Typical Multi-Day Trip Preparation

posted Apr 1, 2012, 4:04 PM by Richard Sevenich   [ updated Apr 2, 2012, 2:42 PM ]
Most of our multi-day trips are lodge based, so checking out and readying the camping equipment is not part of the scenario. Nevertheless, there are a number of tasks I consider typical:
  • making two packing lists (generally based on preexisting lists from prior trips)
  •     kayak related - equipment, clothing, and accessories
  •     everything else
  • gathering appropriate maps and charts
  • creating a data book
  •     tides
  •     currents (if applicable)
  •     gps coordinates (for selected points of interest)
  • making a list of contact information and itinerary details for distribution to friends/relatives
Note that making a list of gps coordinates is accomplished by using the appropriate chart(s).

I then plan day trips for each day, fully aware that such pre-planning will often be upset by other variables such as weather and the current wishes of the paddling group on that day. Even if nothing of a day's plan comes to fruition, this pre-planning exercise reveals opportunities, exposes potential issues, and establishes a familiarity with the territory that is quite valuable for the actual planning that subsequently occurs each day during the trip.

As an example, let's say we're staying at Discovery Islands Lodge and would like to do a day trip to the Octopus Islands. For the group's skill level this requires traversing Surge Narrows near slack, either a little before or a little after - to take advantage of the current. In particular, the current ebbs NW i.e. toward the Octopus Islands (and floods SE, of course). So I can look at my data book and find a day with two convenient slack times, one for the way to the Octopus Islands and the second for the trip home. These will be roughly 6 hours apart; the first needs to occur at a time that meshes well with our start time (it takes roughly 30 minutes to get to the narrows from the lodge). Further, we time it so we get a boost from the ebb current, which either ends or starts at slack, as indicated in the data book. Similarly, later in the day when we return toward the lodge, we time hitting the narrows so we get a boost from the flood current which either ends or starts at slack, again as indicated in the data book.

Another example, would be to tour the Settlers Group Marine Park, quite near the lodge (again, maybe 30 minutes). We would want to do this when the undersea critters would be most visible i.e. near low tide. The data book would provide various possibilities, since there are two low tides each 24 hours. Since it's a nearby destination, there is considerable flexibility.

The conditions for the first example are more stringent - essentially you need the first slack to occur at a convenient time in the morning. There may be just one such day in a multi-day trip. So foul weather might require canceling that particular day trip, so a protected exposure backup would be smart, if feasible. For the Discovery Islands Lodge venue, there is the possibility of spending the day paddling in Quadra's Main Lake Provincial Park. That's also a nice last day's paddle because it gives your now salty kayak a fresh water bath!