May 31-June 1 – Skookumchuck

The crew rubbed the sleep out of their eyes, untied the lines and we pulled away from the dock at 0330. Not sure if you are aware but there is zero light at 0330 and especially when you are surrounded by very large mountains and very little moon. We crept out of the inlet under radar and two lookouts on the bow. As we approached the rapids I had already made the decision to hold if there was not sufficient light.

Dawn cast just enough of her brilliance as we were closing in on the rapids that I felt comfortable to continue. This was high water slack so we had much more room to maneuver than a few days previous when we entered. We skated through without an issue.

Sunrise over Jervis Inlet

The sun crept up over Jervis Inlet as we made our way towards Egmont and the Back Eddy Marina. Our stop earlier this week was just that. Only a quick stop as a staging place for our Princess Louisa trip and we did not get a chance to visit the Skookumchuck Narrows in Sechelt Inlet.

This time the ride down Jervis Inlet was magnificent! The day was clear, little to no wind (boo) and we could actually see the beauty of this inlet where the fog had obscured our vision on the way up.

Jervis Inlet

Due to our early departure we arrived at Back Eddy Marina around 0830. They were very accommodating and we were able to secure a space on the dock dispite the early hour.

Little bit of everything here!

We wanted to view the rapids but the hike is about 1 hour each direction and Captain Bligh already got us up and moving before the crack of dawn. We decided to delay that adventure until the next day but there is a bakery up the road within walking distance (with this group that could be within a few miles) and we heard they have amazing cinnamon rolls.

They are at the beginning of the trail to the rapids so we thought it a warm up for tomorrow’s hike. Lets just say we were not disappointed!

Skookumchuck Bakery and Cafe
Told you!

When we returned from our hike we used the rest of the morning and afternoon to catch up on showers, laundry and give the boat a good scrubbing. We spoke to the owner of the marina and unlike a lot of places up here, they had a good supply of well water, He said scrub away! So we did.

We had a late lunch at the Back Eddy Pub. Good food and fun environment. I had the fish and chips the first night we were here so this time around I had the pork belly tacos. Delicious!

We noticed this on our last visit and it was fun to watch the progress of a particular starfish. This one had a rather peculiar home on the rudder of a sail boat in the marina that we suspect has not moved for a very very long time. On our previous visit the little guy was on the botton of the rudder. The starfish had moved up near the top over the last few days!

I don’t remember much after scrubbing the boat as I think most of us took naps or just did some quiet reading. It had been a long day with the early departure and we all needed some “me” time.

They post the best viewing times for the rapids at the marina and on a bulletin board at the beginning of the trail. On June 1 we had some very large tide swings so the rapids were going to be extra large. The water would be moving in excess of 11 knots (12.5 miles per hour) The best viewing time was 0958. The hike took about an hour so we left a little after 0800. The hardest part was passing the bakery on the way out but we made ourselves a promise to stop on the way back!

The hike took a little longer than we had planned but it was a nice walk and we arrived in plenty of time to get a good view of the rapids. Some times there are kayakers and thrill seekers that transit the rapids during peak times like this but not today.

The water was really moving through here and it was incredible to watch the whirlpools move across the channel.

Here is a quick video to show how the water moves. (I’m know I’m not a videographer. No need to let me know!)

There are two areas to view the rapids. North Point was the best place to view on the ebb. There is another viewing spot at Roland Point just a little ways further that is a better view on the flood. We were curious so we wandered down there. We saw lots of sea life and a very different view of the water patterns.

Damon walked out to the point to get a better view

Damon viewing the rapids up close

Here is a little video of the narrows as viewed from Roland Point. These really are must see if you get up to this area. You can visit by car as well as by boat so you have no excuse….

In mid channel right in front of the marina there is a small group of islands that we learned are called skerries or islets.

These little islands are home to a number of sea creatures so we took a little dingy ride out for a visit.

Damon at the helm of “The Dingy Boat”

We went down the west side and there was nothing, not even a snail! Once we turned the corner there was all kinds of partying going on!

Sea Lions sun bathing in Skookumchuck Narrows

We also saw evidence of someone who had a very very bad day and a scary of another kind!

This is a “scary” as opposed to a “Skerrie”

There was live music at the Back Eddy Pub this evening so after dinner we went up for drinks and little entertainment. Linda and Damon got into a very competitve game of pool. Not sure who won but none of the sticks got broke! I’m not sure how no one got pictures of the match. You will have to use your imagination on this one! We visited with some of the other cruisers and had a wonderful time.

Tomorrow we move away from dock life for awhile and head over to Harmony Islands. This is a small island group in Hotham Sound. It’s a short run and should be alot of fun. We hope you come along!

Until then we are chillin

S/V Pellucidar Crew.

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