Cult of Pirates Cove
One of the nicest anchorages for families is well-sheltered Pirates Cove on Decourcy Island at the north end of Trincomali Channel.
The cove boasts shore rings for stern tying, two dinghy docks, campsites, picnic areas and trails that amble about the lovely 31-hectare (77-acre) marine provincial park. Moorage is free.
It would be tight, but it is said the cove can accommodate up to 70 vessels on busy summer weekends.
The cove has an interesting history as a fishing and trading centre for First Nations people. Middens in the park, protected under the law, date back over 3,000 years, the largest hidden beneath the present day campground.
Decourcy Island is probably most famous as a home of the Aquarian Foundation, a “spiritual community” led by the mysterious Brother XII, Edward Arthur Wilson.
Brother XII had up to 8,000 followers in Europe, Canada and the US in the 1920s and ’30s, many of them wealthy and important. He relayed messages from other worlds and his followers sent him large sums of money to hear those messages. Some followers built homes at Aquarian Foundation settlements on Vancouver and Decourcy islands.
Male followers came from afar for spiritual awakening, as well as hunting and fishing. Some say Brother XII employed prostitutes, dressed as simple farm maids, to comfort his deep-pocketed disciples at day’s end.
Such enterprises, as they always do, fall apart, with followers angry and disillusioned. Brother XII and his lover escaped one step ahead of the law. Where and when he ended his days remains a mystery.
Entering Pirates Cove through the narrow entrance channel is a bit tricky, but not difficult if you take things slow. Entrance details found in Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to the Gulf Islands.
Once inside the cove there is considerable space to swing on anchor. When the anchorage is crowded, boats often anchor on limited scope and vessels have been known to drag.
Or find a shore ring to which you can stern tie. Again there have been cases of stern-tied vessels dragging into neighbours, so make sure ground tackle is adequate and secured.
And if the cove is too crowded for your liking, good anchorage in settled conditions is found to the south of the park in a small bay off Ruxton Passage, which some cruisers prefer. From there it is easy to dinghy to the beach and the marine park. Two small bays to the west offer decent anchorage, but property ashore is private.
If you are just looking for a secure anchorage with activities for the family, and are not bothered by having other boaters about, Pirates Cove is a delightful stop for a night or two.
(Pirates Cove is covered in Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to the Gulf Islands.)