Cruise #3 - Traveling in Sechelt Inlet
If you followed the previous 2 cruise pages you now have entered a quiet, little travelled inlet within only 35 miles of Vancouver, at one point only 6 miles from Howe Sound and yet a world away from both. Due to the reduced tidal flow the summer waters warm and swimming in 75º F seclusion is common. Anchorages are empty or maybe one other boat intrudes. Maybe some kyakers, maybe a deer.
Once away from the mouth of the rapids there is little current in the inlet to concern you. Tidal ranges are less than outside peaking at about 10 feet with the mean about 6 feet. This is fortunate since computing the tides from a Point Atkinson reference can sometimes be frustrating.
For anchoring, a general rule of thumb in the summer is that any place you find shallow enough to anchor will probably be OK. Sheltered you will not likely be subject to winds at night that will ruin your trip. That said I will point out real anchorage's.
SEE THE MAP IN AT THE START OF THIS SECTION Where to go and what to do.
Under motor you can make a straight run for the bottom of the inlet and Porpoise Bay docks in about 3 hours. You can probably start sailing though. While the inlet waters are very sheltered, winds blow up and down in such a manner as to most often give you a reach either way, particularly between about 10:30 in the morning and 4:30 .
Looking Towards Tzoonie Narrows from the West
in the afternoon. Notwithstanding there will be spots of glassy water and areas with wind and chop on the same day as you proceedFor the purposes of this guide I will take you to all MY places as you go down. You can take them in any order you wish.
On the west or right side as you enter there are few shallow spots but no stops of any particular interest.
On the left side you will come to Narrows Inlet stretching off to the east for nearly 10 miles. Use care as you turn rounding Highland Point as the charted rock is more of a threat then you might suppose.If you turn into the inlet you will pass a few summer cottages clustered in various small indentations but then the inlet starts to narrow as you approach Tzoonie Narrows. Stay mid-channel as there is a rock shelf across the indentation just before the narrows. Swing around the east side of the rock and anchor for one of the nicest little shore spots there is. This is Tzoonie Narrows Marine Park - little visited but interesting. Go ashore and wander but if it is berry season make some noise to chase off the bears. My singing usually works. First you will find some camping spots and fruit trees with edible fruit. For some reason the fruit trees here have not gone feral. Carry on and there is a great fresh water stream. While the government has posted their usual warning about boiling the water I have always found it wonderful and drink it without hesitation. I have filled my boat tanks with the water. There are lots of blackberry and strawberry bushes. Take the dingy along the shore as the marine life is thick. Take the dingy across the narrows and more fruit trees ( including a good peach) and more berries plus an old cabin, long deserted. The story goes that during the depression, some folk set up life here to try and live off the land. When the war started it was all abandoned and the trees and cabin are all that remain.
If you carry on through the narrows you will find another exclusive cluster of summer homes and many streams coming   into the inlet. High up waterfalls can be seen. There are several spots you can anchor - just look for shallow water - particularly along the eastern shore.. Not much wind ever penetrates up here in the summer. At the very end of the inlet is a logging operation and the Tzoonie River but not much to see.
Coming out of the inlet and staying to the southeast shore line you round Sockeye Point and go straight down to the best anchorage in the Inlet - Storm Bay. The larger part of the bay is suitable to anchor anywhere but the choice spot is in the small bay just to the right near the head and past a small island. Very sheltered, pretty with a couple of resident Blue Heron this is the spot for me. Water is only about 12 feet  deep for easy anchoring. Spend a day exploring the little islands and salt water lagoons around this area. Fun with the dingy.
Coming out of Storm Bay and continuing down the inlet you pass under the main powerlines for the Sunshine Coast and then come to the entrance to Salmon Inlet. At the north side of the entrance are the Kunechin Islets which are fun to explore but not too suitable to anchor at. Carry on around the islets to the right (north) and watch for the shoal protruding out. Passing that you will see a bay on your right which holds another seldom visited 111 acre marine park and an excellent anchorage. Watch for the rock near the middle of the bay about 200 feet offshore. You can see its light colour if the sun is right but otherwise just stay to the right or left as you come in. This is a nice base to operate from exploring the islands and foreshore.
The rest of Salmon Inlet is sort of a lost cause to me. Thornhill Creek is a marine park but to me it has few charms. Misery Bay about 3/4's of the way up used to be nice but the loggers have taken over and spoiled it. As at 1999 they had built a brand new work shed of some size. Misery Creek, just before the bay has a spectacular outfall of fresh water. There are some waterfalls high up and some nice streams coming down. That is it.
Heading further down the inlet, on each side, if you watch you will see the distinctive BC Marine Parks signs on various indentations, beaches and bays. All of these are nice stops. Piper Point and Irvine Creek are especially nice. You will pass the Lamb Islets on the east side where anchorage is possible sheltered by the islets but watch for a rock between the largest one and the shore. It is not clear on the chart. Next you may spot the Tillicum Marina which rarely has any itinerant moorage available. Mostly fishboats and locals have spaces reserved for them. During the fishing season you can try though. John, the wharf-finger, is a charmer and former offshore delivery sailor. He can keep you talking all day. There are no services and a taxi to town would take about 1/2 an hour to come and take about 15 minutes getting you there. Watch out for kyackers - they rent out of the marina and are hard to spot. Use care.
The inlet narrows again at Four Mile Point which is Sandy Hook sticking out into the inlet. This is where I live. If you go in close to the inside of the hook you will see a beach with numerous moorings set out. This is a community park and anchorage in calm conditions in 30 feet is easy. It is a healthy walk up the hill to the homes and there are no services.
Around the point and heading to the bottom you will see Poise Island and you can go either side of it. You are now in shallow but adequate water and this is Porpoise Bay. You can anchor anywhere although I recommend off to the right (west) so you are out of the way of boat traffic and landing aircraft!
Looking over the community park and beach at Sandy Hook and up the Inlet
Porpoise Bay, which is really the north side of downtown Sechelt, has a government dock at which you can usually find a spot for a stop over and shopping. Frankly, you can usually get away with overnight for no charge and with no problems. It you study the dock you will find fresh water taps too. The walk to the centre of town is about 10 minutes and it is a charming town with all the services youcould ask for. And do ask. People are friendly and happy to direct you. There is even a MacDonalds if you are missing home cooking! See the overview picture on my Home Page and details in My World.
That is Sechelt Inlet. Reverse your course and you get back out. Remember to exercise care with the rapids. I have gone out as much as 2 hours before slack on an ebb but at one point I was on my side going sideways for thrills. Things were going by very fast.
And Come Again.

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