Under Water Camping

Discussion in 'Paddling Safety' started by ken_vandeburgt, May 11, 2012.

  1. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    I paddled from Berryman Cove to the Head of Bedwell Sound. 6 -10 May

    The first day I made it to the head of Warn Bay where I found a campsite on the road at the Bulson Creek Bridge. I noted that the kayak moved during the night even though I had pulled it up into the small trees on the bridge abutment. I patted myself on the back for my habit of tying the kayak to a tree even when I thought it was high enough.

    I didn’t leave until early afternoon when the high tide allowed passage down Bulson Creek. By the time my kayak was loaded it was floating even with a lower high tide.

    As a result of my experience at Bulson Creek I had an inkling there might be a problem at my campsite at the mouth of the Bedwell River. I set my alarm for 1:00 AM, about an hour and a half before the high tide.

    The alarm went off and I heard the gurgling of water. I put on my jacket and felt water rising under the tent. My flashlight did the 'just kidding' thing … one hard whack and it came on. NO NEED TO PANIC EH! I stuffed my sleeping bag into its valise. I got my shoes on and opened the tent door to a gush of water. I hauled the stuff in my tent to the highest ground and realized it likely wasn’t going to be high enough.

    There was a mad frenzy to move stuff around in my kayak to make ready for sea. There were a couple of items that I could not account for but had to give up looking for as it was getting too cold to stand in the rising water. I was seated in the kayak held in place by hummocks of grass from about 0135 till 0400 when enough beach was again available to re-pitch my tent.

    Stuff that didn’t make it into the kayak was a pair of sunglasses, tent pole joints, plastic sheet used as a tent foot print, and gloves. I found everything but the gloves when the water went down. Nothing critical got wet except perhaps my camp shoes. One tent pole was bent.

    I was lucky. Another 5 minutes and critical gear needed to stay warm would have gotten wet. If I hadn't set the alarm I probably would have woken to the tent collapsing under the weight of water and who knows if I would have gotten out.

    I have two guidebooks and a map book that indicate a campsite at the head of Bedwell Sound. I did not observe a site with reliable high ground that is not either crown granted private land or Oinimitis Indian Reserve. I was granted one-of permission to stay a night on Clayoquot Wilderness Resort land but that would likely not have been granted if they had guests.

    On the way back I stayed a night at the cabin in Heelboom Cove. There was a note dated the day I arrived stating that two people had lost their canoe due to rising tide. They apparently were going to try to cross Meares Island to reach Opisat but were able to get cell phone reception at another location. I'm pretty sure walking to Opisat would have been VERY difficult.

    Under Water Camping? I can't recommend it.
     
  2. VanIslePaddler

    VanIslePaddler Paddler

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    Hey Ken!

    Crazy! Just did a quick check of my tide book, and indeed it was pretty big tides the last few days. May 7th 0135 PDT 13.1 ft (4.0m), which is pretty big for Clayoquot... I guess they don't call them 'Spring' tides for nothing! :)


    As a coincidence, the girlfriend and I took a trip out to Tsis-a-quis (Heelboom Bay) today. We sat in the grass enjoying the sun and warmth for several hours! We saw evidence of others having just camped there (fresh ash in the fire pit, grass showing evidence of people sitting there, and were wondering who that was!)

    Its obviously a busier spot than I suspected... we found a Debit Recipt from someone else dated May 10th crumpled in the grass... (Ruckledge General Store)


    Tsis-a-quis has a lot of significance to Clayoquot, and, arguably, national history. In late 1984, while the consultation process with local communities was still underway, the logging company MacMillan Bloedel decided to begin logging of Meares Island. Together, members of Tofino, Tla-O-Qui-Aht, Ahousaht, and Friends of Clayoquot Sound staged the FIRST logging blockade in Canadian History. Over the course of 4 months, in the depths of the winter of 1984 / 1985, a constant peaceful blockade was set up at the soon-to-be start of the logging road onto Meares Island. During this time, the cabin was built, a dugout canoe was carved on the beach (by the Martin brothers), and a community came together.

    - Long Story short:
    - MacBlo went to court to get an injunction to remove the protestors from the 'Crown Land'.
    - Tla-o-qui-aht went to court to get an injunction from all industrial activity, as the island is unceeded traditional territory (no treaties have ever been signed!)
    - The courts sided with the Tla-o-qui-aht and now, over 27 yrs later, that injunction still stands

    National Ramifications:
    - The court decision siding with the Tla-o-qui-aht was precedant setting. It spawned a number of similar decisions in land-disputes, and much of our current relationships with First Nations have been built on this understanding of prior title.
    - A few months after this court decision, the Haida Nation, used this same precedant in their favour. In November 1985, the Haida staged a logging blockade on Lylle Island (now within Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve) which forced their situation into the courts, and ultimatly won them a measure of political autonomy in the Islands.

    See below, a photo from a very cold, very rainy, winter day in 2009, at the 25yr celebration of the start of the Blockade in 1984... maybe you can see my wet head in the photo....
     

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  3. VanIslePaddler

    VanIslePaddler Paddler

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    Okay sorry.... got a little off topic on that last post...

    Underwater Camping!!!

    I've had this same issue when camping in Clayoquot. I found it associated with what looks like a beautiful grassy meadow at the head of an inlet, but it turns out to be inter-tidal!!!

    I was camping in Sydney Valley years ago, when up rose the tide, and we were all on tiny little islands of grass, with the tide a mear inch or two below our tent!!!

    During a particualar stormy trip in Clayqouot a few years ago, the storm surge, coupled with a large high-tide, kept me up half the night, and caused me to make all the guests move their tents into undesirable terrain in the forest at about 2am!!!
     
  4. camshaft

    camshaft Paddler

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    Excellent story Ken

    Sounds like my Toba Inlet, Brem River experience.
    Paddled in on high tide with bad weather found the best spot possible. Made camp and woke in the morning to poring rain and to see that the tide was out. Problem being it had to be a a couple km hike over large round river rocks to reach water.

    The plan was hatched to put the boats in the river and load them. Then with a rope walk beside the river and let them drift as we stumbled along the rocks. We eventually got in and then got stuck 100m down on a sand bar.
    good memories
     
  5. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    I didn't realize that the 12.8 tide was one of the highest for the year. Thankfully the freshet isnt running yet. (Sorry ... no photo of the tent being inundated)

    I'd guess the campsite (located right at the mouth of the Bedwell River on the true left bank) is good for anything under 11 foot though I'd be careful about that.... Particularly in freshet or heavy rain as the Bedwell rises quite a bit very quickly.



    The Tsis-a-quis cabin is in good condition for 27 years. It needs a good clean up ... Too many people leaving 'useful' items like a quart of outboard motor oil or a tin of olives. The mice are enjoying any books left behind.

    Kuhl. I didn't know that very interesting fact.

    BTW ... Gail McGee Bridge is in good condition.
     

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  6. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Wow, Ken, that tent is old-school. I haven't seen one of those babies since I last hiked the Stein valley ca. 1992.

    Sorry, off-topic. :oops:

    Andrew
     
  7. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Old school it may be. Its proven reliable in 3 seasons in mountains. I trust it to stand up to serious weather.

    Newer three seasons tents don't impress me, mainly because there is usually open screen under the fly that cannot be closed against cold and dusty wind.

    This is my third one and I bought it from Eureka online two years ago for $U170.