Desolation Sound - Generator Needed?

Discussion in 'West Coast' started by Tacoma290, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. Tacoma290

    Tacoma290 Member

    158
    Oct 5, 2006
    Tacoma, WA
    290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.0L EFI Bravo
    We are planning a 2-week cruise from Tacoma to the Desolation Sound area in our 290, which does not have a generator. Is a generator a necessity or is it a nice to have for the Desolation Sound area?
    Our stove is alcohol, not electric. And we carry a propane heater.
    We do have the option of carrying a Honda generator (yes I am very aware of the downsides of that setup). We used it for a San Juans trip a few years ago, but didn't take it for the last San Juans trip, since there were enough marinas with power within the San Juans. Every few days we would overnight at a marina for showers and charge the battery. So we didn't take it for our last San Juans trip and didn't miss it.
    Let me know what you think. Thanks!
     
  2. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    We have been many times and pass through it each year on our way north. There are a lot of marinas you can go to and there are lots of places to anchor. We used to go in our 28 footer. It held 50 gallons of water. We ran out of water before we needed to charge out four group 27 batteries. This time of year it is cool to cold. Mornings will be in the 40ies days will be in 60 to low 70ies. Wind picks up around 11AM and dies off around dusk. If it rains it is damp. With propane heat you will be fine. A marina every few days is nice to get fully dry and walk on land. Marinas will be between $1.50 to 1.75 a foot plus power. CDN to discount that by 30%. Get your groceries before you leave the US. You are allowed 24 beers each or 40 OZ for alcohol. Wine is the same price as US if you buy the 4 liter bag wine. It is as good as the stuff in bottles.
    If you want a list of places to go PM me and I will email you some of logs of the area.
     
  3. skibum

    skibum Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Perry Hall, MD
    2005 Sundancer 260
    496 Magnum HO
    If you have room for it, take it. It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Just don't store it in the engine compartment. It can save your butt if something unexpected happens.
     
  4. John Lienhard

    John Lienhard New Member

    9
    Aug 6, 2017
    Sea Ray 330DA
    7.4l MPI stern drives bravo 1
    Northern is right. We have done desolation when we had a 28-foot boat many times with no generator. You're limiting factor is really your water, unless you haven't installed extra group 27 batteries. There's plenty marinas up there to moore and charge batteries. We did put an extra soft water tank up in the bow with a filler on the deck that helped out a lot. You could always get 10 gallon portable tanks and store them somewhere under the mattress in the bow for extra water. Have a great time on your trip.
     
  5. Tacoma290

    Tacoma290 Member

    158
    Oct 5, 2006
    Tacoma, WA
    290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.0L EFI Bravo
    Thanks for the input, folks; I appreciative the experienced advice. We only have 3 group 27s (two for house/port and one for stbd), and may use the refrigerator as a locker and use our 5-day cooler with ice for perishables. I'll bring additional water, and thanks for the tip on provisions!
    We've never cruised further north than Nanaimo, so this will be a big adventure!
     
  6. sandydlc

    sandydlc Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    470
    Feb 24, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    450 Sundancer 2010
    Cummins 480 HP w/Zeus pod drives
    We visited Desolation Sound in 2015 on our 30' cruiser however it did have a generator. I agree with the notion that I'd prefer to have one and not need it than to not be able to start my engines because I ran down my batteries. Start learning which systems consume the most power on your boat and monitor that carefully when you're at anchor. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that Desolation Sound is not as desolate as it seems! Refuge Cove, Gorge Harbor, even Squirrel Cove have provisions and the first two have moorage with power if you need it. I agree with purchasing extra collapsible water jugs. We have 4, 5 gallon jugs on our boat and they served us well this summer. The other tip I'll give you is that in a 28 foot boat your biggest danger is crossing the Strait of Georgia when the weather is not favorable. Use a wind app such as WindAlert to check the current conditions and the forecast. The forecast can often change overnight so be prepared to check the weather at first light and if it's good - be ready to take off from Nanaimo and scoot across as quickly as you can. Most of the time the wind is pretty calm around 6 am to 8am or so. Even if you're not a morning person, learn to be when you're cruising in big water. Opt for safety and leave early whenever possible. Another thing to note - depending on how far North you're going, learn to read the currents if passing through rapids such as Hole in the Wall or Yuculta. You'll want to go at slack if at all possible.

