Day 17 - Sunday - June 24 - Big Bay on Stuart Island to Cordero Lodge
The dock at Big Bay.
Timing of today’s departure was critical to paddling another area of potentially turbulent water known as Dent Rapids, and then hopefully riding the ebb current north through Cordero Channel. Slack turning to ebb today was at 1:45pm so we planned our departure from Big Bay for 1:15pm. This would put us at the narrow pass north of Dent Island right at slack. This pass is about two miles from Big Bay, and although it skirts the worst area of Dent Rapids, we did not want to take any chances and so planned our transit of it for slack tide.
Paddling out of Big Bay with Dent Island straight ahead.
The planning paid off, as the water was essentially calm except for a spot where we encountered a few boils just past Dent Island. These boils create a surface condition that seems to make the kayak a little unstable, like when you try to ride a bike very slowly. I found that by just continuing to paddle through it, balance could be easily maintained.
The pass between Dent Island and the mainland.
We stayed close to shore along the north or mainland side of Cordero Channel until at about five miles, we reached Horn Point. From here we crossed over to the Sonora Island side. About three miles further on, Cordero Channel is bisected by Frederick Arm and Nodales Channel. This creates a crossing of about two miles that affords beautiful views in every direction. The shoreline in this area is devoid of campsites, as the thick forest vegetation extends all the way down to the high tide line, where bare rocks make up the waters edge.
Finding a campsite would not be a problem tonight, as our destination for this evening was the Cordero Lodge, a convenient fifteen miles from Big Bay. This lovely little bastion of civility in an otherwise remote wilderness is an incredible site to see nestled in a cove beneath towering spruce trees. After landing and tying up to their floating dock, it became apparent that the entire establishment was floating on a huge log raft, cement deck and all.
Cordero Lodge is owned and operated by Doris and Reinhardt Kuppers. They offer lodging, a nice restaurant serving excellent German food, and a dock for your boat. Access their website at http://www.corderolodge.com/ where you can check out their facilities before leaving home.
This was the only evening on the first leg of the trip that my cell phone would not receive a signal and I could not make a call home to check in.