Pruth Bay on Calvert Island of the Central Coast of BC has a tall reputation to live up to – every guide book and blog we’ve read raves about it. It ended up exceeding our expectations, helped by some glorious sun on the second day. We stayed two nights and were sad to leave – we easily could’ve spent 3 or 4 days there. We both agree it’s probably our favorite place in all of our cruising of the Pacific Northwest.
The well known attraction of Pruth Bay is its sandy beaches – large, pristine sand beaches with gentle slopes – extremely rare in the Pacific Northwest. They’re also nearly deserted, and there are 10 distinct beaches, which would be enough for each person here currently to have their own beach.
Another big plus is the Hakai research institute here shares their satellite wifi with boaters (use sparingly). Since the Central Coast has pretty much no cellular service, it’s nice to be able to check in with family and check weather. The Central Coast is a lonely coast, and some social time helps.
So it was exciting to see 9 boats in the bay our first night, including 5 sailboats. That’s the most boats we’ve shared an anchorage with since leaving Shilshole March 29, and the most cruising sailboats we’ve seen since then. It was fun to see S/V De Novo there (another boat from Shilshole), and we went hiking with them the next morning.
Getting to Pruth Bay
Getting to Pruth Bay, if you want to sail, from Fury Cove, was a bit of an adventure. Something we didn’t expect is a northwest wind in the 15-25 knot range becomes a *southwest* wind near the bottom of Calvert Island, making for nice but brief downwind sailing from Fury Cove.
Then as we approached Kwakshua channel, the quickest route to Pruth Bay, the wind was pouring out of that channel – making for a 20-25 knots upwind sail in Fitz Hugh Sound. This time we finally double reefed our main, which made the boat much more stable, quiet, and well balanced than the last time we were upwind in 20-25.
We tacked all the way up Kwakshua channel, putting in about 30 tacks. A lot of work, but it was sunny and we were having fun.
In the morning we hiked to West Beach and North Beach with S/V De Novo. We ran into a park ranger on the trail and I entertained his dogs, two inexhaustible border collies who wanted to play fetch, while we all chatted about where to find bears.
Later that afternoon Natalie and I went back to West Beach, did beach yoga and read for a while. It was partly cloudy, but the sun made some appearances. The only problem with a beach day at Pruth Bay is we were swarmed by clouds of annoying flies, and some sand fleas.
Hiking the South Beaches of Pruth Bay
Our last morning at Pruth Bay, after exploring the west and north beach the previous day, we hiked to the south beaches. Amazingly, Pruth Bay has 10 beaches that are reachable from it. The south beaches are numbered – 2nd beach, 3rd beach, 4th beach, etc. As we hiked along, each one got more beautiful than the previous.
Before 2nd beach though the hike has an option to go up to a lookout. The lookout detour was well worth it, providing panoramic views of Queen Charlotte Sound and the islands. The terrain and vegetation is really interesting, looking almost Hawaii-like.
The hike gets a bit more difficult at beaches 6 and 7, involving some rock scrambling. Traversing the beaches is much easier at low tide though. 6 and 7 were in our opinion the most scenic beaches, and we hope to come back someday.
We were sad to leave Pruth Bay, but we know we’ll be back someday.
What a great post about a place I had only encountered in guide books. It almost sound like it would be worth round the cape just for that. Still jealous.
Definitely worth going around the cape for it. And it’s not far once you’re around that, most boats get there day 2 after rounding the cape.