Seymour Narrows and New Friends
July 10, 2019 – This morning I packed everything back into BABS and launched from Brown’s Bay in the pouring rain and and headed into the strong headwind down Seymour Narrows. Even though in 1958 they blew up the tops of the rocks that made it a hazardous passage for everyone, it is still a short but dynamic section to be paddled with caution at slack for kayakers. Many larger vessels also wait for slack to run it.
I was advised to stick to the Vancouver Island side until I was out of the narrows, and to avoid Maude Island all together. So I did. The eddies along the Vancover Island side were still somewhat strong during slack but not at all more than I could handle. There were five different shapes and sizes of motor boat that screamed through while I was in that section but their wakes were manageable. Once out I continued to paddle straight for the southern shore of Menzies Bay. Then I followed that shoreline out toward Quadra Island. I so wanted to just cross over to Maude and follow that shoreline but fought the urge.
Once I got to the closest point across the channel from Quadra, I got on my radio and put out a general broadcast to other boats in the area letting them know where I was crossing and asked for anyone in that area within the next ten minutes to give a kayaker a break. I could see different boats coming from both directions toward where I was crossing and it seemed like if I tried to wait until there were no boats coming I’d be there all day. It was moving into the ebb tide which was starting to move against me and I didn’t want to give it enough time to make it hard on me because the 13 knot gusting headwinds were already doing a good enough job of that. My broadcast worked because no boats crossed my path during the 1.5 km crossing.
Once I was on the Quadra Island shoreline I hugged it and made my way the remaining five kilometers to Jim and Maria’s place at Copper Bluffs. In total a 7.3 mile paddle. It was a beautiful paddle, wet and windy but really nice. Jim greeted me as I paddled up the beach next to their house and helped me unload and secure BABS. After changing into dry clothes we drank some coffee and Jim shared some of his rather remarkable sculptures with me. Then some friends arrived, Ed, Alan, and Alan’s two very cool young grandsons, Sam and Timothy, followed shortly thereafter by Maria. A lovely supper was then shared by all.
Tomorrow is forecast to be much like today so I am going to explore Quadra Island. Jim and Alan went over some of my charts of the area with me today, and tomorrow will continue to give more local knowledge of places to see, places to avoid, places to travel at slack, places to camp, etc. I am grateful to Washington friends Bob and Melissa Wilke for making this connection. Cool people, beautiful place, and a new view I am glad I didn’t miss.