If you decided to bail on the promise of the outside in order to experience Grenville Channel then you have already returned to the narratives of others. Though the camping opportunities out here are not all roses the sky is bigger, the air is fresher and the chance of bear encounters slim to none. Grenville does offer amazing, if somewhat claustrophobic, vistas of peaks plunging into deep water. It’s the classic fjord experience. I wish you the best.
Since you stuck around your next task is to paddle from Monkton Inlet to Ralston Islands. It’s about 15 NM and Ralston sets you up at the south end of Anger Island where you are poised to choose between continuing up Principe or opting for Petrel Channel.
Ralston has signs of First Nations significance with small clearings for single tents scattered throughout the forest above the beach. If visiting during Springs you will need to tie your boats securely at the top of the beach or drag them up the slope into the forest. Take some time to pick through the fist-sized rocks that the beach is composed of. Really fascinating geology.
Something to know about your choices beyond Ralston is that both Principe and Petrel Channels flood towards the north. Principe runs very straight into Browning Entrance and encourages, nay, accentuates the flow of high pressure winds. Winds opposing currents here can turn the main channel into an impressive display. Don’t ask me how I know.
Petrel, on the other hand has a few significant bends in it that act to knock down some of that wind and give you places to hide. Principe does not. Petrel opens onto Ogden Channel and is somewhat buffered by Porcher Island and the archipelago of islands that define the outside of the Kitkatla complex.
If you want to travel north on Ogden Channel past Oona River, Petrel would be your best choice and it will get you back onto the Inside Passage route the quickest. The only good camp site that I know of in Petrel is across the channel from Elbow point where you can find clearings in the upland. The campsite is nice and Petrel is scenic.
If you intend to rejoin the Inside Passage route at Prince Rupert and the winds and currents in Principe are favorable just stay left past Anger Island and camp near Hankin Point. The campsite is decent with a strong fresh water source and plenty of room for tents in the forest.
Image Dave Resler
Whichever route you take from Ralston the confluence of Principe and Petrel Channels is probably best transited in the morning before winds build and you want to have a flood in your favor. If strong NW winds are in the forecast Principe Channel can be a real grunt. Strong NW against a flood can get pretty sporty.