Port McNeill to Potts Lagoon

June 24 – Goat Island Anchorage at Crease Island

Port McNeill to Crease Island, 21.6 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 362.04 NM

Fortunately it was not raining when we got up this morning! We found about 6 inches of rain in our dinghy…testament to the amount rain that fell yesterday. Everything outside was soaked, but we are very grateful that it is dry today.

At 0745 we untied our lines and motored over to tie up at the Port McNeill Fuel Dock and Marina just across the fairway from the Port McNeill Boat Harbour. It opens at 0800 and we wanted to be their first customer. There was a phone there with instructions to call for an attendant, so we called and she came down to help us. The access to this fuel dock is one of the easiest we’ve seen. It’s fairly new and the dock was lined with many fenders that were closely spaced…we didn’t even need our own fenders! We were lucky to be the only boat fueling. The fuel dock attendant was very friendly and efficient, even through she said she’s only been in Port McNeill for 3 weeks, and came here from Ottawa…all the way across the country. I said something about yesterday’s rain being as bad as in Ketchikan, and she asked if we had been there yesterday! Needless to say, she needs to get a little more familiar with west coast geography…
We left the fuel dock at 0845 and headed back across Queen Charlotte Strait to Blackfish Sound. Today we were blessed with very calm conditions and even some sunbreaks. Because it was so calm, we baked Orange Danish underway. Orange Danish is a long-time tradition for us. We frequently baked it when we were sailing on Carina when we left early in the morning for long passages, especially when the weather was cold. On the sailboat, we used to eat the Danish in the cockpit, protected by our dodger. We don’t have Orange Danish very often anymore…it’s not the most healthy of things, of course, and now that we’re traveling inside in a power boat, it just isn’t the same. But today the Orange Danish tasted WONDERFUL!
We anchored at Crease Island at 1200 in about 20 feet at mid-tide. One other boat was here that left shortly after we anchored. We had the place to ourselves until later in the afternoon when three other boats came in.
We launched the dinghy and put the crab trap out. We got crabs here in 2009, so thought we’d try again. We took the dinghy in to the beach and walked around on many, many large rocks. The head of the bay was filled with all sizes and types of driftwood. It’s apparent that the winter storm winds blow fairly fiercely in here.
The wind came up in the afternoon and we were sailing a lot around our anchor. It continued to gust until nightfall. The sun stayed out most of the day, occasionally being blocked by some passing clouds.
Leaving Port McNeill :
Port McNeill Boat Harbour on the left, fuel dock on the right
Our Orange Danish morning treat
Cruise ship entering Queen Charlotte Strait
from Blackney Passage…left a huge wake
Queen Charlotte Strait was calm and sunny for our passage
Crease Island anchorage
Alice by the massive amount of driftwood on Crease Island
June 25– Mound Island
Crease Island to Mound Island, 4.26 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 366.3 NM
It rained overnight, but was dry this morning. It was still cloudy, and a little breezy in the anchorage. All we caught in our crab trap was a giant starfish. And we even have salmon scraps for bait!

We decided to cross Indian Channel and anchor at Mound Island. We’ve never stayed here before, but the crabbing has always been reported as good. It was only a 45 minute trip, and we found ourselves alone in the anchorage. After we anchored and were getting the crab trap ready, a small aluminum skiff breezed through the anchorage to check about a half dozen crab traps they have out. We hope there will be some crabs left! Our speculation is that they came over from Farewell Harbor, which is just across the channel from us. Farewell Harbor is a luxury fishing retreat, and probably they offer crabs on their menu…
The anchorage at Mound Island is at the end of a long channel. It is exposed at the head to the afternoon westerlies, so we anchored before we got to the head. It’s still a little breezy where we are, but the holding is good and it is not uncomfortable. Another boat came in later in the afternoon. And a couple more dinghies have come in and dropped crab traps.
It actually got sunny with temps in the 60s this afternoon…it was nice to see some blue sky! We enjoyed a quiet day of reading and relaxing. So did the kitties!
Mound Island anchorage
Jim launching the crab trap at Mount Island anchorage
Mickey enjoys wrestling with King, a stuffed animal
June 26 – Potts Lagoon
Mound Island to Potts Lagoon, 8.89 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 375.19 NM
It was gorgeous when we got up this morning at Mound Island! Blue sky, sunshine and calm. Jim retrieved the crab trap to find only one keeper…but at least it was one! We stowed the dinghy back on deck and left at 0945. We made our way down Indian Channel and carefully navigated through all the rocks in Beware Passage to Clio Channel, where we turned in to anchor in Potts Lagoon.

