2023 Princess Louisa Flotilla – Day 6 Egmont - NW Explorations
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2023 Princess Louisa Flotilla – Day 6 Egmont

Today we depart beautiful Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls. However, the cruise back to the rapids provides the opportunity to have one last look at the surrounding places that we visited. Our departure time was carefully planned around the slack at Malibu Rapids to allow us to exit safely. Boats come and go thru the rapids during slack, each announcing its intentions with a Securite’, Securite’ transmission to warn other vessels and assure safe passage for all. The current was minimal yet boats still moved across the water as if they were sliding on ice but that is expected in these conditions, and every captain performed expertly.

Due to the extreme current, food is plentiful making the rapids a great area to spot marine organisms in great concentrations! Massive numbers of mussels support armies of purple sea stars!

The rocks in the channel are covered in fat harbor seals basking in the warm sun digesting their most recent meals. A pair of mergansers flew overhead as a pair of marbled murrelets bobbed in the eddies along the edges.

Before leaving the inlet, Memories anchored in MacDonald Bay for one last opportunity to paddle board. About 40 minutes later they were able to slide through the rapids without incident and join the rest of the fleet as we carried on our way. As usual, Double O’ Seven continued onto Egmont at their preferred speed and the rest of us will meet them at the dock.

Our destination will take us to Backeddy Resort and  Marina on the Sechelt Peninsula. The tidal exchange  is about twelve feet today. We have timed our journey to allow us to hike to Skookumchuck Narrows to view the Sechelt Rapids. At maximum flow the flood current can rip through at 12-16 knots producing 8-foot standing waves and deep swirling whirlpools on the ebb.

It is an impressive sight and draws many visitors Roland Point, a 2.5-mile hiking trail through a wooded forest. The sound of the rapids can be heard in the forest encouraging us to continue hiking. Stepping out of the forest onto a rocky point we are rewarded for our attention to timing. The rapids are certainly “skookum” meaning “strong”; the power of the water, standing waves, whirlpools and loud confused currents is memorizing! The point is wide and provides a lower area closer to the rapids filled with black mussels, anemones and colorful sea stars all clinging to the rocks. Commercial tour boats with powerful motors flirted with the currents and waves by backing their stern just to the edge of the chaos of churning water the then powering away quickly; quite a thrill but I was glad to be watching from the safety of the shore. Extreme kayakers and surfers are attracted to the standing waves and intense currents but there were none there at the time of our visit.

The hike was longer than expected and a few guests wanted to pick up a few more provisions before the store closed so Chris arranged a bus pick up for us. As the driver stopped at the store, he mentioned he would be back in 10 minutes to pick them up…the “store” had limited provisions so it he was aware it wouldn’t take long. He was friendly and happy to assist us and the ride was a much-welcomed break for our feet.

Hours later, the current was still flowing strong in Backeddy Marina. All of the guests ventured up to the Backeddy Pub for a relaxing dinner following our long hike. Pilot House and Double O’ Seven gathered for more socializing and laughter in the evening.

A great blue heron quietly walked the docks, pausing stock-still and suddenly lunging forward to capture its own dinner, offering close and detailed photo opportunities. Light diminished and the day came to a close, we all turned in for another peaceful evening. Tomorrows travels will take us to New Castle Island near Nanaimo.

 

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