Destinations Way Back Wednesday
Octopus Islands Marine Park | Way Bay WednesdayWednesday, December 28, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA
It’s Way Back Wednesday, an opportunity to dig through the files and pull out an old blog post to shed some new light on it. Over the years, I’ve written several posts about anchorages we’ve stayed in, including first-hand anchoring information (i.e. holding, protection, GPS coordinates), historical information and things to do. To date, I’ve done 26 of these (they can all be found on our Destinations page) and they’re some of my favourite posts. For the next six months, I’ll be highlighting one every Wednesday (from south to north) and adding a few new ones in where I can. This week, it’s a return to Octopus Islands Marine Park on Quadra Island (you can read the original post here).
Disclaimer: This blog article is not to be used for navigation. It is solely an account of our personal experience anchoring off Mitlenatch Island during calm weather conditions. What worked for us at one particular time is no guarantee or indication that it will work for others.
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 then it’s a matter of navigating one of two entrances.
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.
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 have 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!
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.
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)