the Discovery Islands the Inside Passage

Loughborough Inlet

Wednesday, August 25, 2010S.V. CAMBRIA

The view from our anchorage in Sidney Bay.

We left Shoal Bay yesterday morning and motored north through Greene Point Rapids and a few miles up Loughborough Inlet to Sidney Bay. Doug, a Shoal Bay regular, recommended the anchorage to us and we were eager to have a look.

It's very nice here – nice and quiet. We're the only boat anchored in the bay and there are no other sounds coming from shore: no generators, chainsaws or hammering – a great way to unwind after such a busy weekend. There aren't many anchorages in the Discovery Islands that are listed in cruising guides and we're finding the area to be a much-overlooked treasure, especially Cordero Channel where the mainland inlets reach towards the Coastal Mountains convincing us that it's time to consider the guides a secondary source and start relying more on charts and local knowledge when picking our destinations.

After spending a lazy afternoon yesterday, we decided to be more adventurous today and motored to the head of Loughborough Inlet, a deep fjord that extends over eighteen miles into the coastal range. The high peaks with their granite slabs and snowfields on the east shore have been largely clearcut and are criss-crossed with logging roads, but operations have wound down over the last decade and a period of healing and re-growth is now taking place. The damage is extensive and it'll be years before the inlet is restored to it's natural beauty, if ever, but the view of the coastal mountain range is among the best we've seen so far and well worth the time and effort it took to get there.

At the head of the inlet, we dropped the anchor, jumped in the dinghy and took a trip up-river to explore the area more closely. Unlike Phillips River and Estero Basin, the Stafford River is like being in the middle of a mountain meadow as it snakes between banks lined with tall grass and wild flowers and twists and turns through a narrow maze of shallow water before abruptly stopping. It's an amazing, yet surreal, sight.

The inflow winds started to pick up, so we returned to the boat and bashed our way back to Sidney Bay for the night. It was clearly blowing a gale in Johnstone Strait as the clouds clung to the hilltops and stalled out, but there was barely a breeze at the head of the bay and, once again, we had the place to ourselves.

Tomorrow we'll go back to Shoal Bay to either say our good-byes for the year or, if Mark needs some help, stick around until after Labor Day Weekend (US and Canada) when he's having a beef roast potluck dinner – hopefully without rain this time.

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