Living the dream on a Nordhavn 40

X-Mas at Sucia Islands
X-Mas at Sucia Islands
  • Capt. Eric

Malibu Rapids

We had checked our tide calculations many times, and with boats exiting and entering a few miles ahead of us, we knew now was the time for our own transit.

The passage is very narrow, and forms an "S" where you must navigate behind a small island, close to shore, around rocks before finally coming back out in a left turn. All going well with minimal current.

We arrived around 09:15, on a remaining outgoing tide that a couple previous boats had kindly estimated at just over a knot. We made our "Securite" announcement on VHF radio to warn other boats that we would transit inbound and proceeded in. The passage is narrow, so it's best to transit one boat at a time, especially for vessels in opposite directions who just don't have a lot of room to cross. Much easier to remove that headache and use VHF radio to transit one boat at a time.

There isn't much traffic overall, but almost all boats have the same wishes of transiting at slack tide high water, so that creates a little rush of activity around these times.

Checking one last time that we could see no standing surf in the rapids, we proceeded in.

Green marker is already behind us. Squeeze behind the island

A little current at the entrance of the rapids

We found about 1 knot current against us, a nice combination for me as it slows your speed on the ground (the speed at which you'd hit a rock if you botch your navigation and chart reading) yet keeps your maneuvering abilities intact with the rudder responding to the speed of the water on it.

With all charts on the passage, I followed the deepest parts very carefully, making sure I stayed away from the shallower parts, even if they were deep enough for us at the moment. No point taking shortcuts, let's just stick to the deepest parts of the rapids all the way through.

And next thing you know you're out of the rapids

We squeezed through that

And were rewarded with more magnificent views

After leaving Malibu Rapids behind us, we continued on to Chatterbox falls, all the way to the end of the inlet.




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