Skookumchuck Vacation

Sarah and I had a great trip this past July; she tracked down a way cool rapid we saw in the "Paddlemania" video. As you can see, it lived up to it's reputation. (Click on any of these photos for a larger version, or you can go straight to the pictures using the links on the left.)

While we went to BC for the rapid, we had a great visit with David, Lindsay and Ian (Sarah's west coast family) that included a bike trip for Ian (we walked along the Samamish River while he rode -- actually, Sarah ran a bit).

And then we all went to see the Everett AquaSox in a single A baseball game complete with beautiful weather and mountians in the background.

Did I mention that the weather was perfect? The ferry trip from Vancouver to Gibsons was a nice way to break up the drive from Seattle. It was, however, a bit windy. Sarah was smart and wore a hat, I, alas, did not. The view of the mountains was excellent and we also enjoyed watching all the other ships and boats out on the water.

For me, one of the many interesting things from the trip was the Egmont dock reserved for sea planes. The sign behind Sarah reads:
"Reserved for seaplane loading and unloading only
Parking prohibited
Surface vessels keep clear"
I've never kayaked around sea planes before.

The rapid is most bizarre because it's formed twice a day by the tides. Here it is as the tide just starts to come in (note the seaweed placidly bobbing in the eddy on the left). This was taken on our last full day in Egmont; we paddled from the boat dock around to the rapid in about 45 minutes, most of the time against a slight current as the tide went out. By the time we got to the rapid, the tide had turned and the the current was just starting to come in (which, had we waited, would have been a downstream paddle instead of an upstream paddle).

And this is it in the middle of the flood (incoming) tide with the current running a bit over 12 knots (taken a couple of days before, when the flood tide was coming in about 90 minutes earlier).

Not only is the rapid bizarre, it's also famous for being a great, dependable surfing wave. So (as we found out) it is taken advantage of often. Here the photographers are in the water taxi shooting for team Dagger and team Riot (competing kayak manufacturers).

So while the two groups discussed attitude, ethics and manners (team Dagger thought the main team Riot boater was lacking in the latter two, while the team Riot boater said it all came down to the former), I had a chance to play on the wave. It lived up to its reputation and I had blast.

On our last day when we paddled back to the rapids, the current was only flowing about 10 knots so the wave was a perfect glassy face that was incredibly easy to surf and stay on as long as could ask for.

Here are a few more gratious shots Sarah took of me having too much fun (even if I did have to share the wave occasionally) -- Thanks Sarah!!!:

While we went for the rapid (and to visit with the Seattle branch of the family), the weather made the time spent on the back deck waiting for the tide to turn fantastically pleasant.

I don't think David, Lindsay and Ian regretted taking us up on the invitation to share our "cottage" at Jervis View Resort. We brought an extra boat (which we wouldn't have if USAir had been a bit more honest or thorough about the shipping rate for a kayak). But the extra boat made it easier for the Seattlites to try out river kayaks in "our" bay.

Of course, the view from the cottage didn't hurt either. We enjoyed checking on the snow cap across the inlet every day to see if it was still there (this being mid July after all). And we also enjoyed seeing the ferry come by several times a day (Sarah and I tried to run across the inlet in front of it once -- but we gave up when the far shore didn't seem to be getting any closer.

On our last day in the Northwest, we drove around Mt. Ranier (peak still missing in the clouds in this photo) and had a great dinner at Paradise Lodge.

An excellent trip!!!

Vacation notes: