When entering the north entrance to Discovery Passage on the way to Campbell River we start looking for a decent anchorage for tonight, or maybe longer, depending on the weather. We never want to encounter the seas we fought a couple years ago on the way down to Comox so for us we pay attention to the weather reports of this area – Chatham Point in particular! There are numerous places to “hole up” along this Passage but we have one that has become a favorite whenever we are in this vicinity.
We cruise behind the picturesque Cinque Islands near Islet Point and cross over the inviting entrance to Okisollo Channel to Granite Point. Following the Quadra Islands shoreline behind Nixon Island we enter Kinash Bay, with its own batch of fair anchorages. Further on you come to a small opening at 50o15.239’N 125o18.833’W and carefully navigate through the narrow passage to an attractive inner bay called Small Inlet. Canadian Chart #3543 shows a heading of 65.5o for entering the first third of the passage and 211.5o to get you through but just keeping an alert eye on your surroundings will suffice. There may be another boat or two in residence here but we always go beyond this obvious bay behind a small islet (nice for a private dinghy picnic) and drop Bruce in about 16’ to 20’ at about 50o15.667’N 125o16.727’W with acres of swing space. Moving into the small cove behind the islets, keep these islets fairly close to port being aware of a rock that shows well at low tide to your starboard. This rock frequently supports our boating totem, a Great Blue Heron, waiting for small fish to swim close by.
Being the lazy boaters we are, most of our time at anchor here is spent reading, napping, doing minor repair, finishing a bottle of Merlot, catching up on the trip log, or whatever…. If we get really stimulated we may set out a crab trap anywhere in here but we have not had too great luck so far. This does seem the perfect habitat for large Dungeness Crabs but maybe all the other boats that visit here in a season have the same idea.
In the next echelon of energetic extravagances, we may take one of the hikes out of Small Inlet towards Newton Lake or Waiatt Bay near the Octopus Island group. Neither trail is difficult but may be quite muddy depending on recent weather. We’ve looked for the Waiatt Bay trail from the Octopus side and have never been able to leave the dinghy safely anchored on the sharp rocky shore, full of barnacles and oyster shells on that side.
In conclusion, Small Inlet is not really a “destination anchorage”, but simply a beautiful and peaceful stopover on your way to or from someplace else. At least, if you’ve not been here before, just pull in and check it out. It’s well worth it.
We’ll see you at the Shake Down Cruise, so start getting prepared for a great boating season.
Don and Carolyn Bloye
M.V. Island Spirit