeper out from behind the "store closed" sign at the inn in order to get our keys, but at least we had a full-on kitchen and unlimited hot water to shower in.

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