Date: Jun 15, 2012
Trip: Mortimer Spit to Boat Pass
Distance: 10 nautical miles
Sea Conditions: Calm
Weather: Mostly Sunny, 17C
Joined By: Tim
Friday turned out to be one of those rare sunny days in this month that’s being dubbed “Junuary” because it’s been so cold and damp. Tim and I had planned to go for a paddle anyway, so our timing couldn’t have been better. Tim initially wanted to head for Portland Island again because of all the whale sightings in our region and Portland would put us in the right area should the whales reappear. But I couldn’t accommodate the timing for the current that day, so we decided a Saturna Island sojourn would do just as well.
As we struck out on our course we were greeted by the calm waters and easy current of Plumper Sound. This body of water is often the overflow parking for the many freighters that use the Port of Vancouver. But today it was mostly empty except for a few pleasure craft.
We made for Samuel Island as a reference point because our final destination, Boat Pass, lay between Samuel and Saturna Island but tucked behind the northwest shores of Saturna. Samuel is a large privately owned island and I know little about it, but the small cottage that looks out at the mouth of Winter Cove is pleasing sight to pass by, and I can’t help but think it would be an interesting setting for a novel .
As we paddled into Winter Cove and headed for the beach at Winter Point, we noticed two kayaks following in our wake. We had no intention of going any further than Winter Point because we knew the current would be strong and if we rode it out to the Georgia Strait, we wouldn’t be able to fight our way back through until much later in the day when the tide approached the low and the current dropped to nil. But the two kayakers behind us had different plans, and as Tim and I hiked the short distance to our lunch spot, they approached the swift waters of Boat Passage and shot through to the other side.
Tim recorded this video of both of them going through.
Boat Pass can be one of the trickier passages to negotiate in the Southern Gulf Islands. At the time these two passed through, the current was running at 3.5 knots. Strong but mild in comparison to other times where it can get above 6 knots. Below is a close-up of the boiling water just at the Georgia Strait side of the pass.
After the two other kayakers were on their way to Anniversary Island, Tim and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the warm sun. To me, Winter Point is one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever set foot on. To the north and east is the expanse of the Georgia Strait and the Coastal mountains. To the southeast is the Cascade range with Mount Baker rising above all. That day, Baker was even more prominent. With very little haze to mask it, it seemed much closer than usual.