The accidental anchorage
Coming or going up and down the Trincomali Channel, or in and out through Porlier Pass, it seems we have many times found ourselves anchored in Clam Bay, formed by the eastern shores of Thetis Island and Penelakut (formerly Kuper) Island, without ever intending to arrive.
In fact, doing a little vague head math, I’d wager we have anchored here more often than any other anchorage in the Gulf Islands.
It has always been a convenient stop on the way to somewhere else, or a place to await a advantageous tide, though it’s more than that for those with a dinghy or kayak and an urge to explore.
The bay can be busy during the high season, filled with boats overnighting before pouring out through Porlier Pass on a morning slack to cross Georgia Strait.
On approach, stay clear of Centre Reef, keeping the red buoy to starboard and Penelakut Spit to port. Anchor off a southwesterly or northwesterly corner if there is a forecast for heavy wind from either of those directions. Firm holding is found in 6-12 metres (20-40 feet) over mud and sand in a number of spots in the bay.
Penelakut Spit offers excellent exploration possibilities for young and old. It is First Nations land and you are encouraged to first obtain permission from the Penelakut band office at 250-246-2321.
Explore The Cut, which at higher water is navigable by shoal-draft vessels, though most will be happy to explore by dinghy or kayak.
On the other side of The Cut, about 1000 metres away, is Telegraph Harbour, with two marinas. The Telegraph Harbour Marina has a store, deli foods and a playground, while Thetis Island Marina has a store, restaurant and pub.
No matter the reason for dropping the hook, we have always found Clam Bay a pleasant experience.
(Clam Bay and Telegraph Harbour are covered in Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to the Gulf Islands.)