July 9th 24 miles today.
Yakulta Rapids – done, Dent rapids – done, Green rapids – done.
Yep, it was a 3 rapids kind of day that ended on a beautiful little island covered with salal, kinnikinnick, wild strawberries, nootka rose, camas, saxifrage, stone crops, grasses, moss and lichens with 3 trees in the middle and a few native shrubs mixed in. The island was safely off shore and surrounded by bull kelp. After unloading the kayaks and moving them up high on the rocks we had a nap in the sun on the blue tarp, lying over the sphagnum moss while all of our gear dried out.
It was an early start today, 6:30am out and off the rocks by 8:00am as the tide dropped and over to the Yakulta rapids. We paddled through down the middle along with the small parade of boats around 9:00am during the slack. The best part was seeing a pod of Pacific white sided dolphins moving through the rapids against the current, (I got it on film, I hope). I rode the smallish slack rapids right through 2 seals who were playing in the rip on their backs and were a bit surprised to see me there. After cruising through Yakulta, we headed through Dent rapids, which was just like paddling in a river, so we just kept on going and pushed on to the Green rapids and hour before slack. Since the current was still moving our way, we paddled on through Green rapids too. After all why stop when you can keep on paddling?
Today we actually got current help so kept a good pace and made it to the Green rapids before the current was running against us. Then just past the narrowest point, we hit the tidal current, it was a good one, the battle ensued and we fought our way along the East side mainland shore. We worked our way up the shore hugging eddies and cutting through kelp beds until we found this beautiful little island. I like rock ledge islands. Few bugs, no water which equals no big critters. Once you get set and scamper over the slippery rocks, you can rest easy. I think there will be more little rock islands in our future.
Total miles: 285, unnamed island N of West Thurlow, 2mi west of Greene Pt.
Conditions: calm day, NW breeze, barometer 1018-1015
Woke up on our crummy buggy rock and loaded up the kayaks for our day of fun in the rapids. Made our way over to the resort on Stuart Island at the point below the rapids – got there about half an hour before we were scheduled to go. I double, triple, and quadruple checked the tide information – both Navionics and the Canadian current tables. We decided to start a bit early since we planned to run both Yuculta and Dent in one shot. The parade of boats was starting to progress, so we joined on in. Water was swirly, lots of waves, and very erratic current lines. All quite manageable. The weird thing was that to me it visibly looked like we were paddling uphill. Very scenic and beautiful, with fishing resorts on either side. Just as we got into some fun moving water – fins! Dolphins! Not the dark Dahl’s porpoises or harbor porpoises, these were Pacific Whiteside dolphins – first time I’ve ever seen, or paddled with them. There were maybe 6-8, a dozen at most. Beautiful!
We rounded the island and pointed to Dent rapids. Easy peasy. Wind was in our face until clear of the rapids, then calm. We pulled out into a little beach to eat a quick snack since breakfast had been on the run this morning, and a few more dolphins could be spotted playing/feeding in the current. Lots of fishing boats on the far shore. We had a nice ride through the rapids, then we again seemed to have the current against us as we passed the four-way crossing to East Thurlow Island. Beautiful but uneventful paddling. At this rate we’d be at Greene Pt. about an hour before slack and figured, why not? Easy going and fast water, traveling 7-8mph. Clear of the rapids and Whammo! We hit the tide change. Tired at this point; all we wanted was a place to pull out and camp. Ahead T2 spotted a tiny island with a couple of trees. Mirage? Paradise. Nice rock ledges to lift the boats, mossy spot just big enough for the tent, warm with a light breeze, few bugs. Simply delightful. Rest up now for another day.