Dodd Narrows is at the northwest end of Mudge Island, separating Mudge Island from Vancouver Island, about 33 miles (53 km) southwest of Vancouver and 6 miles (9.7 km) southeast of Nanaimo, British Columbia. The Narrows is named after Charles Dodd, a ship captain and fur trader with a distinguished career in British Columbia and Alaska. Dodd came to the Pacific coast in the employ of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1835, and, by 1845, was captain of the SS Beaver, the first steamship to operate in the waters around Vancouver Island. Dodd Passage and Dodd Rock, near Port Simpson, B.C., are also named in his honor.
Mudge Island is one of the Southern Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia, and is about 0.50 miles (0.8 km) wide and 2.5 miles (4 km) long. It lies between Gabriola Island to the north and Vancouver Island to the south and west, and is considered part of the De Courcy Islands. The island is named for William Fitzwilliam Mudge, an officer on HMS Plumper under Captain George Henry Richards. Richards surveyed and named many of the islands and other features in the area in 1859.
The timber industry in Nanaimo requires a constant supply of logs transported as timber rafts from distant cutting operations. Timber rafts are used in Southeast Alaska and the Pacific Northwest to transport whole logs by water cheaply. Timber rafts can be of enormous proportions, sometimes up to 2000 feet (600 m) long, 165 feet (50 m) wide, and stacked 6.5 feet (2 m) high. Such rafts contain thousands of logs and tugboats are used to pull and maintain control. The timber rafts arrive from many locations in British Columbia, some are occasionally transported through Dodd Narrows, and then temporarily tied up along the shoreline of Gabriola Island before the logs are processed at a mill. Read more here and here. See a short video of a log raft pulled by a small tugboat here. Explore more of Dodd Narrows here: