Skookumchuck Narrows

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For other places with the same name, see Skookumchuck (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 49°45′20″N 123°55′20″W / 49.75556°N 123.92222°W / 49.75556; -123.92222

Sechelt Inlet, with Skookumchuck Narrows highlighted and Sechelt Rapids circled.

Skookumchuck Narrows forms the entrance of Sechelt Inlet on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast in Canada. Before broadening into Sechelt Inlet, all of its tidal flow together with that of Salmon Inlet and Narrows Inlet must pass through Sechelt Rapids. At peak flows, whitecaps and whirlpools form at the rapids even in calm weather. The narrows are also the site of a Skookumchuk Narrows Provincial Park.

Each day, tides force large amounts of seawater through the narrows—200 billion US gallons (760,000,000 m3) of water on a 3-metre (9.8 ft) tide. The difference in water levels on either side of the rapids can exceed 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. Current speeds can exceed 16 knots (30 km/h),[1] up to 17.68 knots (32.74 km/h).[2] Although it is sometimes claimed to be the fastest tidal rapids in the world,[3] Norway's Saltstraumen reaches speeds of 20 knots (37 km/h).

The tidal patterns keep the water moving at virtually all times in the narrows area, which attracts a plethora of interesting sea life.

The unrelated B.C. town of Skookumchuck is several hundred kilometres east in the East Kootenay region of the province. Another location bearing this name, Skookumchuck Hot Springs, is on the Lillooet River east of Whistler. All locations take their name from Chinook jargon for "strong water" and the term is common in maritime jargon for any set of strong rapids, particularly those at the mouth of inlets.

Skookumchuck Narrows at high tide

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park, BCParks
  2. ^ Calculated with WWW Tide and Current Predictor, Sechelt Rapids, British Columbia station
  3. ^ Skookumchuck Rapids, ProfessorPaddle

External links[edit]