Ripple Rock

Comments: We steamed through Seymour Narrows early this morning and anchored later in the Pearse Island group to stage a couple of scuba dives. Pearse Island is located halfway between the very well known dive site at Stubbs Island and Telegraph Cove, the whale watching capital of B.C. (and sure enough, we got to see 4 orcas westbound in Johnstone Strait this morning as well as some very speedy, agile and acrobatic Dall’s porpoises close to Telegraph Cove).  Steaming through Seymour Narrows is usually quite interesting and I am comfortable taking the Nautilus Explorer through with up to 8 knots of current on the tail. I can tell you that we have seen some very impressive whirlpools on some passages.

Seymour Narrows is a heavily-travelled pass between the north and south ends of Vancouver Island and the current can rip through at up to 20 mph!! Passage was much more difficult in the old days when dreaded Ripple Rock (or Danger Rock for those fans of SeaHunt and Mike Nelson) jutted up in the middle of the narrows. A major mining project was undertaken in the late 1950’s when a tunnel was excavated from Maude Island, under the narrows and then up into Ripple Rock. The tunnel was packed with THOUSANDS of tons of explosive and was the largest non-nuclear explosion in the world when they blew top off Ripple Rock! We have a video on board the Nautilus Explorer produced by C.I.L. (the manufacturer of the explosives) and it is fascinating to see the scale of the mining operation, underground railway cars and all. I certainly wouldn’t have been steaming through the narrows on a strong ebb tide in the old days!

–Captain Mike


Weather: Sunny, temperature in the mid 70’s, light winds, calm seas

Water: Water temperature 46°F.  Visibility 20 feet.

By Nautilus Staff

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