Seymour Passage Inlet - 1985

In April of last year, I responded to a topic on “Suffering Needlessly” with a link about a trip that my friend, Randel Washburne, undertook in the mid-80’s. Some of you may be fortunate enough know Randel. If you were a kayaker in the “70’s – “80’s you probably heard his name. He was very influential in the Northwest kayaking culture and he wrote some books that are still in publication plus a series of articles about his adventures that had very limited distribution.

You don’t have to be familiar with Seymour Inlet in British Columbia or with Randel to appreciate his account of suffering through a bad idea any more than you needed to know Mark Twain or the Mississippi River to appreciate reading “Tom Sawyer”. With Randel’s permission I have made available some of his trip reports including the “Seymour Inlet Portage”, AKA “The Portage from Hell”. Consider it a trip report for someplace you will never go and if you have a bit of time to spend and enjoy reading please take a look.


Scary looking country. You better have a tide table buddy and know how to read it. When the tide is running the channel buoys are under water. There are whirlpools and dead head logs floating around. Some places like this have seen dynamite over the years. I went through Deception Pass once in a 42 foot power boat and we just motored through all of that current.

Eight knots is pretty common, 12 knots is a lot. Sometimes with king tides it is even higher. People show up in river kayaks to surf the swells. The name Seymour Narrows is pretty famous in the PNW.

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