Recently I took a half day course with PaddleToTheCore to link together my skills for paddling around tidal current flows. To define the term, these are locations where river currents and ocean tides (along with geographical features) meet to make some pretty distinctive and fun (and potentially dangerous) paddling. In short, these result in strong current and standing waves.
Mount Stewart is nearly home to the headwaters of the Hillsborough River. Between an old train bridge and a road bridge, a dramatic narrowing in the water path, along with river current, and tide changes, made for a fun and relatively safe place to learn how to play around current flows.
One thing we learned in terms of timing your outing correctly, is that high tide in around Mount Stewart happens two hours after the high tide charted in Charlottetown. We noticed that at one point, the dominant current flow went inland (from rising tide), then became slack water, and like all things cyclical, started flowing the other way. That was our time to play.
We started learning to link together sweep stroke and edging techniques so that when you presented your boat to the strong current, edging down stream caused the kayak (or canoe) to arc into the current for thrill ride in the froth.
Next we learned how to use boat angle to effortlessly ferry across from one side of the current flow to the other. Needless to say, all of us (sans the instructors) took the occasional dip into the water. We were asked to wear helmets, and it was a good call because on one occasion, once I was buoyed by my pfd, my head was banging on the bottom of my kayak hull.
Finally we put all the skills together to learn how to enter the current, facing upstream to catch the sweet spots of the standing waves. it was amazing how effortless it was to hold your position while seeing the maelstrom all around you.
The small body of water between the bridges made for a pretty distinctive location, once the tidal flows started running. With the mix of currents, a giant eddy force sweeping out from either side of the outflow causing a recirculating action, such that if you couldn’t get yourself back into your boat, chances were good that you would be eventually fed back into the flow for another go round. Great spot, but go with a buddy!
Heading from Charlottetown, take Route 2 toward Souris. It takes 25 minutes to get to the turnoff for Mount Stewart to the right. There is a great little spot at the corner where the gas station sells food for your lunch. Alternatively, The Trail Side Cafe is open on the weekends for fantastic lunches. The road from the turn off, once it passes the Trailside cafe, goes over a bridge. There are a couple of let in options on either side of the bridge for your boat. Upriver is to the left. The hillsborough River flows back toward Charlottetown, and makes a great (calm) day trip.
(a) Click Wiki Edit This Page to get placed in edit mode
(b) When finished, your update is available to view as draft (click wiki update pending in trail to see draft)
* note: editors are notified and must approve the change