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Monday, 28 October 2013

Seymour Narrows, Discovery Passage

This morning's start was at 5 am - even earlier than usual. We wanted to get to Seymour Narrows just north of Campbell River at slack water. This is the brief moment four times a day when the tidal current stops and reverses. On two of those occasions, the current reverses to become a favorable current for our direction of travel.

This may all seem a bit uninteresting but in a stretch of water where the tidal currents regularly exceed 10 knots and reach 16 knots on occasion, contrary currents - or even the eddies and whirlpools associated with strong fair currents are not to be trifled with. Seymour Narrows has possibly the strongest tidal currents anywhere in a passage regularly used by large commercial freighters, ferries and cruise ships.

An interesting bit of trivia regarding Seymour Narrows relates to Ripple Rock, a mid channel shoal with 13.7 meters of water over it. Before the 1950s, this rock had considerably less water over it and, with the fierce tidal eddies capable of setting large ships onto it, was a serious danger to ships transiting the rapids. The Canadian government engaged hard rock miners to tunnel down from the shore, out to mid channel and up into the rock. It was then filled with enough explosives to make the largest planned non-nuclear explosion to that time. The big event in which the 1/2 mile wide channel was filled with an eruption of ocean and rock was all shown in glorious black-and-white on live television.

Seymour Narrows, along with other tidal rapids at Yuculta, mark the northern limit of the cruising grounds typically travelled by recreational boats from Washington State and southern British Columbia. They also seem to mark the beginning of "civilization" with all its busyness, towns and cities.

Thus as we break out into the Strait of Georgia, we are seeing lots of boats - more than we've seen at any time since Scotland.

But our last eagle was yesterday.

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At 28/10/2013 14:56 (utc) our position was 50°08.38'N 125°21.27'W

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