Reflections of shoreline and mountains at Alison Sound

Anchored at the head of Alison Sound – click to enlarge

What can one say about a place too beautiful for words?

Cruising up Alison Sound, we ran out of synonyms for “wow”, “ooh” and “ah”. Eleven miles and hundreds of photos later, we anchored off the shallows at the head of the Sound. Granite mountains rose vertically to either side, and behind us, the mouths of two rivers and a creek formed a lush green delta that called out for exploring in our kayaks.

Alison Sound extends north and east from Belize Inlet, which in turn branches off from Seymour Inlet. This huge inlet system is separated from the outer coast by the infamous Nakwakto Rapids – a fierce tidal pass that can run more than 14 knots. Unless you have a very high-powered vessel and nerves of steel – or perhaps a death wish – you need to pass in or out of Seymour Inlet only during slack water (the time when the current stops flowing in one direction and starts flowing the other way). The window of slack  at Nakwakto is only about six minutes long, but fortunately, we timed our passages well.

As the crow flies, the head of Alison Sound is about 30 nautical miles east of Cape Caution on Queen Charlotte Sound. But because Alison is so far inland, it’s a world apart from the fog, wind and heavy seas that dominate the exposed outer coast.

We spent three perfect days in Alison and saw no other boats. The weather was warm and dry, and it was so calm that we didn’t need to worry about dragging our anchor or swinging onto the sandbars. Swallows darted around us, keeping our floating home wonderfully free of pesky insects.  Aside from the birds’ melodious chatter, the only sound was the constant low roar of a waterfall.

Could it possibly get any better than this?

More photos of Alison Sound (click on any photo to enlarge and view in carousel format):

For more on Alison SoundThe Walls Tell a Story: Alison Sound’s Pictographs 

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About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer focused on nature and nautical on the BC coast

14 responses »

  1. Michael says:

    These photos are breathtaking. I am looking forward to you posting more photos that you mention above.

  2. […] Exploring Alison: Beyond Superlatives – the rugged coasts of western Canada really are unique in the world, producing scenes that […]

  3. I am speechless, and this doesn’t happen easily! What an epic set of photographs, Laurie, of one of the most beautiful places in the world! I hung on your every word, trying to take in the feeling of this magical location! Really, really looking forward to seeing more, my friend, so happy to see you back from your vacation!

  4. ehpem says:

    What a terrific place – now this is one that till now has been completely off my radar. I really like those streaky cliffs.

    • Thanks, ehpem. I plan to post some more photos of Alison’s cliffs this fall – they are really beautiful, and some have very old pictographs that I think you’ll find interesting. It’s a place that’s off most people’s radar, mainly because of Nakwakto Rapids – not to be taken lightly!

      • ehpem says:

        I look forward to seeing all of those things. Looks like you had a great trip.
        I think I heard that someone wanted to use the rapids for generating electricity, but the idea was not practical due to there being no nearby grid connection available.

  5. Bob Simmons says:

    Inspiring, Laurie. Have you posted any images of your rig and camping gear? Some of us sedentary old timers (this one, anyway) would like to know more about how you traveled.

    Bob Simmons

    • Thanks, Bob. We have an older 32-ft power boat, which is a lot easier on us aging adventurers than camping would be! It’s powered by a diesel engine and although it’s slow (6 to 7 knots on average), it’s very comfortable and a good way to travel. We carry two small kayaks aboard, which we use regularly to explore the rockpiles and reefs where we dare not take the boat.

  6. Phil Lanoue says:

    Truly amazing and wonderful Laurie! Thanks for taking me along for the ride!

  7. Sherry Galey says:

    This is seriously awe-inspiring, Laurie. I would so love to see this in person. What an amazing experience you are having.Thanks for sharing it.

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