The day dawned cloudy and cool as we plied the waters of Jervis Inlet. By the time we reached the Princess Royal Reach, some 35 miles from the Strait of Georgia, not only had the ceiling lifted, but it was affording us views of several small groups of humpback whales as they were lunge-feeding along the northern shore! We hung with the humpbacks long enough to see them disappear to the west, as we once again resumed our way towards the fabled Chatterbox Falls. Not only did the mists rise, but the sun began to peek out as we rounded the corner into The Queen’s Reach, revealing gorgeous green hills gilded with golden patches along their flanks. Douglas maples signaled the approach of winter.
As we came to the end of the fjord, we were lucky enough to spot not one but three black bears foraging near the mouth of the Skwawka River. The bears were unbothered by our presence and looked glossy and well-fed as they worked the shore for the last morsels of the 2023 salmon season.
The tide approached a point where we felt comfortable transiting the rapids that guard the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet. We turned our bow a bit to the south to a point where we could anchor just outside of Malibu Rapids. The name Malibu seems as far from the temperate coastal rainforests of British Columbia as Bedford–Stuyvesant, and yet, it is on the map: Malibu Rapids, 56 miles up Jervis Inlet, on BC’s famous “Sunshine Coast.” This is the site of the Malibu Club! Not only is it on the map, but it is our destination for today in what promises to be an amazingly beautiful part of BC’s Sunshine Coast.
The area is not without history; it is the site of a resort that opened in 1941 and attracted luminaries like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, and Barbara Stanwick…and us, 82 years later!
Access to the inlet is through the Malibu (tidal) Rapids, which can host currents as strong as 9 knots! Fortunately, today’s currents were nowhere near that, and we easily gained access and exit with only slight ripples to indicate the volumes of water passing into the fjord.
Once inside, we commenced hikes at McDonald Island. After a short Zodiac trip, we took a short walk to the terminus of the Loquilts River at Chatterbox Falls, a powerful tumult that drops 120’ into the inlet. The Loquilts is also host to the tallest single drop in North America at 2755’, which terminates a mere 400’ above Chatterbox Falls and was easily seen on our approach.
The rapids proved as docile on our return as they were on our entrance to the inlet, allowing us to proceed to our appointed rendezvous with a sumptuous dinner back aboard National Geographic Venture.
I don’t believe there was a soul aboard who would have preferred to spend their day any other way!
Photographers: Jeff Campbell and Alex Rubenstein