Student Answers

From “Leadership Scenarios” Module.

Please read over the answers your fellow students gave to these questions, and then write your comments in the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post. Reference the answers by indicating the question # and colour, i.e. 1. Red – your comments.

REFERENCE: Questions are here and repeated below in black.

1. Given the currents and tides are as follows, what is the best way to get a group with two guides, one Level 2 guide and one AOG guide, through Porlier Pass in order to camp at Dionisio Pt. Provincial Campground, the bay just south of Dionisio Pt. (Photo 1). There are 2 doubles and 6 singles in the group. What formations will you use to get around Race Point and what safety measures will you take? You are coming from Wallace Island and it will take you at least 1.5 hours to get to Alcala Pt. Choose the time you will arrive at Alcaia Point and then proceed with how you get your group safely to their next campsite. Explain fully.

1. Formation: the group will stay together in a pod, with the level 2 guide at the front, and the AOG guide as rear sweep. Before leaving camp in the morning, and once again as Alcaia Point is approached, clients will be advised of the various hazards: rocks, currents, landforms, and potential boat traffic. They will be told the plan for getting from Alcaia pt to Dionoso. They will be instructed to maintain formation.

Adjusted for daylight savings, the most practical time for going through Porlier is around the slack tide period at 11:10am. Using the slack water rule, current will be slowest for (60/8.4kts =) 7 minutes on either side of 11:10am. So ideal time window is 11:03 – 11:17

Distance from Alcaia Point to Dionoso Point is appr. 1nm. Given a modest paddling speed of 2kts, it will take 30 minutes to cover this distance (given no current). If we reach Race Point at slack (11:10), we will be paddling against a diminishing Ebb until that time, and be paddling with an increasing flow after that time. A little extra time should be allowed for the Alcaia-to-Race section to allow for paddling against the weakening ebb current.

To be at halfway point (appr. Location Race Point) at slack, the group should be leaving Alcaia pt at about 20 minutes before slack – ie: at about 10:50am

The route will be significantly to the right of the centre of channel to avoid other traffic, and to keep the distance as short as possible, but far enough away to avoid bays and points where strongest eddies may occur.

  1. In this scenario there are two guides and ten clients split between 2 double and 6 singles. You are leaving from Wallace Island, which is not on the map, but is 1.5 hours away from Alcala Point. The route from Alcala Point to Dionosio Point Campground is approximately 2.5 nautical miles (using 1:12000 scale and a ruler). For the sake of this scenario, lets say that you are travelling at approximately 1 knot. This means it will take about 2.5 hours to travel between Alcala Point and Dionosio Point. Given the potentially turbulent conditions through the pass, the best route to take will stick closely to the Galiano coastline. Along this route, there are a number of spots where back eddies may form given the right tidal conditions, notably at Race Point and Virago Point. We know that Race Point can have dangerous conditions both during the flood and during the ebb, so we will want to hit this point as close to the turn as possible. There are also shallow waters southwest of Virago Point which may have turbulent waters as water gets pushed up. 
  1. Considering this information, I would have a safety briefing with the clients either the night before if we are camping or the morning of the paddle. I think it is important that they know that some of the waters we will be travelling through can be turbulent and dangerous at the wrong times even though we will travel through them at the safest times possible. It may also be useful to go over as a group what will happen if someone capsizes so everyone is prepared for that possibility. In order to hit the area around Virago and Race Points at around the turn to flood at 1010, I would plan to leave Wallace Island at 0800, arriving at Alcala point at 0930. The max current during this flood is quite high at 8.4 knots. We don’t want to paddle with clients in anything over 3 knots. Since the period between the turn and the max is about 3 hours and 20 minutes long, we will have under an hour on either side of the turn to make it from Alcala Point to the other side of Race Point (about 1.4 nautical miles in a total time of ~1.5 hours). When paddling this section, we will stick very close together, within one boat length, in order to ensure clear communication. One guide will travel at the front and one at the back to ensure that if someone tips, we can respond immediately. Once around Race Point, we will maintain the same formation and remain vigilant, but there should be fewer potentially hazardous waters because the coastline is less complex and the pass widens. Given the short time frame we have to paddle through the area in relatively low current, we might consider just eating lunch at Dionisio Point campground (arrival around 1100), and clients will be encouraged to stash some snacks in their cockpit or lifejacket pocket.

2. What happens if a single-tips while you are going around Race Point? Discuss how the rescue will be performed and how and where the group will be positioned.

