Enjoy our latest installment from Lynne Picard of SalishSeaPilot.com about a favorite anchorage on British Columbia’s Quadra Island.

With unsettled weather in our late-season forecast, we wanted a sheltered place to drop the hook for four or five days; an anchorage where we could let out lots of scope, go for long walks and have plenty of shoreline to explore by kayak.

Waiatt Bay on the northeast corner of Quadra Island checked all the boxes and we were looking forward to returning there as it had been a couple years.

So we left Teakerne Arm and made our way up Lewis and Calm channels, timing slack for the rapids at the western entrance of the Hole in the Wall.

The well-worn trail to Newton Lake.

As we entered the bay off Okisollo Channel, the Octopus Islands Marine Park beckoned us to anchor or stern tie in one of its cocooned coves. But our moods and the weather forecast favoured wide open spaces with room to put out plenty of chain and not worry about much. We could explore the islands by kayak, and paddling there from our anchorage deep in Waiatt Bay was good exercise.

Waiatt Bay can be busy during the summer, but there is a lot of room to anchor and find cover from wherever the wind blows. There is good anchoring depth right through the bay and so we had our pick of locations, choosing the western end to be closer to the hiking trails.

A rotten tree, toppled by high winds near Waiatt Bay, has broken up along the trail to Small Inlet.

The first full day was a wet one, alternating between rain and fog, one of those lazy days where time passes quickly even though we accomplished nothing.

The following morning broke sunny so we walked the one-kilometer trail to Small Inlet. The forest is beautiful, a maze of tall, thin trees that is almost surreal, with one side bare, one side green with moss. Since last time we walked this trail, it has been rerouted to avoid a low, wet patch near Small Inlet.

A protected anchorage near the head of head of Small Inlet.

The wind picked up as we walked back, sighing in the trees, adding to the dreamy atmosphere.

The next morning was warm so we packed up towels and a picnic and set off for Newton Lake. We had not gone far before we came across several downed trees and branches that had fallen the day before, thankfully after we had traversed back to Silom. Apparently, the drought conditions this summer had left the trees weakened. Heavy rain and wind caused many to fall, including one that had fallen along the trail.

The skinny-treed forest from Waiatt Bay to Small Inlet, with trunks half naked, half mossy.

The trail leads past Small Inlet toward Newton Lake, perched well above sea level. From Small Inlet, the 50-60-minute walk is not too difficult, although there is a stretch of steep uphill where it ascends a ridge. The trail is well used and in good shape.

At the lake, the trail forks left to the swimming rocks and right to Granite Bay, which like Small Inlet extends inland off Kanish Bay on the western shore of Quadra Island. The trail to Granite Bay is less well used and not in such good shape – leave lots of time to return to Newton Lake if you decide to walk it.

The swimming rock at Newton Lake.

At Newton Lake, the swimming rock is wonderful, especially from its north side, and the water even in September is surprisingly warm. There we whiled away the afternoon lazing on the rock enjoying our picnic, not seeing another soul all day.

Alone in a stunning forest, swimming in the clear water of an isolated, mountain-top lake and sipping hot tea from a thermos to warm up afterward are among the treasured moments imprinted on our memories that we can look back on during the dark days of winter as we plan our next summer’s cruising. And we feel blessed that so much of the job of maintaining our guides presses us to return to many such places and that we can share them with you.

Stay safe.

(Waiatt Bay is covered in Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to Desolation Sound.)