The anchorages around B.C.'s Eden Island are well protected and pristine.
It’s a glorious morning as we swing on the anchor in beautiful Waddington Cove, Bonwick Island, our anchorage for the past couple days. Today is moving day and our plan is to guide Easy Goin’ around the Fox Group of islands and then through stunning Blunden and Misty passages, making our way to Eden Island to spend the next few days exploring its well-protected anchorages in Joe, Let Her Rip and Lady Boot coves.
Joe Cove is nestled on the south side of Eden Island, its shoreline forming the northern boundary of the Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, which sprawls along the eastern edge of Queen Charlotte Strait. The cove’s setting is pristine, its shoreline tree draped. At its head a stream leads to a lagoon that can be explored by dinghy at high tide.
There are several spots to anchor in Joe Cove, whose mud bottom provides good holding ground. One spot is at the head, directly north of the islet that separates the cove’s main anchorage from the southeast arm. The arm provides good holding in eight feet of water with a stern line to shore. The rocks lying west of the islet are well marked on the chart, and the easiest entry is made between the very small islet in the middle of the entrance and the larger islet to the northeast.
I carefully piloted Easy Goin’ through the labyrinth of crab floats in Joe Cove only to find a boat anchored in the back of the cove and another in the southern arm. We didn’t feel comfortable dropping the hook among the crab floats and other boats, so we moved on to find sheltered water and seclusion.
Upon exiting the cove, we slowly worked our way west toward Trainer Pass and an unnamed cove on the chart, approximately seven-tenths of a mile away. Upon arrival we were surprised to find that we had the picturesque cove to ourselves. For us, when it comes to the ultimate boating experience, nothing beats a stay in a small, well protected, unoccupied cove in a maze of islands.
LET HER RIP COVE
While the body of water is locally known as Mud Bay, we prefer the name Let Her Rip Cove, a name given by some cruising guides because of the protection provided from westerlies off Queen Charlotte Strait. The name appeals to our adventurous side by providing fuel for our imagination. The approach is straightforward with the exception of a small islet and a couple of drying rocks that all lie south of the cove. They are well marked on the charts, so entry is easy and safe.
We set the hook at the head of the cove in 24 feet over sand and grass with good holding. The cove provides ample anchoring and swing room for three or four boats, and the pristine setting has a shoaling headwater at low tide.
After a quick lunch, we launched the dinghy to explore the cove and the numerous nearby islets in Trainer Pass. At the head of the cove was plenty of evidence — large logs washed up to the high-water line — that the cove is exposed to southerlies, as we suspected. But the drift makes for a great resting place with a tranquil view of the anchorage.
Once back aboard Easy Goin’ we sat on the back deck, absorbed the warmth of the sun, took in the sights and sounds of the cove, and viewed the snowcapped mountain range off in the distance beyond Mars Island. A few boats passed the entrance to our anchorage but none approached, so we had paradise to ourselves, with the exception of a few seals and humming birds.
Our evening entertainment was watching a group of harbor seals rounding up small fish and then firing through the school of fish for a meal. As the sun set, those snowcapped peaks turned shades of red and pink while a waxing moon rose over the cove’s fir trees.
The following morning, after a good night’s sleep in our calm hideaway, we weighed anchor and set a course around the island to Lady Boot Cove. As we passed the Trainer Islands and entered Queen Charlotte Strait, a large pod of white-sided dolphins escorted us.
LADY BOOT COVE
Arriving at near the top of the flood tide, we found the cove to be inviting, even with two gray buoys marking commercial crab traps at the head of the protected and unspoiled anchorage. A couple of harbor seals played at the cove’s mouth. High above, a bald eagle in the trees called out for its mate. Moving deeper into the cove, we could hear the soothing sound of a babbling creek that would require further investigation. But for now the priority was setting the hook and getting settled in our new home for the next couple of days.
The approach into the unnamed cove, commonly referred to as Lady Boot Cove because its shape resembles a woman’s boot, on the northeast side of Eden Island in Fife Sound is unobstructed. The best anchorage is in the toe of the boot. We set the anchor in 30 feet of water over a sticky mud-and-shell bottom, being careful to swing clear of two drying rocks that lie on the north side of the cove and the trap line.
Once settled, we launched the dinghy, set two crab traps and ventured off to explore our cozy little gunkhole and the surrounding area. There was once a small settlement and logging operation on the north side of the cove, the evidence of which can still be seen. Just east of the settlement site is a beautiful sand-and-shell beach.
Over at the boot’s heel is a small cove with a quickly drying foreshore. It appeared to offer room for a boat or two but not the protection of the other cove. Inshore from the drying rocks is a large mud flat that is only accessible at near high tide by carefully guiding the dinghy through the narrow passage between the rocks.
On the way back to Easy Goin’, we checked the crab traps. The first had a number of female Dungeness, which we returned. It appeared the commercial boys had fished the cove clean. The second trap also had a number of females and one seven-inch-plus male, which the commercial guys had missed. We immediately began planning for dinner.
That afternoon the pleasurecraft Ranui entered the anchorage and the crew set the hook. The crew invited us to join them for happy hour. Arlene picked a few herbs from her small onboard garden, as a hostess gift, and we enjoyed a wonderful time sharing boating stories.
Back on Easy Goin’, sitting on the bridge enjoying the end of the day, we watched salmon jump in the anchorage. Good salmon fishing is rumored to be had just outside the cove along Eden Island’s northern shoreline.
In the morning a fog hung over Fly Island in the distance, but our cove was clear and peaceful. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the cabin as the birds sang a wonderful melody. We spent the day relaxing aboard and enjoying our surroundings. That afternoon a 25 knot westerly wind kicked up out in Fife Sound, but we were very comfortable and secure with barely a ripple in our pristine gunkhole.