A weekend of whirlpools!

This past weekend, my friends, Allan Edwin, Les Hudson and I set out for a 4 day paddling and camping excursion on NE Vancouver Island. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, aside from some high winds at times which didn’t seem to affect the sea state too much. The waters were a little turbulent during a crossing back over on May 11th but it wasn’t anything that we couldn’t handle. 

Our intention was to make camp elsewhere but after the initial crossing on May 8th, Les suggested that we check out what appeared to be a campsite and upon landing and checking it out, we decided that this was going to be where we would stay. It was a great suggestion and quite a find.


Each night we enjoyed wonderful campfires, way out on a bluff that we nicknamed “Urchin Point.” There was a natural pit in the rocks that made our fires very safe. Les found a variety of Urchin shells that we decorated a nearby tree with and so that’s how the point got its name.

Allan, a “campfire connoisseur” could always be counted on for both starting the fire and dealing with large pieces of driftwood.


Unbeknownst to us, the tent platforms, constructed by a commercial operator that the site is tenured to had “names.”

Allan had “Ripple.” Les had “Guardian” and I had “Argonaut.” There was some brief discussion as to what this meant, without any real consensus but I will offer some of my own interpretations. Les was “the elder” in our group and with age comes wisdom and guardianship. Allan seemed to be the best at navigating through currents and whirlpools while we paddled, so it makes sense that he got “ripple.” As for me, I’m definitely on a quest to find “the golden fleece.” In fact, I think I am wrapped in it already and may need to remind myself of that from time to time.


Allan and I spent some time exploring Blackfish Sound, one of the best places in the World to see Orca. We didn’t have any luck but we enjoyed a great viewpoint from the Spout Islets.



I am more used to paddling waters off the West Coast of Vancouver Island. So, it was a refresher to get used to some currents and in all places – Johnstone Straight and the Broughton Archipelago during a big Moon. Here’s a video – the waters had to be moving at about 6-7 knots around a point. I tried but couldn’t make it. Allan got through, Les barely but they were ahead of me and the flow increased before I caught up. Ha! Allan and Les are both very able and skilled paddlers and I was glad to pick their brains on matters and to discuss their navigation of this by the campfire later that night. See the video here:


Another thing that I seemed to be plagued with, were these 1.5 meter wide and 1′ deep whirlpools constantly opening up in front of me and throwing my kayak around, intimidating to say the least. Each day of paddling, there was at least one or not multiple experiences with these whirlpools. I couldn’t seem to find the eddies in time but was really good at finding these damn whirlpools.

Last but not least, my “novel coronavirus hairstyle” is coming along nicely.


Allan hides his with a toque and a sour face!






3 Comments on “A weekend of whirlpools!

  1. Great trip. The tent platforms are named after Humpback whales, these 3 particular humpies are regular visitors to Johnstone Strait & are identified in the Marine Education & Research catalogue.

    • Thanks Mike, interesting!!

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