Sechelt Sunshing Coast Kayak Touring and Information
Paddling Sechelt Inlet
The name “Sechelt” comes from the name of the native town “Se-shalt” which means “place of shelter from the sea.” It is a fitting name for this inlet, protected from the Georgia Strait’s open waters on all sides by mountain landscapes. Paddling through the inlet, you will have the pleasure of taking in rugged B.C. wilderness as well as ancient First Nations territory.
Within Sechelt Inlet are several gems worthy of your attention. The first place to stretch your legs, not far out of the Sechelt launch site, is in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park where you can relax on the bay’s expansive sandy beach. Here those curious about the life cycles of British Columbia’s lush temperate rainforests can take in a second-growth forest made up of trees such as the Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, Maple and Western Hemlock.
Moving on into the inlet, you will pass areas that Sechelt First Nations people have called home for many millennia. You will eventually come to Nine-Mile Point, where Sechelt Inlet meets Salmon Inlet. At this point there is evidence of the Sechelt Band’s ancient presence in the form of petroglyphs, artistic rock carvings. Like Sechelt Inlet, Salmon Inlet is sheltered and gorgeous and birdwatchers might be drawn here due to the abundance of eagle spottings. Unfortunately, many paddlers opt to pass by this inlet because of a lack of campsites and excessive logging. It is an unfortunate truth that there is more visual evidence in this inlet of recent logging activity than there is of the ancient Sechelt presence.
Paddling further into Sechelt Inlet, just beyond Salmon Inlet, you will reach Kunechin Point Provincial Marine Park. This is interestingly a haven for scuba divers who come to explore the HMCS Chaudiere, a ship that sunk here in 1992. The reef created by this wreck makes the water here especially rich with sea life. IF you packed your mask, it’s worth a dunk to see what sea creatures are hanging around.
Paddling back into the inlet you will eventually reach Storm Bay, which opens to the Narrows Inlet. Storm Bay was once a popular escape for hippies and you may see some run-down shanties that have been left in their wake. Narrows Inlet is a much better inlet to explore than Salmon Inlet. The mountains rising on either side of the water are impressive but not so steep that you can’t get out and explore them on foot. In the rainy season, this inlet may greet you with myriad waterfalls. The inlet’s sheltered location makes for a gentle paddling experience but there is one fun rapid to run at around the halfway point. Tzoonie Narrow flows at a maximum of 4 knots and can be tackled by the most inexperienced paddlers but serves as fun change of pace for those making their way through the tranquil Narrows Inlet waters.
Although it is not recommended, those who want to see real rapids can continue paddling north into Sechelt Inlet. The Sechelt Rapids run through the tightest part of the Skookumchuck Narrows. These rapids are created by the tidal exchange between Sechelt Inlet and Jervis Inlet and they are impressive in force. Unless you have expert paddling skills, stay away unless a guide instructs you that it’s safe to cross. To beginners these rapids are dangerous, at times reaching 14 knots and rising to 16 feet.
Learn more about Kayaking the Sechelt area with Kits Kayaking Tours