The beach at Buccaneer Bay, considered the most beautiful on the Sunshine Coast.

In his cruising guide to the Sunshine Coast, Bill Wolferstan explains the implications for boaters regarding the geological differences in the two Thormanby Islands.

A sandstone cliff on S. Thormanby. This is the gap between the two islands, exposed now but covered with water as the tide comes in.

South Thormanby is composed of volcanic rock. Perhaps the island itself is the tip of a long dead volcano  would explain the numerous coves and indentations that line its coast that were formed when the lava flow hardened. Some are suitable for temporary anchorage (with attention paid to forecast winds), but care must be taken to avoid the many rocks scattered offshore.

We had to anchor a long ways out because of the shallows close to the beach.

North Thormanby is made up of glacially deposited sands, its coastline is generally smooth, and shallows extend a significant distance out into the Strait on all sides.

Buccaneer Bay, located between the two islands, is a popular destination for day trippers and cruisers. Mariners should be careful in their approach, however, keeping the Tattenham Ledge Buoy well to port as it marks the end of a reef that extends a significant distance out from Derby Point.

People erected picnic shelters on the beach.

The beach encircling Buccaneer Bay has been called the most beautiful on the Sunshine Coast. Much of the shoreline is lined with vacation homes, but the land just to the north of the gap separating the two islands is a marine park. The gap shallows considerably at low tide, leaving a pool in the centre where bathers can play in water warmed by the sun. And it is almost always sunny here in the summer.

The head of the bay is lined with small vacation homes.

We have visited Buccaneer Bay a few times, but never stayed overnight. According to our Dreamspeaker cruising guide, however, while it is open to the northwest, it offers good protection from southeast winds.

Be aware that on summer weekends the bay is busy with small watercraft zooming in from Pender Harbour, Secret Cove, and other Sunshine Coast communities.

Huge logs on the beach are evidence of strong northwest winds.

FYI: The Thormanby Islands were named after the winning horse in the 1860 Epsom Derby in England, and Buccaneer Bay was named after the horse that had been favoured to win the race but ended up placing sixth.

A female merganser and some of her chicks were resting on this buoy.


Author: Mary Anne Hajer

My husband, Frank, and I are both retired teachers. We were in our fifties when we first set foot on a sailboat. Five years later we bought our Fraser 30, the Zephyr, and began spending our summers sailing the Salish Sea. Doing so has enriched our lives beyond measure.

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