The journey from Vancouver to Princess Louisa Inlet was both a return to a favorite place and something new. It was our first time cruising north along the coast of the mainland, known as the Sunshine Coast. It was also our first time with a guest aboard for more than a day. Our friend Michelle joined us for a week as we made our way slowly and indirectly to Yellow Point Lodge on Vancouver Island.

We left Coal Harbour marina at 5:30 in order to pass through First Narrows (under the Lion’s Gate bridge) at Slack. A few freighters and a pair of cruise ships, some leaving, some arriving, joined us. I had a short chat with the Disney Wonder to agree how we would pass each other.

This is West Vancouver. We walked that beach in bright sunshine two days earlier.

A small Island near Garden Bay with interesting rocks.

We spent the night at anchor in Pender Harbour then set out early the next morning in order to arrive at Malibu Rapids at Slack. The journey takes you through a series of steep-walled fjords. Did I say “steep”? The water is often hundreds of feet deep just a few yards offshore!

Signs of human habitation are few. There are two or three abandoned logging camps, the site of a former native village, and not much else.

We arrived at Malibu Rapids, the entrance to Princess Louisa, after a four hour journey through the fjords. As you can see from the map, a large amount of water flows through a small space as the tide rises and falls. Most boaters try to transit near Slack, as the rapids are narrow, rock-lined, and S-shaped.

This photo is looking back towards the rapids.

Four miles past the rapids, we reach the head of the inlet. Looking up the valley, you can see some of the countless streams and waterfalls that feed Chatterbox Falls.

Time for Happy Hour!

Michelle contemplates the spread that she and Mary Anne created.

A smaller waterfall next to our mooring. Note the tree branch caught partway down.

There’s not a lot of hiking at Princess Louisa, mostly because it’s steeply up in all directions. The signage is not encouraging.

The short hike near Chatterbox Falls begins at the dock. You can walk the beach or take a short trail to get closer to the falls.

There’s a frightening story about sliding moss in The Curve of Time by Capi Blanchet. Hundreds of years of moss form a soft, seemingly stable, cushion that beckons hikers and picnickers. Trouble is, the moss is sitting atop bare rock.

We took the Zephyr back up the inlet near McDonald Island to walk the only other trail that I know of in the area. It’s a pretty 1 km walk through the woods.

Weird bumpily trees.

And an insect-ridden tree that has fed many birds.

Do you know about the notches in these stumps? Loggers would cut them with their axes then insert boards sticking straight out from the trunk. They would stand on these “steps” while using a huge crosscut saw.

A final look towards Malibu Rapids as we prepare for an early morning departure.


  1. Gorgeous pictures! So glad we met up in Nanaimo with Pam and Sam. Steve the boys love the tour of the engine and de-salination (sp?) process. 🇨🇦❤️

  2. My new favorite place in the world thanks to you two – loved your description of our time there. The photos were beautiful – I’ll never forget those waterfalls and the tranquility of it all – sigh 😊

  3. What an amazing trip you are having! The pictures are beautiful and it seems somewhat secluded!
    Enjoy and be safe!
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wonderful pictures and adventures, Mary Anne and Steve!
    Did you say Chatterbox Falls was named after me?
    The sliding moss on top of the solid rock sounded like me
    trying to wear a toupee! Can’t wait for the next set!
    Love, MEB

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