The Nicomekl River Row. August 7th, 2015.

Nicomekl River RowThe rowing plan for the Nicomekl River is to ride the tide upriver, the low low was at 6:10am, 1.4m/4.6′. The low high is at 12:50pm, 3.2m/10.5′ and then ride the tide/current down, the high low tide is at 5:30pm at 2.6m/8.5′.  The tide will only drop 60cm or 2′ during the day.

I print out three Google Earth Views of the Row.  This is the first leg of the row:

Nicomekl River RowI also have a topo map and the blueways map from the city of Surrey:( Nicomekl River RowIt shows the Nicomekl River Surrey Floating Nature Trail.  The trail goes from Blackie point to 184th Street.  I am going to launch at the Crescent Beach Marina and row up river as far as I can get in five hours and row down (the faster way) in three.  I ballpark the trip as 16 km each way.

Nicomekl River Row

I launch Gwragedd Annwn at the Crescent Beach Marina and park the FJ & trailer in their lot.  I row away fromt the dock at 9:35am, just a little behind schedule.

Nicomekl River RowThe marina boat launch ramp.  realistically one boat at a time.

Nicomekl River RowThe turnstyle railroad bridge over the Nicomekl River.  The bridge is now open for vessel traffic.

The track goes North along Mud Bay to Surrey, between Surrey and Delta to New Westminster.

Nicomekl River RowI leave Crescent Beach Marina behind.  There is a current up the river.

Nicomekl River RowHeading South, the railroad goes along the White Rock waterfront to the Peace Arch Crossing.  I remember to turn on and reset the GPS.

Nicomekl River RowLooking East up river.

Nicomekl River RowI row up to a piling to check the current.

Nicomekl River RowThe current is heading upstream.

Nicomekl River Row           The  GPS shows 1.1 knts flowing upriver.  I should make good time.

Nicomekl River RowThe marina fades to the West.

Nicomekl River RowAs you can see in Gwragedd Annwn’s wake, there is a slight breeze going upriver.

Nicomekl River RowChannel marker.

Nicomekl River RowLooking North.  It really does seem wildernessy here.

Nicomekl River RowThe marina at the Historic Stewart Farm.

Nicomekl River RowThere are a lot of pilings along the shore here.  I row in to investigate.

Nicomekl River RowThis is where Chantrell Creek enters the Nicomekl.

Nicomekl River RowI row into the creek estuary.

Nicomekl River RowThere is a walking trail just on the other side of the bank.

Nicomekl River RowI push on, trying to go as far up creek as I can.  I wish the tide was higher.

Nicomekl River RowThe channel ends in several pools.  I explore each one.

Nicomekl River RowThis side channel to the West is too shallow to go up.  The Google Earth photo shows that Chantrell Creek comes from this branch.

Nicomekl River RowThe side channel to the East is too shallow too.  It is navigatable at high tide.

Nicomekl River RowA large meadow(?) seems to go along up the creek.

Nicomekl River RowI row back out and pick another side channel to explore.  This one heads West, but the Google Earth picture shows it deadending.  I Look to the East.

Nicomekl River RowIt is hard to tell, but Google Earth shows this channel going to the river and it may connect well enough for Gwragedd Annwn to return to the Nicomekl.  I back down the channel in case I cannot turn around at the end.

Nicomekl River RowLooking more or less south.

Nicomekl River RowI do not know what made this hole.  Looks pretty slimy.  Might just be some sort of outflow.

Nicomekl River RowThe channel continues to the North.  Those are sailboat masts on the dock.

Nicomekl River RowA birdhouse in the marsh.

Nicomekl River RowThere are thousands of snails in the water.

Nicomekl River RowMore Snails.

Nicomekl River RowThe channel turns to the East and runs along the pilings along the shore.

Nicomekl River RowWorking my way East.

Nicomekl River RowThe sailboats at the dock.

Nicomekl River RowThe channel is getting narrower all the time.  I am glad that the tide is still rising.  Thisis as far as I can go…The channel is too shallow and narrow to continue.  It does not look as if it reconnects to the Nicomekl.

Nicomekl River RowBack out the way I came in.

Nicomekl River RowComming around the bend back tot he main channel of the creek.

Nicomekl River RowI rowed out, along the pilings and the shore, between the boat dock and the river bank..The little side channel did not connect up with the Nicomekl.

I did speak to a woman on the dock as I rowed past, who told me that she and her friends could see my hat moving along the marsh, and the occasional oar as I poled myself along.

Nicomekl River RowThere is a boat launch here, shallow water.  I could have launched here.  It is shown in the blueways map.

Nicomekl River RowThis big house under construction is on Crescent Road next to Nico Wynd Drive.

