This small, picturesque all-weather anchorage near Secret Cove has authentic pirate history. Following the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, William Kelly smuggled illegal Chinese immigrants from Vancouver into the US by sea for $1 each. He evaded arrest by hiding in Smuggler Cove. During Prohibition in the 1920s, the Cove was used to store bootleg liquor en route from stills on Texada Island to rum-running boats heading to the US.Nowadays, it's a hide-away for vacationers, a good place for a summer cabin. It is still difficult to find; a small green sign on the highway points off to a road down the hill, which meanders about, crossing other winding roads, going down and down for 5 km. to the coast and a parking lot. A gap at one end of the lot leads to the beachhead.
|A very private landing place.|
|Deep greens and blues.|
|There are about a dozen cabins in the woods and on the rocks around the cove.|
|Grasses on the rocks, and a view into Halfmoon Bay|
The beach, what there is of it, is rocky, fringed by cast-up logs and broken driftwood. The water is crystal clear; standing on a rock above it, we could see a little seaweed at the bottom, rocks covered with barnacles and dark spots. We scrambled down to get a closer look, and realized that all those dark spots were small crabs. Tame crabs, or maybe just crabs unused to people; instead of hiding underneath the rocks, as they do around the Lower Mainland, they were nonchalantly sunning themselves under a few inches of water. Even our shadows, as we leaned over them, didn't disturb them. I poked at a few with a stick. They ambled away, not in any hurry.
|Sample rock, with purple shore crabs. (Some purple shore crabs are green, and there are two white ones with purple legs in the photo.)|
I turned over a few rocks on the shore. There were no crabs underneath.