Point Wilson to Nanaimo
From Seattle to Nanaimo (or Vancouver)
Including the 33 miles from Shilshole Bay to Pt. Wilson at the mouth of the Puget Sound (lower right hand corner of the chart), it is 117 miles from Shilshole Bay in Seattle to Nanaimo, B.C., an easy two-day run with an overnight stop in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Alternatively, it is 131 miles via Victoria. Victoria warrants at least a two-night lay-over. A second alternative is to go to Vancouver, 59 miles from Friday Harbor.
Pt. Wilson is where the Puget Sound meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Strait empties into the Pacific Ocean at Cape Flattery 83 miles to the west, past Port Angeles on the U.S. side and Victoria on the Canadian side. Port Angeles is an old lumber town with a population of 19,000. It is the tourist gateway to Olympic National Park and the Olympic Peninsula. Victoria is one of the most picturesque Canadian cities. The Victoria metropolitan area has a population of about 350,000.
North of Poiht Wilson lies the San Juan Islands / Gulf Islands archipelago. Boundary Pass runs through the middle of the archipelago separating the U.S. side (the San Juans) from the Canadian side (the Gulf Islands). All these islands are beautiful, full of charming anchorages and quaint villages. Many boaters in Seattle and Victoria never get beyond these islands.
At the north end of the Gulf Islands is the tidal rapid Dodd Narrows. Just beyond is the Nanaimo, a city of 84,000 people. It is the gateway to the Strait of Georgia. Going north from Nanaimo, the choice is to cross the Strait and go through Desolation Sound or proceed up the west side of the Strait to Campbell River and Discovery Passage.