The Walker Group Anchorage in Queen Charlotte Strait

We’ve wanted to anchor in the Walker Group for a while now but had always passed it up. It’s in the middle of Queen Charlotte Strait and is a small anchorage, only fitting perhaps 3-4 boats. Since it’s in the middle of the strait, it can be somewhat tricky to get into if there’s 20+ knots of wind blowing against current.

The first time we tried to go there, on our way north this year, we had NW 20 gusting 25 against 1-2 knots of ebb current, and we pounded upwind in the sloppy mess that created (3 foot close spaced waves) for 2 hours, only to find that the anchorage looked pretty full, plus a bit of a scary entrance. Swell was rolling right up to the narrow west entrance, which is about 80 ft across and exposed to NW winds.

There are two entrances (east and west), both narrow, and the east one is choked with kelp at low to mid tide. This time we had lighter wind and were near high tide, so we entered through the east entrance since we were coming from Miles Inlet. We threaded a course mid channel to avoid the kelp, and the next day exited through the west entrance (this is the easier way, as it’s passable at all tide levels).

Luckily there was no one there, so we had the anchorage to ourselves. This made anchoring simpler, since there’s not a lot of room and NW wind was blowing through the anchorage at about 15 knots. The NW gusts seem to actually amplify in the Walker Group – we had only about NW 10 in Queen Charlotte Strait.

[We anchored here June 27, 2018 – we’re a bit behind on some blog posts]

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View out the west entrance of The Walker Group.

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Secret Beach

Our cruising guide, Best Anchorages of the Inside Passage, mentioned a hidden beach accessible through the lagoon north of the anchorage. We attempted to take our dinghy through that lagoon near high tide, but found it turned into a sticky mud flat – impassible to our dinghy, and the mud was so soft we’d sink 6 inches deep in it if we tried to walk across.

So we went around the other way – out the east entrance of the Walker Group and then north, threading through some islets which had passes choked with kelp. We had to row through one section of very dense kelp which tried to stop our forward motion. Eventually we found the sandy beach, which is only exposed at a mid to low tide. It was nice, but the difficulty of getting there (only at certain tide heights, and kelp will increasingly choke the passes as the tide drops) makes it a very optional part of the Walker Group in my mind – check it out if you can, but no big deal if you can’t.

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Underwater Sea Life

Perhaps the best part of the Walker Group was exploring the underwater sea life by paddleboard. It has some of the richest sea life I’ve seen yet, especially in “Staples Cut” (noted in Navionics as a night dive hotspot), along the south side of the west entrance.

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I saw many anenomes, nudibranches, at least 3 varieties of crab, two small sunflower stars, many purple sea stars, and iridescent seaweed. There was also a seal, an eagle overhead, and several other bird species present. My pictures don’t really do it justice (the GoPro shots didn’t come out very well, and the sea life is so dense that it’s hard to capture all the detail in a small photograph).

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Summary

I think The Walker Group is worth exploring if you can, but have a backup plan in case it’s full (The Deserters Group is nearby to the south, or Miles Inlet and Allison Harbor are 1-2 hours NE). The islet in the middle is a possible stern tie, and there’s a stern tie line on the western shore of the north section. There’s also an unidentified mooring buoy of unknown origin / status, which acts as an obstruction. I’ve marked its location in a Navionics community note.

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