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Broughton questions

pryaker

Paddler
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
295
Location
Powell River BC
Heading up to the Broughtons soon and thought of a couple questions that I couldn't find answers via searching here.

1. Are there any sources of drinking water around there. It seems from the chart that there might be some creeks coming from lakes in the northern part of the park, but farther south I don't really see anything. Or perhaps we could bum some water from one of the lodges or marinas? Any experiences? I hate to have to carry all my water, prefer to carry a few days supply and replenish.

2. This will be my first trip where I actually need to pay close attention to tide and current times. I have the tide and current tables but was wondering how accurate you have found them in the area around telegraph cove, weynton, and blackney passages. I realize that the tables can't cover every point and local conditions will vary, but have you been successful in planning crossings by looking at current turn times? For example if Weynton Passage were to be turning from max flood (4.6 knots @ 4:30 pm) towards max ebb ( 2.9 knots @ 10:30 pm) at 7:30 is it safe to assume it's a good plan to leave telegraph cove around 7 to hopefully have slack as we transit the passage? Reading about the rips and currents in the area and seeing the many squiggles on the chart kinda gives me the willies but I have been advised that it's something we can manage.

And this is a good segue to my last question:

3.Can anyone recommend a reliable water taxi service? I've read many accounts here and elsewhere on the net about people using water taxis to access the archipelago but no one actually says who they used. I'd like to have a phone number or VHF channel to call someone if needed. Say we make the crossing, spend 4-5 days wandering around but find the return crossing dicey. Is it possible to call up a taxi on the vhf (or cell phone, how's coverage around Malcom/ Alert bay?) I'd assume it'd be best too pre-arraign a possible ride via the phone. Also how much does it cost?

Thanks for any help,

Roger
 
Hi Roger,

We spent a week up in the Broughtons last year. We took a water taxi out to Insect Island and spent the time exploring as we made our way back to Telegraph Cove. We used Silver King Ventures Water Taxi. They are based out of Port Mcneil but picked us up in T. Cove. There were four of us in our group and it cost a total of $400 for the service. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this company. He took the time to take us on a bit of sight seeing and whale watching as we made our way out into the islands.

http://www.silverkingventures.com/7.html

I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to water sources as we packed enough to cover us for the trip so I can’t help you much there. I don’t remember seeing a lot of creeks or streams coming off the islands.

We’ve found the tide/current tables to be right on the money. The bigger issue for us on the couple of trips we’ve made into the area has been the wind. It’s kept us off the water on a couple occasions.

It’s a beautiful area to paddle that doesn’t seem to get a lot of visitors. We were there the first week of September last year and didn’t come across any other paddlers till we got back to the Johnstone Strait area.

Have a great trip,
Doug
 
Water really depends on how long you plan you plan to be out there, if only a week you can carry your own water in. Over the space of nearly a month, I had to supply myself with rain water as there were no sources of fresh water throughout the archipelagos.

As for tides charts, they are accurate. Remember the general rule of never doing the passages with swift currents during the last half of the ebb and you should be fine. Blakney passage especially, this should be crossed during the last half of a big flood.

I didn't use a water taxi to get in or out of the archipelagos so I cant help you there.

Good luck and stay safe..! This area has some dangers for the non-resort staying, unguided paddlers but.. it's well worth a visit and beautiful!
 
Monster said:
Water really depends on how long you plan you plan to be out there, if only a week you can carry your own water in.

"only a week" huh, I just am averse to carrying more than 14 or so liters which at 3 la day will last 5 days. I guess if I take less wine... or make my wife carry more (water)!


Remember the general rule of never doing the passages with swift currents during the last half of the ebb and you should be fine. Blakney passage especially, this should be crossed during the last half of a big flood.

Interesting rule of thumb, care to elaborate on why the 2nd half the eb is the best?


Thanks a lot to both of you for your posts.
 
Insect island has a trickle.

You can get water at Echo Bay.

But mostly the Broughtons are 'dry' (except when it rains).

When I went several years ago the water taxi was about $500.
 
Interesting rule of thumb, care to elaborate on why the 2nd half the eb is the best?

Thanks a lot to both of you for your posts.

HOLD THE PHONE...!

Please do NOT get this Blackney advice wrong because kayakers die paddling this passage.. I said dont paddle it during the last half of the ebb tide. The time to paddle through Blackney Passage is during the last half of the big flood tide.

As for the water, this is generally why I dont like handing out advice for the more adventurous expeditions and, even in my Broughton Archipelago trip report, I clearly state that experience should be gathered the old fashioned honest way... by starting out small and then working your way up to bigger trips.

You have to be confident about your water, that means once you are down to three days supply, you have to be within three days reach of resupply or reasonable chance of rain with a proven means to gather it in sufficient quantity.

I get allot of e-mails every year asking for advice about salt water paddling adventures and I worry about how I word things because, everyone is different. For instance, if I tell someone I take at least a week's supply of water, do i need to specify that I mean essential drinking water only or do I also need to qualify what I mean by explaining about cooking and washing as much as possible with salt water? Should I explain methods for unforeseen circumstances like being trapped by weather longer than intended where there is no water, or how about effective methods for collecting rain water?

There is so much to cover that I often worry about leaving out some important detail that could put another in a bad situation. I try to answer specific questions, and certainly people must be prepared for the adventures they endeavor to accomplish but... I do tend to leave logistical information out of my trip reports so that people have to do their own research.
 
