Out-of-the-Way-Places on the David B – Yuculta and Dent Rapids
One of our favorite out-of-the-way routes in Canada’s Inside Passage goes through Yuculta and Dent Rapids. The approach to these twin rapids must be timed just right.
In the evening before going to bed, Capt. Jeffrey will open up his book of current tables then ask me, ‘Can you hand me a note pad, I need to double check what time we’ll get underway tomorrow.’
‘Sure,’ I say handing him the paper. It only takes a couple of minutes to do the calculations, but he likes to double check the tides and the currents just to be on the safe side.
‘If we get there at the right time, the Rapids will be really disappointing,’ Jeffrey tells folks as we pass Harbott Point on one of our Northbound Inside Passage cruises.
We’ve been away from Bellingham for two and a half days now and Jeffrey’s been busy working up the suspense of ‘making it through’ these fast moving tidal streams.
‘The water in Yuculta and Dent can run up to 7 knots when the current is flowing at max flood or ebb,’ he explains, as we leave our previous nights anchorage in Desolation Sound’s Prideaux Haven, ‘All that water’s trying as hard as it can to get through the narrow passages we’re about to go through. As the water moves faster it makes whirlpools, over falls and standing waves. You really don’t want to be there at the wrong time.’
With so much cold, fast running water, the area is also rich in nutrients and the islands surrounding the rapids are teaming with wildlife. Last May I counted 89 bald eagles in the approximately 4-mile stretch from Harbott Point on Stuart Island through the rapids to Hall Point on Sonora Island. Besides the eagles there were also 11 Stellar sea lions and tons of Bonaparte Gulls.
Two years ago on a southbound trip we arrived at Hall Point; I looked out the door of the pilothouse and saw two or three splashes. Jeffrey and the Mate, Sean were in the pilothouse as well as one of our passengers, Trish.
‘Hey Guys! There are a bunch of Pacific White-Sided dolphins out here!’ I shouted.
‘Look over there! ‘Sean or Trish called out with fingers pointing to Sonora Island. ‘Are those orca whales over there?’
Sure enough, near the steep walls of Hall Point were a pod of orcas fishing for salmon. Like us, the dolphins and orcas were waiting for slack current. It was magical. The morning sky was bright blue and all around us the whales and dolphins were feeding.
When the time came and current went slack, Jeffrey turned the David B towards Dent Rapids and safely guided us through Dent, the Devil’s Hole, and Yuculta rapids.
Besides the beauty of this route and the amazing feeling to be surrounded by orca whales and dolphins, a truly special thing about cruising through lesser known routes and out-of-the-way places like Dent and Yuculta Rapids is that they are inaccessible to the mega cruise ships.