On Saturday the 16th of June, we meet up with Alison in Vancouver to head for Skookumchuck. After one last quick grocery-shopping, as the food is more pricey on the peninsula, we hit the road.
Our first stop is at Horseshoe Bay, from where we`ll take the ferry to Langdale on the peninsula. From there we drive further north until we reach Egmont and rent a cabin at Backeddy Resort for the first week.
We just grab the cabin-key and continue straight to the parking-lot of the local marina to put in and start paddling to the Skookumchuck wave, which will take us around 30 minutes.
The tidal-wave Skookumchuck, aka Skooks, is a standing wave which is formed by the incoming ocean-water at tide at Sechelt Inlet, where the inlet is most narrow, i.e. the Skookumchuck Narrows. And depending on the speed of the water and the height of the tide the wave forms up bigger or smaller. Besides a great surf-wave, you also get huge whirlpools between the main current and the eddy! So Maria caught one and said that she was at the deepest point of the whirlpool and there she had about 1 meter space in front and in the back of her boat and at that point she could not see the surface of the water anymore! So if you paddle there, always watch out for your fellow-paddlers!
As Skooks is at a prime level at this week we meet around 10 other paddlers, like Rush Sturges, Ben Marr, Logan Grayling, Chris Gragtmans, Adriene Levknecht, Mark Robertson and the locals Emily Lussin and Dru Lyall.
The wave is different every day as the speed of the water and the height of the tide change as well. Mid-week the wave gets really steep and green, which is great, but for one to two hours the waves greens out and it gets really hard to catch it with a normal playboat. So it is time for Drus’ special weapon, a surf-kayak, which is fast like hell but also very tippy and unforgiving.
Another very interesting thing about Skooks was, that our days got longer every day, as the wave starts running 40 minutes later every day, so the whole wave-cycle is pushed 40 minutes back. So on our first day on Skooks on saturday it is around 2 p.m. when the wave starts running and after 8 days of surfing the wave just starts to run around 7 p.m. … And after you are done with paddling you still have to hike out from the wave which takes around 45 – 60 minutes, depending on your speed. A very nice feature of the wave is, that you can leave your boat beside the wave, as they have built a kayak-rack there where you can leave it or even lock it to. On a rainy day I run in as I rather run when it rains than hike and it took me around 22 minutes (with paddle ;-). As you can imagine with eating after coming back to the cabin and everything it gets really late before everybody hits the beds, so every morning everybody sleeps in and the rest of the moring and early afternoon is spent with a lot of relaxation, reading, more eating, swimming, on the internet, more sleeping some yoga and suddenly it is already time to go surfing!
Like that the 6 days in our cozy cabin run by really fast and on the 7th day we move our base to a campground at Klein-Lake, where we even get a private dock on the lake, which is great for drying out paddling-gear, reading and stretching!
On our last day we paddle back to the marina. As it is already 11 p.m. and quite dark we get to see bioluminescence aka marine phosphorescence in the water after our paddle-strokes and around the kayaks, which is great!