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Stuart Island currents

AM

Paddler
Joined
Jan 30, 2006
Messages
1,146
Location
Vancouver
Hey everyone,

I'm looking for someone who has transited from Cordero Channel to Calm Channel (or vice-versa) through the tidal rapids around Stuart Island (Dent/Arran/Gillard/Yaculta). If you have direct experience, please share your route and tactics for getting through this tricky section of water.

Cheers,
Andrew
 
I ran north to south in September 2010, following the advice given in the last paragraph page 375 of Wild Coast 3. No problems.
 
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I ran south to north in April 2011 with no guidebook and no chart other than Fine Edge's Inside Passage Route Planning Maps (which label all the rapids throughout the Discovery Islands). No problems for me, either. I nosed up to the south end of Stuart Island to wait for Yuculta Rapids to hit high slack, then rode the building ebb northward through Yuculta, Innes Passage, Devil's Hole, and Dent Rapids. Dent was already ebbing pretty quickly by the time I got there, maybe four or five knots, but there were only a few boils downstream of the rapid, nothing to worry about.

I think the basic tactic is to get as close to the entrance as you can, hit the entrance on a slack, and then run like hell till you're all the way through.

This whole area is Fishing Lodge City, so there are any number of docks to pull into if you find yourself getting overwhelmed...or if you just want to cadge a beer.

Alex
 
Thanks both. Nootka, I have read JK's advice. Good to know that it works.

Alex, I appreciate the route description.

Cheers,
Andrew
 
Paddled from Cordero to Calm channel 2 years ago in July against the ebb, skirting Sonora shore, after camping on Denham Is. Back eddies help all the way except at the point jutting out at 50.408644° -125.216771°. But that's a spectacular spot to wait a bit (you see the step of water in front of you) with sea lions putting up a show in Dent going full bore. Then Innes maze and Yaculta as ebbing was easing, nothing particular, lots of back currents in Innes behind islets. I exited Yaculta close to slack, so did not see much current there. Could not make it through Hole in the Wall as flood was already just too fast through the narrow when I got there. Channels are wide all around, so easy to escape dangerous sections where needed. Enjoy!
 
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Excellent info, @Pascal . I've put a marker on the point you describe.

What's Denham Island like for camping?
 
Hey everyone,

I'm looking for someone who has transited from Cordero Channel to Calm Channel (or vice-versa) through the tidal rapids around Stuart Island (Dent/Arran/Gillard/Yaculta). If you have direct experience, please share your route and tactics for getting through this tricky section of water.

Cheers,
Andrew
I went S to N last year with a friend, starting from Francisco Is., transmitting HITW and taking our time heading toward Stuart Island to arrive at slack. I was surprised at the peaceful intersection of currents around Stuart, and we traversed Dent w/o issue, stopping for lunch at Estero Peak BCMT day use site. If you want exact dates, so you can check the tide/current tables, let me know.
 
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AM, maybe you meant Denman Island. If you are asking about Denham Island in the Broughtons/Burwood Group, here are some photos.

Low Tide landing:
DenhamLowTide.jpg

High Tide - tie off your kayak:
DenhamHighTide.jpg


Steve's tent site:
StevesDenhamSite.jpg


StevesTentSite.jpg


Paul's Hammock Site:
MyDenhanSite.jpg


DenhamHammock.jpg


If you go to the main Burwood Island:
MainBurwoodSite.jpg
 
Excellent info, @Pascal . I've put a marker on the point you describe.

What's Denham Island like for camping?

Denham "Islet" is the correct name, my bad. High rocky belt on most its small perimeter. I tented on its south tip, where access is feasible. No sand beach there, but decent short approach at any tide level I believe, with shore zone dropping fast. You can very easily haul your empty boat above the high tide line (higher than it is on the pic) then easily climb to a small terrace just above. Not much room left once my small 2-person tent was up. Magnificent, open 180 deg view to the South toward Dent and Estero Peak to the east. No water of course, and might not be the best choice in strong southerlies regime and/or intense rain (tarping likely very tricky). Cheers!
 

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Lots of good advice above. All I'd add is that you will be excited and/or nervous. Just be aware of the adrenaline effects and don't let them get the better of you. If you follow the advice the others have given, you'll be just fine.

As a side note, be aware that the current forecasts really only apply at the current stations. As you move away from the current station it becomes more difficult to extrapolate which way the water will be moving, and when. When there's lots of islands and channels the current just does whatever the heck it wants to with little regard to the forecast that's spot on at the current station 10nm away. Which is to say, relax and be prepared to laugh as you paddle against the current, again...

You're going to have a great time!
 
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