On our 14 day Desolation Sound package, you get to charter your boat through to the stunning Princess Louisa National Park – a gem of the Nanaimo region.
The Princess Louisa National Park was established on July the 24th, 1965 – over fifty years ago. It spans 964 hectares and boasts mountains, forests, and intricate shorelines – perfect for waterborne exploration.
The area surrounding the park known as Chatterbox falls (what a delightful name!) was owned originally by a man called James Macdonald before being passed on to the Princess Louisa International Society which runs as a non-profit organisation. James acknowledged one person owning such a beautiful space was not just, and wanted to see as many people enjoy and protect the area as possible. Now the Government of the Province of British Columbia are the main partner alongside support from the society.
As you enter the national park a sense of calm and tranquillity washes over you as you breath in the inexplicably fresh air, and delight your eyes and ears with the sights and sounds of the sea surrounding you. It is a blissfully quiet place, when you switch everything off you can hear the delightful roar of the many waterfalls that grace the park with their presence. Waterfalls are more prevalent in the warm seasons as packsnow melts into the cascades. The scenery is beautifully dramatic, and visitors say some of the best around the world.
Glaciers from thousands of years ago helped form the majestic granite gorges that frame the park. Mountains tipped with snow emerge out of the sea and stretch to heights of over 2000 meters. The oceans surrounding this impressive landscape could be mistaken for a lake due to their placidity. The famous Princess Louisa Inlet do move with the tides, but currents are virtually non-existent except for the Malibu Rapids that create the entrance to the inlet. The inlet is often referred to as Suivoolot by the natives, which translates to mean sunny and warm.The waters in this part of the park which is almost completed enclosed, are around 1000 feet deep, and half a mile wide.
The marine side of the park is managed by the Princess Louisa International Society in cooperation with BC (British Columbia) Parks. The society undertakes numerous fundraising activities to maintain the natural beauty of the marine environment and the inlet. They also do this to provide guests with enhanced facilities as well as to extend the boundaries of the park to protect more of it.
There are some rules about entering the park to help the managing bodies to protect the area. Many of these rules are common sense for regular sailors such as not discharging sewage in the docks or when anchored. The maximum length of vessel is 18 meters, and when entering the docking area you must keep to the 5 knot speed limits. They also ask that you keep the noise to a minimum in the late and early hours. There are also restrictions on fishing in the national park as you might expect. There are specific rockfish conservation areas, and here the rules must be observed. You also are likely to need a licence anywhere in British Columbia. There are no roads to the marine park but this will be no problem for the yachters!
Other than the inlet and the marine part of the park, the land portion of Princess Louisa National Park has lots to keep visitors occupied. It has campsites, picnic shelters, a ranger cabin and a variety of docks for yachters and boaters to moor up ready to explore inland a little.There are over 800 meters of hiking trails for the keen walkers among you to enjoy around the Chatterbox Falls area. There are moderate trails, and trails more suited to the more experienced hiker. You can really experience the beauty of the place on foot, trapesing through forest, clambering over rocks, and tip toeing through streams and ravines. Some of the trails are a little dangerous as well as difficult such as the one to Trappers Cabin, and so if you fancy challenging yourself it is a wise idea to hire a guide to accompany you.
There are plenty of opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling around the park too, and of course you can always go for a swim as well. Taking a tip under one of the many waterfalls will provide a particularly spectacular experience. So don’t forget to pack your swimmers! With all that time on board the yacht it can be a nice change to feel the water on your skin.
Photo Credit: bigpacific.com, ahoybc.com, dailymail.co.uk, burrp.com, divers-supply.com