VANCOUVER, CANADA – Vancouver Island hugs the coast of western Canada, covering about half of the 500 nautical miles from the southern border with the United States to Alaska.
It provides both a protected and spectacular waterway for motor yachting enthusiasts to explore.
For Sandy and Beth Seney, this is their summer wonderland; myriad bays, inlets and sounds to explore aboard their new Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge they have named Sweet Thing.
“My mother referred to everyone as either a ‘sweet thing’ or an ‘interesting character’,” explained Beth. “It was not good to be known as an ‘interesting character’!
“Fortunately, she referred to Sandy as a ‘sweet thing’. Hence the name.”
Sandy and Beth took a keen interest in the build of their new Riviera and spent some time inspecting her as she came together at the company’s headquarters in south-east Queensland then waited patiently for delivery to their home in Vancouver at the beginning of the northern summer.
“We saw the Riviera 52 at a local boat show and immediately decided she was what we wanted,” said Sandy.
“The internal staircase to the flybridge was a major feature, as was the glass enclosed flybridge itself. No more plastic windows.
“We also like the fact that there is no helm station in the salon. The layout offers so much space, with the galley aft and dinette and lounge forward, all on the same level.
“And we can’t get over how fast she is with the twin Volvo Penta engines and pod drives.
“We seldom go into marinas or tie up to docks. We prefer to anchor somewhere on our own. So the inverter, generator and water capacity are important to us.
“Fortunately, we don’t put much strain on the generator as air conditioning is not particularly important. A hot day here is 25 degrees Celsius.”
With Sweet Thing safely delivered to their home marina, Sandy and Beth added their own belongings and a coffee maker and almost immediately headed off for eight weeks to explore the waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland.
One of their first anchorages was at Princess Louisa Inlet nearly 100 nautical miles north of Vancouver. It is a small, narrow fjord that branches off the larger Jervis Inlet, surrounded by tall, steep mountains covered in fir trees.
A spectacular waterfall, Chatterbox Falls, is at the head of the inlet with a stream running into the waterway past a stony beach.
“Walking and hiking in the area is fantastic. It is all national park and the tracks are well maintained,” said Sandy.
They turned back to the main waterway and headed north to the disturbingly named Desolation Sound, a protected waterway marked by many small islands. It was named by Captain George Vancouver during his exploration and mapping of the region in 1792. He noted at the time “there was not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye”.
“I assume he was being cryptic,” said Sandy. “It is beautiful country; tree-covered, snow-capped mountains, tiny islets, wonderful anchorages.”
Continuing north, they travelled through Johnstone Strait with its many islands to another open waterway and on to the Broughton archipelago leading toward Pierre’s Echo Bay marina.
“It is a small marina,” said Sandy. “There is no road leading into it and power is by generator. The highlight of Echo Bay is Pierre’s pig roast every Friday and Saturday evening during the summer.”
Sandy and Beth returned to Australia recently to again visit the Riviera facility and then to explore the sparkling Whitsunday Islands on the fabled Great Barrier Reef.