The province of British Columbia offers a 27,000-square-kilometre cruising area – an expansive, but relatively untapped area for superyachts to explore. While the region may not be a traditional superyacht destination, Jimmy Barrier, owner of 40m M/Y Mea Culpa, believes it is one of the best places to cruise in the world, choosing to visit the BC coastline every year for the past 13 years.
“If I could only have one area to cruise, it would be British Columbia,” enthuses Barrier. “People don’t realise it but the Pacific Northwest has probably some of the best cruising in the world. There’s the scenery and remoteness of the islands, but you are close enough to civilisation to have easy access to fuel and supplies. And then there are the big cities of Vancouver and Victoria, so it’s a real mixture.”
As well as sport fishing – Barrier enjoys fishing the plentiful tuna off the coast of Vancouver Island, as well as salmon, halibut and lingcod – the key feature of cruising in the region is the nature and wildlife visitors encounter. “It’s nature at its best,” says Barrier. “You could be anchored right next to a mountain and see all sorts of wildlife. I can remember being anchored up in a bay in BC having cocktails and dinner and, not more than 50 yards from where we were anchored, a black bear comes up one side of the mountain, a brown bear comes up the other side and then a big moose walked along! That kind of thing just doesn’t happen in the Med or the Caribbean.”
“I can remember being anchored up in a bay in BC having cocktails and dinner and, not more than 50 yards from where we were anchored, a black bear comes up one side of the mountain...”
While the weather might be a little cooler than most popular yachting destinations, as well as changeable, the islands and deep water of British Columbia offer plenty of protected anchorages for superyachts that are both pristine and remote. These anchorages are also largely uncrowded – often times boats will find themselves alone in an anchorage.
Barrier does caution, however, about the particular challenges of cruising along the British Columbia coastline. “It can be treacherous because there are some uncharted rocks and there are so many logs floating in the water because of all the logging that goes on in the area, so it’s best to travel in the day time,” he adds. “There are also currents and big tides that can swing from 10-20 feet, so it really brings out the expertise of the captain.”
When quizzed about the ‘must-dos’ in the region, Barrier’s answer is simple: “Everything is a must-do, no matter where you go. The fjords and the glaciers are really special and Victoria is definitely a must-see – the Victoria International Marina is a really state-of-the-art marina and caters for large yachts. But there are so many different places you can go, and we have always chosen to cruise and discover it on our own. It really is a trip of a lifetime.”
The inaugural edition of The Pacific Superyacht Forum will be taking place in June 2021 in Victoria, British Columbia, in partnership with Victoria International Marina. To find out more about the event, please click here.
Images courtesy of Jimmy Barrier
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