    We just got back from our 2017 Desolation Sound trip in our 450 DA and had a wonderful time! I'll try to post a trip report soon. Best of luck and feel free to continue posting and asking questions. We're happy to help!

    Sandy
     
  7. Tacoma290

    Tacoma290 Member

    158
    Oct 5, 2006
    Tacoma, WA
    290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.0L EFI Bravo
    Thanks for the tips, Sandy! Glad you had a good time; I look forward to seeing your trip report. (Beautiful boat by the way)
    For long runs and big water crossings, I am happy leaving the docks by 6a.
    The refrigerator is by far our biggest power consumer, since most of our lights are now LED. The more I ponder it, we'll not take the generator; I think we'll see how the first few days go. We can always shut the fridge off and use our 5-day cooler with ice.
     
  8. ttmott

    ttmott Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    If you have the time, run up into Princess Louisa Inlet and to Chatterbox Falls. It's a couple of days to get into there but wow what a place.
     
  9. searaypuget

    searaypuget Member

    71
    May 21, 2017
    Seattle
    2008 Sundancer 280
    496 Mercruiser w/Bravo III Drive
    I always thought I need something bigger than mine to get to Desolation Sound but it sounds like my 08, 280 is doable. Is there a site where people plan the trip together to be safe? I just don't like the idea of cruising alone ...
     
  10. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    The only part of the trip that can be difficult is the open water north of Nanaimo or Vancouver. If you can boat from Seattle to Oak Harbor you can boat the rout to Desolation. Go through La Connor then cross to Sydney from the San Juans and then onto Maple Bay then Nanaimo. The waves will be small and there are lots of marinas and places to anchor. There are always boats in the area. Just listen to VHF weather if it says strong winds do not cross. Some time we have waited 3 days to cross. If you are a yacht club member Ladysmith Yacht Club does a trip there once a year. Contact them and see what they say about guests. http://www.ladysmithyc.bc.ca/
     
  11. Westie

    Westie Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Calgary
    2001 260 Sundancer towed with the power of an IFORCE V8
    7.4 L Bravo III
    I take my boat out that way for three weeks at a time every summer. Usually end up in Desolation sound or even further North for at least part of the time. Been doing that for the last 8 years.
    One of my biggest issues is keeping the batteries charged as I almost always stay on the hook instead of at a marina. I just don't see the point of staying at a marina when there are so many great places to drop the hook.
    Since there are so many places to stay they are usually not that far apart so running on plane doesn't give the batteries enough time to charge.
    Sometimes I'll just sit back and pretend I'm a trawler and go about 10 km an hour to allow the batteries to charge. Lately I've been doing some fishing so they do charge when I'm trolling. I do have a portable generator that I use as well.
    I'm considering adding some solar panels in the future to help keep the batteries charged.
    On my 260 the water tank is only 25 gallons but I find that that is more than enough for a week. All the fuel docks have water at them so I top off when ever I get fuel.

    Most of the times when I cross the straits, either to the gulf islands or heading up north I've had good weather. It can be like a mirror at times. But you do need to watch the weather and adjust your plans at times.
    One other thing I'll mention is that the water is a lot warmer in Desolation Sound than in the Gulf islands. Many times the water temperature is 24 to 25 degrees.
     
  12. Westie

    Westie Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Calgary
    2001 260 Sundancer towed with the power of an IFORCE V8
    7.4 L Bravo III
  13. Tman

    Tman Member SILVER Sponsor

    268
    Aug 10, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    2014 Sabre 48 Salon Express
    Twin Cummins QSC 550
    Zeus Pod Drives
    When are you thinking of making the trip?
     