Potts Lagoon is an old favorite for us. We first anchored here in 1980 in our sailboat Carina, when there was a logging operation filling most of the bay. Now there are about a half dozen float houses that line the shore, where owners spend the summer months. The crabbing is usually good here. In 1980, we were able to just hang a crab trap off our stern and catch our limit in about an hour. Of course, there were a lot more shellfish and finfish in this area 30 years ago.
Clouds filled in mid-afternoon, and the wind increased and started to gust. There were no boats here when we anchored, but 6 other boats have come in this afternoon. It’s a big anchorage…there’s room for more.
We found one keeper crab in our trap this afternoon, so we cooked it with the one we got this morning at Mound Island…and left the trap out for overnight with the hope we’ll have some more in the morning.
A gorgeous morning leaving Mount Island anchorage
From Mount Island, looking out at Indian Channel
After we navigated through Beware Passage,
we looked back to see the rocks that fill the passage
Some of the float houses in Potts Lagoon
June 27 – Potts Lagoon
Cloudy and calm early this morning, and it quickly turned to rain and wind for the rest of the day. Nobody left the anchorage, and one more boat came in. The wind gusted all day, and our plans for taking the dinghy out to do some fishing this afternoon were shelved because our boat was moving around enough in the gusts that we felt we should stay on the boat. By evening, the rain was less intense, and the wind was still gusting, but not as strong.
So, it was a good day for reading, making brownies, and starting to develop a slideshow of our cruise. We got two keeper crabs today, so we spent some time cooking crabs, as well.
We took a snapshot of an aluminum skiff motoring by….with a kitty standing in the bow! Brave cat! He belonged on a boat anchored nearby, and later we spotted the kitty climbing down a ladder from their bridge deck to the main deck. When they came in, we noticed that the owners hung a towel off their stern…perhaps the kitty has been swimming before…
We think we’ll be leaving in the morning, and will continue on our trip south. We think we’ll end up either in Port Harvey (where we can check out the new marina) or, if Johnstone Strait is good, we may continue all the way to Forward Harbor. All plans are weather dependent, of course.


In last night’s calm, the reflections were striking
More float house reflections
Potts Lagoon anchorage
Kitty riding in the bow of the aluminum boat

Jennis Bay to Port McNeill

June 20 – Waddington Bay

Jennis Bay to Waddington Bay, 29.45 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 318.74 NM
We enjoyed a sunny, calm morning at Jennis Bay Marina while we waited to leave for the 1130 slack at Stuart Narrows. Exchanged boat cards with other boaters and visited with them and Allyson on the outside deck. Bravo, her golden retriever mix, enjoyed lots of back scratches, and we heard Allyson’s story about when he was attacked by a wolf three years ago. He was taken by airplane to Port McNeill, then had a car ride to Port Hardy, where he was treated. He stayed there to rehabilitate for 4 weeks before he was able to come home. He’s doing fine now, but did lose an eye in the attack. Fortunately, Kiwi, her black kitty, didn’t get hurt in the scuffle.

As we were waiting to leave, a bald eagle entertained us by fishing in the back cove. The swallows churned up the water, and the eagle swooped down many times to try to snag a fish. We got some good close up photos, but the eagle didn’t get a fish…at least not while we watched.
When we left Jennis Bay, we planned to head out Wells Passage and cruise in Queen Charlotte Strait to Cullen Harbor, however, when we exited Stuart Narrows and turned west, we encountered 18 knots of wind (complete with white caps) on our nose. Never mind! We turned back toward Patrick Passage and retraced our journey on our way here, then continued on from Echo Bay through Creamer Passage to Waddington Bay, one of our favorite anchorages. Five other boats are here, but there’s room for more.
We’ve been lucky getting crabs in Waddington Bay before, so we launched our dinghy and Jim motored out to put the crab pot in the area that has been good before. We don’t see commercial pots in this area, so we hope we’ll be lucky again.


