Chatterbox Falls

Malibu Rapids


If you think the San Juan Islands are beautiful try the Gulf Islands or even further into Canada. There are a lot of great scenic places. Many can not be reached except by boat and then very carefully. I have written about swift currents in Canada and sometimes just the tide going in and out of inlets can cause rapids. Living in the Sierra between the north fork and the middle fork of the American River I'm aware of good sized rapids but swift water and large rocks are the cause for their turbulence. In the ocean, however, it can be caused by just the tide passing through narrow inlets. Malibu Rapids is just such a place. You really want to go through during slack times or at least close to slack. Having not been through the Malibu rapids before I called on my VHF radio to a boat that was going through the rapids and asked if I could follow him through. He replied yes and that he would stay in the middle of the rapids. There is also a policy that before you enter you call on channel 16 and say which way you are going so that you do not have to pass a boat going the other way. When I went through I went through about 30 minutes before slack. There were about 2 foot waves and a current of about 4 knots so I just kicked up the power and plowed through it. On the way out I did not do that as going with the current you can't power up because you are being pushed and have difficulty keeping control.

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Chatterbox Falls

Once past the entrance you break out into beautiful turquoise water that appears to be a lake. This inlet has huge walls of tree covered cliffs with waterfalls everywhere. After just a short 4 miles you come to a large dock right next to Chatterbox Falls. We thought that was great. By tying up to the dock we could have easy access to walk Taz (our dog) and walk right up to the Falls. But as soon as we pulled up there was a ranger telling us that our boat was too large to use the dock. The dock is limited to 55 feet or smaller and ours is a 58 foot boat. So we had to leave on the dock and try to find some other place. We went back about 2 miles where there were mooring buoys but all 5 were in use. So we went back to the Falls and anchored right in front of the cascading water. We had to move in real close to the shore as the bottom drops off to over 400 feet within just 100 feet of the falls. The water coming off the falls holds the boat so that it does not swing around. This was a great experience as we stayed for two days. We took the dinghy down and rowed to shore to take Taz for his walks. We also had the opportunity to follow some of the trails. For those that are in good shape you can go to the top of the mountain. I would suggest that you wear good shoes.


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