Central Coast Destinations

Kisameet Bay | Way Back Wednesday

Wednesday, February 22, 2017S.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 Kisameet Bay in British Columbia’s Central Coast.

Disclaimer:  This blog article is not to be used for navigation.  It is purely an account of our personal experience in Kisameet Bay during settled weather conditions.  There are no services and any boat that enters should be self-sufficient.



There’s not a lot of information written about Kisameet Bay, which is located at the southern end of Fisher Channel in British Columbia’s Central Coast, but 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 and a better option. 

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 inter-tidal 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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8 comments

  1. I thought star fish were solely tropical - but I do love tidal pools! I can't imagine anchoring in 66 ft!

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    1. Lol. That's so funny because I was reading one of your posts the other day thinking, "I'd hate to be moving in 10 feet of water -- even in a catamaran."

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  2. I do love our beautiful starfish. I was pleased to see a big purple star yesterday. A virus has almost wiped them out and maybe they are coming back. This post was a good reminder about charts and how wrong they can be. In the more populated south Salish Sea and the south Sound area, we get complacent about depending on our charts because they are pretty up to date as a rule. Get further out and, well, not so much. Best to keep a visual lookout rather than just looking at the screen. Maybe we will be exploring this area this summer before we leave. Who knows? I do love a good kayak float in the intertidal zone! Once I saw a tiny octopus peeking out from under some sea lettuce. So cool!

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    1. That is cool (the octopus)! The purple stars are making a comeback in Kingston as well so I'm hoping that if we go north this summer, we'll see even more up there.

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  3. Sounds like a tricky place to anchor. Maybe that's why there's isn't a lot of information available? Exploring and visiting places like this by boat has the added advantage of being able to return with all that knowledge in mind! And, having the tracks. :-)

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    1. I'm not really sure why nobody has charted it properly. It offers good protection and is conveniently located for small craft. Maybe it has something to do with its lack of commercial appeal.

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  4. That starfish picture is so amazing. I love how it glistens. I remember when I was on the Oregon Coast a couple of years ago that there was big worry about them dying off in that area. I think they've made a recovery since then, at least I hope so because they're such amazing creatures.

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    1. Yeah, the purple ochre starfish were pretty much wiped out all along the coast, but they are starting to make a comeback. We have a few in our marina, but some of them are still mushy so it may take a while. It's funny though, the orange ones were fine.

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