Tucked away in Octopus Islands
Octopus Islands and surrounding bays along the northeastern shore of Quadra Island off Okisollo Channel provide some of the safest and most serene anchorages in the Discovery Islands.
Most cruisers who come here are drawn first to Octopus Islands, a marine provincial park where cruisers tuck into small coves, stern tied side by side like clumps of mismatched shoes.
Others are attracted to swinging on anchor in nearby Waiatt Bay or in settled conditions in private Bodega Anchorage to the north.
A video takes us on a kayak’s journey to Okisollo Channel and into the waters of Waiatt Bay and the Octopus Islands.
Entering Waiatt Bay can be tricky, through shoaled passes from Okisollo Channel in the east, or via a narrow channel from Bodega Anchorage in the north. Just take things slow and be considerate when encountering other vessels along the way.
Once inside, anchorage options are virtually endless. In settled weather, depths are suitable for anchoring anywhere in Waiatt Bay, while when the wind picks up you can pick whatever shoreline you fancy to use as a windbreak.
The nooks and crannies of the Octopus Islands are a treat to explore in a dinghy. There are no formal trails in the park, and BC Parks discourages boaters from damaging plants and soil structures by making your own. Keep to the shoreline if you can.
At the west end of Waiatt Bay is a trail to Small Inlet off Kanish Bay on the west side of Quadra Island. The trail is lovely and mossy, and you will often be very alone. If the word “bear” crosses your mind you will not be able to forget it and every sound in the forest will be coming to have you for lunch.
It’s also not that unusual to encounter paddlers carrying canoes or kayaks along what would be an invigorating portage between Small Inlet and Waiatt Bay. Campsites on the small islets in the southeast corner of Waiatt Bay are a popular draw for kayakers.
Halfway to Small Inlet is a side trail leading 1km south to Newton Lake or 3.5km to Granite Bay, another anchorage off Kanish Bay. The last time we were here, the side trail, which can be quite wet soon after a rain, was marked with orange tape so not to be missed.
Whether as a destination or as a rest stop along the Inside Passage, the Octopus Islands and nearby bays offer much for cruising families.
(Octopus Islands and Waiatt Bay are covered in Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to Desolation Sound & the Discovery Islands.)