Central Coast Destinations

Fiordland Recreational Area (Part 1) | Way Back Wednesday

Wednesday, April 26, 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 Kynoch Inlet in Fiordland Recreational Area.

Disclaimer:  This blog article is not to be used for navigation.  It is solely an account of our personal experience and anchor location in Kynoch Inlet during calm weather conditions.  What worked for us at one particular time is no guarantee or indication that it will work for others.  There are no services and any boat that enters should be self-sufficient.

The Central Coast of British Columbia, from Cape Caution to McInnis Island, is home to thousands of miles of coastline that has seen little change since the glaciers retreated 15,000 years ago.  Visiting is like sailing back in time.  And nowhere is that more evident than Fiordland Recreational Area.  Kynoch Inlet, in particular. 

In an area already known for its dramatic scenery and beauty, Fiordland Recreational Area stands out from the rest:  A place where glaciers have carved sheer granite cliffs, reaching heights over 1,000 metres (3,300 feet), waterfalls rumble to the sea and wildlife roams the shore. Located in the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation territory, the nature reserve is managed in cooperation with the provincial government and includes 76,825 hectares and two main inlets – Kynoch and Mussel.  

Kynoch Inlet is only 10 miles long but is packed with spectacular scenery: The channel is narrow and everything seems to close in around you. The shoreline disappears into the sea along vertical granite walls. Snow-covered ranges reach heights above 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) and dramatic glacial bowls peak out between the layers of mountains and granite domes. Like most of the Central Coast, it truly has to be seen to be believed.  

Arriving at the head of Kynoch Inlet is a little disappointing because the journey appears to be over, but it’s not. Just on the other side of the rapids that protect its entrance lies Culpepper Lagoon, one of the most beautiful sections of Fiordland.   

The entrance into Culpepper Lagoon is not charted and we have NOT taken Cambria inside, only our dinghy. So, we don’t have any first-hand information to share. What we can pass on is what we’ve learned from other people:

  1. You should NOT anchor in the northern corner near the entrance to the lagoon because the current is too strong.
  2. Fog can make early morning departures difficult.
  3. If you chose to leave at any time other than slack tide, you will get pushed around and have one heck of a ride (actually, we saw that one first hand). 
  4. Grizzly bears roam the shoreline at the head of the lagoon at low tide.
  5. It can be difficult to find a place to anchor, especially if another boat is already in the lagoon.
There are no current predictions for Culpepper Lagoon itself but, from our experience, the times listed for Hiekish Narrows are good indicators. While waiting for slack to occur, temporary anchorage can be found at the head of Kynoch Inlet off the Kainet Creek in 10 – 20 metres (33 to 66 feet). 

For more information on entering the lagoon in your vessel, consult the Douglass book, “Exploring the North Coast of British Columbia”.  

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  1. Another one for the list! I will look for the Douglass Book, but I'm bookmarking your link to all your Destinations posts. We plan to have a long anchor time in Narvaez Bay on Saturna Island, a favorite place, and bring out our paper charts and start marking them up with places to go. We've decided we won't do the circumnavigation of Vancouver island if it makes us feel rushed, or if the summer never comes. We'll just explore the inside and take it easy.

    1. We really enjoyed our time on the west coast, but the central and north are our favourites for sure. I wish we were going back ourselves, but we know it's time to get serious about selling the boat. Right now that's not a problem, but I think we'll both be sad once summer finally arrives. The important thing is to remember what we're working towards and not what we're leaving behind!

  2. It looks so beautiful! I can't imagine anchoring in front of a waterfall like that....how wonderful!