Distance: 59.8 km from Friendship Park, Sechelt, to Jericho Sailing Centre, Vancouver.
Description: This leg combines some great mountain scenery and the fjordlike setting of Howe Sound, the Big City climate of Vancouver and the expansive beaches of the Lower Sunshine Coast. If makes for a varied but imposing area to traverse, involving both a major shipping area (Burrard Inlet), an open water section along the mouth of Howe Sound and a lengthy shoreline journey along the Lower Sunshine Coast to position yourself to or from the crossing of the Strait of Georgia.
Howe Sound is a scenic highlight, with the mountains hemming in the waters as they gain in elevation towards Squamish. This area is also part of the Sea to Sky Marine Trail from Squamish to Whistler through Howe Sound, and so trips of this area can involve the Sea to Sky Marine Trail recreation sites which dot the sound.
The Sunshine Coast section tends to be flatter, with with good regular beaches at parks along the way for breaks. The difficulty is a lack of marine trail campsites at this point in the trail's history. The BC Marine Trails Network is working on this deficiency.
Burrard Inlet, meanwhile, offers its own attractions. The trailhead at Jericho Sailing Centre is an active location for paddlers of all types, who enjoy the waters here for day trips, training and teamwork.
The BC Marine Trails sets safety standards for coastal travel. Our maximum distance between campsites is 12 nautical miles. If the distance is greater than 12 nm this distance is red-flagged. If a distance is greater than 8 nm (our optimal distance) between campsites and less than 12 nm this distance is yellow-flagged.
Exposed water. This stretch is open to the Strait of Georgia along most of the route, and so the water is prone to receive the worst of whatever conditions are likely at that point in time, as opposed to locations in the Gulf Islands which may be calm by comparison. In addition, Howe Sound is generally independent of the prevailing coastal winds as it is affected by its own diurnal winds. Be sure to monitor the Howe Sound marine weather forecast, whereas the rest of the region is the Strait of Georgia South of Nanaimo weather region and the Strait of Georgia North of Nanaimo weather region.
Shipping lanes: Burrard Inlet is a busy shipping channel, so paddlers must monitor Vessel Traffic Services to be aware of shpping traffic movement.