In our latest destinations installment courtesy of‘s Lynne Picard and Jim Burgoyne, we discover some of the many anchorages in the Broughton Archipelago.

Planning a trip to the Broughton Archipelago can, and should if time allows, include more than the park alone. The waters of Queen Charlotte Sound are vast compared to the labyrinth of islands and inlets in and nearby the marine park.

The farther northwest you go, the more remote you will feel, and actually be, but provisioning opportunities are never more than a day or two away. If you want uncluttered anchorages in the wilds of BC’s coast and delightful friendly marinas when you feel a need to be sociable again, these destinations will be perfect for you.

You will probably want the capability to stern tie, and be prepared to time your transits of narrow passages into and out of inlets and anchorages. The fishing is great, bear sightings are pretty common, as is unfortunately more fog and rainy weather. But don’t let that stop you, the rewards are well worth it!

Taking in the sights when the sun comes out.

If you are apprehensive about crossing Queen Charlotte Strait, take a route northwest from the park, following the north shore of the strait. Boaters can return the same way, or cross through the somewhat protected waters off the Walker Group and the Gordon Islands.

As always, keep one eye on the weather forecasts, your depth gauge, charts, and where your swing radious on anchor will take you, and keep the other eye on lookout for the wildlife which abounds.

Low tide, blue sky and a view into the mists of Queen Charlotte Strait.


Alert Bay on Cormorant Island might be one of the more well-known destinations in the area. There is both good anchorage in settled weather, and a well-run marina. The island and many of the sites are connected by trails, so it’s a great place to stretch your legs, stock up on provisions, grab a meal out, take a ferry to Port McNeill, or take in a traditional dance show at the U’Mista Cultural Centre. The burial grounds, with a dozen or more totem poles, is impressive.

Sointula is another option if you want to get some exercise on the walking trails. Again, there is anchorage with good holding when conditions are benign, or tie up at the Lions Harbour Authority docks. Take advantage of home-made prepared meals at Malcolm Island Food Company and don’t cook tonight!

Alert Bay, past and present — totem poles and powerlines.

Port McNeill is where we usually provision as the grocery store is near the dock. You can top up your propane and water tanks, enjoy a meal in one of the good eateries, including a new craft brewery, and top up with fishing supplies at the ShopRite General Store.

Sullivan Bay Marina is on the north shore of Queen Charlotte Strait, close to several great anchorages in the McKenzie Sound and area. The general store offers fresh baked goods in the morning if you place an order the day before. There’s a pot luck Happy Hour on the dock every day at 17:00, and everyone gets a chance to take a chip-shot at a floating target out in the harbor for a free night’s moorage.


Turnbull Cove is just an hour or two from Sullivan Bay Marina. Fond memories were made a few years ago when we brought our daughter and son-in-law here. The walk to Huaskin Lake was topped with a lovely freshwater swim and an indulgent facial masque and exfoliating body scrub, followed by a glass of wine on the dock. After dinner back on the boat we headed to a point at the entrance to the bay and had a bonfire. Apparently the anchorage can feel the force of a southeast gale, but is generally a relaxed place to spend a few days.

Nimmo Bay almost didn’t make it on our list. Our last visit there in 2018 was apparently one of the last years the resort allowed boaters to dinghy to their docks and take a guided tour of their stunning facility, complete with hot tub by the waterfall and a sauna on a floating bear viewing platform. So the attraction of a tour of the resort is sadly off the books, however we decided it was a pretty special place anyway. The cruise to the bay is scenic, and the bay itself is totally landlocked. The feeling of remoteness, with this spectacularly posh resort juxtaposed with it, is unique. There’s a good chance for bear sightings, and even without the resort tour, we decided it makes our list!

Popular spot for picnics at the right state of tide at Blunden Harbour.

Carridon Bay in MacKenzie Sound has good holding and room for lots of scope, so even though it can feel the wind from a westerly blowing down nearby Drury Inlet, with good ground tackle and set you will be safe enjoying the spectacular view down Grappler Sound and Mount Waddington. It’s a great place to wait when timing your entry to some of nearly inlets, or to just enjoy the view from a quiet anchorage.

Beaver Harbour has a few places to anchor depending on the wind direction. We often anchor there if we don’t need to provision in Port Hardy. It’s a beautiful anchorage, with middens to explore and splendid views down Queen Charlotte Sound. If you want to go for a walk ashore there are some good walks. The shoreline just south of Patrician Bay is the best place to bring a dinghy ashore.

Blunden Harbour now has no trace of the bustling community is was a hundred years ago, with a steamship landing, store and post office. Nor is there any sign of the community of Nakwaxda’xw people who were living there before being pressured into accepting a government relocation to Port Hardy in 1964, when much of the remaining village was burned. History aside, it is a splendid anchorage to spend a few days with much exploring to keep you entertained, including the adventure into Bradley Lagoon, which requires perfect timing and is easiest with a kayak which can portage over rocks and other barriers.

Laura Cove was on the list of favourites for our daughter and son-in-law when they joined us aboard Silom for 10 days. We loved the feeling of seclusion and exploring the coastline. If you want to get away from it all in a protected anchorage, you’ll find the cove off Laura Bay along Penphrase Passage.

Sutherland Bay in Drury Inlet is spacious with lots of room to let out plenty of scope. It’s a bit of a hidden gem; not many boaters seem to find their way in there. Acteon Sound is accessible for a day trip by dinghy, or for the brave with the appropriate draft and power, one can go all the way to Bond Inlet for a completely unique experience. Be sure to check your draft and know the state of tide as the entrance dries at low water. Keep a close eye on the charts and a lookout on the bow.

The Head of Grappler Sound boasts a delightful anchorage beside the tidal rapids at the entrance to Overflow Basin, and it comes  with a beautiful view down the sound. Be prepared to stern tie. Just a short dinghy ride away is Embley Lagoon, a delight to explore.

The beaches sometimes go on forever.

Deserters’ Group is a cluster of islands at the northern end of Queen Charlotte Strait. Between Deserters’ Island and Wishart Island is a narrow channel that widens a bit in the middle, providing a small anchorage with not much room to manoeuvre and really only room for one, maybe two boats if one brings a line ashore. Jim and I have quite different opinions of it. I found it claustrophobic, but Jim thought it was wonderfully remote. I found the shallow, narrow entrance nerve wracking; he thought it was a great adventure with the rocks clearly visible and totally safe on a rising tide. So, there you have it, maybe check it out and let us know what you think!

There are several dozen great anchorages in this spectacular cruising area, and it’s always a challenge to determine what to include in a list of “favourites”. There are so many variables that make it a subjective call — the weather, wildlife sightings, holding, even the crew’s state of mind, as Jim will attest.

Jennis Bay Marina is a rustic outpost in Drury Inlet that oozes warmth. It might also make our list if it wasn’t rented long-term to loggers who work the area.

Do your research, and as you arrive at your destination keep checking your charts and depth sounder. Keep a lookout on the bow if you have crew. Doesn’t hurt.

We hope these suggestions will help you find your happy place.

Note: This post was originally published on and is courtesy of the authors.