WHERE DID YOU PADDLE? - July 2006

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Dan_Millsip, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    My eldest daughter and I headed up Indian Arm to Granite Falls last Friday night, leaving Deep Cove around 8:30 PM. It was nice paddling in the cooler evening air and by the time we were across from Twin Islands darness was nearing. As we paddled on, we noticed a junk making it's way up the arm. This was the same junk that Mark and I had seen a few weeks before when we were on our way to Twin Islands.

    Captain "Dave" gave us a big welcome as we paddled alongside the slow moving sailboat. I figured that we would be a bit safer paddling alongside the large boat since other boats heading down the arm would give a wide berth to the large vessel. Captain Dave agreed and offered to escort us to Granite Falls. We had no problem keeping the 6 km speed that the sailboat was holding. It was quite obvious that the two crewmen on the boat were a bit intoxicated but the Captain "seemed" to be much more sober. As darkness fell we continued to chat with the crew as we made our way past Best Point. From time to time, our escort would change course and wander off a ways in the distance before we would hear someone on the boat say "Where are they?!?" It would be answered with "There they are! I can see their light." The large boat would then come about and head towards us -- I was a bit worried that we might get run over but the friendly Captain Dave seemed to have good control over his vessel.

    As we pased the bottom of Croker Island, the junk stayed behind and we paddled along the shore of the island. We could see a couple of small lights in the distance at the Granite Falls campsite. The lights went out when we were about 15 minutes away from our destination.

    We arrived at the campsite at 11:30 PM and there was no sign of anyone still awake. After a short walk around the campsite we found that there were only three tents. I had fully anticipated that there would be many more people camping there. We set up camp, had a bite to eat and hit the sack about 1:30 AM.

    The next morning we work up early and while making breakfast, our neighbour came over to look at our kayak. He began telling me that he's been watching a fellow build a Pygmy Coho on the web and that he'd like too build a Coho as well. We had a good chuckle over that and would have many more pleasant conversations with our neighbour and his partner over the weekend.

    At about 10:00 on Saturday morning my daughter and I headed out for a paddle up the Indian River. There were lots of boats along the way and the yacht club sites were all packed with people. We paddled up the Indian River until we couldn't paddle any further because of the shallow depth of the water. On our return to the campsite around 1:30 PM, we were astonished to see that every single tent site was taken and there were tents in the field in the middle of the campsite. People kept arriving until early evening on Saturday. We walked around and counted a total of 26 tents at the campground! There were also several power boaters -- more in fact, than I've ever seen at Granite Falls ever before. Many of the people with power boats were also camping (along with their stand-up bbq's and coolers full of beer).

    We ended up putting on wetsuits and going snorkelling for a good portion of the afternoon -- didn't see anything exciting other than a large number of small crabs and small fish. After we finished snorkelling we headed over to the base of the falls for a swim in the pool to wash the salt water off of us.

    The rest of the day was spent cooking dinner (mmm... pizza), and just relaxing around the campsite. At one point my daughter complained that she was bored so I told her to get the Sharpie pen that I had brought and told her that she could draw pictures on her dry-bag. I've been thinking of ideas to keep the kids occupied on our upcoming Bowron Lakes trip and since my kids all like drawing so much, I thought that this would be a novel idea that could give them hours of fun. This would be a test to see how it worked -- and it kept her busy for the next couple of hours. :D My daugher thought it was great drawing on a dry bag and the said that when we go on the Bowron Lakes that she'll have to draw smaller so that she can get more stuff on it. Perhaps we'll have to start a new thread for posting pictures of "Dry Bag Art"?

    On Sunday morning we got up and had breakfast and were on the water at 11:30 AM. We had a headwind all the way back to Deep Cove, arriving at the beach at 5:00 PM. We stopped along the way at Berg's Landing where there was a very large group of people (about 50-60 people) in power boats who were camping and partying (we heard the whooping and hollering on our way up on Friday night). We also stopped at Thwaytes Landing to have a nice cool dip in the small waterfall above the beach and make some lunch.

    If there is a complaint that I have, it's the presence of so many more power boaters using the campsites -- they bring their loud music, their coolers of booze, and many of them leave their garbage (we had one group right beside us who stopped for a picnic and before speeding off in their boat, left a whole lot of garbage behind -- we cleaned it up but weren't the least bit impressed). I truly hope that this is not a trend of things to come. If you've ever been up Alouette Lake in the middle of summer you know the mess that a lot of the immature power boaters (mostly kids) leave behind them. Indian Arm will lose a lot of it's charm if this is what's to come.

    Despite the intrusion of power boaters, it was a very nice weekend spent with my daughter.


    Coming alongside Captain Dave's junk:
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    Our campsite -- with a great view to the top of the arm:
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    A panorama of the crowded campground after we returned from our morning paddle -- that's our tent on the left. View a larger verson of this panorama:
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    Snorkelling:
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    *****
     
  2. dmoose

    dmoose Paddler

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    So are you allowed fires at any of the campsites
     
  3. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Fires are not allowed at either Berg's Landing or Granite Falls.

