Port McNeill to Miles Inlet

We’re off. To be precise, we cast off the Port McNeill docks at 7:57am, three minutes ahead of schedule; schedule is a very loose term when you’re on vacation and cruising the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, the weather is cooperating with a high overcast and a fresh breeze out of the northwest.

We were pretty much alone in our travels, only seeing three small boats and one seal. There was not much sightseeing to be had as we made our way to Miles Inlet. Most of our time was spent watching for, and then dodging, debris in the water. It’s a full moon, and the 18 foot tides have been washing logs and all manner of flotsam into our path. The day before, a call came into Port McNeill from a boat requesting a diver to inspect his running gear because he hit a deadhead and one prop was making a lot of vibration. He eventually continued on to Port Hardy where they have a haul out. Mariners beware; these waters can surprise with floating obstacles and during large tides, the risks increase.

The ride was nice; the seas were rippled to one to two foot chop with 1 to 1.5 foot swells. The sun made a couple of valiant attempts to make an appearance, but was too shy to do more than tease.

Miles Inlet is a great place to stop before making the trip around Cape Caution. I checked our tracks from 2009 when we last anchored in Miles Inlet and it said we anchored in the South arm opposite the entrance to the South lagoon. However, when you check the charts it shows the area has only 3 to 4 feet of water at mean low tide. We could not remember if last time the low tide was high and that why we were able to anchor there. So, not confident we could ignore the published soundings, we did what most people do and anchored in the “T” junction. We later checked out the depth in the dinghy and we calculated the depth and low mean water to be more in the 9 to 10 foot range. Karen thinks the Vipond and Kelly book, Best Anchorages of the Inside Passage, is where we found that anchoring in the South arm is a possibility depending on the tides.


Karen enjoying her dinghy ride in Miles Inlet as the sun shines

While out in the dinghy, we went to inspect the entrances to both the North and South Lagoons. The tides were just starting to flow out and there was already an impressive display of white water. Every time we are here, we say we should stay an extra day and go into the lagoon at high slack and explore until high slack again. However, it always seems the urge to move on overwhelms our urge to explore. Next time!!


South Lagoon Entrance with a good outflow. So inviting; so scary if you get the timing wrong.

We were the only boat in Miles Inlet that night, and it was really peaceful. Dinner was delicious pork tenderloin with Mustard Glaze and jasmine rice with crasins, accompanied by a lovely glass of wine.