bc north coast anchorages

Codville Lagoon

Codville Lagoon(52°3.667'N, 127°50.278'W) is located on the western side of King Island, past Fitz Hugh Sound in Fisher Channel. It's a neat place, a big bay carved into the side of the island. The entrance is straightforward, even if a rock borders its northern half. Looking at it on a chart, it is narrower than it looks, there is plenty of room, even with the rock blocking part of the way. A thing to note though is that the flood seems to flow into the anchorage, rather than out. It wasn't too strong when we exited, but we did slow down a little.

There are many different spots to anchor in, but the east cove is the most popular because that's where a trail head to Sager Lake begins. The bottom there appears to be rock, we had no trouble with holding, even when wind started to funnel in from the entrance, putting us into an uncomfortable lee shore for a short time. The wind never stayed, but it did put us stern to shore a few times that day, it's never nice. We were there on May 23rd, it may be nice and relaxing in the summer, we didn't get to go hiking because the weather was terrible, and the wind putting us stern to shore wasn't reassuring, we didn't think it was a good idea to leave the boat alone. Still, this is a very scenic anchorage, it is worth stopping for. Prior to entering the lagoon, some humpback whales were jumping out the water in the north part of Lagoon Bay, south of Nob Point. We had cell reception here, it wasn't always 100%, but we were able to check messages and the weather.

Lizzie Bay

Lizzie Bay(52°3.179'N, 128°5.227'W) was not our first choice, we had aimed to get to Discovery Harbour that day, but we didn't realize that in Lama Passage, the current floods east. We fought the current for a while to get through, it wasn't too strong but it wasn't ideal. Because the current wasn't in our favor, we decided to stop in Lizzie Bay on the north of Hunter Island, an anchorage in Lama Passage (early in the passage). The entrance to Lizzie Bay is a bit tricky, because there are many obstructions in the entrance, but the worse is that there are two uncharted rocks, reported as notes on Navionics by a local fisherman. The rest of the tricky bits are well documented in Wagonner and other cruising guides.

This bay is not especially scenic, but it's well shielded from weather(we had 20-30 NW winds), and the holding is good. Floating buildings lay in the south east part of the bay, not documented on charts or on Navionics(you can see it partially on the satellite version if you have internet) occupying a lot of room. There is also a small dock on the southeast side. We found plenty of room to anchor in 30 feet, near the floating docks. We had excellent cell reception here, due to the anchorage's proximity to Bella Bella and Shearwater.

Higgins Passage

Our anchoring spot: 52°28.437'N, 128°44.452'N.

After sailing around the bottom of Price Island, we aimed our bow northward and tucked into Higgins Passage, entering from the west. Higgins Passage also has an eastern entrance, but only for small or boats with shallow drafts on big tides. We had aimed to go to Parsons that day, but we were tired and chose to go there instead. The entrance, like many anchorages on this coast, are full of reefs, both seen and unseen. When the waves are rough they break on the unseen ones, making them visible. The obstructions are all charted, but you have to pay very close attention to where you are going, especially if like us, you chose to enter through the path that is closest to shore (52°27.685'N, 128°46.332'W -> 52°27.911'N, 128 46.097'W -> 52°28.357'N, 128°56.982'W -> 52°28.497'N, 128°45.632'W -> then you're home free). There are many many reefs to avoid, and I mean many. We had south winds blowing, but a spit of land just south of the pass kept the waves down. The easier path is east of Kipp Islet (52°28.564'N, 128°47.062'W).

Higgins Passage feels huge, it's really well protected from weather and seems like it would be really fun to explore by dinghy. While we entered, we spotted some kayaker's on the beach. We had 25-35 knot winds from the south and felt very safe here, holding was excellent. I can't stress this enough, this place is absolutely lovely, we would love to see it in calm weather.

On exit, you can take the Kipp Islet pass, but because we exited with some south winds so we took the north pass to get a bit of protection from the many islands and reefs along the shore (our rough path: 52°29.028'N, 128°46.219'W -> 52°29.124'N, 128°47.098'W -> 52°29.271'N, 128°47.422'W). It does get rough there, the waves are very messy once past the protection of the reefs. If you choose to do this, be very, very careful. We wanted to leave with south winds so we had to endure it, we motor sailed out just to be certain that keep control of the boat, so as to not drift too far towards the shore. All was fine in the end, exiting from Higgins Passage with a north wind ought to be easy. No problems with VHF reception, no cell reception.

Bone Anchorage

The problem with sailing in Laredo Channel is that there aren't many places to tuck in on the way. Phillip Narrows has a shallow entrance and a tidal stream, others are exposed to any south wind, or temporary, so we pushed on, and chose to wander into the very far Bone Anchorage(52°50.457'N, 129°0.641'W) at the very head of Racey Inlet on Princess Royal Island. It's 5 NM from the entrance, a long way, made longer by the fact that a perpetual current runs in here, or at least it did while we were there. The culprit? A set of falls at the head of the bay. We were there on the 26th of May, with heavy rain almost everyday, feeding the mountains and giving falls a boost. We had no other anchoring option, so we pushed on, even with 1 knot of current against us. There are a few rocks to avoid, but nothing too problematic. Carne Bay is another anchorage that is just before Bone, but we figured we'd go all the way to see what the anchorage was like. We're glad we did, because it's a beautiful, wild place. Tucked behind an island, with some falls ahead, it is big enough to accomodate a few boats and has good anchoring depths, and good holding. It's well-shieled from weather too.

The issue with this anchorage is that we had no VHF reception, zero, couldn't check the weather outside. Evidently, there is no cell reception either, it's too well tucked.

Patterson Inlet

There are many places to drop the hook in Principe Channel, we chose Patterson Inlet(53°27.394'N, 129°47.169'W) on Pitt Island, even if its 3 NM from the entrance. The winds were blowing out of the SW, 15-25, but they died down as we crawled into our anchorage. The entrance channel looks narrow on a chart but it is fine, there are no dangers on the sides either, making it fine to enter in poor weather.

A sign reading Patterson Inlet, carved of wood, is nailed to a tree on the way in. The anchorage is nestled between big mountains, making for a very dramatic entrance. We anchored in the north arm, because it is more shallow then the south arm. The holding there was good, we got a few squalls transiting through, but had an overall very quiet night. No VHF or cell reception.

The next day, when motoring out, the inlet was calm, calm. The water appeared black, and because the water was so still the reflection showed an inverted view of the shore, blurring the lines between up and down, erasing the sea level line. I felt nauseous looking at it, I felt ungrounded, facing an alien world where my boat was flying and that the land around was made up of floating islands.

Captain Cove

Our anchoring spot: 53°48.568'N, 130°12.032'W.

We stopped here after sailing up Petrel Channel, it's a very big anchorage, with a very small nook on the southwest side, hidden behind two small islets. We dropped the hook here in 30 feet, on a mud bottom. The islets protected us from the occasional passing of squalls, and had there been any wind from the west, this spot too would have been ideal. The wind was in the SE that day, but aside from the squalls, we had no wind reach us. The little cove cannot accommodate many boats, especially if the goal is to lie as deep as possible, but there was no one else that day (late May). Larger boats anchor to the east, or southeast. There is no cell or VHF reception here.

If the goal is to sail north to Prince Rupert through Ogden Channel, keep in mind that even if you go up with the flood, you have may have current against you because of snowmelt. Snowmelt can create a perpetual ebb in the channel during that time of year. Also take note that on a flood, part of the current flows north through Arthur Passage, another arm flows south into Grenville Channel. VHF reception returned in Ogden Channel, and we picked up a strong cell signal once we turned into Arthur Passage.