    There were however two groups that had fires below the tideline at Granite Falls. No one seemed to mind but I think it's better not to have fires there -- there are already several trees that yahoos have chopped down, obviously to have fires. There's not a lot of driftwood in the area the area could suffer in short order if people start chopping down healthy trees. When we stopped at Berg's Landing on the way back, there was a huge recently used fire pit that was not below the high tide line -- it was directly in the middle of one of the camp areas.

    I recall that there were more signs at both campsites stating that fires are not allowed the last time I was up there -- most likely, the signs were uprooted and burned in a campfire.

    As much as I enjoy having a campfire, it's not a big deal to me not to if it preserves the area.

    *****
     
  4. dgimcmillan

    dgimcmillan Paddler

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    Is this a good beginning "overnighter", Dan?

    My friend Erv and I have decided to do our first overnight kayaking trip, and we'd already decided on Indian Arm yesterday. So, your description and pictures are a geat introduction for me.

    Other than the powerboaters, do you think this is a good starting point for us? I've never done an overnighter with kayak before.

    I think we're reasonably well equipped, having the usual gear - tents, sleeping bags, cook stove (a Scripto Gourmet cooker).

    Erv will be in his Nimbus Solander, and I'll be in Doncometooclose - my Arctic Tern.

    Ian Mc.
     
  5. IanC

    IanC Paddler

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    Hey Dan - very nice write-up. The "dry-bag art" concept is brilliant. When my kids were little we used to take a couple of magnifying glasses on our summer outings, and they learned to focus sunlight and burn designs into pieces of driftwood. I think its one of their strongest memories from those trips.
     
  6. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    i, too think that drybag art is a cool idea.

    like what if you forced yr daughter to only draw food type stuff on one bag, clothing type stuff on another, utensil type stuff on another etc etc.

    then there's a key to what's inside. . . .

    then take photos and screen them on yr own line of special westcoast paddler bags.

    then they'll have the strong memory, but you'll have the filled wallet!!
     
  7. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Re: Is this a good beginning "overnighter", Dan?

    Ian Mc, you and Erv should have a great time paddling up the arm. It's a very good place for a first camptrip. There are not a lot of places to stop along the way but the entire paddle from Deep Cove to Granite Falls is only about 16 km so it shouldn't take more than a few hours. I recommend stopping at Thwaytes Landing for a break -- and if it's a hot day, there's a terrific little waterfall about 150 meters from the beach (follow the creek to it) where you can have a nice refreshing dip.

    If you are leaving a vehicle, you'll have to start your trip from Deep Cove (there's no overnight parking at Belcarra or Barnet Marine Park).

    I hope that the glut of powerboats were a result of the Canada Day holiday and that they won't be there on most weekends.

    You can also learn a bit more about Indian Arm in our Paddling Locations gallery -- although that particular trip started at Barnet Marine Park, you'll still find lots of useful info in it.

    Have a good trip and let us know how it went.

    *****
     
  8. rider

    rider Paddler

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    Nice trip Dan . Always good to have father and daughter bonding. I am actually planning to head up the arm myself this weekend. My plan is to go with the incoming tide, up to indian river,turn back to granite falls ,camp there and come back the next day.
     
  9. GordB

    GordB Paddler

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    Re: Is this a good beginning "overnighter", Dan?

    Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak have an interactive map of the arm as well. It's a very good description of the area and offers advise for potential hazards.

    http://www.deepcovekayak.com/location/d ... rames.html

    Have a look at this link...

    You will find it a very enjoyable trip. And as a first time it can't be beat.
     
  10. dgimcmillan

    dgimcmillan Paddler

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    Thanks for the link, Gord

    Thanks for the link, Gord B.

    I had looked at that website a few years ago, and thought it looked like the right starting point for an overnighteer trip. Your post reminded me of it. I'll make sure to look at it again in more detail.

    Would people consider Indian Arm a paddle that could be done without charts?

    It seems like it, when you consider the amount of detail available online.

    Ian Mc.
     
  11. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Thanks for the link Gord B.

    Ian Mc. -- I used to take a chart with me on trips up Indian Arm but rarely do anymore because I've been up there so many times and I know the area quite well. I often however, take a topo map that I use for identifying mountains and other landmarks. As a first timer, I would suggest taking a topo -- there are really no underwater terrain hazards that you'll encounter and there are only a handful of spots where you can get out of the boat because the area is so steep -- you won't have any troubles paddling right next to the shoreline anywhere on the arm. It's nice to have a map if only to identify landmarks and your position.

    It wouldn't hurt to take a chart, but I'd say on the grand scale of things (no pun intended) it's not an absolute necessity as it's virtually impossible to get lost. It is however, quite interesting to see on the chart how deep the arm is -- in some spots it's over 650 feet! -- which is a good indication of how steep the fjord is.

    *****
     
  12. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Rider, you might want to stop and set up your tent at Granite Falls before heading up the Indian River as the campsite tends to fill up quickly on the weekends.

