Saturday, August 11, 2018

Cruising the Chuck to Johnstone Strait

Passing through Seymour Narrows.
Another week of warm weather, blue skies and calm seas drew up back out in our Bayliner. Here in Coastal BC we call it going out on the chuck, or salt chuck. Chuck is a Nootka First Nation word for water. Add the English word salt and you get a term for the ocean.

To reach our destination we had to plan carefully to get through Seymour Narrows, a constriction between Johnstone Strait and Discovery Passage on the east side of Vancouver Island.

Through the narrows.

Seymour Narrows is affected by tidal currents up to 15 knots. This creates a dangerous condition except at slack water when the tidal direction reverses. Large cruise ships and tugs towing large loads time their passage along with smaller power and sailing boats.

The narrows is 5 kilometres long and 750 meters wide. During slack it's like a congested freeway that doesn't seem so roomy when shared with a large log boom or a massive cruise ship.

A unique breakwater of tanker cars and huge tires.

After dinner at April Point Resort and an evening at the nearby Campbell River Discovery Harbour Marina we set out early in the morning to catch the low water slack tide. With no wind, it was an easy passage to our destination for the night, Browns Bay Resort.

The marina at Browns Bay Resort.

We chose this destination because Johnstone Strait is well known for salmon fishing. Just north of the resort is a popular spot for trolling and jigging for salmon. After checking in and finding our slip we headed to the Floathouse Restaurant for dinner. Fresh steamed clams, mussels and prawns along with a crisp Caesar salad were a perfect choice.

The floating restaurant at Browns Bay Resort.

With full tummies we headed to the fishing grounds. You can't always be lucky, but we did catch great views of cruise ships heading for Vancouver at high water slack through Seymour Narrows.

A passing cruise ship heading for Vancouver.

Late at night we watched a large fish vessel dock up at the Browns Bay Packing plant. The next morning it offloaded its catch. Salmon is big business in this area, both recreational and commercial.

A fish boat at Browns Bay Packing.

We got up early to fish once again. Again, no luck. But any day fishing is better than any day doing anything else. It was only thirty minutes after the tidal turn so we headed back south through Seymour Narrows. I'm sure we'll be back to fish again, and a great meal at the Floathouse.

At our slip in the Browns Bay Resort marina.

If you don't have a boat you can visit Browns Bay Resort by car. They have an RV park and tent sites, and cabins and floating suites if you want to stay overnight. While you are there, you can arrange for adventure tours and fishing expeditions.

Today is Sky Watch Friday. Go to the Sky Watch Friday website and you'll see sky photos from all over the world!

A new meme is All Seasons. Stop by and take a look. -- Margy


  1. When I was a kid, a Nootka woman taught me (or tried to teach me) how to say "chuck" in her language. It's tonal, and the rising to falling vs. falling to rising versions mean "salt chuck" or "fresh water". Or vice-versa; I never got them straight in my head, to the great amusement of my teacher.

    1. That must have been a great way to grow up. I missed many such experiences growing up in the big city. - Margy

  2. You have the most marvellous adventures!!!

  3. Beautiful photos. I love the idea of eating on the floating restaurant!!

  4. Thanks for teaching us a new word! Looks like a great time out on the water and that breakwater is certainly unique!

  5. My taste in seafood is limited, but I do like salmon - interesting to know the packing company might be one of the sources of the salmon I enjoy! This is the second blog post I have read recently that has mentioned tides and slack water - I am so intrigued by this complexity in navigating waterways. Glad you enjoyed your trip even though you did not bring home 'the big one'.


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy