Sunday, January 1, 2017

Blue Highways - Principe or Grenville? - Part VII

Afternoon on Campania

The morning forecast is for good traveling weather but Campania is special and worth spending a weather day on so you may choose to sleep late, drink coffee, read, do laundry, filter water, take a cold swim, nap on the warm granite slabs and catch fish for dinner.

You get an early start and travel up Estevan Sound along Campania’s convoluted shoreline for about 4 hours before reaching Otter Channel.  Otter separates Campania from Pitt Island and feeds into the waters stretching to the east and the Inside Passage.  It is your last chance to connect with Grenville Channel.  Whether you go for Grenville or Pitt you have to negotiate Otter Channel and it can be a crux move.  Ideally you are arriving at Otter at the turn to flood which will aid whichever choice you make.  A Spring ebb will thwart a direct line to Cherry Islets if Grenville is your choice and will work against you if traveling up Principe Channel. 

If crossing to the south end of Pitt the current doesn’t matter much as long as there is not wind opposing it.  Your early start favors your choices as, barring any significant weather systems, the daily winds should still be light at 9:00 AM.  You can always eddy up against an ebb along the southern shore of Pitt if headed for Cherry Islets or carry on up the western shore of Pitt towards Monkton Inlet. 

Crossing Otter Channel
image Greg Polkinghorn

The cove just south of Monkton Inlet makes for a 20 NM day which is easy if you are rested from a day off at Campania and currents are favorable.  Choosing Grenville you can set your sights on Cherry Islets and end your day after ~6 hours of paddling.
If you are traveling alone or sharing a single tent there is a wonderful campsite about ½ NM south of Monkton Inlet that I call Super Slot.  It is a tiny shell beach bordered by rock outcrops that narrows down to about 6 feet as it climbs up to a thick mossy clearing that  will accommodate a single tent. 

Super Slot Beach

A bit north of it is Superman Cove and it is marked by John Kimantas in Wild Coast 2.  It is another great campsite and more suitable for multiple tents.  On Neaps there is plenty of room on the shattered granite beach but Springs will send you into the uplands and you will be hauling your boats up a steep slope to tie them to trees.  The uplands are carpeted with moss and there is the foundation of a cabin that once existed.  This is a spot protected from all winds and forested to provide some cover from rain.

Superman Cove Beach
image Dave Resler

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