    *****
     
  13. rider

    rider Paddler

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    Hey dgimcmillan. Halkett Bay is also another good overnighter trip. more open water but also shorter distance- roughly 24 km's there AND back (to horseshoe bay) or so if i remember right. also no charts required.
     
  14. dgimcmillan

    dgimcmillan Paddler

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    Another good spot..

    Thanks for the suggestion, rider.

    Halkett Bay does sound like a good one. I think we'll put it on our list for the next time, since my buddy Erv and I have definitely decided on Indian Arm for the first one.

    Probably a September trip.

    Ian Mc.
     
  15. rider

    rider Paddler

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    I paddled indian arm on friday. Was planning on overnighting either at the granite falls or Berg's but ended up going all the way to deep cove the same day because....i felt like it :D according to gps i've done 28 miles What a pretty spot and a great paddle.

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  16. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Nice shots, rider.

    It's funny -- I've been past that broken down cabin sooooo many times and yet have never taken a photo of it.

    How long did that trip take you?

    *****
     
  17. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Here's a few pictures from a week ago on Portland Island with my youngest daughter and a few of the WCP guys (and girlfriends):

    Looking out at the point at low tide (from the Arbutus campground)
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    Looking from the point towards the campground at low tide (click here for a (much) larger panorama image):
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    If you like exploring tide pools, there's lots to be found here:
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    Mark and my daughter take the double out to play in the ferry wakes:
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    Mmmm... dinner on Sunday night:
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    Mark takes a breather while practicing rolling:
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    *****
     
  18. rider

    rider Paddler

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    So i figured i'll do an overnighter during the week as i'm currently unemployed. Took ferry to Swartz Bay, paddled to South pender, camped at the Beaumont park, next day paddled out to Sturdies bay,Galiano. First day-12 miles,2nd just over 13. Nice introduction to island paddling. I was expecting some wind chop on wider crossings,but no,it got more interesting than that. First off, crossing between Portland and Moresby i got into an area of 2 ft sheer waves,my speed was 5mph before,after it dropped to just under 3. ack. Paddling towards South pender i had a 1.2 mph current pushing me back till i got well past Moresby. Then more 1.5-2 ft sheer waves and swirly currents at the tip just before passage between the penders.Hiked up mount Norman, not exactly the Chief in any way but at least it was fast and easy.Had the campsite all to myself and heard animal noises in the forest throughout the whole evening. woke up and got on the way around 10:30. 1-2 mph current between penders pushing me back, no problem. easily managable chop on the way to saturna, again with current against me. Finally i got to the pass between Samuel isl. and Maine and thats when the island current gods smiled at me. i went through the passes at 4.5-7mph. On the way out,going through a pretty narrow shallow passage. Trippiest feeling. around me-glassy calm. in front of me-3-4 ft glassy smooth yet choppy steep waves around the outside of the 'entrance' and glassy smooth water all around. punched through that and kept 4.5-5mph all the way around Maine. Have never seen so many starfish in my life as i did in 5 mins of paddling the outer coast of maine.
    Then home,sweet home with one catch. With a clear view of Sturdies bay, i look closer and realize i have to cross a river of steep 4 ft sheer waves with lots of whitecaps to make the quickest crossing, or go almost a mile down coast to try go around. Up towards the georgia straight side of Galiano the sheer waves looked VERY gnarly,good 6ft whitecaps. so i went straight through the 4 footers. fun fun experience except not very fond of the swirly water. To top it all off at the ferry terminal there was a guy with a dog that could play hockey better than 90% of the Canucks.
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  19. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    Sounds like you had a good trip! You found the joys of Island paddling - changable conditions mixed with a constant current in one direction or the other. On every flood there's a messy bit at the north end of Active Pass, where you crossed between Mayne and Galiano - I know that area well. Eventually you learn to look at tides and wind forecasts to try to make the conditions favour your direction of travel... but even with the best planning it doesn't always seem to work. For example, on Friday I paddled from Swartz Bay up through Sansum Narrows on a flood that should have been around 4 knots (with me) at noon, but instead I found an opposing current of near 1 - 1.5 knots at around 1pm. This was no back-eddy - I zig-zagged all over the channel to be sure of that. Strange stuff - I still don't understand it. After a few years of paddling these islands extensively I'm still learning the nuances of each area; it can be a completely different place in different conditions (just wait till you see some of the conditions on the outside of Mayne / Galiano in the winter!). :twisted:

    Hope you had fun - if you're interested in doing another multi-day trip around here some time, give me a shout! 8)
     
  20. rider

    rider Paddler

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    Mark, how consistent is that sheer wave spot in active pass? I feel like taking my whitewater boat and playing there one day. doesn't look like that far of a paddle to the prevost campsite.
    This weekend i took kim camping at Shell beach on portland. nice choppy crossing.neat to see her kayak and her dissapear over the waves up to shoulders. O K i can't stand younger power boating crowd. I am 23 myself but god damn it . The mess they leave behind makes me mad(and thats being nice). picked up 6 beer cans/bottles the bastards left on the beach and i'm sure they were gonna leave way more trash on their campsite(we left way before them). :x