 Allyson (in the center) with Bravo and a couple of visitors
Bald eagle waiting to catch fish in Jennis Bay
Headed south in Sutlej Channel
Anchored in Waddington Bay, looking back at the entrance
Jim taking out the crab trap.
June 21 – Waddington Bay
We stayed a second night at Waddington Bay. Jim retrieved the crab pot this morning, and we got only one crab that was a keeper…others in the pot were either too small or female. It’s apparent that the commercial crabbers have taken a lot of the crabs from this area. Jim put the crab pot back down (since the bait was intact), but at the end of the day, still no more keepers. We cooked the crab on the aft deck and picked it to be used for crab cakes.
In order to cook the crab, we had to empty out an aft locker where we keep the crab cooker. We left some of the locker contents on our bed while we were cooking, and Rosie got inside our 5-quart stainless bowl…didn’t think she’d fit, but she did…she even curled up and slept most of the day…every time she turned over, the bowl would tip, then right itself.
Jim had some more work to do on the Internet router installation, so this afternoon he finished the electrical connections. I had a chance to do some kayaking in the bay. Enjoyed watching clams spurt at low tide, crows dropping clams on rocks to open them, and eagles soaring above the beach at the head of the bay.
That afternoon, we watched the Canadian Coast Guard come in to check out the anchorage. First time we’ve seen the Coast Guard checking anchorages. They stayed only long enough to look at the five boats anchored, then left. They may have been looking for a boat that they didn’t see here.
It was calm and quiet while we were in Waddington Bay. A westerly breeze filled in for the afternoon, which is typical of this anchorage.
Looking out the entrance to Waddington Bay at dawn
Our one keeper crab
Jim on the aft deck, monitoring the crab cooking
Rosie looking proud of herself in the stainless bowl
Rosie slept all afternoon in the bowl
Alice coming back from kayaking
Phoenix at anchor in Waddington Bay
The Canadian Coast Guard came in to check the anchorage
June 22 – Port McNeill
Waddington Bay to Port McNeill, 21.7 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 340.44 NM
We woke up in Waddington Bay to a southerly wind in the anchorage and wind warnings posted for both Johnstone and Queen Charlotte straits. We hoisted the anchor at 0800 and decided we’d head to Port McNeill if the conditions allowed, otherwise we would head to Mound Island or Crease Island so we wouldn’t have to cross the strait.

As it turned out, we were able to cross Queen Charlotte Strait. We found a northwest wind and 1-2 foot swells in the strait. It was rolly but not uncomfortable, so we continued on up Cormorant Channel and in to Port McNeill Marina. The marina is already getting pretty crowded, as the season is upon us, so we felt fortunate they had a space for us. On our way in to the marina, a commercial crabber passed us on his way out to fish. This is the first time we’ve seen so much commercial crabbing in this area, and by the way this boat was loaded with traps, we can see a possible reason why we aren’t getting as many crabs in the Broughtons as in years past.
It’s been 10 years since we were in Port McNeill, and the marina has been completely rebuilt. The marina manager’s office is now part of a visitor center in a brown building at the top of the ramp, and there are more docks for visiting boats. The town has a good-size IGA grocery store, post office, drug store, liquor store, hardware store, etc. It’s a great place to resupply. There is also a great laundry facility nearby the marina, where we did laundry this afternoon. The machines are all relatively new…there are 8 washers (plus 2 large capacity washers) and 8 dryers in this new and very clean facility.
We’ve decided to stay two nights in Port McNeill, so after doing the laundry, we had a leisurely evening, and made plans for shopping tomorrow.
We spotted this eagle on top of a rock
as we left Waddington Bay
This crabber passed us on our way in to Port McNeill
Approaching Port McNeill Marina, behind the breakwater
Port McNeill Marina

Claydon Bay to Jennis Bay

June 19 – Jennis Bay Marina, Drury Inlet

Claydon Bay to Jennis Bay, 8.72 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 289.29 NM

We spent a very quiet night at anchor in Claydon Bay, and it was still calm this morning. It was cloudy, but not raining. We timed our departure for 1000, to arrive at Stuart Narrows at slack around 1100. Stuart Narrows is the entrance to Drury Inlet, where we plan to visit Jennis Bay Marina.

