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Fraser River Exploration - Kirkland Island Circumnavigate
Timestamp Free: 2020.09.25 - 03:34:48
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range
  (1 days)
Participants: Betsy Waddington, Robin Tivy
Difficulty: 2: Most effort was initial crossing of Fraser against the flow of river. Good to have fast canoe or kayak. Could make it easier by coordinating with incoming tide.
An exploratory canoe trip in our back yard.
[photo]1_Fraser.jpg[caption]One of many channels - this one behind[/photo] We are always looking for somewhere new to explore that isn't too far a drive. So we came up with the idea of exploring the hidden channels in the complex of island around Kirkland Island in the Fraser River, just south of Richmond. Using GMap we we found a boat launch near Steveston. We drove down there and soon were underway in less than 3/4 hour from home. How simple. We were navigating using a combination of Android apps like OSM and BackCountry Navigator. What we experienced doesn't show on any map we had. You can't visualize the channels from the 1:50,000 map because it just shows them all as intertidal, but when you are there, they are certainly solid islands at least in late August. And the satelite doesn't show them either.

The Fraser has three main "arms" at the delta: North Arm, Center Arm and South Arm. These arms themselves split into separate channels south of Vancouver. The North Arm splits to go around Sea Island (Vancouver International airport). The South/Center arm splits at Kirkland Island which is just downstream of where the Massey tunnel goes under the river. Downstream from there is a cluster of seldom visited islands, starting with Kirkland Island, then Gunn Island, Barber Island, Duck Island and Woodward Island. This cluster of Islands is the topic of this report.

Maps: It is a challenge to understand at a glance how these islands fit together. They are all fairly low, and at very high tides some may flood. The GMap satelite map is the best representation of what you actually experience when traversing the channels. However it is missing the names of two of the biggest islands: Duck Island and Woodward Island. The 1:50K map has the names, but only shows the...

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