Thursday, June 29, 2006

2006.27.42 - Elk Lake

Another Thursday practice session on Elk Lake. When we arrived, we faced the typical early evening Elk Lake breeze and chop, but once we got in the water the wind died off and the water flattened out. Even the ducks were happy with the change!

Tracy was first in the water (and first in the drink). You can see that it's still a little bumpy on the water.

Louise hit the water next. There were a couple of other kayak groups out (Peter from Pacifica had a paddle group out), as well as lots of swimmers. There were also a few people who had rented paddleboats on the water.

Tracy is either jealous of Louise's Delta and is trying to pull her out of it, or is assisting her in learning how do a roll.

Paula displays excellent form as she gets into her small inflatable-- ow! Paula-- ouch-- stop hitting me, Paula!

Karl and Stephanie head out for a paddle while the rest of us practice not drowning.

Tracy's help obviously paid off as Louise finally mastered a roll! Well, the first part, anyway. Louise tipped and had to do a wet exit. She also performed a self rescue!

In this series of award-winning photographs (2006 Buckeye Newshawk Award), Paula tries tipping then re-entering her kayak.
She found it very buoyant and hard to tip...
... but with a little effort...
... she found herself swimming.

She tipped twice. The first time, I helped her with an assisted rescue, but the second time...
... she scrambled in by herself!

She decided to celebrate by standing on her boat. (Take that, Dennis!)

Yes, even your intrepid reporter took a turn in the drink!

Meanwhile, Stephanie had discovered a new way to either rescue a swimmer or perform a vasectomy at sea.

My photos are here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

2006.26.41 - Blew Lagoon

Talk about history repeating itself...
After my dunking in the Chatham Islands (see here), the wisedom of dry clothes suddenly became apparent. The next week, everyone had bought dry bags and packed spare clothes and towels.
Now, after last week's trip through the fog, everybody's got a compass! :)
On to this week's paddle!

The Infamous Esquimalt Lagoon!
Okay, so it's not very infamous. Hardly at all, really. But this morning found us on its shore, and ready to paddle. A mixed bag weather day. Sun, cloud, and an offshore breeze that kept us on our toes.

Bernie heads out in Paula's boat, as Paula was unable to attend. (Any excuse to use a bigger boat....)

Louise heads out.

Karl and Steph head out, too.

The last time we were here, we played in the lagoon then headed out for some playing in the ocean. Today we put in on the ocean side and decided to head west along the coast towards the gravel plant.

Past the plant, the shoreline had a nice beach, but the cliff made it unrealistic to use as a launching point.

Bernie is clearly excited about something. Too bad none of us can remember what it was.

Are we heading into a park?

Yes, we are! Beach access, road access, and even what looks like a small river. What a great spot! The only problem is none of us have any clue which park it is.

The river shallowed quickly, so Stephanie decided to see where the river went.

After consulting a map later, we discovered that we were at Albert Head Lagoon Park. Easy to get by road, it looks like a great place to launch from. It fact, we're planning a day-trip from here to Witty's Lagoon and back in August.

Karl takes some pictures of turkey vultures.

There was a family of geese and geeselings, er, goslings.

This looks like an old water line of some sort, perhaps an old sewer outfall.

This was really a beautiful little spot. We hung around here for about half an hour.

But finally, it was time to head home.

At least one of us had a good time! :)

My pictures are here.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

2006.25.40 - A Foggy Day off Cadboro Bay

Wow, a day full of surprises! The first surprise was a pair of deer in Paula's back yard! Paula can't ever remember deer at the house. This was a little disconcerting, as Paula lives about a block away from a major street (Shelbourne Street), but the deer soon ambled on their way away from the busy traffic.

Then we got to Cadboro Bay: surprise number 2 -- a low tide. Not just an ordinary low tide, but an über low tide. This is as low as low tide gets in these parts.

And now surprise number 3 -- fog! In spite of it, Tracy, Louise and Paula gear up.
Gear Up

We couldn't miss a paddle on such a wacky day as this! We decided because of the fog to stay close together and hug the north shore of the bay, then turn north at the point and go towards the light house. If we went slow and kept in visual range of each other and the shore, we should be okay. We'd have to be careful -- maybe more surprises were coming!
The Three Amigos

This heron was grounded -- nothing was flying in this fog!

The fog made everything look a little surreal. Places that we have paddled by many times before look very different and mysterious.
Foggy Day

Adding to the strangeness was the low tide. What looks like a small gravel beach in the picture below is usually a small channel between islets that we often paddle through. It's hard to say for sure, but I'd guess that the water level was at least two metres below the usual low tide mark.

Another example of the extreme low tide. These boulders are usually totally underwater.

We continued on through the fog, eventually arriving at the lighthouse.
Paula in the Fog
Kayaks in the Fog

Hmmm. Is that something on the lighthouse?
Paula and the Lighthouse

Yep, it's an eagle. This guy must be local. He's always around when we go paddling in this area.
Eagle in the Fog

There was a real danger of being totally disoriented in the fog. Here's what looks like a snow-capped mountain in the distance. The only problem is that there is no mountain there. I'm not sure what it is. If we'd returned after the fog had lifted, I'm sure we'd never have found this spot again.

Some geese came out to play.

Then ghostly shadows surprised us in the mist.

A flotilla of sail boats from the nearby yacht club swung by us, dipping in and out of the fog.
Flotillas in the Mist

We had reached shore when Louise spotted the last surprise of the day. "Is that my old boat?" she asked.
Finally, that %$#^ing Fog is Burning Off

Yes, it was! Out of the fog came Stephanie in Louise's old plastic Dagger.

And then along came Karl in my old boat. As it turns out, they had left the beach a few minutes after us, but they went south instead of north.

Naturally, the fog lifted just as our paddle ended.
Are We Having Fun Yet?

A great paddle ends with a big smile.
Happy Paddler

My pictures are here.