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.