Stories about the Blue Cave on North Tollgate Island are legend with local sea kayakers, and, the more Doug and I heard about the Blue Cave, the more we wanted to paddle inside. Last Saturday, the conditions seemed like they might be favourable for paddling into the Blue Cave and so we sent out a general invitation to the local kayaking crew, and six of us, headed out from Wimbie Beach to have a look.
The wind was light, but an easterly swell of 1 to 2 metres was running and the tide was high. We paddled through the gap between the islands, and looped around to the north end. The little bay on the east side that we had ducked into last time was closed out with surf right across the entrance and none of us ventured in.
John and Jillian were in a long double kayak and thus had the perfect excuse for not going into the Blue Cave. Paul and Jayne hung off shore, I got in as close as I could but the narrowness of the cave and the swells washing in also scared me off.
We paddled through the easy little gauntlet on the north side of the island, and Doug and I poked into a long narrow gutter with a cave at the back that goes right the way through the headland. John thought that a plastic boat might just make it through, but I'm pretty sure the dry ledge at the back would tear up even a plastic kayak.
Back through the gap between the islands, I found another gauntlet up against the cliffs at the east end of the south island and had an exciting transit through. The waves when I got right in seeming much larger than they had from the relative shelter of the bay, but, at that point going forward was much easier than going back.
Around on the south end of the south island there is another impressive arch that goes right through the headland. This one has a higher roof than the tiny one on the north end, but the bottom is only covered during big waves. I don't know if anyone has ever paddled through it. There were big waves washing out the sheltered side on this day, but, if you could get through it would be really cool.
Everyone seemed to have things to do in the afternoon so we paddled back to Wimbie Beach. Again, we didn't get into the Blue Cave, but, we paddled some new gauntlets and gutters, and explored a bit more of the beautiful Tollgate Islands.