2010 Quadra Island

I have friends in Campbell River who circumnavigate Quadra Island in a day. I lack the youth, energy, & skills to do so. However, by taking advantage of favorable tides & weather, I was able to paddle around the island in two days and two nights. I had the good fortune of being accompanied by Daniel, who is spending the whole summer paddling.

Seymour Narrows is separated from Okisollo Upper Rapids by 15.5 nautical miles. On Aug 15, 2010, high slack at Seymour Narrows was 5 hours & 16 minutes before low slack at Hole in the Wall. Slack at Hole in the Wall occurs at almost the same time as slack at Okisollo rapids. To run both rapids in one day, we needed to travel at 3 knots for 5 hours without stopping. Or do some combination of: get through Seymour Narrows before slack, travel faster than 3 knots, go through Okisollo shortly after slack.

The tides dictated that we go clockwise

By leaving Campbell River at noon on the 14th, I was able to take advantage of a 5 knot ebb current, giving me an average speed of 6.6 knots to Seymour Narrows.

A cruise ship in Seymour Narrows

A navigation light on the west side of Maude Island

While Seymour Narrows is flooding, it is relatively easy to get to this light (QR on chart). The kelp reduces the current, and the rocks make it a natural eddy. It is a good place to stop if you are waiting for slack. If you are pushing through at the end of the flood, then it marks the beginning of the active paddling.

We were at this light 52 minutes before slack, at the end of an 11 knot flood. By riding back-eddy flows, paddling through kelp, and fighting the flood, we were able to paddle ahead, and made it to Plumper Bay by slack. This really eased any worry about getting to Okisollo on time.

The Ripple Rock hiking trail ends at the power line towers.
As well as being a nice hike, it is a great spot to study the currents in Seymour Narrows.

There is some ship traffic through the narrows, but it is not crowded.

We were briefly reminded of the west coast when a large boat wake went under us and crashed on the rocks beside us.

Daniel at Separation Head

From Separation Head, we continued to the Chain Islands, where we had a 10 minute stop to stretch & refuel. We reached Granite Pt 2 hours after slack .

It looks like a bad parking job, but it's well above high tide

There was a noticeable ebb current west of Brent Island.

When you wear a tuilik in summer, you need to do some rotary cooling

The western arm of Okisollo Channel is crowded with noisy fish farms.

Okisollo Upper Rapids at slack

We reached Pulton Bay 1.5 hrs before slack, so we had a nice lunch break while we waited for the remaining ebb to ease off. Gypsy Shoal at Lower Okisollo is a large kelp bed. It took 15 minutes to go from Gypsy Shoal to these rocks just past Cooper Pt. There was no sign of current at either location.

Hole in the Wall
15 minutes past Upper Okisollo

An appealing cabin in the Octopus Islands

Packing a long narrow baidarka is not easy.

We camped at Yeatman Bay. After a leisurely breakfast, we were under way a bit after 8 am. We arrived at Surge Narrows two hours before slack, and rode the flood through the west passage.

A driftwood lounge chair at Rebecca Spit

South of Surge Narrows, we enjoyed a tailwind and a flood current. They both ended as we exited Hoskyn Channel, but it was a short hop to a lunch break at Rebecca Spit.

Rock hazards at Francisco Point, the southeast corner of Quadra Island.

The whole south end of Quadra Island has a multitude of submerged rocks.

Cape Mudge lighthouse and more driftwood creations

Daniel & Cape Mudge lighthouse

At Cape Mudge, Daniel continued on to Quathiaski Cove, while I veered into the center of Discovery Passage to ride the ebb.

back at the Maritime Heritage Museum

I didn't exit the current soon enough, and had to back-paddle from the north end of Discovery Pier back to The Heritage Museum. This was the only mis-calculation in an otherwise impeccably timed trip.