What a change! It was clear when we woke up this morning at our Squirrel Cove anchorage on Cortes Island, Desolation Sound. The full moon was just setting above the trees to the west and it was flat calm. Soon the sun came up over the trees to the east and it was just an absolutely gorgeous morning. Reflections of nearby boats gleamed in the calm water, and it was so peaceful and quiet. Time to choose our next destination!
We checked the current tables and found that the slack at Yuculta Rapids was around 1100 this morning. Hooray! We can head for Dent Island Lodge today! Depending on the tides, it usually takes us about 3 hours to reach the rapids from Squirrel Cove. We got the anchor up around 0800 and headed north.
Dent Island is surrounded by three sets of tidal rapids. Heading north, the first one is Yuculta, the next one Gillard, and after passing Dent Island, the third one is Dent Rapids. We had to navigate through the first two rapids to reach Dent Island Lodge.
It is important to transit these rapids as close as possible to slack current. Tidal flow in them is dangerously fast. Strong whirlpools form as the current builds, and at times of maximum flow, the current can toss boats around like matchsticks. It is even dangerous to approach or leave the docks at Dent Island during strong tidal flows.
In addition to the normal hazards, today is the Super Moon, the largest the moon will be for months. When the moon is full, the tidal currents are called “spring tides,” when the current runs much faster than at other times during the month. Because of the full moon, today that current will be even stronger, so we had to time our transit of the rapids carefully.
The current was with us in Lewis Channel, and we reached Yuculta Rapids about a half hour early, so we idled around outside the rapids until it was closer to slack current. There were three other boats also waiting. When we finally went through, we had about 2 knots of current with us and we got through Yuculta Rapids quickly and without incident, then went through Gillard Rapids and on to Dent Island.
We hailed Dent Island on the VHF radio as we got closer and they told us to tie up at the end of the newly extended A Dock. There were no other guest boats at the docks when we arrived, and only one other boat came in today. Zack, Dent Island’s dock attendant for this summer, met us and helped us get the boat tied up securely.