Ocean Falls, BC – Small Craft Harbour
Ocean Falls is a ghost town, albeit a beautiful and welcoming ghost town. The few remaining residents operate public docks on the north side of Cousins Inlet. The fee is modest, 30 amp power is available, and there’s plentiful potable water (rare on this section of coast). Best of all, the ghost town and adjacent roads offer plenty of opportunity for exploring and exercise, the colorful locals enjoy visiting with cruisers, the crabbing is among the best on the coast, and the fjord surroundings are stunning.
The Ocean Falls Small Craft Harbour is the set of docks on the north shore of Cousins Inlet, just below and west of the scar left from a huge landslide. Arriving and departing can be a challenge due to sometimes-gusty winds and strong, unpredictable currents that sweep across the docks. Approach carefully. Dock space is first-come, first-served. Find a spot you like and tie-up (please make good use of the space). The harbormaster visits each boat in the evening to collect moorage fees (credit cards accepted).
“The Shack” is a small, floating building open to visitors. Inside tables and chairs facilitate impromptu happy hours and potluck dinners. There’s also a book exchange and free (but very, very slow) WiFi.
Mooring Ball: No
Fuel Available: No
Potable Water: Yes
Cell Service: Poor
Very poor Wi-Fi. BC ferry transportation to Shearwater.
Slowboat Tips and Activities
Walk up to the dam, explore the ruins in town, or visit Saggo’s Saloon in nearby Martin Valley (limited hours). Visit with Norm (ask around to find him) and see his collection of memorabilia. Crabbing off the dam is usually productive!
Cousins Inlet is deep and free of obstructions.
The Heiltsuk native speaking people inhabited the coastal region surrounding Ocean Falls for more than 9,000 years. In 1903, the Bella Coola Pulp and Paper Company surveyed the area and was impressed with the hydro power potential of the site. In 1906, following the company’s acquisition of 260 acres of land, clearing began for the town and three years later, a sawmill, hospital and school were established. In 1912, the dam was erected and the pulp mill began operating.The Ocean Falls pulp and paper mill was the largest mill in British Columbia for many years. Much of the electrical power for the mill and town was produced by four hydro turbines. The provincial government bought the town and mill at a minimal cost a few weeks before the planned closure and kept the mill operating until 1980. [Source]
Since then, the town has been gradually decaying. A few seasonal businesses persist, and a bitcoin-mining operation recently began operating, utilizing excess power from the dam.
Be bear aware on shore.
Related Cruise Reports
Last update of this page:
Last in-person visit by Slowboat team: May 15, 2019