Destinations the Discovery Islands

Octopus Islands Marine Park

Friday, December 05, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

Octopus Islands Marine Park
The Octopus Islands Marine Park on the northeast side of Quadra Island has a lot to offer the visiting boat: The anchorages are well-protected and have good holding. The kayaking is exceptional.  And, at the head of adjacent Waiatt Bay, there’s a well-maintained trail that leads to Small Inlet on the west side of Quadra and beautiful Newton Lake.

So, what’s the downside?  

To get there, you have to transit one of three tidal rapids – Beazley Passage to the south, Hole in the Wall to the east, or Upper Rapids to the north. And it’s not the easiest anchorage to enter.

The most straightforward approach is from the north through what the Dreamspeaker cruising guide calls “Tentacle Pass”.  The channel offers plenty of depth but is narrow and, during the height of summer, lined with thick kelp beds so an alert eye is necessary.  The approach from the south, is more difficult and requires careful navigation through islets, shoal and reefs.  In our experience, the entrance is well-charted, however, and can be safely transited at any time.  A bow watch for either entrance is always a good idea.

Octopus Islands Marine Park chart.

Once inside, you’ll find plenty of anchoring opportunities.  We like to drop our hook within the park boundaries; but if it’s too crowded, adjacent Waiatt Bay is large and offers generous swinging room for boats.  Both spots offer protection from most winds, though westerlies might be uncomfortable in Waiatt Bay.  The holding is good in mud throughout in depths of 5 to 15 metres (16 to 50 feet).

A trail at the head of Waiatt Bay leads to Small Inlet, an anchorage on the west side of Quadra Island just off Discovery Passage.  At one point, the trail forks to the left and leads to Newton Lake.  The hike to the lake is 1.5 miles long (from Waiatt Bay) and can be steep in parts, but is well-marked and groomed.  For easy access to the lake, follow the trail to Granite Bay and turn left at the fist set of large rocks you see.  The water is refreshing, especially after the hike up!

Octopus Islands Marine Park

Newton Lake, Quadra Island.

The bathing rocks at Newton Lake, Quadra Island.

The many rocks, reefs, islets and islands inside the park boundaries make for interesting kayaking.  If you go out at low tide, it’s not uncommon to see raccoons foraging along the shoreline.  And don’t forget to stop at the kayakers’ cabin for a look around.  Over the years, passing boats have left their (very artistic) marks behind and the cabin has grown into a wilderness museum of sorts.

Raccoons foraging along the shore in Octopus Islands Marine Park.

Kayaking in the Octopus Islands Marine Park.

The kayakers' cabin in the Octopus Islands Marine Park.

Waypoints of Interest:
50°16.979’ N, 125°13.359’W (northern approach)
50°16.104’ N, 125°12.816’W (southern approach)
50°16.310’ N, 125°13.417’W (kayakers’ cabin approximate)

Cambria at anchor in the Octopus Islands Marine Park.

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