Two Days to Remember Wildlife Cove, Gregory Island

An unnamed and protected anchorage off Gregory Island offers mountain vistas and an abundance of wildlife.

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A THIN LAYER OF SUSPENDED clouds lies just above the water’s surface, and the towering peaks and snow fields of British Columbia’s Coast Mountains come into view as we enter Kingcome Inlet in the Broughton Islands. Our destination is an unnamed cove on the chart. We name it, for good reason, Wildlife Cove. It’s a small one-boat anchorage in the lee of a hook-shaped peninsula on the north side of Gregory Island. Our plan is to spend a couple of nights anchored in the tiny cove and explore Moore Bay by dinghy, do some hiking, and enjoy the scenery and wildlife.TWO-DAYS-TO-REMEMBER-WILDLIFE-COVE

Kingcome Inlet is a 17-mile-long waterway that glaciers carved thousands of years ago. Majestic mountains, some of whose tops remain snow covered late into the summer, rise nearly vertical from the sea floor. Some snow fields are visible all year. Huge granite cliffs and cascading waterfalls add to the spectacular scenery.

As we set the anchor in 40 feet of water over a quickly shoaling mud bottom, a kingfisher rattles his territorial call. Two shiny round-headed harbor seals pop up for a curious look to see who or what is invading their cove, and a bald eagle flies overhead. Its call welcomes us to its home (as far as Arlene and I are concerned). Once the anchor is set, we have an unobstructed view across Kingcome Inlet. It’s easy to see why the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations people are proud to call the Kingcome Inlet area home.

Later that morning a couple of hummingbirds buzz Easy Goin’s national flag, hanging from the stern, thinking it is the mother of all nectar-providing flowers.

Moore Bay is one of those special places that merits lingering. The water is milky green from the glacial outflow of the inlet. It’s a good spot to sit on the deck and do nothing more than enjoy the view and the wildlife.

MOTORING AROUND

Arlene and I launch the dinghy to check the bay for other potential anchorages. As we slowly motor 1.9 miles across the bay to a small BC Forest Service recreation float, two dozen white-sided dolphins approach us to check out the strange intruder. A sign on the float reads “No vessels over 14 feet in length.”

TWO-DAYS-TO-REMEMBER-WILDLIFE-COVEAt the head of the ramp, a trail leads to four campsites with picnic tables, campfire pits, benches, a pit toilet and Cultural trees, which have been bark-stripped for use by First Nations people. Hiking trails lead into the interior. Hikers should remember that black and grizzly bears reside in the area, so take the proper precautions. Some cruising guides report Forest Service mooring buoys can be found near the dock, but we don’t see them during our visit.

A second anchorage, which is occupied, is located east of the easternmost island, in a bay that appears to provide protection from easterlies in 50 feet over a mud bottom. We surmise this is the boat that placed a couple of prawn traps in the bay.

A third anchorage lies on the west side of the bay between Gregory and Thief islands and provides shelter from breezes from the west. We had anchored here on a past visit and found the holding excellent in 30 to 35 feet over a sand and shell bottom.

After checking out the potential anchorages and enjoying lunch back aboard Easy Goin’ we head out to explore the passage that leads to Shawl Bay. This narrow waterway, with a minimum depth of approximately two feet, can be navigated by most boats at midtide.

ART OF DOING NOTHING

By midafternoon a weather front moves through and it begins to rain. The payoff is a magnificent rainbow that connects Thief Island to the mainland.

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We spend the balance of the day aboard Easy Goin’ and sip on our favorite beverages and admire the spectacular view before barbecuing dinner. After a fine dinner, we sit on deck and watch the setting sun turn the Coast Mountains different shades of pink and red.

While preparing breakfast the following day, Arlene spots a humpback whale in the bay, a photo opportunity that definitely delays breakfast. We spend the rest of the day relaxing, absorbing the warm summer sun, being entertained by the local wildlife, enjoying the breathtaking view and reading a couple good books. Just our kind of boating.

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If You Go
Chart: Canadian Hydrographic Service 3515