I have kayaked and paddled Indian Arm in North Vancouver several times and a week ago my friend and I embarked on our day paddle up the arm. A little later than we wanted to we got on the water around 10 in the morning and made it up to Silver Falls for lunch. We then noticed the winds changed quite quickly and it was time to get moving. We definitely hit the anabatic winds on the way back - not my first time, but definitely stronger than any other time I had been out!
Always stay close to the shoreline in a kayak - if you were to go swimming, swimming distance from the shore.
Any crossings should be thought out and quickly executed with kayaks staying close together.
Understand the winds. In Indian Arm you have the following winds:
Anabatic (inflow) Winds:
These summer winds are very predictable on a sunny warm day. Typical to any fjord or inlet an afternoon wind picks-up and blows from the south up Indian Arm. These winds can surprise inexperienced paddlers who travel 1-hour north up Indian Arm and find they have to paddle back into a head wind when they are already tired.
During late fall, winter and early spring strong, cold outflow (northerly) winds can whip down Indian Arm and create treacherous conditions. During these winds there are not many sheltered areas.
Know the tides for the day.
Take a lesson! The sea can get angry and it is good to know what to do in a situation where you may otherwise not know what to do.
Right now there are some great Groupons available and this one is right out of Takaya Tours in Cates Park in North Vancouver!