Desolation Sound Anchorages & Destinations
Desolation Sound is not a huge area. Even slow boats can go from one end to another in a day. But Desolation Sound offers a wilderness setting, generally easy waters, many bays and coves to explore and anchor in, and marinas where fuel and supplies are available. On the west side of these cruising grounds, Campbell River on Vancouver Island is a vibrant small city. Campbell River has complete supplies and even a boatyard for haulout and repairs. Lund on the BC mainland is at the eastern entry to Desolation Sound. Lund is a quaint, small village that has several services vacationing boaters are apt to need, including a nearby boatyard and lift.
The park is beautifully developed and maintained. The water is warm enough for swimming, even by adults who usually don’t go in anymore. There’s a covered fire pit for group get-togethers. For those who wish, a short walk to the pools near the base of Chatterbox Falls will yield a cracking bath/shower followed by a power rinse.
Grace Harbour is a popular anchorage. The inner bay is surrounded by forest and almost completely landlocked, with anchorage for quite a few boats. Many of the anchorages are along the shore, so be prepared to run a stern tie. A fire pit is in a little, parklike area at the north end.
The coves that make up the area generally known as Prideaux Haven are the most popular spots in Desolation Sound, with several requiring stern-ties to increase the number of boats accommodated The area is described in great detail by M. Wylie Blanchet in her classic book “The Curve of Time”.
Kanish Bay in Desolation Sound has several good anchorages. You could sneak behind Chained Islands, and some thought and planning to find a number of delightful spots, especially in settled weather.
Small Inlet is a narrow but easily-run channel with a least depth of 8 feet leads from the northeast corner of Kanish Bay to Small Inlet. This inlet, surrounded by steep, wooded mountains
Bold Island anchorage is just north of Village Bay on the west side of Hoskyn Channel. It has good anchorage in the basin at the northwest corner of Bold Island, approximately between the two drying reefs.
Pendrell Sound. With Summer water temperatures dependably in excess of 68°F, Pendrell Sound has been called the “warmest saltwater north of Mexico.” Major oyster culture operations are in the sound, providing seed oysters to growers all along the coast.
Refuge Cove, with a public marina, fuel dock, shops and well-stocked store, is a good resupply stop in the heart of Desolation Sound. For the easiest moorage and fuel dock use, early morning and late afternoon are recommended.
Elworthy Island Anchorage. A delightful cozy anchorage lies behind Elworthy Island, a mile north of Church Point, roughly across Waddington Channel from the entrance to Pendrell Sound. The aquaculture noted on charts no longer is present.
Squirrel Cove Cortes Island is made up of an outer bay and an inner bay. The outer bay provides access to the public wharf and the Squirrel Cove Trading Co. general store dock. The Flying Squirrel take-out stand and The Cove restaurant are located upland. A farmers market is held Sundays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
DESOLATION SOUND – 4 MUST THINGS TO DO
Best described as tranquil, raw, and untouched, Desolation Sound is located at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia and is easily considered a yachters paradise. Fjords, inlets, coves, bays, and mountainous terrain leave it ripe for exploration.
Roscoe Bay, on West Redonda Island where Waddington Channel meets Homfray Channel, is an excellent, protected, and popular anchorage. The bay is divided into an inner cove and an outer cove, separated by a drying shoal easily crossed by shallow draft boats at half tide or better.
OKEOVER HARBOUR AUTHORITY MOORAGE
Okeover Inlet border the Desolation Sound Marine Park area. The Okeover Harbour Authority docks are located on the western shore of Okeover Inlet a short distance south of Penrose Bay with road access to Lund. Oysters and other seafood are grown in several places along the beautiful Okeover Inlet.
DESOLATION SOUND & DISCOVERY PASSAGE
Desolation Sound is not a huge area. Even a slow boat can go from one end to another is a day. But Desolation Sound offers a wilderness setting, generally easy waters, many bays and coves to explore and anchor in, and marinas where fuel and supplies area available.
Jervis Inlet extend 46 miles into Coast range mountains and is the route to fabled Princess Louisa Inlet. Jervis Inlet is 1 to 1.5 miles wide and often more than 600 feet deep. Steep to shores, with mountains rising directly above, make for a few good anchorages.
A bucket-list sailing experience and considered by some to be the Grand Canyon of the North, British Columbia’s Princess Louisa Inlet is similarly thought to be glacially carved. It’s frequently described as a granite-walled gorge, with serene waters, and is disturbed only by the thundering and paradoxically calming sounds of the nearby cascading sixty-some waterfalls.
Melanie Cove in Desolation Sound is perfectly protected, with ample room along both shores for boats to anchor and stern-tie. Stern-ties along the north shore are made easier with recently installed stern-tie mooring eyes, while the south shore requires a scramble up-shore to find a tree or rock anchor.
Tenedos Bay (also called Deep Bay) is a favourite, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a good, protected anchorage, with a landlocked basin behind the island off the northwest shore. This island is joined with the mainland by a drying shoal, shown on the charts. Second, it’s just a short dinghy ride to the mouth of the stream that runs from Unwin Lake, a popular freshwater swimming hole.
This is a quiet marina, located behind Double Island at the mouth of Toba Inlet. The views up Toba Inlet in Desolation Sound are breathtaking. The marina expanded their dock space to 1400 feet of moorage, on concrete floats, for vessels up to 200 feet, with no requirement for rafting.
Waiatt Bay is broad and protected, with convenient anchoring depths behind Octopus Islands. The bay’s entrance is choked with islets and rocks, and Sailing Directions (written for large vessels) warn against entering.
Malibu Rapids marks the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet. The rapids are narrow and dogleg-shaped, and boats at one end cannot see boats at the other end. It is courteous and wise to warn other vessels via VHF radio that you are about to enter the rapids, and the direction you are travelling.
Teakerne Arm is a deep inlet extending from Lewis Channel into West Redonda Island. Anchorage is just inside the entrance in Talbot Cove, or in front of the waterfall from Cassel Lake at the head of the north arm, or in the south arm
This is a beautiful popular anchorage and exploration area, wonderfully protected. You can enter from Waiatt Bay, but the usual entry is by a narrow channel from the north. Anchor in any of several coves and run a stern-tie to shore.
Northbound, you can wait for slack either in Menzies Bay on the Vancouver Island side or in the good-size unnamed bay behind Maud Island on the Quadra Island side. South of Maud Island, the flood forms a back eddy along Quadra Island, easily sweeping northbound boats toward Maud Island.
Quartz Bay is unusually pretty, with good holding bottom. The eastern cove of the bay has several homes and two private docks along the shoreline. You can anchor with swinging room in 30 to 42 feet near the head, but you’re in their front yards.
Walsh Cove Marine Park is a beautiful little spot with room for a few boats to anchor on a rocky bottom. Enter Walsh Cove from the south. At the north end of the cove, a rock-strewn reef connects Gorges Island to West Redonda Island.