Friday, November 1, 2013

Surge Narrows Expeditons - Day #1 Afternoon Session

After an exhilarating morning at Surge Narrows the group headed back to the lodge to refuel and plan for a little sightseeing paddle in the afternoon. While everyone was preparing lunch Dave and I shared some videos taken with our GoPro's during the morning session. Video is such a great training tool as we could see the things we did well and the things that we needed to improve on.

Lunch and video reviews at the dining table before heading back out in the afternoon

The plan was to be on the water at 14:00 head to a nearby waterfall and then make our way back through Surge Narrows at slack around 15:30. Timing was going to be critical again as missing the slack at the narrows would mean transiting on the ebb flow which could be done but with some possible difficulty for the group.

Misty but no rain for the afternoon paddle

We set off towards Welsford Island and then over to the south end of Peck Island where Beazley Passage was running at about 50% max flood or about 4.2 knots. Using our ferrying skills that we worked on in the morning we headed out single file across the flow on a bit of a fun roller coaster ride. The only difference was that the crossing was a bit larger with the eddy lines very defined allowing us to use the change in water direction to make our way over to Sturt Island. 

Dave demonstrated the crossing and then Robyn took off right behind him. I was sitting next to Kevin and said "where is she going?" to which Kevin replied .... "She's kicking your butt buddy!" LOL How true that comment was as Robyn kept challenging her skills over the weekend.

Once everyone made it across the pass we headed NE past Goepel Island and over to Maurelle Island. The flood was still noticeable and once again our ferry skills had to be used on this crossing. Arriving at a small cove we paddled upstream in the river flow until we reached the foot of the waterfall which would be our turn around point. It was about this time that it started to pour rain and the sound of the drops on the surface of the water was amazing to hear. The rain does have one fault though as it makes taking pictures that don't look foggy with our waterproof cameras somewhat difficult.

The waterfall with only a little trickle flowing. There hasn't been much rain lately but that would change tomorrow.

As the predicted slack was fast approaching it was time to head towards the narrows. A pod of 3 porpoise passed us at a pretty good pace on the way partially coming out of the water when they broke the surface. Crossing the north end of Beazley Passage the water was absolutely still indicating that we were near slack time. Just over an hour ago this would been a gnarly flow.

What current? There's no current at Beazley Passage .... right now!

The run through the narrows was not problem for our large group. The occasional boil would show itself and there was a slight ebb flow starting to become visible in the main channels. Talk about a soggy bunch of kayakers when we arrived back at the dock but hey, we play on and in the water so a little rain doesn't bother us.

Back inside the lodge it was time to unwind with the kitchen and dining room table becoming the beehive of activity. Appetizers and beverages were in order after a long day on the water and dinner was an amazing assortment of chili, salads and dessert items too.

That's a BIG dining table. Lots of food and drink for everyone!

After dinner Dave put on a currents clinic explaining how and why currents are important in the trip planning process. In particular we discussed how to use the 50/90 rule to determine the speed of the current around the maximum flow times. We also talked about the Slow Water Rule to determine how long the slack period would be. Using our current information from today's paddles we calculated that Surge Narrows had only a very short 7 minutes of slack. Completely missing the slack time could result in spending the next 6 hours waiting for the next slack to transit the area.

To end the day, a nice hot rustic shower (which is outside with no lights) and it was time for bed just around 21:00. Saturday would be another busy day on the water.

2013 Paddle #67 Waterfall Sightseeing
Distance:  4.88 nm ( 9.03 km)
YTD:  371.30 nm ( 706.05 km)

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