Is it worth a visit, if only to say you’ve been there?   Do you mind traveling 10 nm out of your way from everywhere for a look-see?  I’d go for it, definitely, at least once ... but it’s your call.

When you arrive, anchor in one of two places:

  1. ignore the dashed lines in the guide: you may weave your way in from the north and west through and in between the islands, where you’ll find good water and, as Lorraine and Paul in Obsession did, some shelter, if only for a while.  (Please let me know if and where you find fair anchorage among the islets so I can add it to this guide along with your comments)

  2. enjoy the eagle perched on the cliff-top on the north side of the entrance

  3. anchor close to right of the spit at the east end in good depth and good holding and if it’s calm and quiet you’ll hear a babbling brook.  It trickles down through the bush and can be followed up the hill.  Here’s a great, unique chance to pan for gold!! Yep, pan for gold.   You’re unlikely to find any but, hey, do your guests and crew need to know that?

  4. enjoy radio silence

  5. enjoy a hill climb for a great view and for radio contact using your handheld

  6. you’ll be in a big bowl surrounded by picturesque and only mildly claustrophobic cliffs

  7. yes, there are fish in the bowl ... I’ve seen their bones on shore, big jackfish bones

Right on!  A cautionary tale about taking your fav anchorages for granted —  and watch out, there’s plenty other places that’ll do the same to you if you let them.  Thank you, Lorraine (BTW,let her be a model for you: send me your stories !!) 

         Nevertheless, Shelter Bay does offer great highlights and opportunities:

Emailed  to Cap’n Crunch, Friday  July 13, 2012

North shore, by the rock: watch for shoaling close to shore, and weeds.  Poor shore access, steeply inclined rock to walk on

East, by the spit: best anchorage, not too deep, fairly close to shore and better, easier shore access – walk along the spit to the lake northeast or dinghy ashore to the nearby gold field....


... and yes, there are sailors who love Shelter Bay and go there often, people like CS on SB and ... well, there’s bound to be others.  Ask around.

My personal rant is the Shelter Bay on Blanchet – misnomer if ever I heard one.  On our second visit, we broke a reef point on Obsession’s main just after starting a (projected) long day tacking up the Hearne Channel past Guy Blanchet’s seemingly endless island.  The Hearne was in fine form that day, and having been to Shelter Bay once before, we thought we could head to a mill pond and make the repairs before resuming the festivities.  After five miles slogging in, the last few motoring upwind, we entered the bay anticipating heat and flat water only to see... raging whitecaps!  Everywhere.  We turned around to leave and were doing 5 knots under dodger.  Fortunately we found a calm patch to drop anchor,  in the lee of a small outcrop just outside the entrance.  If you look at the topography it’s no mystery – the bay is at the west end of a depression between the ridge that forms the south side of the Hearne Channel and the main portion of the island.  Le Nez is at the east end, and there is a lake occupying most of the space in between.  The northeasterlies that romp down the Hearne also get funnelled down the middle of Blanchet, so if the Hearne is churning, you may not find shelter in Shelter Bay.“