Nov 8, 2018

Yuculta Rapids and Gillard PassagePart two in CYOB West’s survey of the major routes north of Desolation Sound where some of BC’s best cruising grounds lie just beyond a series of challenging tidal passes.

The series of passes from the Yucultas (pronounced “uke-la-taws”) to the end of the Dents stretches over four miles but transit for most boats should take only 30 to 45 minutes. If you are northbound to the Yucultas, try to arrive just as the flood is turning to slack – this will enable you to ride the ebb by the time you reach Gillard Passage.

The predominant characteristic of these rapids is the choppy water and turbulence that start south of Kellsey Point on Stuart Island and continue to Gillard Passage. This channel is deep and fairly wide, with the least turbulence in mid-channel right up to Whirlpool Point.

Slower vessels arriving at the end of a flood can take advantage of a back eddy along the Stuart Island shore up to Kellsey Point. From there, if conditions are safe, cross to the Sonora Island side of the channel (where the north-going ebb current begins early) and continue to Gillard Passage.

The Yuculta Rapids are a sort of catch basin for debris flowing from the other passes. Some pieces of wood may be submerged below the top layer of fresh water that flows from Bute Inlet. Debris not buoyant enough to be supported by this freshwater layer can sink to the denser saltwater three to six feet down, so keep a sharp eye for deadheads and other wood bobbing just below the surface.

Strong currents really get under way in the area opposite Whirlpool Point (or Outhouse Point, as locals call it). Three streams converge on the flood to make the area opposite Big Bay one of the most turbulent and confused pieces of water anywhere on the BC coast. Combined with a mix of fresh water from mainland rivers and streams, especially in late spring, these currents and overfalls are impressive.

Dents Okisollo RapidsBecause the water also turns 90 degrees between Yuculta Rapids and Gillard Passage, large whirlpools and holes form east of Gillard Island during flood conditions. The area southeast of this island is especially dangerous during large flood tides, as is the area between Jimmy Judd and Gillard Islands. The flood set is very pronounced onto the west end of Jimmy Judd, and this area between the two islands is also where the current will be strongest.

We usually like to be in Gillard Pass at the onset of the ebb but if you find yourself still battling a lot of flood current, an alternate route north is to proceed across the mouth of Big Bay and navigate east of the 15.8-metre sounding in Barber Passage, which runs slightly slower than Gillard Passage.

Proceeding north from Jimmy Judd Island, arrive with Little Dent Island to starboard and the ebb under way. On a strong flood, Devils Hole, a turbulent and aerated section of water south of Little Dent Island, can be a frightening spot, but on an ebb the stream is much more consistent because there is nothing to deflect the flowing water. If you find yourself riding a faster ebb than you have planned, stay in the middle of the pass to avoid the set to Tugboat Passage with its dangerous rocks.

Once you are clear of the Dent Rapids – that is, west of Little Dent – steer north of the shoal patch marked as 6.4 metres depth about a half-mile northwest of the QR light on Little Dent. There can be lots of turbulence here on an ebb.

Transiting the Dents southbound is usually an easier proposition; they turn to flood 15 to 25 minutes before Gillard Passage, enabling you to ride the early flood south. Devils Hole should not present difficulties for most powered boats early in a flood.

Yuculta and Dents Map

The main difficulties at the Dents occur during strong floods as a result of the tremendous wrenching Little Dent Island gives the tidal stream at the northwest tip of the island. This forces a major deflection of current over to the Sonora Island shore which in a large tide gives tardy southbound boaters (such as ourselves on one occasion) the appearance of the edge of a waterfall as it actually drops onto the back eddy east of the QR light. If you are going with the flood, favour the Sonora Island shore until you are well past Dent Island.

The area around the Yucultas and the Dents offers numerous spots to wait for the next slack or spend the night. They include Big Bay public dock on Stuart Island, the Dent Island Lodge Resort on the small islands east of Dent Island (a reservation for overnight moorage is recommended) or the anchorage in Mermaid Bay.

