Happy 4th of July, & Octopus Islands

After leaving Powell River and a quick stop at Nancy’s Bakery in Lund, we headed to Desolation Sound’s Oakover Inlet for the night. The Captain made a reservation at the Laughing Oyster restaurant. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with another spectacular view and saw some great patterns in the water.

We woke up late Friday July 1 unsure of where we would end up for Canada day. Given the mediocre, early season weather and extremely expensive fuel prices, the popular anchorages in Desolation were unusually empty and that was tempting. However, Octopus Islands farther north whispered an invitation to us and so that’s where we went. Perfect kayaking weather was forecast for Saturday, with warm sun and calm winds, so our usual gunk hole anchorage on the south side of Octopus Islands felt like a perfect choice.

On our way to Octopus we stopped in Calm Channel to wait for the slack current at the “Hole In The Wall” tidal rapids that connect Calm Channel and the Octopus Islands. The area north of Desolation Sound is full of tidal rapids. They are short, two-way, salt-water rivers that flow around many of the islands here. During big food or ebb tides, they can be very turbulent and dangerous, with powerful whirlpools and strong sideways currents that push your boat around and hide logs and other debris that can damage your propellers or rudders. But at the moment when a flood tide switches to an ebb tide, the tidal rapids are completely calm and easily navigable for the hour before or after. While we waited the Captain used the temporarily available cell service while the First Mate did some yoga in the sun on the bow. Calm Channel near the Rendezvous Islands is also usually a good spot to see humpbacks and orcas, but we had no luck this time. The slack current at Hole In The Wall wasn’t until 7:30PM so it was past 8 before we were anchored and settled, but with the late summer light at 50 degrees north latitude, sunset wasn’t until 9:30PM so anchoring late in the day was no problem.

It’s been three years since we were at Octopus and with the light NW winds, our gunk hole anchorage outside of the main bay gave us a beautiful view and relative isolation from the other boaters anchored there.

Both of us woke up around 1:30 AM and headed up to the top deck to look at the stars. The sky is expansive here and we were treated to a perfect view. I even saw a shooting star! But it was still remarkably light for a moonless night. The sun sets in the NW and rises less than 8 hours later in the NE, adding in an hour of twilight and pre-sunrise dawn, the skies don’t get completely dark, even without a moon at 2 AM

On Saturday, the warm sun shinned brightly as predicted and we kayaked enjoying all the calm waters around Octopus Island Provincial Park. There were lots of families around and I had the opportunity to share the “big news” about the soon-to-be-published Curve Podcast. In the afternoon we took the tender out to find some cell service and explore one of the other tidal rapids near our anchorage.

Weasels fish in the water.

Together, Surge Narrows and Whiterock Passage are another waterway that connects Calm Channel to Octopus Islands. The Captain navigated through Surge Narrows with no problem even though the current was very strong, skillfully using our tender’s 40 HP engine and GPS chart plotter. By contrast, Whiterock Passage has almost no current, but is very narrow and very shallow (less than 10 feet deep). For those boats that don’t have a GPS chart plotter, there is a “Range System” that uses onshore monuments to help navigate through the narrow, twisting channel. First you line up the “Range” with the bow and when you almost reach the shore, you make a turn and line the “Range” up with the stern. It’s very low tech but as long as it isn’t foggy, very effective. We are thinking of adding this area to one of the last episodes of the Curve podcast. We also saw eagles and a sea lion taking advantage of the fish who become disoriented when going through the rapids.

The downturn in the weather perfectly aligned with our next stop: two days at Dent Island. So we watched some Wimbledon on the Satellite TV and had a lazy morning before the quick cruise back through Hole In The Wall, then through the Yaculta Rapids next to Big Bay and on to the fabulous Dent Island Marina. We haven’t been here since 2018. They will be booked up every day through Labor Day beginning July 6, when all the usuals come up after July 4th festivities in the states. I can’t think of a better place to find refuge in a summer downpour. Usually our boat is put in between the big yachts wherever there is room. But today we got the premier space in the front of the outside dock next to the small “canoe” rapids that run next to the Lodge. It’s very special.

This area usually has lots of eagles, but we’ve never seen so many in the trees nearby. And as soon as we were docked we saw an eagle family catch and share a fish with their young eagles.

Then we hot tubbed, took a long shower and went into the new sauna with a view window. This is the area that I took my special dolphin photo in July 2019.

We enjoyed a yummy dinner and dessert before walking back to the boat in the rain. We are supposed to get an inch of rain in the next 24 hours. But we can hang out in the Lodge or in our boat, do some remote work, eat well, and just wait out the storm before heading out again tomorrow on the next leg of our adventure. Thanks for reading!

This blog is written by the First Mate and the Captain of the True Love.

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