Mainly kayaking photographs taken on the Isle of Man and beyond.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Kayaking Isle of Man - Quadra Island, B.C.!

We've been on Quadra Island, B.C., Canada for the last three days. It's part of the Discovery Islands group and lies off the east coast of Vancouver Island. It's different here to the west coast, surf orientated, Long Beach Peninsula where we spent the past 10 days. Both are wilderness but you get the feeling that nature is in charge at Tofino and the Clayoquote Sound. Here, at least to some extent, she shares control with people. There is a wilderness here but it's not the primitive, untamed rain forest of the Pacific coast! Instead it's low lying, rocky beached, conifer forested archipelago of islands off the east coast of Vancouver Island. Even the weather seems more gentle as most of the rain has been rung out of the clouds by the high intervening mountains of Vancouver Island before it reaches Quadra.
So this is an area of exquisite, tranquil natural beauty with an abundance of wildlife and some beautiful scenic gentle paddles? Well yes it is but there's a dark side to this place for the unwary kayaker. Some of the fastest tidal races in the northern hemisphere are to be found around the Discovery Islands surging up to 13 knots. They've been known to pull over and submerge local tugs and commercial fishing boats and are not recommended for anyone other than the most expert sea kayaker with local knowledge. Not being either, and lacking time, I could not indulge in such tidal race pleasures. I did however sample some of these currents for myself as I ventured out alone into Discovery Passage. This is like a series of conveyor belts and there's usually one going your way, as the main current spawns eddys and counter eddys. Sooner or later though you run out of options and you only have your own strength and endurance to get you through. This happened to me, I only just made it and I've never had to paddle so hard in my life!
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