July, August paddling

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  • #19630
    Allan Edwin

    For those new to our coast or new to paddling, it is important to remember that summer adventures on the water require advance planning. This is more true this year than ever. Along with the usual considerations of tide, current, and weather, there are an ongoing mix of COVID-related restrictions and re-openings of communities, parks, and launch sites. If your intended paddling area requires a ferry crossing, be sure to get your reservations lined up — or consider walking your kayaking aboard.

    I very much recommend trips around the Sea-to-Sky Marine Trail sites in Howe Sound for this reason. There are no reservations required, no major logistics, just checking for tide and weather. Consider an overnight or weekend trip to Bowen Island, Keats Island, or Gambier Island from West Vancouver. You can walk-on to the Langdale ferry and visit Bain Creek on the west side of Howe Sound. You can visit the sites in central Howe Sound from Porteau Cove, or launch from Squamish to visit Tantalus Landing.

    If you have questions about potential trips, please post them here. One of the primary reasons for having a paddling club is to help get more people enjoying the water safely.

    For those of you wanting to go further afield, I live on Quadra Island and can help you with ideas and information on trips in my area.

    Cheers and safe paddling!

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  • #19633
    Allan Edwin

    Long before my time we (the club) had information sheets on destinations. This is the one we have on file for God’s Pocket.

    Allan Edwin

    Hi John and welcome back!

    Your WW skills will be very helpful in rough water. Where river running teaches you how to read the water to find the best line, sea kayaking teaches you to anticipate the weather, wind, tides, and currents to manage a safe passage and make efficient mileage.

    God’s Pocket – This is within reach of a paddler with solid skills without a guide, but the it’s best to know the facts. The park is situated at the north end of Vancouver Island, where Queen Charlotte Strait opens up to the weather and waves of the North Pacific. Though it sits in the lee of Hope, Nigel, and Balaklava islands, wind and swell sweep down Goletas Channel and the Strait onto the islands. It is used regularly by Paddle Canada courses for level 2 and 3 certification because you can rely on that swell to practice rescues in. Access to the park requires a 3 NM (1 hr) crossing of Goletas Channel, though you can take a break at 40 minutes if you stop at Duncan Island.

    West Coast Paddler Trip Report – 2013
    West Coast Paddler Trip Report – 2017
    John Kimantas: BC Coast Explorer Vol 1

    None of the above should be taken as scare tactics. There are plenty of people who have paddled around God’s Pocket in benign conditions. Since you can’t guarantee those conditions, having better judgement and skills simply increases the range of conditions that you find manageable.

    Johnstone Strait and Robson Bight – in some ways, Johnstone Strait (and specifically the Bight) are more dicey propositions than God’s Pocket. This is due to the interaction of wind and current on Johnstone Strait. If you have them crossing each other, you get short, nasty chop which a miserable to punch through. There are launch locations all along the Strait. The ones with highway access are Telegraph Cove on the north end and Kelsey Bay at Sayward around mid-point. The rest are accessed by Forest Service Road — get a copy of the BC Backroads Map Book for the area you are interested in.

    Robson Bight itself is closed to the public, but you can paddle up to the eastern boundary from Naka Creek Forest Recreation Site. It’s about 40 minutes of paddling up to the boundary.

    If you want to see orca, you can plan a 3-5 day trip out of Telegraph Cove out around Hanson Island, Blackfish Sound, and Swanson Island. To be fair, there are all kinds of animals to be seen around the Broughtons.

    Down here where I live, there are many 2-3 day routes I could suggest, as well as 4-8 day trips as well. Try circumnavigating Sonora, Quadra, Maurelle, Read, or Cortes islands. All will challenge your planning and paddling skills to be able to catch slack at well known tidal rapids. If you want to try surfing standing waves, you’ll want to check out Surge Narrows.

    Beyond our club resources, you should be aware of the BC Marine Trails map (bcmarinetrails.org) which shows many sites logged in John Kimantas’ guidebooks as well as those contributed by other volunteers. If you are willing to report back information on areas that need scouting, you may even get map information on sites not yet listed.

    There are also useful links listed on their website here: https://www.bcmarinetrails.org/links/resources-to-help-plan-your-trip#helpful-links

    John Lawless

    Hi Allan, I will take u up on our offer on ideas and info.  We are planning a trip w 3 boats to God’s Pocket 3rd week of August.  Do you know it and have any info?

    I also have some connections at Telegraph Cove and am looking for info on paddling Robson Bite and Johnstone Straight.  What are your thoughts on tide and wind issues and best access for more info?  I have been told there is camping at Boat Bay on Cracroft Island and Kailash (sp) Beach but neither of those show up on free map apps.  I’m looking for people to paddle those areas with in earlier August.  I have just rejoined SKA BC after a lapse of a few years.

    I’m fit, can easily swim an open water mile.  I have ww canoe and kayak paddling experience (several years with the Beaver Canoe Club and their adventures), also around BC, Washington, Oregon and Idaho but that was 6yrs ago. I do not have a sea kayak roll – at 65 I get very disoriented under water these days.

    I’ve been to Broken Group twice, Bowron many times in kayak and canoe, and took the Thormonby SKABC weather course with I forget his name. I have taken a ww river rescue course once and w a refresher.

    I would gladly join a group paddling in another area than mentioned above if it was the right fit.  I just bought a new Seaward boat and am looking forward to having some fun.

    Thanks so much for your ideas!

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