Discovery Islands Lodge - May long weekend 2003
by Wayne Barson
Victoria day weekend was spent at Discovery Islands Lodge on Quadra Island with a bunch of paddlers from Victoria to Port McNeil, including Sean from Zimbabwe. Jaysun Nelson with Coast Mountain Expeditions, and Sean Plecas from Vancouver Island Whitewater paddling Society planned a trip to Surge Narrows for a big tide May 17th -19th.
Saturday was spent hiking and surfing the tidal rapids a short distance from the Discovery Islands Lodge. What a great lodge. Lannie & Ralph Keller -- Owners of Coast Mountain Expeditions -- allowed us the use of their recently renovated lodge at Surge Narrows. Three days of outdoor recreation blessed with sun and water to paddle is hard to beat! Toss in two sacks of oysters, two guitars, a semi-talented bunch of singers - musicians just to round out the day.
Sunday arrived negotiating for a boat to take paddlers approximately 7 km north of the lodge to the upper set of waves. As noted in the pictures, Kayakers found it difficult waiting for the shuttle boat, but apparently it was well worth the wait. Adding a little water to the dock seemed to give enough of a fix until the boat arrived.
Reactions were mixed as the crew made their way back to the lodge. Some people loved it, others were silent, and some were downright scared as the water continually parted swallowing them hole. "Flushed down a large toilet bowl" was one description I heard. The surfing was big and great, but you paid the price instantly if you fell below into the whirlpools. Unfortunately, I drew the short stick and did not make the trip to the upper rapid.... No room on the boat. For that mater, I didn't get any paddling this weekend but I still enjoyed myself. The location, great weather, meeting new people, evenings full of singing and cheer is enough to bring me back next year. Lets make this an annual event with only one condition --I will be chartering the boat for next year.
All the surfing pictures are of the Okisollo Tidal Rapids seven Kilometers north of Surge Narrows.
To reach these rapids you must charter a boat or bring your own sea-worthy craft. Launching from Brown's Bay is an option. Maps and roads can be found in the Backroads book for Vancouver Island.
Wayne is active with the
Vancouver Island Whitewater Paddling Society