Cruising Queen Charlotte Sound: Hecate and Calvert Islands

View from radio tower near Pruth Bay

The maze of islands and waterways that border Queen Charlotte Sound has long been one of our favorite cruising ground. The terrain is complex, the scenery is varied and impressive, and the anchorage choices are many. The adventure level ranges from sheltered waters, to open ocean, to tidal rapids. You can laze in a tranquil anchorage, go for a hike, or take in a complex ecosystem that includes whales and other water creatures, all manner of waterfowl, and colorful tide pools filled with life. Soft sand beaches and rolling surf give the outer islands a surprisingly tropical feel. If it were not for the driftwood, you might think you were in Polynesia.

The only thing there isn’t much of is civilization. Small communities are nearby and seasonal lodges operate in the summer, but Queen Charlotte Sound has no permanent population centers. Compared with the size of the region, relatively few boaters cruise these waters. Anchoring in company is uncommon, and several days can pass without seeing another pleasure craft, let alone another person.

In this new blog series, we’ll be highlighting picutres and destinations from our cruising guide, Cruising the Secret Coast. Below are highlights from Hecate and Calvert Islands in southern Queen Charlotte Sound. Click the map icon to view them by location.

Invisible Falls
Invisible Falls is our name for the waterfall that flows into a basin on the southeast shore of Calvert Island. The flow is particularly impressive after heavy rains. Trees surround the basin, making the falls difficult to see. We travelled Fitz Hugh Sound several times before noticing them.

Kwakshua Channel
Kwakshua Channel leads off Fitz Hugh Sound, and separates Calvert Island from Hecate Island. From the south, it is the park’s first entry point. The channel is wide, deep, and easily run. With protected anchorage at the head and two water-view hikes, it’s a popular stop.
This picture was taken looking east down Kwakshua Channel towards the Coast Mountains.

Keith Anchorage
Keith Anchorage is deep, with two drying arms. The snug basin has good wind protection. We’ve overnighted there during a southeast gale and had only light winds.

Pruth Bay radio tower
With a 360° view from the radio tower above Pruth Bay, you can see clear across the park to its Northern extreme. .

Pruth Bay
Pruth Bay has been a popular anchorage for as long as boats have traveled the Inside Passage. Besides good holding and protection, a trail leads to beautiful West Beach on the west shore of Calvert Island.

Hakai Beach Resort
Visiting boaters sometimes can make dinner reservations at the resort.

Mosquito Carving
This elaborate carving of a mosquito in a tree at Pruth Bay apparently was made by a logger or a caretaker in the early 1980s.

West Beach
Beautiful West Beach, with its Pacific Ocean views, is a must-see attraction at Pruth Bay. In fact, it would be worth a stop at Pruth Bay just to visit West Beach. The beach is reminiscent of Hawaii, with breakers rolling in on soft sand that on a sunny day can be almost too hot to walk barefoot.

Whittaker Point Cove
Whittaker Point is a popular anchorage with room for several large boats

Adams Harbour
Adams Harbor is a wonderful spot,with interesting places to explore by dinghy. A private resort, not visible from the water, is tucked into the trees at Sandspit Point. This marvelous driftwood dock connects the resort to its float.

A wader from the resort enjoys the warm water and soft sand at the spit.

Kayaker Camp
Kayaking is popular in Hakai. You’ll see their camps on sandy beaches throughout the park.

Waveswept coast
The constant ocean swells carve beautiful formations into the rocks around the area.

Outer shores
In calm conditions, we recommend an investigation by dinghy along the outer shore of Adams Harbor. As the little craft bobs up and down, you’ll feel really “out there.” The more daring you are, the closer you can approach the shore.

Stony Saddle Cove
Stony Saddle Cove is close to the activity to the south, yet has total privacy. Delicate rock formations surround the cove and a sandy pocket beach is at the head. Stony Saddle rises to the east, and bluffs are visible across the main channel to the west.

Cruising the Secret Coast
For details and these and other Queen Charlotte Sound Cruising destinations, see our cruising guide, Waggoner sister publication Cruising the Secret Coast.

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