Anchorages Desolation Sound

Destination | Roscoe Bay Marine Park, West Redonda Island

Wednesday, December 07, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA

Roscoe Bay is a yet another beautiful, undeveloped provincial marine park in the Desolation Sound area, as well as a personal favourite of ours. Year after year, we come back to enjoy the fresh-water lake, hiking, kayaking and the views out to Waddington Channel and Mount Addenbroke. But like most anchorages in the area, it can get very busy during the high-season (mid-June through mid-September).

Located on the southeastern side of West Redonda Island, the anchorage offers good protection from all directions, though we’ve been told by people with local knowledge that southeasterlies can make it uncomfortable and dangerous at times. The holding is good in mud with depths of 4 to 10 metres (13 to 33 feet), but we have been there when boats have dragged – a result of poor anchoring rather than the conditions. 

The entrance to Roscoe Bay, which dries at zero tide, is narrow and can be intimidating the first time through. But, if you time your arrival with a rising tide and according to your boat’s draft and favor the south shore slightly, it’s straight-forward with an average depth of 3.5 metres (12 feet) at high water. However, if your timing is off, you can anchor outside the bar with a stern line to shore to wait for higher water or spend the night. 

Once inside, you’ll find plenty to do. A short trail at the head of the bay leads to Black Lake. Follow it beyond the kayak launching point, continue up the hill and take the first trail on the left to the bathing rocks for a fresh-water swim. If you have a kayak, you can portage it the short distance to the lake for a paddle around – you won’t be disappointed. Or if walking is more your thing, the trail continues and runs through rain forest to a lookout of the lake with obstructed views.  

For a more strenuous hike, there’s a trail that leads to the top of Llanover Mountain located on the northern side of the anchorage near the information board (just west of the grassy knoll – make sure you take the time to read about the thousands of moon jellies that make Roscoe Bay their home). The trail is approximately four miles long with a 700 metre incline (2300 feet). The first three miles are up-hill and the final one is a near-climb, but the view from the top is worth the effort.

And if you’re running low, someone has piped in drinking water from one of the streams. The hose is attached to a boat fender along the northern shore near the small waterfall. Avoid taking it after a heavy rainfall and always boil it before drinking.
Entrance:      50°09.69’N, 124°45.45W

Anchorage:    Throughout with good holding in mud in depths of 4 to 10 metres (13 to 33 feet).

Things to Do: Swimming, kayaking, SUPing, hiking, picking raspberries and cherries along the northern shoal by the grassy knoll, and camping.

Disclaimer:  This blog article is not to be used for navigation.  It is purely an account of our personal experience in and around the Desolation Sound area of British Columbia.

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  1. When I first looked at the chart and saw all of that green there, I wondered how in the heck you got into that anchorage. It might be a tricky entrance, but it looks well worth it. Such a gorgeous anchorage.

    1. It really is a nice place to hang out for a couple of days and we've had some great times there. One year, a mother seal dropped her pup off at Cambria two days in a row while she went out fishing. The little guy snuggled up to the hull waiting for her to come back and we could hear it crying in the middle of the night. We were a little worried, but she kept coming back.

  2. That looks like a nice and protected anchorage. So, the hike to the top of the mountain is 4 miles one way? That's a nice day excursion. Did you take your lunch to eat with a view?

    1. No, I don't hike with food just in case there's wildlife in the area. But honestly, for me it's more about the journey than what's at the end of the road so I don't spend much time at the summit anyway -- I'm always a little too keen to get back on the trail.

  3. That makes sense! Forgot about all the bears in those areas...

  4. Another amazing destination! Matt has gotten into making syrups - blueberry, blackberry, ginger - and adding it to sprite or gin. Just imagine how excited we'd be to be picking our own berries!