Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Discovering Discovery On A Winter's Day

After a busy week of playing with our favorite stuffed animal (Santa Bear) we managed to take a day off and head out on a paddle on Sunday to Discovery Island. Located only a very short distance from 10 Mile Point the Chatham / Discovery Islands are an amazing place to kayak to but transiting Baynes Channel can be a challenge for even experienced kayakers.

The key to enjoying a relaxed paddle to the islands is checking the currents and wind forecast as together they can present some formidable conditions. It was almost perfect with just a gentle ebb and 5-15 variable winds from the north. Now it's time to be embarrassed ......  I just realized by checking my data for the blog as well as the track of our paddle that I had used the 2014 Current Table! By the 2014 table, Sunday was (or will be) a predicted a slack at 12:44 and then a gentle flood reaching a maximum of 1.2 knots at 14:24. In fact using the 2013 Current Table the slack was at 09:09 and then it turned to the ebb with the maximum flow reaching 3 knots at 12:40. Now I know why we got such a good push down the east side of the islands ....DOH!!

Mt. Baker comes into view past 10 Mile Point. We even saw a glimpse of Mt. Rainier south of Seattle.

Launching out of Cadboro Bay around 11:30 we headed out towards Jemmy Jones Island and then across Baynes Channel towards the radio towers. Our route would take us south down the east side of the islands towards Rudlin Bay where we would have lunch at the Discovery Island Marine Provincial Park. Adding to my confusion about the currents I wondered why there was a pretty good flow between Strongtide and Vantreight Islands but even so it allowed us to practice our ferrying skills to reach Chatham Island.

Paddling past Puget Cove we rode the ebb current past Griffin Island towards the old boathouse keeping an eye out for the wolf that is now a resident of the islands. There were lots of seals on the islets today so we gave them a wide berth but they still entered the water and came to see what we were up to.

Robyn paddles past Alpha Island with Mt. Baker in the background

As we were passing Sea Bird Point (Discovery Lighthouse) our speed really started to pick up with hardly any paddle strokes needed. Looking at our track we were being carried along in the currents close to 6 knots which really made me start thinking about my current calculations for the paddle. Passing the lighthouse I also thought I could hear voices but couldn't see anyone until we landed on the beach in Rudlin Bay.

Michael, myself and Scott discuss some of the features of our kayak mini-vans (Delta 15.5 Expeditions)

Sure enough a couple of kayakers were following us and it turned out to be Michael and Scott who are fellow SISKA members. We all headed up to the picnic tables and had lunch in the warm sunshine and it was hard to believe that it is the middle of November. Did anyone bring a tent??? LOL

From L to R: Michael, Robyn and Scott

While the boys talked "kayak", Robyn did a little exploring of the camping area. It was nice to see that the park has added a few upgrades with the new picnic tables and food caches but there was no sign of the wolf.

The other day I was chatting with Mario via Facebook whom I met at Surge Narrows a few weeks back and he mentioned that he saw the wolf last Wednesday.  You can read Mario's wolf encounter on his blog at . So she still is around for those lucky ones who manage spot her. She is still on our kayak bucket list.

After lunch it was time to head out and explore the shoreline in hopes of getting view of  "Staqeya" the wolf but she was nowhere to be seen. Maybe another time.

With the sun starting to get lower on the horizon it was time to head back towards our launch location. Discovery Island is one of our favorite places to visit especially in the winter months and the picture below tells it all.

Making our way along Plumper Passage we came across Mike and Dan who were heading around the islands in the opposite direction. Mike probably has the record for paddling around the Discovery / Chatham Islands by kayak as he lives only a couple hundred feet from Cadboro Bay. Mike's blog can be read at

Arriving back at the beach I was really confused as the tide was now visibly further out so I knew something wasn't right about my data that I had used for the paddle. Although we had no issues during our paddle it just goes to show you to check and double check your paddle float plan before heading out. It was still a great day to be out on the water even if I had no idea what was happening!

2013 Paddle #71 Winter of Discovery 
Distance:  8.47 nm (15.69 km)
YTD: 400.9 nm (760.87 km)

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