By William Kelly

Photos and maps by Ocean Cruise Guides

Lifestyle

  • Prev
My name is Alexandrine GOVAN, mother of a 5 years old girl and I found your contact on internet. ...
John Booth, who passed away just a few weeks ago was one of the most amazingly gifted and ...
We left Vero Beach on Saturday morning with Alicia, a boat from Sweden, following close behind. The ...
At the end of last month, Canadian sailors gathered on the Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain ...
In 2019, C-TOW celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing 24/7 “Peace of Mind Boating” for ...
West Vancouver Yacht Club reports that following an independent certification process the Georgia ...
It has been hot in the Abacos this winter. Whoever said this area was cool this time of year must ...
Unfortunately this is not a picture from a boat but was taken on the evening of February 27, 2019 ...
On March 1, Tom Ramshaw of Stoney Lake Yacht Club was honoured with the most prestigious National ...
Vero Beach, aka Velcro Beach, lived up to its reputation again. Our original plan was to be there ...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
If you’ve spent any time in a boat yard during spring commissioning season, you won’t find it out ...
As a busy marine mechanic, I tend to have the same or similar conversations often, and they’re ...
This time of year, great deals abound. That boat with the ‘for sale’ sign looks quite attractive. ...
For less than US$2,500, Jim Leshaw, a lawyer who lives and works in Key Biscayne, Florida, ...
Each spring, I tend to notice canvas. I wish it was because it’s been immaculately maintained and ...
I’ve had two emails over the past few weeks with a count-down to launch (47 days per the last ...
Last time we looked at making proper electrical connections – the tools, supplies and methods ...
Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is ...
When a boat is in the water, the bilge will often collect water that enters the boat from weather, ...
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...

Valvetech Bridgewater MarinaFor many years now, we have used gasoline in our cars and trucks that contains some amount of ethanol, a form of alcohol, and just as a few drops of water combine almost instantly in your Scotch, moisture from the atmosphere can combine with the ethanol in the gasoline that is in your boat’s fuel tank.

Your motor vehicle has a sealed fuel system to control evaporative losses that are a source of air pollution. Fuel is moved into the engine under pressure and any drips that might escape, drop onto the pavement. The engine is open to the pavement below. In an inboard boat, the hull is below the engine and any drips will collect in the bilge with potentially explosive consequences. 

Read more about gasoline containing ethanol......

 

  

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
The Canadian Yachting test crew last week had the opportunity to run the Bavaria S36 HT at St ...
ILCA is seeking new builders to complement its existing network of manufacturers, the International ...
Nelson Gilbert (1854-1921) began building canoes in Brockville in the 1890s, a time when the sport ...
I have heard a lot of talk lately about trends in yacht clubs where senior membership is getting ...
To get you in the mood for cruising the Boat Show then launching in spring, here’s a boat that ...
Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking ...
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...

Grand Banks 60 SkyloungeThe Canadian market has always been a tough nut for yacht designers to figure out. Summer days get really hot; other days are downright cold. There is always the chance things could change in the blink of an eye and let’s be honest, who among us hasn’t stepped off the boat wearing shorts, flip flops and a warm jacket? Canadian yachting has always been a world of contradictions, which is why designing cruising yachts for this market has never been easy. It’s not like Florida or the Med, where weather is dependable throughout the year.

 

 

Read more about the Grand Banks 60 Skylounge............

 

ILCA DinghyAustin, Texas, USA (25 April 2019) – In the wake of last month’s termination of its contract with its European builder, the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) announced today that, from 25 April 2019, all new, class-approved boats will be sold and raced under the “ILCA Dinghy” name. This change will have no impact on existing ILCA-authorized boats and equipment, which will be able to race alongside ILCA Dinghies in all class sanctioned events.


“It’s a big change for a racing class that hasn’t seen anything like this in our almost 50- year history,” said Class President Tracy Usher.

Read More about the ILCA Dinghy............


The DocksBy Katherine Stone

Docks are well-lit and wide to accommodate dock carts.

Steeped in tradition that goes back to one of the oldest towns in Canada west of Quebec City, is Penetanguishene. This bilingual community of 9,000 is located in the middle of Huronia on the southeasterly tip of Georgian Bay in Simcoe Country, Ontario. The name is believed to have been derived from Algonquin (also believed to have come from the Wendat, Abenaki and Ojibwe tribes) meaning “place of the white rolling sands”. 

Read more about the Hindson Marina..........

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
Edited by the Quebec Marine Association under the direction of L'Escale Nautique (producer of the ...
Blue Guard has announced the general availability of the BG-One, a solid-state bilge pump switch, ...
With the introduction of the Ion Power Basic, a safe Lithium Ion battery formulated with Lithium, ...
Finding a car brand that you enjoy while it does what you need can be tough, as they can be ...
Yikes! No boat refrigeration? You’ve Got to be Kidding me!! But then again, true campers don’t use ...
The Walker Bay Venture 14 claims to be the world’s first luxury Explorer Sport Tender. It is ...
Mercury Marine is pleased to announce the launch of the new MerCruiser V8 6.2L 370hp Jet Ready ...
My history with the Cayenne goes back many years, as I was at the launch of the original vehicle ...
Last month, Mercury Marine has announced the launch of the 400hp Verado outboard engine, the ...
Featuring advanced, intuitive 3D controls, Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control Systems deliver a more ...