2. If a single kayak tips, the level 2 guide will assist the rescue, while the AOG guide will stay with the rest of the group in close formation. If towing of the wet client is required, this will be done by the level 2 guide, in formation with the rest of the group, and the group will proceed to Dionoso.

2. There are two guides on this tour, so one will take point on the rescue and the other will take point on group management. Given the turbulent conditions on this point, we would want this rescue to be performed as quickly as possible and so the Level 2 guide with more experience, may want to take the lead on the rescue. The guide managing the group will encourage everybody to raft their boats up facing the incident. This guide will stay between the group-raft and the tipped boat. The guide doing the rescue will paddle over to the tipped boat and once they have grabbed the tipped boat, they will encourage the swimmer to grab the bow of their boat. The guide will then perform a TX rescue, emptying the boat of as much water as possible before flipping it back over again. The guide will then stabilize the capsized boat and get the swimmer to perform a rear-deck corkscrew re-entry. If the swimmer struggles to re-enter the boat on the first try, the guide will pull out a stirrup to assist them. This rescue needs to be performed as efficiently as possible to avoid the swimmer getting too cold and in order to avoid the strong current coming up later in the day. If we are able to, I would consider stopping at a beach once we are around Race Point so that the swimmer can change into dry clothes and warm up a bit.

3. The following day, June 22, you are leaving Dionisio Campground. (Currents and tides are above) This time you have only one guide with one double and two singles. What time will you leave and how will you deal with your group formations getting around Race Point? How will you get everyone around on the ebbing tide?

3. On June 22nd, tide turns (from ebb to flood) at 11:37am PDT, so 11:30am would be a good time to be at Alcaia point. This allows for paddling time a 2kts, plus provides a little more allowance so that more time has the diminishing ebb assisting from the stern, and less time with the increasing flood from the bow.

Once again, the group will be kept in tight formation. The guide shall take the lead.

Once again, I would do a safety briefing with clients in the morning before heading out going over some of the hazards we may face, how we are mitigating risk, and what we will do if someone tips or there is another emergency. To avoid the strongest currents, we will want to time your paddling around Race Point and Virago Point close to the turn. The most reasonable turn to time this to would be the turn to flood at 1037. Since there are roughly 3 hours and 20 minutes between the turn and the max current of 8 knots, and you don’t want to travel with clients in current over 3 knots, it would be wise to time the paddle around these points within just under an hour of the turn (so from around 0945 – 1115). Since the distance between Dionosio Campground and Race Point is just under 1 nautical mile, I would leave the campground at 0900 to get to Race Point at around 1000 (assuming a speed of ~1knot). Since the tide is ebbing before the turn, we may be moving more quickly, with the current behind us, and we may move more slowly after the turn as the current will be moving against us. Going around Race Point as the only guide with one double and two singles, I would travel at the back of the group so that everyone would be in my line of sight at all times. I would emphasize the importance of sticking close together through this section in the morning and again before we round the point to ensure clear communication and efficient rescue are possible. If the tide is still ebbing as we round Race Point, we would have to avoid the north shore where there can be dangerous waters and we might consider paddling a bit further offshore to avoid this.

4. What happens if one client tips in as you are rounding Virago Pt.? Discuss how you will be dealing with the group as the only guide. (Current and Tides for June 22nd)

4. If 1 client tips at Virago pt, the rest of the group will be told to stay together. They will be reminded of the next meet-up point in case they get separated for any reason (ie: Alacaia pt). Once the rescue is performed by the guide, he/she will regroup with the others. He/she will tow the rescued client if necessary.

Coming around Virago Point, there are some shallow sections and kelp beds which may cause turbulent water with current as it is pushed up and over the ocean floor from below. Once one client tips, as a single guide, I would communicate to the non-tipped group members that they need to raft up facing the tipped boat within two boat lengths so that we are still able to clearly communicate if we need to. I would then paddle over to the tipped boat and swimmer, grab the boat, and encourage the swimmer to grab my bow. In this scenario I am assuming that a single tips. I would perform a TX rescue, tipping the water out of the boat and righting it. I would then bring the boat alongside mine and stabilize it, walking the client through a rear-deck corkscrew re-entry and using a stirrup if required. Once the client is in the boat, they can put their skirt back on and pump out any other water if necessary. We would then go join the raft, check in quickly with the group, and continue paddling. If possible, when safe and out of the area of high current, I would stop at a beach to get the client changed into dry clothes and warmed up a bit. 

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