We encountered more current than we expected in Stuart Narrows, so perhaps the slack prediction wasn’t accurate for today. But, no issues on the transit, and we entered Drury Inlet shortly after 1100. It was a short motor to Jennis Bay Marina, and we arrived at 1130. Five boats were already tied up, but we found a nice spot behind Safari, the Grand Banks 42 we met at Kwatsi Bay. It’s been three years since we’ve been here, and we notice several improvements on the dock and the float buildings. Allyson, the owner and operator of the marina, came by after we tied up to invite us to tonight’s potluck. She is cooking ribs and other boaters are bringing salads. I decided to bake bread pudding.
The sun came out in the afternoon, so it was quite pleasant by dinner time. We had quite a spread for the potluck: BBQ ribs, pork roast, freshly made applesauce, crab, green salad with strawberries, mango, and avocado, biscuits, cooked vegetables, bread pudding, and chocolate cake. Nobody left hungry!
Allyson also invited members of a crew, who are building a logging road here this summer, and currently are living in float houses nearby. An interesting, colorful group of guys!
Jennis Bay is protected from Drury Inlet by a small island in the entrance. There is also a floating log breakwater that further protects the moorage area. There is no power, but there is Internet service, which sometimes worked and other times didn’t. Drury Inlet itself is quite scenic and, since it’s away from the center of the Broughton Archipelago, it’s a bit less traveled.
Stuart Narrows, the entrance to Drury Inlet
Approaching Jennis Bay Marina
Jennis Bay Marina
The dock at Jennis Bay, Phoenix on the right

Kwatsi Bay to Claydon Bay

June 17 – Kwatsi Bay Marina

Couldn’t make up our minds this morning about whether to move on or to stay another day in Kwatsi Bay so that Jim could finish the work on installing the Internet router. So, we decided to flip a coin. Heads, we leave; tails, we stay. First flip was tails, so we decided to make it 2 out of 3, and it was tails again. To be sure, we flipped again, for 3 out of 5, and it was tails a third time. So, we stayed!
It was sunny and calm this morning. So nice for a change. Jim finished mounting the router in the forward hanging locker while I baked some treats for tonight’s happy hour. I found a recipe for baking flour tortilla wedges with melted butter and cinnamon and sugar on top…VERY tasty. All the sailboats from last night left this morning, and have been replaced by 5 more boats. So the dock is full again tonight.
One of the benefits of staying another day is that Max went over to Port McNeill this morning to bring Anca and Russell home for the weekend, so we had a chance to catch up with Anca and look over the additional things she added to the store. We bought a book called “Totem Poles and Tea,” written by a woman who was a nurse in Mamalilaculla (now a deserted Indian village) in the 1930s. Looks to be a good story about life in the Broughton Islands a long time ago, and will be a nice addition to our boat library.

