Monday, November 18, 2013

Port Hardy 2 Coal Harbour 2013


Image by Dave Resler


Dave and I planned to paddle from Port Hardy around the north end of Vancouver Island…..sort of.  I say sort of because normally there are months of detailed planning that precedes these trips but both of us were so busy with family and work that planning was crammed into very short, individual and last-minute time slots.  Dave, the fastidious planner, would normally have three routes carefully worked out with different timelines for each.  We would pick one as conditions presented themselves and stick with it.  I had learned a lot from him and incorporated his style into my solo trip plan in 2012.  During that trip, however, I found that I was very comfortable going off-plan and switching from one to another as conditions and opportunities presented themselves.
Our basic plan was to paddle up Goletas Channel towards Cape Scott, the far end of Vancouver Island, and down the west coast to Quatsino Sound ending in Coal Harbour.  Conditions and whim would determine our exact path to Cape Scott and our daily distance, overall.  We weren’t pressed for time as we had three weeks. We could finish early or afford to get pinned for days somewhere with no way to get off the beach. 
Ultimately, tides, winds and sea state would dictate progress and we could choose to cross Goletas Channel to the God’s Pocket complex, Nigei Island and Hope Island areas to just poke around and hide from high winds and weather or just hang out.  We could also choose to benefit from the favorable morning ebbs that should push us up the channel and on our way.  Current in Goletas Channel runs up to 3 knots with intersecting currents running to 5 knots providing an environment where rips and ragged water can be generated.  Throw a west wind against the ebb and progress could become arduous and busy.