Disappointment Harbor

29 Aug

August 27, 2019
Coronation Gulf
Total Miles: 34,600
Days at Sea: 271
Days since Departure: 333

Winds are on the nose all day but at not more than ten knots. What slows us is the rolling chop from higher winds further W. Still, I can’t complain. By late afternoon, we’ve come abreast of the Richardson Islands, which decorate the northeastern corner of Coronation Gulf. 

There are but two known anchorages in this island group, and neither looks appealing. But the next stop is a full ten hours further on. So, I decide to do a bit of exploring. 

The northeastern most island in the Richardson group, heavily indented with coves and bays, is my target; specifically, the crescent bay to the SE. I turn Mo in and we began a tricky entrance.

My pass in is S of the two islands below Point Murray but above the line of rocks strung to the SW. The landform of the first island provides a hint–long sloping sides of smooth rock. And sure enough, as we passed below it, depth rises quickly from over 100 feet to twenty. I slow Mo to a crawl. Touching bottom in a muddy bay is one thing, but grounding on a rock outcrop when one is beyond help is quite another. The depths ease. Same phenomenon above the string of rocks. Again depths ease. 

Once inside, depths stay deep and then shallow gradually as we make a wide turn around another spray of rocks at the bay’s entrance. Here water shallows, but the bottom contour changes so gradually as to be almost flat for a long run. 

When the sounder reads twenty feet, I let go the hook. As it’s calm, I back down hard. Mo sticks immediately. 

I call it Disappointment Harbor only because it’s a little too shallow for Mo to tuck all the way in and a little too big to be a convenient all-weather stop. That said, it is entirely closed-off from Coronation Gulf, and would be an ideal spot in anything less than a hurricane.

DISAPPOINTMENT HARBOR  68 35 041N 110 27 101W

Disappointment Harbor can be found in the Richardson Island group along the north shore of Coronation Gulf. It is situated inside a crescent bay on the SE side of the most northerly large island. 

There are two passes into Disappointment Harbor. One is *south* of the two islands below Murray Point but above the string of rocks further south. This pass is approached from just south of east. Least depths are 20 feet below the first island and again just above the most northerly rock. This pass has only one sounding. Exercise extreme caution.

A second, safer pass is to the SW where a vessel can enter between the rocks and the islands in deep water, following a route to the NE that keeps the islands close to port.

The harbor is decorated with a grouping of rocks on its SE corner. These should be given a wide berth when entering. 

Disappointment Harbor is fully enclosed and offers complete protection from Coronation Gulf. Water shallows gradually to 20 feet about mid bay where anchorage can be taken in mud and excellent holding. As the bay is large, a vessel might favor the windward headland in strong winds to avoid fetch.


Unknown. There are low, tabletop mountains to the W and N that may affect wind in the anchorage, though neither range is close.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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