Destinations the Inside Passage

Destination: Owyacumish Bay (Gardner Canal)

Saturday, September 06, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

Entrance: 53°29.837’N, 128°22.117’W  
Anchor:   53°30.462’N, 128°22.089W

Disclaimer:  This blog article is not to be used for navigation.  It is solely an account of our personal experience and anchor location in Owyacumish Bay during calm weather conditions.  What worked for us at one particular time is no guarantee or indication that it will work for others.  There are no services or VHF reception and any boat that enters should be self-sufficient.


The thing about cruising inlets is that a lot of them sort of fizzle out at the end:  It’s the nature of the beast, really.  And unfortunately, that’s the case with Gardner CanalIt’s hard not to be a little disappointed – your journey is over and the trip up-inlet is all about making miles . . . or is it?  Because sitting half way up the canal from the head of the inlet is one of the most beautiful anchorages we’ve ever seen – a true destination all on its own.   

Approaching Owyacumish Bay from Gardner Canal.

But we passed Owyacumish Bay on our way down and didn’t think it looked very interesting or promising.  On top of that, we’d just spent five magical days anchored at the head of Chief Mathews Bay believing that anything and everything from there was going to be a real let-down.  So, our expectations were fairly low.

Man, were we ever wrong!

There are two things we look for when choosing an anchorage – protection and holding.  But the aesthetics are what makes it stand out from the rest – the location, the view, and things to do while we’re there.  For us, the most special anchorages allow you to become a part of them, to experience them first-hand.  And, as it turns out, Owyacumish Bay is special.  Very special.

Cambria anchored in Owyacumish Bay.

Anchoring can be a little tricky.  The bay is steep-to and shallows quickly near the head, going from 40 metres (132 feet) to 1.2 metres (4 feet) fairly quickly.  On our first attempt, we were a little too close to the shoal than we wanted to be, so we took another stab at it further out.  We found the holding to be good in soft mud but, because we were anchored in 40 metres, we had to put out a lot of chain.  We didn’t use the waypoint listed in the Douglass book, preferring to make our own choices, but agree that it would be a good spot and the depth might turn out to be a more reasonable 30 metres (99 feet). 

The view out to Gardner Canal and Cornwall Point.

Once we were anchored, we were able to take in the whole scene:  A large waterfall along the northeastern shore fills the anchorage with the roaring sound of water.  Sheer granite walls along the eastern and western shore, close you in.  The Brim River Valley to the north is backed by granite domes straight out of an Ansel Adams photo.  And rugged snow-capped mountains to the south complete the scene.  Simply put, it honestly doesn’t get much better than this . . . until you get into a kayak and paddle around. 

David kayaking on the Brim River.

Things to Do:

·        Kayak
·        Kayak
·        Kayak
·        Or . . . kayak!

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