Bute Inlet

Bute Inlet, approximately 35 miles long, is very deep.  Except in small areas near he mouths of rivers and at the head of the inlet, it is not good for anchorage.  Usually, the bottom drops away steeply, making a stern-tie to shore necessary.  Anchorages should be chosen with an eye to strong inflow winds during the afternnon, followed by calm, then by icy outflow winds in the morning.  Correspondents Gil and Karen Flanagan explain:

“The glaciers around Bute Inlet were melting and there are a lot of them.   The water was milky by Stuart Island, and got darker and darker the father up we went, turning from light green to gray to brownish.  We saw considerable drift, including complete trees with roots sticking 8 feet or so into the air.  At the times we had to slow to idle, shift to neutral and coast through bands of drift.  Jack Mold, the caretaker at Southgate Camp, said what we experienced was normal.

Waddington Harbour, at the head of Bute Inlet, has a lot good anchoring spots 10 – 50 foot depths.  We anchored as close to the northeast shore as we could get, and still were at least 100 yards from the beach.   There is no protection from wind, but we had no wind.  We didn’t see much driftwood on the beach, either.  We doubt if inflow winds blow hard or long, probably because even on hot days the massive ice fields in the mountains above preclude high land temperatures.

Because the ice fields, we had an overnight low in the upper 40s on Setember 1st.  It was 10 to 20 degrees lower than temperatures we had been experiencing in Desolation Sound.  The morning air was cold enough that we needed heavy coast, even in the sun.   Mountains 6,000 to 7,000 feet high rise directly from the head of the inlet.  They have snowfields, and are spectacular.

The milky water, drifting logs, huge harbour and high mountains create an environment that felt wildy and different from anywhere we have been on the coast.  We spent only 19 hours in Waddington Harbour, which wasn’t long enough to take the dinghy up either river.  We see a grizzly bear on the beach near our anchorage.  We definitely will go back.”

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