Kayaking In Sechelt Inlet

Who can think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving weekend than kayaking on the Sunshine Coast? Alex Winter-Billington, Lukas Schreiber and Alex Wharton left Vancouver early on Saturday morning to catch the 7:30 am ferry to Sechelt. Over the past several weeks we had discussed completing a kayak “loop trip” where we would start in Sechelt and kayak in the Strait of Georgia up to Beaver Island, kayak through Agamemnon Channel and then finally kayak past Skookumchuck Narrows through Sechelt Inlet back to Sechelt. Eventually we decided that this trip was a little too ambitious for three days, so we opted to spend two days kayaking in Sechelt Inlet, Salmon Inlet and Narrows Inlet. We still want to attempt the loop trip sometime, so look out for a loop trip on the trip agenda at some point!

The day started off surprisingly sunny and warm for mid-October and the water was exceptionally calm. Cam, the owner of the kayak rental company, was very accommodating to us and even offered us a 25% discount since we were members of the VOC. We saw lots of seals and seagulls as we made our way up Sechlet Inlet. We stopped for a delicious Subway lunch (that we had bought in Sechlet) a little before the beginning of Salmon Inlet and as we ate lunch we sat on the beach for a while enjoying the serenity of Sechelt Inlet. Alex Winter-Billington brought some home baked cookies which were a great way to end our lunch.

Alex kayaking up Sechelt Inlet

Alex kayaking up Sechelt Inlet

After lunch we continued up Sechlet Inlet. That morning we had debated camping at Kunechin Point, near the entrance to Salmon Inlet, at Thornhill Creek, near the end of Salmon Inlet, or at Tzoonie Narrows, near the end of Narrows Inlet. Our greatest concern in determining where to camp was how far we thought we would be able to kayak in a day. When we reached the entrance of Salmon Inlet it was still quite early in the day, so we decided to continue along Sechlet Inlet and then Narrows Inlet to Tzoonie Narrows. We spent a few more fun filled hours kayaking along the very calm water and about two hours before sunset we began to approach Tzoonie Narrows. As we were approaching the campsite, Alex Winter-Billington suddenly yelled “I think I see a whale!”. Excited, we all kept a close eye out for a fin coming out of the water and sure enough within several minutes we were seeing lots and lots of what we thought were whales or dolphins. As we got closer we started to hear the distinctive call of sea lions and eventually we realized that what we thought were whales and dolphins were actually sea lions. There were also lots of seagulls around, and thus our hypothesis is that salmon were going up Narrows Inlet to spawn and that the sea lions were taking the opportunity to eat as many salmon as possible. It’s a little sad to think that salmon that were going up the river to spawn were being eaten just before reproducing, but I guess that’s how the food chain works.

Alex and Lukas enjoying the view in Narrows Inlet

Alex and Lukas enjoying the view in Narrows Inlet

That evening we set up camp and were joined by a German couple who had kayaked to the campsite from Tuwanek. Lukas and Alex Winter-Billington slept in tents while Alex Wharton slept in his beloved hammock.

The next morning we woke up to rain, but thankfully we had all packed lots of rain gear. That day the rain continued on and off as we enjoyed a pleasant paddle back to Sechelt. Again the water was amazingly calm in Sechlet Inlet as we made our way back to Sechelt. We debated going up to Skookumchuck Narrows before returning to Sechlet, but we decided that we were a little too tired to go all the way up to Skookumchuck Narrows and then back to Sechelt. We definitely weren’t thinking of crossing Skookumchuck Narrows given that we might be trapped until the next slack tide if we crossed to the northern end of the narrows!

Overall this trip was a very fun one, complete with sun, rain, seals, sea lions and lots of gulls. Although we have all practiced kayak self-rescues, none of us tipped into the water, which is of course always a positive on a trip! I still very much want to attempt the “loop trip” sometime, so keep your eyes posted on the trip agenda for that trip! Maybe it’ll be over Easter weekend when we’ll have four days instead of three!

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