Passage Island, near Van

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by pawsplus, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Hi all -- Will have a few days in Van visiting my mom after the PPS this May, and I usually rent from Ecomarine. Thinking about a day trip and noticed Passage Island. There is a nice beach on the southern edge of it, but I don't know how to tell if it's OK to land there or not. Thinking about crossing Burrard inlet, and then crossing to Passage, and then coming back. Thoughts on this? Does anyone know if a ruckus would be raised if a paddler landed there for lunch?
     
  2. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    Look at the pics on the bc marine trail website - they'll show you all that you need to know: there are several places to land.
    As far as a ruckus, I think I've heard of a private lot owner coming down to talk to kayakers and giving the impression that one can't land there, but there's much common land [ie a right of way] between all the lots to give access to them - and all can use it.
    PassageSW-sign-bcmtna.jpg

    there also jpgs and info on each beach on the website
     
  3. jefffski

    jefffski Paddler

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    Watch for afternoon winds, especially on warm days.

    Indian Arm might be a quieter option. Launch from Deep Cove, Barnet Marina or Belcarra Park. You can paddle along the shore and visit Twin Islands.
     
  4. a_c

    a_c Paddler

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    I've spent hundreds of days in the waters around Passage Island, I know the area well. Not sure how welcoming the locals would be (I'm guessing not very), but there are a few other hazards to watch for.

    If it's a sunny day watch for the (north)westerlies - they'll arrive like clockwork, usually by 10 or 11 am. Typical pattern is 15-20 knots, rising to 25 in the afternoon. There's a long fetch to build up the waves, too; it'll go from flat calm to 20 knots with a 3-4 ft chop/swell. An ebb tide and a northwest wind, it can get really ugly. There is a nasty rip area just off Point Atkinson and another further in, along the West Van shoreline near the yellow can (marine traffic buoy) that marks the shipping lanes. And speaking of shipping....

    Be aware of marine traffic; lots of deep sea vessels, tugs, cruise ships, etc. It's a small area and the big boys have to stick to their traffic lanes. Lots of small boat traffic zipping around, too (a lot of rentals, so don't assume they are well versed in the rules of the road, or marine etiquette in general).

    Couple other things: depending on the time of year, the Fraser River freshet (spring runoff) can have a huge effect on local conditions/currents. Like paddling up a river, literally.....just watch for a line of silty brown water. And a south-east wind can get surprisingly strong out there, too; it blows straight out of Burrard Inlet, so you'd have a tough slog getting back. Outflow winds from Howe Sound shouldn't be a problem at that time of year....

    Really, just watch the forecast. If they call for westerlies, I'd go elsewhere - with extreme prejudice!

    PS: sorry, I know that didn't really answer your original question about beach landing on Passage, but I know from experience how deceptive those waters can be, so I thought I'd chime in.
     
  5. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    Jeffski makes a good point, Indian Arm's a much quieter and more predictable option.

    And a_c is very correct, Howe Sound requires one to be aware of what the weather conditions might be.

    I've stopped at the 2 locations on Passage Island with no issues while locals were there on the beach [the west one], but have heard from others of an owner coming down and admonishing them not to go on private property. The map shown above delineates public land and access [I think the signs are on all of the beaches also] - and as well any where below high tide line is completely open for the public in nearly all parts of BC.

    SW beach
    PassageSW-land1.jpg
    PassageSW-land2.jpg

    SE beach
    PassageIsSE-land.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  6. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Thanks for the info! Can't get to Indian Arm. Renting at Jericho beach so no way to get there. It's Burrard Inlet and environs or nothing. I figure I can head for the lighthouse across the bay and see how time/wind, etc are shaping up. If it's worrisome, I can just go back. :)
     
  7. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Oh, and "a tough slog" seems to be my lot in life whenever I am in Burrard. I always seem to end up having ONLY the windy day on which to paddle. LOL!
     
  8. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Good information has been given above. I would add that the westerly wind against a strong ebb will create a race west of the Lions Gate. The race also goes off just south of Lighthouse Park.

    The big concern is shipping. I have a philosophy that you should avoid playing where others are working. Those deep sea lanes are transited by massive ships moving quickly to keep the economy going. Why go there?

    A perfectly reasonable half-day paddle from Jericho (and a longer paddle if launching from Ecomarine's other locations) is out round Point Grey to Wreck Beach or, if you don't like that subculture, to the beach on the end of the breakwater protecting Coward's Cove. If you go mid-week, the Coward's Cove beach will likely be empty.

    As other mention, Deep Cove Kayak Centre is an excellent option for Indian Arm. You say you can't get there, but it is easily accessible by transit.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  9. jefffski

    jefffski Paddler

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    From Jericho Beach? Not many options. Best would be to paddle east along the shore towards kits beach and back. Crossing the bay is serious business. Going west along the beaches is an option, but the wind does pick up. I'm not sure why you can get to Jericho but not to Deep Cove. Both are easily accessed by transit. Don't be fooled by a map, which makes everything seem benign. This is sounding more and more like a rescue in the making.
     
  10. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    I've done Wreck Beach and Stanley Park. Look--I don't have to go to Passage or across the Bay. But clearly people do so all the time, and I'm neither incompetent nor an idiot LOL. I was asking for information and I appreciate the helpful suggestions I have received. But nothing I have said should suggest this is "a rescue in the making." Love you guys, but sometimes you are way too self-righteous.

    My mom lives 3 blocks from Jericho. I'm there to visit her, not to paddle. I take a day to do the latter, but I don't like to drive her car in a strange city with weird traffic rules (by this American's standards! ;-)) and I don't want time spend a lot of time just getting to the boat. So I stuck with Jericho.
     
  11. Pascal

    Pascal Paddler

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    I think you are spot on, and that you're probably going to have a very nice paddle up there :)

    I have paddled a lot in the area. If you are soloing and just land 20 min for lunch on those beaches mentioned above, respecting the places and the folks around, I seriously doubt you will have any sort of problem with the locals.

    Regarding navigation accross Burrard Inlet:

    Trafic: Large cruisers, container ships, tug boats-barges, the odd fishing boats do roam the area but it's far from buzzing there. And you can see them from miles. They are working but you can use - if fact, just "cross" - the "road", with common sense, to go and play, no problem. I wouldn't paddle out of Jericho to cross Burrard if visiblity is poor though, of course. You know all that.

    Tide race: In my experience, relief is max off Ambleside Park. The race will extend to Atkinson Pte only if a good westerly swell is established after several hours 15-20+ knt (and obviously hits ebb flow). And then you will see the relief not long after leaving Jericho. So here again, no problem. Plenty of room and time to decide how much action you want.

    Strong S or SW winds make the sea interesting around Passage. But they are associated with systems that are easy for forecasters to see coming. NW and N local winds are dangereous farther north up Howe Sound, in Montagu Channel, which builds up very fast (Pam Rock met station wind data anounced on the VHF have nothing to do with what you will get at Passage. Pointe Atkinson wind is often weird, unfortunately. Vancouver Airport is probably the best data for south wind at Passage).

    Have fun, it's a nice trip, plenty of sea birds.
     
  12. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Thanks! I've been out amongst the container ships. Most are moored, and they give 30 min plus of warnings prior to going anywhere, and move slowly. I think that care and common sense wins the day. I have spoken with the Ecomarine folks in the past about crossing the bay and they seemed OK with that idea.

    I hope to have my radio, but I am not checking my bag so need to see if Delta will let me bring it if the battery is removed and carried separately. When I get to Van, I will check the wind forecast and the tides and decide what is the most propitious day to go out. I've aborted plans in the past if things were not safe, and will do it again. :)