May 23, 2009 ~ Asked around yesterday to figure out the best time to slip through False Narrows and decided on a 5am wakeup to hit the 9:45am slack through False Narrows. Boy did we mess something up. We were in the pass at a pretty strong outgoing tide. The narrows were choked with seaweed and grasses and kelp of all sorts… home to many crabs as we found out. As the tied went out, it was like paddling through molasses, the grasses were so thick. We decided to hop out and walk our kayaks aways.
Coming out of False Narrows, we had to decide if we were going to cross Dodd Narrows and continue up the coast of Vancouver Island or follow the coast of Gabriola and then content with a crossing over to Newcastle Island. The Vancouver Island coast looked industrious with possible shipping hazards, there were possible currents to deal with crossing Dodd Narrows. Gabriola was supposed to be more scenic with huge sandstone cliffs, but log booms lined the shore we could see. We chose the more scenic route with the crossing at the end. As we paddled by the huge log booms, the wind and water picked up and we fought it hard through 4 foot waves/swells.
Finally pulled into Descanso Bay where the ferry terminal is, but found no camping. We were directed around the corner for the camping. We were dehydrated and getting moreso every minute in the heat. We were not comfortable making the crossing in the wind and waves and decided to eddy hop around to Descanso Bay camping. Upon arriving, we got water and made a lunch immediately. Spoke with some folks and learned that the ferry from Gabriola (the one we just paddled by) to Nanaimo is free in that direction.
Decided to paddle back up to the ferry and try to take the ferry across to Nanaimo, then paddle to Newcastle Island from the Nanaimo ferry terminal. Unloaded the heaviest items into our 2 duffle bags and carried our loaded boats onto the ferry. Shuffled them across the ferry during transit, then got some help carrying them off at the other side. The public dock was between a tenth and a quarter of a mile from the Nanaimo ferry terminal, so then we carried all of our stuff back down to the water.
Paddled across the little channel and got in to camp exhausted around 8:30pm.
Life Lesson: Boats are meant for paddling in not for carrying across land.