Nicomekl River RowThis boat dock is off of the Nico-Wynd golf course.

Nicomekl River RowThere are a lot of boat anchored in this wide bend in the river.

Nicomekl River RowI row past “Maple” one of the boats tied up to the golf course docks.

Nicomekl River RowAn orange cone marks the edge of the dyke.

Nicomekl River RowFirst view of where Elgin Road crosses the Nicomekl.

Nicomekl River RowWell this is dissappointing. It is not a bridge, it is an impassable dam.

Nicomekl River RowGwragedd Annwn pulled up on the beach by the dam.  Elgin Road runs along the top of the structure.

Nicomekl River RowI walk down to the upstream side of the sea dam.

The river is controlled by sea dams located just south of  King George Boulevard under Elgin Road. The dam consists of gates which open when tides are low to allow fresh water to flow to Mud Bay.  When tides are high, the gates prevent brackish (salt water) from migrating up the river into farm land.

Nicomekl River RowLooking East upriver from the dam.  The bridge carries King George Blvd.  I have no way to get Gwragedd Annwn down to here.

Nicomekl River Row               I check the water level on this side of the sea dam.  It reads about -1.2 meters.

Nicomekl River RowI walk over and back to Gwragedd Annwn.  I will check the level on this side.

Nicomekl River RowThere is a gauge on the seaward side of the dam.

Nicomekl River RowLooks to be reading 0.8 meters.  That is about a two meter differance.  I guess the sea dam works…but not for rowing.  I recheck the blueways map.  It shows that there is a “walk in” launch here.  I guess one seaward and one landward.  There is no portage for Gwragedd Annwn as I do not have a portage cart for her and she is too heavy to carry up to and across Elgin road, and down to the river again.

Nicomekl River RowI begin the return row home, leaving the barrier behind.

Nicomekl River RowAnother Gauge.  It readings do not correspond to the sea dam’s ones.

Nicomekl River RowA boathouse on the East shore.  It is off of 40th Avenue.

Just past the boathouse, I see what I think is a small dolphin or porpose.  I get out my camera but it does not surface again.  You will just have to take my word for it.  

Nicomekl River RowA blue heron on a small float, anchored in this wide bend in the river.

Nicomekl River RowAn anchored powerboat.

Nicomekl River RowThere are a lot of dinghies on the shore, beside 40th Avenue.

Nicomekl River RowClose-up of the pretty clinker one.

Nicomekl River RowA fellow rowing to his boat.   I actually have to row a little more off of the shore, as many dinghies are anchored with a line to shore to pull them into shore for loading and out to the mooring for waiting.

Nicomekl River RowA heron on the shore.

Nicomekl River RowThese are some sort of daisy.  I could sure smell them.

Nicomekl River RowThe wind has picked up from the South-West.  10.4 km/hr.

Nicomekl River RowRowing back along the North shore, I row into an inlet and explore.

Nicomekl River RowWhat is that structure in the back?

Nicomekl River RowIt is the remains of a shed roof.

Nicomekl River RowOld pilings.

Nicomekl River RowLooking back out towards Nicomekl river.

Nicomekl River RowThere are several of these islands/inlets on the North Shore.

Nicomekl River RowI row here to explore and because the wind is lighter.

Nicomekl River RowThe end of another inlet.

Nicomekl River RowBack in the river again, rowing downstream, into the wind.

Nicomekl River RowAs I near the train bridge a train appears.

Nicomekl River RowThe swing bridge is closed, much to the chagrin of the sailboat.

Nicomekl River Row The McGregor heads back up river.

Nicomekl River RowIt is a long train.  I row beside the trestle bridge while I wait for the train to end.

Nicomekl River RowEmpty coal cars?

Nicomekl River RowThe end of the train.

Nicomekl River RowI wait around a bit for the bridge to open but it does not.  Another train expected?

I back in to the boat launch, beside “A” dock.  The row is over.  Now to pack up Gwragedd Annwn and drive home.

logo Lighthouse parkI will have to figure out a way to get past the sea dam or launch on the other side of it.  Time for some reconnoiter trips in the FJ.

Good rowing,


2 Responses to The Nicomekl River Row. August 7th, 2015.

  1. Mike Quinn says:

    Did you figure out a way to get past the sea dam or launch on the other side of it, Mike?

    • Hello Mike,

      No, I did not. I did go to the upstream side of the dam. It would be difficult, but you could launch there. Gwragedd Annwn is a little on the big side to get down to the river.

      I am going to be building Phil Bolger’s Fieldmouse design (Small Boats, chapter 14, page 68), an 7’9″ pram style dinghy. Light enough for me to put onto my roof racks. Meant for calm waters only.


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