Kwakwa Creek - September 2012
I’ve written about this place earlier (Dolphin, September 2010, Cann Inlet) but I think it’s such a fabulous anchorage that it needs updating on its descriptions and restrictions. I always want everyone to enjoy what we have seen and done but sometimes I get carried away. Hard to believe, right?
We visited this special spot again this year and had such an incredible time we kept wishing all of our boating buddies could join us, but, it couldn’t happen. First, the entrance to Kwakwa Creek Anchorage is so tight and restrictive; I think most of you would pass except maybe by dinghy. You have to remember, Island Spirit is a mere 32’ long and draws less than 3’! There are a number of tight twists and turns you need to make, after deciding on which side of uncharted rocks you’re going to pass. We entered and exited at about mid-tide and found a least depth under our keel of less than seven feet at times. At one place a unicorn tree (a spar that hangs out over the water) nearly touches the bridge as you inch past. At a number of places, if the water is clear enough, you can watch the underwater rocks go by on both sides of your hull. Don’t become complacent once you reach the inside as there are obstructions at the opening and reefs and rocks protecting the first falls you see. Last year we chose a site near the lagoon falls that enters at the far end of the anchorage as the spawning fish were headed up that one. This year we had to re-anchor nearer the first falls, Kwakwa Creek, as the salmon were so thick at its base you believed you were inside an aquaculture pen. Our hook was finally set at 50o 33.475’N 128o 42.492’W, which is not far from a couple years ago but close enough to catch all the action.
I might mention that we did a lot of dinghy exploring, partly to see the end of Cann Inlet and partly to check all the depths of our long and complicated entryway. When we went to the far end of Cann Inlet we were amazed to find a crab trap float – we always felt and thought we were the only ones ever to have seen this place. One disappointment was the dinghy ride happened at a low tide so we couldn’t explore the newly discovered lagoon at the end of the Inlet – looked great through the binoculars.
I mentioned that the thousands and thousands of fish in the anchorage are concentrating on the falls at Kwakwa Creek. They bunch together trying to get at the fresh water coming at them. They are jumping all over the bay but especially here at the base of the falls. The dinghy is anchored to a rock in about four feet of water right at the base of the falls and some of the jumping fish hit the side of the boat and one nearly made it in but it hit Carolyn’s arm and she made ample motions and sound effects to get it back into the water. We estimated the falls height to be about eight feet at a low tide and one and a half feet at the high. We didn’t come up with any conclusions as to when or why the fish decided to navigate to the lake above but at times there was just random jumping all around us and at other times they would hit each other in the air as they headed up the connecting pools to the top. Most other animal life knew the answers though. The Bald Eagles were waiting in the trees over the falls only when the fish were on the move. Other times they would be spread throughout the surrounding forest of trees. When the eagles were there so were the Ravens. Their guttural rasping calls egging on the eagles to get a fish so they could work on the leftovers. Also, we noted that the eagles would let many salmon pass but when one small enough for them to handle made an appearance they were right on it. They would drag it out of the pool onto a rock then look around to see if anyone had seen their prowess in action. Once we watched four eagles in tight formation trying to steal a fish from an eagle that had been successful in the falls. Their yells and calls so loud there was no mistaken their intentions.
Yet the highlight of our stay here in Kwakwa Creek Anchorage was another fisherman that stood proudly on top of the falls when we first noticed it. An adult wolf was intently watching the same spectacle we and the eagles had been so intently watching. Soon a second adult came to look over the situation. They didn’t stay long but we did get a few photos before they faded back into the trees. Later we watched a young wolf jumping into the pools part way up the falls and drag thrashing salmon up the shoreline, then return for another. Soon another sibling joined him and they both went in after the fish. There were four fish-eating wolves in this family and sharing this time so close was a “forever memory”!
Thank you for letting us re-visit this beautiful spot. We do have new ones to talk about later. When you visit Kwakwa Creek, and you should, if your vessel is too large to safely navigate the entrances, simply continue on into Cann Inlet and drop your hook in any number of places, then dinghy back to the anchorage to enjoy Nature at its best.
Sidenote: this year we have seen NO bears.
Safe and comfortable cruising,
Don and Carolyn Bloye
M.V. Island Spirit