No experience with Weynton here, but I crossed Blackney a couple of times a few years back. My approach was a cautious one: consult available data (Tide and Current Tables, Sailing Directions, charts, guidebooks), time my crossing to begin 10 minutes before predicted slack (assuming a crossing time of 10-20 minutes), and supplement the reading and planning with observation. I spent a night on the islets on the Blackney side of Hanson Island and thus had the opportunity to watch the passage flood and ebb. McGee's guidebook mentions that the Passage will often hit slack "15-45 minutes early (and almost never late)" (pg 132). With this in mind, I knew I had to use my own two eyes in addition to the data in the Current Tables.

My experience: if you do your homework, keep your eyes open, and act cautiously, Blackney should not be a problem. Don't cross in fog, as it is heavily used by commercial traffic. I missed one crossing "window" while I waited for fog to lift.

Now the flip side. Once inside the Broughton Archipelago proper, I ran into a couple in a double kayak who had spent a very harrowing couple of hours hanging onto kelp fronds in a small back eddy, while Blackney raged about them. They were experienced paddlers, but had never dealt with strong tidal currents; they had ventured into Blackney Passage with no current data and no plan, whereupon they found themselves battered by boils and whirlpools. When I met them that night, they were physically and emotionally drained from their experience.

So again: do your homework, keep your eyes open, and act cautiously.

As for water, there ain't much once you leave the Van Island side of Johnstone Strait.

Great area. I hope your research pays off and you have a safe trip.

Regards,
Andrew
 
Monster said:
HOLD THE PHONE...!

Please do NOT get this Blackney advice wrong because kayakers die paddling this passage.. I said dont paddle it during the last half of the ebb tide. The time to paddle through Blackney Passage is during the last half of the big flood tide.


Yowza! That was quite the screw-up on my part! I'm VERY happy you corrected me.

Please bear with me, I'm trying to learn as much as I can about tidal currents. So is that a rule of thumb for all passages? or just Blakney? And why exactly is it that the last part flood is the best time?


Sticking with the current issues, also a huge thanks to AM very well written and instructional post. It so happens that the little island off Hanson was one of the possibilities for our first night. I thought it would be nice to overlook the passage but hadn't thought of the (obvious, duh) idea of staying and observing the tide cycle before venturing onwards. Another idea was to possibly go around the west side of hanson and stay overnight in the plumper islands, I figured we'd get a much better feeling for the water once we eyeball things.

Definitely planning to be very cautious and your tale of the wayward double was sobering. What an experience that must have been, one I'd rather not have!

As Far as water goes, most trips I've done were 9 days or less and even in August or September we've never had trouble finding water even in places where the available info said there wouldn't be any. Sometimes it was just a trickle but it was ok water. That said, I realize we should be prepared and though I have never recovered rainwater, the amounts I've seen draining off out tarps has been significant and would be easy to catch, so this thread has put another trick into my bag. Also, I've picked up another water bag so we'll have enough on board for the whole trip.


Anyway thanks to all posters it's really helped.


Oh yeah, AM, it was good to hear you referencing Megee, I'm so enamored of The Wild Coast series that I don't often look at the older guides on the shelf and in this case the current info seems much better in Mcgee.
 
pdxyaker said:
Monster said:
HOLD THE PHONE...!

Please do NOT get this Blackney advice wrong because kayakers die paddling this passage.. I said dont paddle it during the last half of the ebb tide. The time to paddle through Blackney Passage is during the last half of the big flood tide.
Yowza! That was quite the screw-up on my part! I'm VERY happy you corrected me. Please bear with me, I'm trying to learn as much as I can about tidal currents. So is that a rule of thumb for all passages? or just Blakney? And why exactly is it that the last part flood is the best time?
Don't you mean "worst time," pdx?

Don't know Blackney, but it is not generally true that the last part of the ebb is the worst. Depends on what is happening in the channel the current is entering, and the local hydrology. Often it is the strongest part of the ebb (or, flood), which typically occurs halfway through the cycle, viz, about 3 hours into the fall of the tide in a simple tide/current situation through a pass.

Studying a passage over a cycle is always the best, if you can manage it. Often, mariners will arrive at a pass near slack and wait and watch for the best time. From the low vantage point of a kayak seat (even a canoe seat), it is hard to get much of a view. Pulling out nearby and running up a point, if feasible, is a good idea.
 
One thing I have found power boating in the Broughtons is you will want to study the tides and currents. There are many places where you will not be able to paddle against the current. There are places where you can actually see an elevation change on smooth water due to the amount of water movement. There are places where the center of a whirlpool, I'd swear were 2.5 to 3 meters below the surrounding water.

You'll also want to keep an eye on the weather. Been there when it's been almost dead calm in the morning and kick up to why am I here in a few short hours.

On the other hand, the area has great scenery and is a fun place to be.
 
In my experience of the Broughtons (camped for a week in the Fox Group) there are no currents of note North of Midsummer Island. (Not saying no current, just no current of note) The currents of concern are all in approaches to Knight Inlet and Johnstone Strait. Blackney and Weynton passages have the strongest currents.
 
I have transited Blackney and Weyton dozens of times via kayak. They can be intense bodies of water.

Please hit them at slack... I plan to arrive near the enterences with time to spare... than if we need to wait for slack.

Please note, that even Miles (Nautical Miles that is) away from the actual constrictions themselves, the tidal streams can create serious waters. I have experienced the waters going from flat calm, to a 100meter strip of confused seas as we cross eddy lines. I have seen kayaks get caught in substantial whirl pools in the middle of BlackFish sound, half way between Weyton and Blackney.

Just be cautioious, and make sure you truely do know how to read the tide tables for this area, it is one of the most complex areas on the coast.

Water... good luck... Maybe Freshwater Bay... but its private property...
 
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