Malaspina Inlet

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Johnthethird, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. Johnthethird

    Johnthethird Paddler

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    My wife and I have a trip booked to Desolation Sound in a few weeks. Im slightly concerned about the currents in Malaspina Inlet, and how we deal with them. To give you a run down on our experience, we have done a multi-day trip in Broken Group and Georgian bay, ON., both in a double kayak. And numerous single day trips up Indian Arm and Sechelt inlet in single kayaks (Sechelt was quite windy). I'd like to paddle desolation in single kayaks, but Im a little concerned how rough/tough its going to be. Ive checked the tide tables, and it looks like we'll be fighting on the way out and the way in.

    Any thoughts, advice?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Outsider

    Outsider Paddler

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    Hey Johnthethird,

    Tide tables are not necessarily a good indication of the direction and strength of currents in any location. There is an inherent delay in Sounds, channels and inlets. It would be best if you used a GPS, current prediction charts or some other guidance to tell you what direction the currents are going, how strong (fast) they are and when the direction is going to reverse. This will tell you when you should be on the water. This way you can paddle with the currents and get where you want to go sooner and much easier.

    Outsider
     
  3. Layback

    Layback Paddler

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    I'm never really certain what qualifies as the exact boundaries for Desolation Sound. My own personal definition includes everything from Lund and Okeover up through Pryce Channel, above the Redonda Islands. I've paddled everything in there, and haven't yet found any problems with currents.

    Wind - yes. Currents - no.

    Given that you have mentioned Malaspina Inlet, I am going to assume you are launching from Okeover, and heading for the Curme Islands. (Warning. Everybody else is doing the same thing!) You will encounter currents in front of Hare Point. An ebb current will get compressed somewhat at Cross Islet. It then gets pushed to the east at Josephine Islands. The current swings into the bay just to the southeast of the Hare campsite (there are pics of this campsite in bcmarinetrails.org) and then cuts across the campsite point.

    I had an enjoyable time there practicing some break ins and break outs. But, the current was only (guessing) 3 knots. It wouldn't even qualify for basic currents course use.

    In the other channels, the marine charts suggest even lower currents. Lewis Channel (between Cortes and West Redonda) shows no speed. Waddington Channel (between the two Redondas) shows 1 knot. Homfray Channel (east of East Redonda) shows 1.5 knots. Pryce Channel shows 1 knot. To the south of Pender Harbour, Malaspina Strait (Lund, Copeland Islands) shows .5 knots.

    Wind can blow through Okeover Inlet and Malaspina Inlet, making for some hard work. From my experience, Lewis Channel can be a bit more of a problem. Wind compresses in the narrow upper channel and rockets down past Kinghorn Island and out to the Powell Islets. (Unless, of course, you are paddling south. Then, the a south wind does just the opposite.) The area north of Kinghorn can get quite rough. It all depends on how much you enjoy tipping up over the tops of waves and smacking down on the other side. Note, I'm not saying it will be like this all the time - just sometimes.

    I've heard stories of people getting roughed up on the way to Curme. I'm guessing this would be wind coming out of Homfray and blowing past Mink Island. Despite paddling through this area many times, for some reason I have not yet had the pleasure of getting whacked here. Anyway, wherever you go it is best to carry a VHF radio to check your forecast!

    Also check bcmarinetrails.org There are other places to camp besides the Curme Islands, which get really, really crowded. Hare Point is nice. Tenedos is nice, and there is a swimming lake up a short trail. Roscoe Bay is nice, and there is a lake close by for a swim. The Martin Islands are nice. The two Lewis Channel campsites are nice, with beautiful views up and down the channel. Feather, on the end of the Malaspina Peninsula, is a good site. The Copeland Islands are another highly populated spot, with good reason.

    And, another also, note that inside Desolation Provincial Park, you can only camp in designated locations. And, even another also, you have to purchase a camping permit in advance through the Parks website. That's kind of a hassle. At least it is if you are like me and change plans all the time.

    Desolation is a great place to paddle. You'll have fun there for sure.
     
  4. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    J3, sent you a PM
     
  5. Johnthethird

    Johnthethird Paddler

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    Layback, all great beta. And yes, we're likely going to avoid Curme Islands.

    Huge thanks
     
  6. Johnthethird

    Johnthethird Paddler

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    Also, hows the crabbing around desolation sound? Thinking of taking a small trap with us

    Thanks!
     
  7. Layback

    Layback Paddler

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    Don't know about crabs. Do crabs like oysters? If they do, then Desolation will have crabs.

    This region has to be the oyster capital of the universe!
     
  8. pryaker

    pryaker Paddler

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    John, I'm not exactly sure but I think slack tide at the mouth is about 45 minutes off the tide turn listed for okeover. I once looked online for current info for the straight (after reading there could be decent current there) and on someone's sailing blog saw the above report. With many disclaimers for accuracy and so on, this would mean that on the high tide (flooding) listed for okeover, slack up at the mouth is 45 minutes before, and for low tide listing it would be 45 minues later. I think...

    That said, I also have never had a problem with tides in desolation sound. Some wind, but never tides. Once I did ride a tide INTO the straights that I was glad not to be going against, but that was on a big winter tide.

    and about crabs, that's something I've never heard about. There's definitely prawns around but they're way too deep. I'll ask around and see what I can find out. Perhaps in one of the bays like Tenedos?

    Enjoy your trip.

    Oh and also, the north side beach of Kinghorn island is a decent campsite and I believe is outside the park and thus unrestricted. The fire ban and camping restrictions took the fun out of desolation for me.