Over the three days we spent in Princess Louisa Inlet last summer, we watched a fascinating play of light and shadow.
This steep-sided, narrow inlet is tucked far into BC’s Coast Mountain Range, so morning light is slow to arrive. When the sun finally makes it over the eastern peaks, it lights the tops of the mountains along the western shore first.
As the daylight slowly grows, it arcs down to the lower elevation treetops, filling in the rest of the western shore and eventually both sides of the inlet. By mid-afternoon, the process starts to reverse as the sun vanishes behind the giant peaks to the west.
To give you a sense of scale, one of the waterfalls in the photo above is James Bruce Falls: at 840 m (2760 ft), the highest measured waterfall in North America and 9th highest in the world, according to Wikipedia. The steepness of this landscape is breathtaking – but down at sea level, it means fewer hours of direct sunlight than you might otherwise expect.
Depending where you moor, you can enjoy morning light or afternoon light. We anchored just west of iconic Chatterbox Falls – the much photographed spot at the head of the Inlet which has been drawing boaters to this regal destination for close to a century.
We’d had heavy rains in the spring, so by the time we got there in late June, Chatterbox was roaring – blasting huge sheets of mist out over the estuary at the head of the Inlet. When the morning sun finally made it over the mountain peaks to the east, the mist was backlit, providing a shimmering light show: perfect for viewing from our cockpit with a late morning coffee in hand.