Today was the day that I planned to paddle through Yuculta Rapids by Stuart Island. The timing for passage through this channel has to be done carefully. When the tides are in the middle of their cycle, the currents in the channel are at their peak, creating whirlpools and rips that can easily turn over a kayak. Passage must take place at slack, when the tide is neither rising nor falling and so no current is created.
The view from my campsite at the north end of north Rendezvous Island.
Normally I would have checked the tides the evening before and made note of the best time to launch the following day. I had been so tired, and had landed so late the night before, that I put it off, planning to do it early in the morning. Now that I was up and checking the tide times, I found that the time had already passed for me to make it to Yuculta Rapids at slack tide. I chalked it up to another lesson learned and decided that I would not go to sleep again without looking up the tides for the following day.
The campsite on North Rendezvous Island.
Since I had only taken two days off in the past two weeks I did not feel bad about taking another break day. It drizzled off and on all day so I took the opportunity to just sit under the tarp and relax, eat, drink, and make some adjustments to my equipment. I also used the time to calculate exactly when I would have to launch the following day to arrive at Yuculta Rapids at slack tide.
Looking across Calm Channel and up Raza Passage from Rendezvous Island.
Around mid-day, my kayaking friend who I had last seen in Powell River paddled up to where I was camped. She had found a campsite the night before a few miles back on a peninsula jutting out into Lewis Channel at Teakerne Arm on West Redonda Island. We swapped stories of our adventures over the last two days and found that neither one of us could find the campsites, that according to our guidebook, were supposed to be located on the Copeland and Rendezvous Islands.
In order to double-check our calculations for tomorrow’s passage through Yuculta Rapids, we compared the times that each of us had figured out independently. I used the electronic tide table on my Palm Pilot and she used the standard paper tide tables. Upon comparison, the times were just a couple of minutes apart. This made us both feel much more confident about paddling through this dangerous passage tomorrow.