Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sechelt Inlet

With a group of paddling friends around the end of August 2012, I spent a couple of nights kayaking Sechelt Inlet, north of Vancouver on the Sunshine Coast.  This inlet isn't open to the the Straight of Georgia.  It's actually connected to it through a narrow passage, the Skookumchuck Narrows, famous for its strong tidal currents.  This narrow gap has a big dampening effect on the local tidal currents.
Note: some photograph pictured here are have a watermark.  That's because they were taken by our friend Gil, a professional photographer - thank you Gil.

 We started out from Lamb Bay's beach.  Pedals and Paddles has their base, from where people can rent kayaks if needed.

Getting ready.  Although it was August, wetsuits and drysuits are still a necessity - this is Canada after all.

A promise for a good day ahead.

The Tuwanek Hotel.  The place we didn't stay at - maybe next time.

Hard to see, but those rocks on the left are part of a tiny island separated by narrow passage with crystal clear water.  There's no photo of it, but we saw a young family swimming... a place to stop at on the way back maybe (as it turned out, we didn't get a chance to stop there at all).

After a few hours of easy paddling we stopped at Nine Mile Point campsite for the night.  Most our group actually didn't start yet.  They would be stopping here in the evening darkness to say hi on their way to Kunechin Point.  The rest of us would join them the next day.

Kayaks resting.
Preparing dinner.

This was the first time I used an alcohol stove.  I was surprised how hot the thing gets if it has a proper wind shield.  A good system when cooking for one.  The wind shield didn't last very long; after a few uses it started to break at the folds and eventually became unusable.  I'm now experimenting rolling up the screen instead of folding it when not in use.  This takes a bit more space, but it might prevent having to buy a new every so often.

An view of the early night sky.

Next morning my kayak is almost ready to head out to Kunechin Point.

 Kunechin Island on the left with Kunechin Point next to it, where I'll be finally joining the others.

The little bay where I landed.  At high tide this beach would almost completely disappear.

Setting up the tend on the rock proved to be a bit of a challenge, but then that million dollar view made it all worth it.  This was quite a place.  However the sky was already showing signs of some changes in the weather.

Some views from my campsite.

Enjoying the afternoon sitting around, exploring, swimming and waiting for the remaining paddlers to join us.

Next morning we slowly got ready for our return trip.
We had a mix of folders, inflatables and hardshell kayaks.

 Time to board.  Thank you Gil for another great shot.

Looking back at the put-in beach.  That was a really nice place, with all the amenities one would ever want.

 Off I go.  We started with perfect conditions.  No wind at all and very peaceful.  We would not enjoy this for long though.

Very interesting rock formations by our campsite showing at low tide.

Another spectacular view of our campsite on the right with the Kunechin islands in front.

Marine life everywhere we turned.  These Kunechin Islands are a beautiful place.

 The last of our really peaceful paddling.  Within a half hour a strong southerly picked up right ahead of us.  It was hard paddling but manageable.

After an hour or so we all decided to seek refuge in this little bay and wait for the rest of our group who was a bit behind.

Looks are deceiving.  It was actually blowing 20kn or so out there.

Another great shot by our master photographer.

Can't really have too many pics of my beautiful Feathercraft Kurrent. It's such a pleasure to paddle.
Too bad the tide was coming up and forced us back on the choppy waters and leave this sheltered place.

Well, the trip didn't end exactly the way we planned.  To get away from the strong winds we landed at Nine Mile Point for an hour or so.  Then we tried to head out again, but unfortunately we weren't able to make any headway against an even stronger wind with large breaking waves, thus making it impossible to pass a headland.  By this time our group got separated, with a number of us being pushed back to Nine Mile.  At this point we decided to call for a boat to give us a ride.  We got lucky to have a commercial landing craft (see picture) pick us up and carry our boats to our final destination.

This was memorable trip in many ways; it also had some valuable lessons learned.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Indian Arm Overnight

I wanted to paddle the whole length of Indian Arm for several years.  So when my friend asked if I was into an overnight trip to Berg's Landing I immediately said yes.  This would also be my first overnight trip with the Kurrent, Feathercraft's new light-weight kayak creation.

A map of Indian Arm.
We put-in at Deep Cove (lower left) and our destination was Berg's Landing (upper left).  It's about a 15km or so paddle, one way.

Here we just started paddling up Indian Arm's west side.
As usual, I didn't take any pictures at the beach during preparations or of the kayak's assembly process.  Assembly went quite smoothly considering this being my first time stowing everything needed for the trip.
Actually, thinking there wouldn't be sufficient space inside the Kurrent, I bought a rear deck bag for the trip.  Although handy, this bag wasn't really needed for additional storage space.  Some the following pictures show this bag - it's the yellow one.

One of those crazy locations for a new house.  Not sure why the city issues permits for these things.

Paddling a Alpacka Pakraft.  Being a true minimalist, he keeps everything needed in the orange drybag.

Civilization is still all around us.

Getting close to our camping place in the distance around the promontory.

The tent is set-up and the kayak is resting on the grass.

 His ultralight shelter.  A minimalist's dream.

 Bishop's Creek was an excellent water source.

A better view of my little home for the night.

The special of the day is being prepared.
This is my standard MSR white gas stove.  It works really well, but I have now bought a new little alcohol stove.  It could save some weight and space on future trips.

A reminder we are in a provincial park.

Nice view from the campsite's beach looking north.

...and now looking south towards Deep Cove.  The sun has set behind the mountains with only the top still getting the last rays.  A very peaceful evening.

The Kurrent is ready for the night.

Next morning walking around I was a number of these nice flowers growing by the water's edge.  If I only knew their name.

Early morning is my favorite time of the day due to its magical light.

All set and ready to go.  Next time I'll bring pool noodles to protect the kayak's bottom from scratches.  Due to its thin skin material, to save weight, the Kurrent is more vulnerable to scratches than other Feathercraft kayaks.  A price one has to pay for easy portability.

We are all ready to head back to Deep Cove.

The return trip was simply magical.  The wind remained absent until the last half hour resulting is perfectly smooth water for most of the way back.

 Morning light.  Notice how sunlight is reflected on the Pakraft's wake. more.

Nice light effect by the morning sun.

Interesting rock formations and tide lines.

Peaceful paddling...

...high cliffs.

One of my favorite shots.
My Olympus waterproof camera is great in good light, but due to its small lens, low light conditions aren't ideal for this camera.

Silver Falls.
I played in the current a bit.  It was fun being pushed back by the falls outflow.

A video showing the outgoing leg of the trip, life at the campsite, and by Silver Falls.

Back to mirror-like waters.

This is a little cave that only disappears at high tide.

Its walls are covered with tiny mussels.

Two Indian canoes filled with youth based at a nearby camp.
They looked like they were having fun.

This little island ahead has a nice house on it.  It's connected to the shore by a bridge.
I guess in case of an enemy attack, its owners can blow up the bridge and be saved.

Back to civilization...

Nice. But I wonder what the owner of this property will do if he, or she, breaks a leg.

Nearing Deep Cove.
Here we had a tiny bit of wind, maybe 3kn max. ...and that wonderful mirror-like water was gone.

One last push to the kayak rental place in Deep Cove.
This is a good put-in location; it has a change room with bathroom, and a shower...
Good place to end a paddling trip.  Amen.