  14. Tacoma290

    Tacoma290 Member

    158
    Oct 5, 2006
    Tacoma, WA
    290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.0L EFI Bravo
    Leaving on Saturday morning. Getting close, and I am wrapping up to do lists.
     
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  15. Tman

    Tman Member SILVER Sponsor

    268
    Aug 10, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    2014 Sabre 48 Salon Express
    Twin Cummins QSC 550
    Zeus Pod Drives
    I will be in the Desolation Sound area for the next 3 weeks. Departing from Roche Harbor on the 5th. May see you up there...lots of places to enjoy in Desolation.
     
  16. searaypuget

    searaypuget Member

    71
    May 21, 2017
    Seattle
    2008 Sundancer 280
    496 Mercruiser w/Bravo III Drive
    Ah I envy you. I will have to wait till next year since kids school starts soon but do plan to head out to San Juan this weekend.
     
  17. M Prod

    M Prod Active Member SILVER Sponsor GOLD Sponsor

    311
    Oct 6, 2017
    North Vancouver, BC
    2005 Sundancer 340
    Aquapro Dinghy w/ Honda 8hp
    Kohler 5KW Genny
    Raymarine Electronics
    8.1 Horizons /V Drives
    I know I'm late to the party, but we are planning a trip to Desolation Sound next summer. We've never been and now have a generator and 4 batteries. Question is do other boaters run their generators up there, or is that considered rude seeing as you might not be that far away from other boaters on the hook ...especially mid summer? I've heard mixed opinions on this. I'm not talking about running the generator 24/7, but maybe in the morning for an hour or so to warm up the boat, recharge the batteries, make coffee with the Nespresso, and so on.

    And then Tacoma and TMan ...how were your trips?
     
  18. sandydlc

    sandydlc Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    470
    Feb 24, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    450 Sundancer 2010
    Cummins 480 HP w/Zeus pod drives
    Hi Michael,

    You can absolutely run your generator while on the hook. You’ll start hearing people running theirs around 7:00 or 8:00 am. We’ve found that if the weather is mild we'll just run it when needed periodically throughout the day and then again before we go to sleep to make sure batteries are charged on the boat as well as phones etc. Typically you don’t want to run the generator after 10:00 pm or so in a crowded anchorage. If it’s really hot out during the day we’ll run our generator more often to run our AC.

    Where in Desolation Sound are you planning to go?
     
  19. M Prod

    M Prod Active Member SILVER Sponsor GOLD Sponsor

    311
    Oct 6, 2017
    North Vancouver, BC
    2005 Sundancer 340
    Aquapro Dinghy w/ Honda 8hp
    Kohler 5KW Genny
    Raymarine Electronics
    8.1 Horizons /V Drives

    Great information Sandylic. Thank you for that. So far as where in DS, not really sure yet. We definitely want to hit up the spots you mentioned like Refuge Cove, Squirrel Cove, etc, and we will likely take a few days to run up to Princess Louisa Inlet on the way up. We are open to suggestions.

    Hey by the way your boat ..is that a relatively recent purchase? Any chance you bought that from someone up here in West Vancouver? (I know someone who recently sold a "Portofino")
     
  20. sandydlc

    sandydlc Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    470
    Feb 24, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    450 Sundancer 2010
    Cummins 480 HP w/Zeus pod drives
    Gorge Harbour is another great spot...Prideaux Haven for anchoring. There are so many it's difficult to choose but it's great for multiple trips/adventures!

    We purchased Portofino in 2016 but from a broker in Seattle. We renamed her so I don't think it's the boat you know.

    Feel free to get in touch if you want more information on places to go. Keep in mind that Princess Louisa Inlet is a very long trip and might be difficult to combine with Desolation Sound unless you have lots of time.
     
    M Prod likes this.

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