Destination: Kisameet Bay

Wednesday, November 05, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

There’s not a lot of information written about Kisameet Bay, and I’m not exactly sure why.  It’s a beautiful spot dotted with moss covered islets and islands begging to be explored by kayak.  And if you’re fortunate enough to experience the anchorage through the lens of mist and fog, it has a surreal quality to it. 

The problem is the bay is poorly charted so the rocks and reefs that lend Kisameet its character are, in reality, hazards. 

If approaching from the north, as we did, it’s possible to enter south of the largest of the Kisameet Islands and a visible rock mid-channel, but be very careful.  Using Navionics, our track had us clear of the shoal off the main island but, according to a large kelp patch marking the way, the shallows extended further into the channel than it was charted.  The approach from the south, however, is free from obstacles.  

Once inside the bay, other dangers exist and some of the rocks and reefs appear to be charted inaccurately.  One example of this is the rock along the eastern shore just south of the creek that leads to Kisameet Lake.  It’s shown as three individual rocks very close to shore, but they’re actually all connected and much farther away from King Island than indicated.  If you don’t keep a close eye on the chart while you’re entering, it’s possible to confuse this as the entrance to the main anchorage.  It’s not.  But, while many of the hazards are underwater at high water, they’re visible when the tide is 2 metres or less (6.6 feet), and navigating becomes easier.

The best protection is in the northwest corner of the bay south of King Island.  According to the Douglass book, “Exploring the North Coast of British Columbia” the holding is good in mud in depths of 10 to 20 metres (33 to 66 feet).  Another boat was anchored there when we arrived so, with the winds forecasted to come from the southeast overnight, we picked a spot in a small bight off King Island.  The protection was good, but the holding was fair in rock in depths of 20 metres (66 feet).  The most scenic anchorage lies between the three Kisameet Islands in 10 metres (33 feet).  We didn’t anchor there ourselves and can’t report on the bottom but, based on what I saw while kayaking, it’s probably rock.  

Kisameet Bay is a quiet anchorage that feels secluded despite the fact that it’s located off Fisher Channel, a somewhat busy waterway.  For most boaters, the main attraction is most likely its location – a good stopping point en route to and from Shearwater and a good, safe base for those planning to go out fishing every day.  For us, it’s the kayaking.  The rocks, islets and islands provide hours of exploration and are home to an interesting intertidal zone and an active bird population.  So, while we may have overlooked Kisameet Bay in the past, we won’t make the same mistake in the future. 

Waypoints of Interest:

Entrance:           51°57.771’N, 127°53.876’W (northern)
                        51°56.686’N, 127°54.189’W (southern)

Anchorages:       51°57.803’N, 127°53.011’W (our anchorage)
                        51°58.133’N, 127°53.085’W (recommended)
                    51°58.010’N, 127°53.405’W (most scenic)

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