I’ve been avoiding Pirates Cove on De Courcy Island for years. It’s difficult to enter, anchors don’t hold well, and it’s so popular that boats stern-tie (more in this later) so they don’t bump into each other.

But we had a couple of extra days before we were due at Yellow Point Lodge, so we decided to give Pirates Cove a try. We had a ball.

Let’s talk about stern ties.

A boat will turn in a circle around its anchor as the wind and tide change. Depending on how much rode (chain and line) has been payed out, this circle could be 200 feet in diameter. If another boat’s circle intersects yours, there may be a collision.

Some people think that this won’t happen because all boats turn together in response to wind and tide. Not so. Some boats are taller, some are heavier, some have a large keel. If you are a subscriber to the “all turn together” theory, you may meet your neighbor under unpleasant circumstances.

If every boat has to make sure that their circle won’t cross another, you can’t fit many boats into a small space. The solution is to stern tie.

If you look carefully at Étude in the photo below, you’ll see a pair of yellow lines running from her stern to the shore. We carry 300 feet of polypropylene line (it floats) for this purpose. Once anchored, I get into our dinghy clutching the end of the line and motor to the shore. I pass the line through a metal ring placed there and return to Étude. The line is tied to the port and starboard stern cleats.

If there’s no ring on shore, a log or rock or tree will do. Care must be used not to damage a living tree.

The process takes some effort and isn’t always easy, particularly if there’s a strong wind or current. But in the end, many boats can anchor close together because stern ties keep them from swinging.

When you’re ready to depart, a second dinghy ride is not necessary. Just untie the end of the line from its cleat and reel it back onto the spool.

End of lecture. Let’s go for a walk.

There aren’t a lot of trails at Pirates Cove, but the ones that exist are attractive and easy. People also like to swim, lie on the beach, kayak and paddle board.

Brother XII (generally called “Brother Twelve”) was the leader of a cult of about 8000 that occupied parts of De Courcy and Valdez Islands as well as the Cedar area of Vancouver Island.

I’m not going to tell you his story. It’s generic cult: charismatic leader, rich followers who give him money, sexual high jinks, legal trouble, and flight. You can read the whole story here.

Finally – a cute boat we saw while cruising the cove in the Zephyr.


  1. I am reminded of Jones island from your photos.
    All so fun. And you ended at Yellow Point. I love their natural pool. Wonder if the same guest is still singing by the piano after dinner and a good vintage.
    Cheers and Abracci

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