Excursions in the Pacific Ocean, Part 2

By: Derek Innes

Volume 16, Issue 3, March 2021

It has come to my attention for those who read "Excursions in the Pacific Ocean",  (See Excursions Tab) that some readers questioned a section and thought there should have been no problem with a flood tide that gets you "back to the launch ramp" when the wind drops to zero.

The author, Derek Innis reports he sailed 62 times between March 7 and December 17, 2020. 

I live in East Saanich on Vancouver Island, and a favourite sailing area of mine is between James Island and Sidney Island. As in the Thousand Islands, one has to watch for the International Border between Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, and the San Juan Islands in Washington state.

Question for Derek – are either Cdn or US marine patrols keeping tabs on people, and scooting them back over the “line” if the sailors stray? It’s secondary to the point of his article, but it does highlight a commonality between the two areas.

Map showing the international border between Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands (Canadian), and the San Juan Islands (United States). The Flood Tide's direction is drawn in blue.

The northern part of Sidney Island has a popular campground and is known as Sidney Spit.  Well, for clarification, on the photo "Flood Tide," one can see the 50-meter-wide incoming river of water (the flood tide) between James Island and Sidney Island. When I go sailing, the most scenic place to go is to the beautiful Sidney Spit.

There are more than 50 boats at anchor on summer weekends, and another 20 – 25 boats pulled up on the sandy shore. Not one person is swimming, since the water is 15°C (59°F).

"Flood tide", see the waves in the middle and the calm water on the shore. ... Island is in view. 

There are about four kilometers of open water from the launch ramp to the sailing area known as Sidney Spit. When I have to cross this roaring current - when the rest of the waters are glass calm, I can not paddle against it. I look at the front of the two hulls (I have a catamaran), and I say, "Oh, I'm making good time," and then I look at the shoreline and realize that I’m going backwards!

Tide Table, December 2020

As an example, look at the tide schedule for Saturday 19 December 2020. At 1:16 a.m., the tide is one foot, and by 9:40 a.m., it’s 11 feet. There is one of these huge rises each day; I prefer them to be in the middle of the night!

Now the ebb tide, when the water is flowing out, is not too strong, so I can paddle against it to get back to the launch ramp easily.

The Sidney Spit has one of the most popular beaches. 

So, my eastern friends, I encourage you to think about sailing on the Pacific if you want a wonderful excursion.

I miss our Thousand Islands sailing waters very much, but having a day on the Sidney Spit is not all that bad, even with its exciting ebb or flood tides to get you there!

By Derek Innes

For eight decades, Derek Innes spent his summers on The Towers (Island 14) in the Admiralty Islands. A teacher by trade, he taught for 30 years in the London ON school district. Both Derek and his wife Marj were avid sailors at the Fanshawe Yacht Club on London's Fanshawe Lake. Marj has won numerous sailing championships, while Derek, for 16 years, had the distributorship for Dart Catamarans in Canada. In fact, he sold 150 Darts during those years, mainly at the Toronto and the London Boat Shows. For several years, they organized the Admiralty Islands KISSR Regatta ("Keep It Simple Sailing Regatta"), which many sailing friends from the area attended, and about which Doug Goodfellow wrote in August 2009.

Posted in: Volume 16, Issue 3, March 2021, Excursions, Nature, Places, sport

Please click here if you are unable to post your comment.

Submit an Article

Do you have an article you would like to submit? Click here to participate.

Derek Innes

Read more articles by Derek Innes and there may be more articles on our old site. Click here to visit our old site.