You may have noticed some subtleties in my past articles regarding crowded anchorages. We have dropped the hook in Rebecca Spit, Octopus Islands and Montague Harbour, but we don’t normally seek out crowds, popular places or packed anchorages. Our itinerary this month is certainly no exception.
Discovery Passage meets Johnstone Strait near Chatham Point, a popular and important weather reporting station. Cruising northeast up Nodales Channel, just past Cameleon Harbour (March 2011 Dolphin), you will see on Canadian Charts #3543 and #3539 a large body of water named Thurston Bay, part of Thurston Bay Marine Park.
Although there is ample anchorage near the north end of the bay, behind Block Island, we headed to the south end of Thurston and found a small opening (shallow and narrow) at 50o21.830’N 125o 19.349’W. Many submerged rocks and small islets protect this opening so watch the chartplotter closely. The many guide books will tell you this entry is about two feet deep.
We found, with a trusty bow watch person, plenty of room to move slowly into the hidden gem of a private spot. Some of the books have given this beautiful place the name of Anchorage Lagoon – I like that. It’s actually pretty much uncharted so be aware where you anchor and a good practice is the ”doggy nap” procedure of circling the area a couple times before you settle down, looking for any shallow spots that might not show up at a high tide.
The tide was fairly high, as recommended by the available literature, but we still entered with care, being able to see the outcropping rocks clearly throughout the entrance. We took the port dogleg and entered a totally secluded, beautifully serene and absolutely quiet paradise. We looked for a good place to put “Bruce” to rest in 21’ of water and when the Hinos we shut down the silence was an enveloping shroud that settled without a sigh. Can you tell I liked it? Our anchorage was at 50o21.637’N 125o 19.153’W, but there is actually room for a few more boats in here.
Wherever we anchor, we can only stand the solitude for a short time before the dinghy, like your pet dog, asks to be taken for a ride. After exploring the total shoreline of the lagoon we head out the entrance and further investigate the south end of Thurston Bay. We found the remains of an old dock with lots of rusty machinery lying about the shore. Further on an old, presumably deserted, cabin was set back on a perfect lot, backed by a healthy forest and a panorama view out the front past Burgess Passage and Nodales Channel beyond. All this protected by a shallow, gravel shoal that would keep most nosey boaters at bay. How could anyone abandon a place like this?
Back in our private anchorage we mustered up enough energy to mix a Gin ‘n tonic and a Rum and Coke while we watched a truly magnificent sunset.
The draw for any part of Thurston Bay Marine Park is mostly fishing and crabbing. Anchorage Lagoon proved to be a great spot for crabs, and in only fifteen to twenty feet of water! When the tide is right and the salmon are running, most anyplace north of Davis Point is popular. We have had good luck south of Howe Island for both salmon and lingcod. You’ll find lots of competition at these two spots with small fishing boats coming from fishing camps all over the area. We are at a disadvantage because we are not equipped with the downriggers that are almost necessary to reach the deep running salmon.
We didn’t look for the trail that links Anchorage Lagoon to Hanfield Bay in the northern cove in Cameleon Harbour. Someday when we’re not suffering from a case of chronic laziness we’ll check it out. We’ve been advised to beware of the Black Bear population here so we will certainly have the camera at ready for the hike.
I wrote in my log last year about the next morning: This morning is one of those that keep you mesmerized by the stillness and softness of the early daylight sunshine. We watched the sun rise over the surrounding trees and can hear nothing. We wonder if we’re totally lazy or just completely content. Spending time, that valuable commodity, just watching a seal resting on the surface, his body raising and falling as he breathes. He seems as lazy as we, in no hurry for anything to happen.
The rock behind the boat is a resting place for Arctic Turns, pausing like us in a journey to wherever today. I refill my coffee cup, the most demanding chore so far today and choose a distant rock to see if the tide is coming in or receding. Now and then we hear the chattering call of Kingfishers and watch the Great Blue Herons perched precariously in trees waiting for a tide low enough to allow them to forage along the shore. After such a busy morning I have finally come to the conclusion that, yes, the tide is going out. All this and it’s not yet ten o’clock!
We’ll be there this summer and maybe you can join us in this peaceful Anchorage Lagoon.
Don and Carolyn Bloye
M.V. Island Spirit