Transiting Seymour Narrows Desolation Sound
Transiting Seymour Narrows. Currents in Seymour Narrows run to 16 knots on the flood and 14 knots on the ebb, flooding south and ebbing north.
Northbound, you can wait for slack either in Menzies Bay on the Vancouver Island side or in the good-size unnamed bay behind Maud Island on the Quadra Island side. South of Maud Island, the flood forms a back eddy along Quadra Island, easily sweeping northbound boats toward Maud Island. Southbound, Plumper Bay is a good waiting spot on the east side, as is Brown Bay on the west side. Brown Bay has a floating breakwater and a marina with a fuel dock and restaurant.
Both Deepwater Bay and Plumper Bay are exposed and deep to be attractive as anchorages. Menzies Bay may have good anchorage, be careful to go around either end of a drying shoal that almost blocks the entrance. This area is used as a booming ground for the pulp mill in Campbell River.
Seymour Narrows is the principal route for northbound and southbound commercial traffic including cruise ships. Give large vessels ample room to maneuver. Sailing Directions counsels against the west side because of rough water. Monitor the passage times of commercial traffic on VHF 71, the area Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) frequency.
Seymour Narrows is a wide pass, clear of hazards, and offers a direct route north past the important provisioning town of Campbell River. It is the easiest connection from the Strait of Georgia to the Johnstone Strait or the Cordero Channel.
Small tides, where the maximum current is predicted at 6 knots or less, can be taken at any time for most boats (again, going with the current). larger tides should be taken within a half-hour of the turn. If it’s a strong current cycle, in the 14 to 16-knot range, arrive a the pass within 15 minutes of slack water and the current will be manageable. The strongest current doesn’t extend very far in either direction, so the transit past whirlpools last only a few minutes.
For more information visit our partner site Waggoner Cruising Guide. For all your yacht provisioning call our concierge desk at 778-432-0477. If you’re looking for a superyacht marina we accept 65′ to 180′ vessels. Phone or book online to reserve your slip or book the ultimate yacht Rendezvous.