Friday, June 17, 2016
From Teakern Arm we headed into the Broughtons. Our first stop along the way was Dent Lodge. This area is home to many narrow winding channels where tons of water is forced to rage through. It is only safe to enter these areas once every six hours when the tide is slack. It's not something you can fudge. You have to go through during a window of slack tide or else the tidal waters will swallow you whole. Lots have tried and not made it.
We were there on a huge, super-moon spring tide, one of the biggest of the year. At Dent Lodge they offer jet boat rides so you can view the rapids and they were promising a spectacular experience with such a high tide. I thought it was going to be a viewing trip where we sat there in a peaceful boat watching the rapids from a respectable distance. It seemed like a good opportunity to see the rapids at full boil so we could develop a healthy respect for them. What I didn't realize is that the driver was going drive us into the heart of the rapids like a crazy person. We all piled into the boat with our life jackets in hand and took our seats. The driver made some jokes about how this was only the second time he's driven the boat as he spun cookies in the bay, a little nauseating but no big deal. He then punched the gas and all of a sudden we were going what felt like light speed, all the while telling us about the scariness of the rapids. He then maneuvered us up onto a standing wave on the edge of the rapids. It was insane and awe-inspiring how much water was moving past us. And super scary. He then told us about the whirlpool that forms in the middle where the water is 400 feet deep and how every person who has been lost there has never been found. Ever. So you have tons of ocean water raging through with the tides and water from cavernous depths churning and boiling into a heinous mess of terrifying scariness. Guess where our next destination was? That's right...to the man-eating whirlpool. He then careened us around the mouth of the swallow-us-whole whirlpool over and over again. I swear to God, I have never been so terrified in my life. To play with the power of those forces felt like sacrilege. It felt like we were just toying with the powers of Mother Nature and it felt so wrong to me. Everyone else had a good time though.
He then showed us two more sets of rapids that didn't look so bad after witnessing the hell mouth. As a consolation prize to those of us who were white and shaking, he showed us a rock full of seals. Two of them were playing footsie with their flippers so it made it all worth it. He then brought us over to where hake fish get churned up from the depths and become eagle food. Being a deep water fish they get stuck up on the surface and are easy to catch. I've never seen so many eagles in one spot before. There were dozens in the trees and there was a constant dive-bombing of eagles everywhere. It was pretty cool. Finally he turned us around and headed back towards the lodge. I am happy to report that we safely made it back to the dock without dying.
Click here for photos.