In the early morning calm, the snow-capped Mt. Read
towers above the entrance to Kwatsi Bay Marina
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June 18 – Claydon Bay
Kwatsi Bay to Claydon Bay, 27.59 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 280.57 NM
It rained hard all night and into the morning at Kwatsi Bay. Everything was SOAKED! Visibility was reduced by the rain and accompanying fog. Fortunately the rain slowed down and the fog lifted to about 150 feet as the morning wore on, so we felt okay about leaving.
The Internet was not available this morning due to volume. Kwatsi Bay Marina offers WiFi service, but there is a usage limit, and once the limit is reached, the server is down for 24 hours. So that’s what we experienced this morning. Guess there were a lot of people using the Internet yesterday.
We left Kwatsi Bay around 1100, and all the other boats at the dock left within minutes of each other. However, we encountered a boat on its way in as we left, so the dock won’t be empty very long. We topped up our water tank, and chatted with Anca in the store as she checked us out. Russell and Max helped us get away from the dock, and we made our way north in Tribune Channel. It was rather rough motoring into a 15-knot northwest wind, but the chop was reduced as we left Tribune Channel and entered Penphrase Passage. From there on, it was an easy passage. Mickey and Rosie are getting more comfortable with the motion and noise, and they moved around more in the cabin today while we were underway.
As we approached Claydon Bay, we encountered numerous floats from crab pots, and they looked like commercial floats. What a surprise to find even more floats in the Claydon Bay anchorage! There was only one boat here when we arrived, but they hoisted their anchor and left shortly after we anchored, and we have the entire anchorage to ourselves. In past years, we have usually seen, on average, about 8 or more boats anchored in Claydon Bay. Don’t know if it’s because of the crab pot floats or just not many people coming this way today. It’s still early in the season.
We are anchored in about 30 feet at mid-tide, with good mud holding and lots of room to swing. Still cloudy, but at least it’s not raining. Expected to put out our crab pot here, but there are way too many commercial pots already covering the area.
We left Kwatsi Bay Marina at low tide
One of the many waterfalls in Tribune Channel
Heading north in Penphrase Passage, it was still cloudy
with fog hanging in the trees…but lighter sky ahead!
We encounter lots of floating logs from logging activity
in the area. This is an entire floating tree!
We had a gorgeous evening at Claydon Bay

Shoal Bay to Kwatsi Bay

June 14 – Matilpi
Shoal Bay to Matilpi, in the Broughton Islands, 39.88 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 227.66 NM
This morning at Shoal Bay we had our choice of leaving to catch the early slacks or leisurely leaving in the afternoon to do the afternoon slacks. The current was with us in the morning, so we decided to catch the morning slacks, and pulled out of Shoal Bay at 0715. It was really cold this morning (44°) and we certainly are glad we have a good diesel heater! We planned to either stop and anchor in Forward Harbor, or if the weather was good, to go all the way to the Broughtons.

We encountered more whirlpools in Green Point Rapids than we remember from past trips. The way to get through this area where there are two rapids to transit and no good place to stop in between, is to go through Green Point Rapids about an hour early and Whirlpool Rapids about an hour late. We were lucky this morning and, other than the whirlpools as we left Green Point behind, we were just about on time for Whirlpool Rapids and had a very easy time transiting them.
As we left Whirlpool Rapids, rather than turning in to Forward Harbor, we decided to take advantage of what appeared to be a relatively calm Johnstone Strait, and headed out Sunderlund Channel. The Straits were good to us, and about two hours later, we turned off Johnstone Strait at the Broken Group and headed down Havannah Channel.
We usually proceed directly through Chatham Channel, but today it was flowing about 6 knots against us about the time we wanted to go through. So, we decided to stop before the channel and tried a new anchorage. We turned in to Matilpi, an anchorage between the mainland and a small Indian Island. It is marked by a lovely shell beach and is written up in our reference books as a quiet anchorage with good holding and protection from most winds. Two fish boats came in after we anchored and rafted together behind us.
Still raining today, with high temps around 58 and a few sunbreaks (very few!). We hope this weather will improve soon!

Heading north in Cordero Channel, approaching Mayne Passage
Entering Johnstone Strait, very good conditions
Rosie looking out into the rain and
contemplating our anchorage at Matilpi
White shell beach at Matilpi
June 15 and 16 – Kwatsi Bay Marina
Matilpi to Kwatsi Bay, 25.32 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 252.98 NM
June 15
Early this morning, we watched the tide go out at our anchorage at Matilpi. Low tide was around 8 AM, and the water dropped 14 feet from the high tide yesterday when we anchored. It is a small anchorage, and we found ourselves VERY close to the shore, but our depth sounders still showed over 30 feet. Got us going early!
We left to catch the slack current in Chatham Channel, which was less than two miles away. Easy transit, as we carefully watched the range markers. As we exited the channel, we entered Knight Inlet and found ourselves motoring into a 15 knot NW wind that was kicking up a few waves. As we turned to enter Tribune Channel, we took advantage of the cell phone coverage in that area to call Kwatsi Bay Marina to make sure we could find moorage.
Tribune Channel is a gorgeous fjord, lined with majestic snow-capped mountains. It is one of our favorite places. It was disappointing today, however, because the cloud cover hid the tops of the mountains. Still a nice ride though.
As we entered Kwatsi Bay, the mountains shielded us from the wind, and the water became calm. We found only two other boats here. Max, the marina owner, greeted us and told us where to side tie. Anca and Russell are in Port McNeill this week. Max told us about a lot of weather damage they sustained this past winter. It’s been a long, hard winter all over the west coast, and BC is no exception.
Max arranged a happy hour at 5 PM and the crews from Phoenix, Safari, and Easy Goin’ gathered and told sea stories. The sun actually came out in the evening and we can almost see the top of Mt. Read, the snow-capped mountain just west of Kwatsi Bay.
June 16
We decided to stay a second day at Kwatsi Bay to catch our breath and so that Jim could work on our Internet router. We’ve had it for a while and have been using it propped up on a settee (which has been a bit of a nuisance), so this is a nice quiet place where we can take care of mounting it to a bulkhead in a forward cabin hanging locker.
Alice had some time this afternoon to bake bread, so we got out the bread machine and it just produced a fresh loaf of light whole-wheat bread. Smells wonderful! Today has also been a good opportunity to clean up the boat…both inside and outside.
The sun actually broke through the clouds for a while this afternoon and we saw the thermometer hit 70…but it feels a little cooler in the wind. Some fog this morning, but otherwise quiet here at the dock.
Max is planning a potluck on the dock at 6 PM. Easy Goin’ left this morning, leaving Phoenix and Safari at the dock. This afternoon, an American Tug and five sailboats have arrived. So far there are eight boats at the dock  for tonight.

Matilpi at low tide
Entering Tribune Channel, Alice on the bow adjusting
our Hawaii Yacht Club burgee
Magnificent Tribune Channel with clouds hiding
the tops of the snow-capped mountains
The dock and store at Kwatsi Bay Marina
The top of Mt. Read (across from the entrance
to Kwatsi Bay) finally came out of the clouds
Jim running cables in the main cabin to locate the
Internet router in the forward cabin

Dent Island to Shoal Bay

June 13 – Shoal Bay

Dent Island to Shoal Bay, 9.18 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 187.78 NM
Started the day with continental breakfast at Dent Island Lodge. Had to wait until the afternoon slack at Dent Rapids before we could continue, so we read and did odd jobs around the boat until shortly after 1500 when we left. It rained hard all night and continued to rain on and off (mostly on) all day. We thought it was drying out an hour or so before we were going to leave so we wiped down the boat…however by the time we left, the rain had started again.
It was raining hard as we transited Dent Rapids and we were monitoring our course by radar. Thought that we must have taken a wrong turn and were in Alaska! Thankfully the fog cleared as we approached Shoal Bay. No other boats there, so we side-tied on the west side of the dock, looking out Phillips Arm to the snow-capped mountains of mainland BC, still shrouded in clouds, but spectacular none the less. It rained some more as we tied up, but finally cleared by 1900 so we were able to walk up to the pub and talk to Mark MacDonald (the owner). He is in the process of building a new house, further back on the property. He said he’d rather separate his living quarters from the pub, which sounds like a good idea to us.
Three more boats came in after us, so there are now a total of four.
There is WiFi here, but it doesn’t reach our boat, so we need to take our laptop to the pub in order to get a good signal. The shed where he previously had recycling bins has been torn down.
From here we will make our way to the Broughtons via Johnstone Strait, and don’t expect to have access to Wi-Fi for several days.
Dent Island Lodge, set up for breakfast
Cordero Channel, shrouded in rain and fog
Shoal Bay boardwalk leads to pub and grounds
Dock at Shoal Bay overlooks Phillips Arm
and the mountains of mainland B.C.