Flash Back Fridays

STRATHCONA WILDERNESS TESTS METTLE – They call it the Whale Rock 1981

No one knows why for certain, but it does resemble a huge humpback lurking just below the waterline in the lower reaches of Campbell River.

It’s a major obstacle for white-water runners, along by Rosie’s Hole and just below the BC Hydro dam and the trick turn required to pull into Stick Eddy further downstream.

A group of kayakers demonstrating a river rescue—teamwork

A group of kayakers demonstrating a river rescue—teamwork

Paddlers can play it safe with the Whale and keep well to the right, or they can play the odds and barrel through with the main current on the left and lean hard into the next turn. Not everyone makes it. But today the Whale claims no new victims; the dozen young paddlers from St. Michaels University School manage to avoid its bulk without taking a swim.

The kayakers are one of five groups from the Victoria school testing their mettle in the wilderness areas of central Vancouver Island as part of St. Michaels’ an- nual grade eleven out trip at Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre. Another group is learning the basics of white-water canoeing on the Campbell, two oth- ers are touring Nootka Sound and Friendly Cove on the west coast by canoe and on foot, while a fifth troop attempts the summit of Mt. Albert Edward, the third highest peak on Vancouver Island.