Monday, February 14, 2011

Favorite Anchorages - Squirrel Cove, BC

I'm always happy to anchor at Squirrel Cove, BC.  I've either conquered "Crossing the Monster" (see previous post about crossing Georgia Strait) on my way N, or it's my last stop in Desolation Sound as I head S.  It seems that there's always room for just one more boat when you arrive late.  I always stay more than one night, just to relax and enjoy this very special anchorage - and so do many other boaters.  Squirrel Cove is one of those anchorages where it can be a party one day and offer quiet solitude the next.  I remember one year slowly motoring in my dinghy by a sailboat whose cockpit was filled with folks.  One was playing a guitar, another a recorder, and the rest singing.  I slowed, and said, "You know Red River Valley?"  Next thing you know they were playing and singing this old west favorite of mine.  I suspected as much and I was a bit sly, since I packed my harmonica with me hoping to join this party.  They invited me aboard and for the next hour I was part of this impromptu folk gathering.  It was great fun.  That's one reason why I enjoy Squirrel Cove.

"Dog Poo" Island
The anchorage is rather large and will suit almost any type of boat large or small.  During the height of the boating season in August I have counted more than 100 boats anchored throughout the cove.  Some prefer to anchor in the outer bay, whereas I prefer to anchor farther in.  There's lots of little nooks and crannies to anchor.  My favorite spot is just W of "Dog Poo Island."  I call it that because it seems everyone walks their dog on this island, including me.  Just be careful, the many oyster shells lining the shore can slice open your inflatable or badly cut your dog's paw.  By the way, it is illegal to harvest any oysters.

I have done a shore tie, but then other times I just use my anchor without a shore tie.  The bottom is a very sticky (and smelly) grey mud which will hold you fine, provided you have enough scope.  The inner bay depths are around 30 - 40' and around 60' deep in the outer bay.  Only once have I dragged anchor in Squirrel Cove and that was because of some very nasty westerlies that entered along with an unusually high tide.  Generally though the entire cove is sheltered from any strong winds, waves, and currents.  The only waves are from a rare few inconsiderate boaters who feel they can race through the anchorage. 

During the summer the cove fills with hundred of thousands of "moon jellies."  There's a resident population of Canada Geese which in the evening travel from boat to boat begging for hand-outs.  The ravens with their deep croak will call reminding you you're far from civilization.  Bald eagles will perch in the tops of trees.  And, I've seen an occasional otter or martin swimming along shore.  One evening I remember sitting out on deck listening to a Nighthawk feeding far above me.  Again a reminder that you're away in the wilderness.

The activities in Squirrel Cove are actually many for an anchorage in Desolation Sound.  You can order bread, or sticky buns, or a fresh fruit pie from the floating local bakery located in the cove.  You order the evening before and the next morning you can pick up your fresh hot baked item.  The Squirrel Cove bread is particularly good.  The favorite late afternoon activity is to slowly cruise through the myriad of anchored boats via your dinghy through the cove, and then once you're out of the cove go for broke like a madman to the Squirrel Cove Store about 1 nm away.  The store has liquor, ice, ice cream, fresh produce, meats, and a wide variety of groceries.  You can even get a marine part or fishing gear.  If you're not in the mood to cook, they've even got a small restaurant.  We always buy some fresh Squirrel Cove roasted coffee for the trip.  If your dinghy is a bit more stout, you can journey to Teakerne Arm to go swimming in beautiful Cassel Lake; or go to Refuge Cove for a hamburger.  At high tide you can either take your kayak or dinghy into the small lagoon at the head of the cove.  When you enter the lagoon it's another world away.  Just be careful not to get stranded by staying too long which is easy to do. One hot day, I anchored my dinghy right at the base of the lagoon outfall and enjoyed the mist to keep me cool.  You can also hike over to Von Donop Inlet on nice a wooded trail.  Or you can go swimming in the cove, the water is very warm. (The whole cove is a no discharge zone.)  There's just so many things to do.

When I am "upcoast" I always stop at Squirrel Cove. It's a definite favorite of mine.

Squirrel Cove is about 22 nm miles to the Yucultas, 24 nm miles to Campbell River, 12 nm from Prideaux Haven, and 12 nm miles to Lund.

1 comment:

Alfex said...

What a wonderful description of Squirrel Cove. We must visit there this summer after our club's summer cruise. I heard they are planning to build a marina in Squirrel Cove sometime.