Sunday, May 28, 2006

2006.23.38 - James Island Circumnavigation

Today, we headed out to Island View Beach. South of Sidney, it's a rocky launch point, especially at low tide. And that's what we were facing: an ebbing tide, with a strong breeze forecasted. On arriving, the wind was absent, and we decided on a long paddle.

This was our largest group yet. After a couple of weeks away, Alison came out of hiding to paddle, and Dennis, now recovered from his West Coast trek also came along, joining The Usual Suspects, Paula, Louise, Bernie and myself. Also along for the trip were Louise's friend Tracy and her friend Maureen. We decided on a circumnavigation of James Island.
Our large fleet heads out!

Tracy and Maureen took an early lead in their longer and faster boats...
...but the rest of us kept up (nearly)!
Me First!

Bernie's back was a little sore so he and Dennis decided to go to the south tip of James Island and beach so Bernie could stretch it out. They planned to meet us on the other side of the island, but they ended up having quite an adventure of their own. (But whatever happens on Brokeback Island stays on Brokeback Island.)

The Obligatory Self-Portrait.

We continued on to the north. We were going against the tide, hoping that when we went around the island we'd catch a break with the currents coming back.

We finally reached the northern tip of the island and swung around. (That's a Washington State ferry in the background.)
Turning Point

The north side had some nice sandy beaches and shoreline. What it didn't have was a cooperative current. The tide turned around just as we did. Lucky us. So we spent the return trip also fighting against the current. And the wind came up, too. Yay.
It was turning into the longest paddle ever for some of us. A stretching stop was in order.

The yellow plant all over this cliff is called broom. It spreads like crazy and chokes up anything else that tries to grow. Broom was imported and is not native to this area. (When I was a kid, my mom used to say the same thing about broom not being native to my bedroom).

Now's here's something interesting... there's a wonderful but steep beach on the backside of James. You can see the flow patterns that the water running off the beach. These patterns are similar to patterns found on Mars and lead scientists to believe water once flowed over its surface.
James Island:

Oh, look! More geology! Check out the layering in this cliff at the south end! (You just thought this was a plain old Kayaking blog, didn't you? You didn't think you'd actually be learning stuff!)

After a long four hours, the last hour a tough slog against wind and currents, we made it back to shore.

Bernie was especially pleased that I didn't take any pictures of him doing something goofy.
Oh my god! It was THIS FREAKIN' BIG!

My pictures are here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

2006.22.37 - Brentwod Bay: 15 Minute Island

A coolish kind of day that threatened rain that never came.
We ventured out to Brentwood Bay to do some splashing.
After our trip to Paddlefest a couple of weeks ago and the recent opening of MEC in town, many of us are outfitted with new stuff. Here Louise models the latest in kayaking attire.
What the Well Dressed Paddlers Are Wearing This Year

Bernie headed out quickly but the ferry cut him off.

Paula was eager to go paddling, too.
Paddling Paula

I, of course, remained calm and dignified.

We decided to head out to what we call "15 Minute Island." In our previous visits here we've often considered crossing to it. In an earlier paddle from Coles Bay, we approached it from the north. Bernie said we could make it to the island. "It's only 15 minutes away!" After a further half-hour of paddling, it was still 15 minutes away. But today, we decided it was time for this island to enjoy its 15 minutes of fame.

15 minutes later....

Finally, we get close.

Bernie gets really close.
Boatin' Bernie

We decided to go around the island to see what we could see.

The first thing we saw were some birds: a heron and a pair of turkey vultures.

We continued forward and around the first point...
At Rest
...where we found a seal lazing on the rocks.

We carried on around.

On the northern shore, we found lots of sea life in the water: fish, crabs, sea stars, jelly fish, and rhinos. Well, just one rhino. A small one. With a little horn. Okay, okay, there was no rhino.
15 Minute Island

There were lots of geese around, and most of the geese were very loud today. They were really honking us off! This one just would not shut up!

Here are some sea stars along with some things that Paula called "jelly goobies." We don't believe that that is the correct technical term.
Purple Gooblely Things

Bernie finally made landfall. He went ashore and proudly uttered the traditional phrase that generations of kayakers have said when making landfall on a new shore for the first time: "I claim this planet in the name of Mars!"

We heard a loud splash behind. I thought, "Oh, I guess Bernie's fallen out of his boat again. That seems normal." But it wasn't Bernie. We were being followed around the island by a pair of seals. Here's one of them.

Bernie found a new way to sit in his boat.

Time to head back! A great day paddling!

My pictures are here.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

2006.19.34 - Vancouver Island Paddlefest 2006

Saturday was a gorgeous day! And we headed up the island to Ladysmith for Paddlefest, an annual kayaking and watersports show.

Would you trust this man driving? Some did and lived to tell the tale.

Ladysmith on the bay.

"Oh, look," said Louise and Bernie....


Paula and Bernie argue over how many kayaks they can fit into my van. (Apparently it will be my job to create a distraction.)

There were lectures, display booths, boat trials and contests. For instance, you could try firing a harpoon gun at the kayaks. First person to hit a kayak won a kevlar PFD. Paula liked this contest waaaaaay too much.

But seriously folks, Bernie did win a hat.

There was something for everyone here, even me!

Kayaks as far as the eye (or camera lens) can see!

Bernie tried this kayak trailer from Tony's Trailers. By coincidence, Bernie just happens to be pulling a Pamlico 100, the same model boat as his own. He said it was very easy to tow and ride around on.

Now here's something interesting. This kayak has a clear bottom so you can see the rocks as you scrape your hull along them. I suppose you could also look through the bottom at sea-life in shallow shores. The skirt also had a see-through panel. What a great idea!

And a fun time was had by all!

2006 YTD: 19