Sunday, July 29, 2007

2007.17.81 - Cordova Bay

I don't know why this day is called Sunday. It makes no sense -- every week, the last day of the weekend comes around and there's no sun. Calling it "Sunday" seems to be a great mistake. It should be called "Cloud Day" or "Dark Day" or "Rain Day." Maybe it should be called "Gloom Day" -- no, that's better suited for Monday.
Anyway, another unsunny Sunday greeted us as we put in to paddle at a new launching point for us, Cordova Bay. The launch was at the end of a steep path, and with the low tide and the sand bar, it was a long way to the water.
This is not on our list of favourite future launch points.

It was Louise, Alison, Dennis, Paula and myself today. Bernie begged off -- something about getting a free hang glider.....

There wasn't much in the way of sea life today, at least at first. Dennis was out in his new Advanced Elements 13' foot inflatable kayak, and his new carbon fiber paddle. It's a shame that Dennis had an accident on this trip. Strangely, although his body was never found, all his new gear was recovered intact....
But seriously, Dennis really likes his new boat. And if he gets into the trouble on the water, rescuers can be told to look for the giant inflatable banana. It should be easy to spot.

See what I mean?

We paddled south towards Mount Douglas Park.

Here we pass Cormorant Point, so named for the complete and utter lack of cormorants adorning it. Undoubtedly it was named by the same guy who came up with "Sunday."
Around the Rock

We passed a small island and turned around. That's when Louise started calling out. "Hey! Hey guys! There's something under my boat!" We had just been watching some of Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" programs and no doubt this was going through her mind as some sort of sneaky shadowy shape slowly slipped stealthily under her boat.
"Shark Week" crossed my mind too, and I whipped my camera out! I wonder what they'd pay for pictures of a shark attacking a kayak?

The shadowy shape turned out to be a baby seal that took an interest in Louise and her kayak. We didn't see mommy seal anywhere, much to Louise's relief, as mommy would probably not be pleased that Junior was hanging out so close to humans.
Louise reports:
"We went around the point and into a bit of a bay with lovely houses. As we paddled by the point a couple told us they had just seen a young seal swim away.
We reached a little formation of rocks and started to turn around, I was a bit a head of Allison and Dennis with John and Paula still coming along to turn around. I looked down into the water and saw this strange "rock". It wasn't a rock at all! The next thing I knew a seal pup was beside my boat and I was looking down into its eyes. It swam under the kayak and came up on the other side, swam around to the back and then came along side me again. This time it barked at me and stayed for a few minutes. By this time everyone else had caught up to me and it swam behind Allison's kayak for a bit, then came back to me, but upon realizing there were a lot more people it swam off. I only hope it has found its mother as we couldn't see any other seals around.
John tried several times to get a photo of it as it was around my kayak for some time. He thought he hadn't captured it but in fact he had!!"

Baby Seal
It moved off after a few minutes. Hopefully Junior and Mom got together again.

We returned past Non-Cormorant Point.

Dennis was waaaaay too relaxed in his new boat.
Relaxed to the Max

As we loaded up the kayaks, I spotted a deer across the road.

The End!

My photos are here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

2007.16.80 - Thetis Lake Paddle Fun Day

We've had four days of cloudy and rainy days no doubt due to my having four days off. I'm sure when I go back to work on Tuesday, the sun will be shining and it will be a warm and wonderful day. But today was cloudy though the rain held off, so we're off to Thetis Lake.

Bernie make fire....and sausages....

...and Alison, Paula and Louise enjoy breakfast.

The distraction of a hot breakfast on the beach allowed me a chance to get on the water first. (I've never been distracted by food. Really.)

As we headed out, there were a lot of swimmers in the water. "It's sad," Bernie noted, "that some people just can't afford kayaks."

We found some lilies.

We had a nice quiet paddle around the lake.
Across the Lake

Bernie thought he saw a turtle swimming underwater. I saw a glimpse of a mink or an otter. We also saw some turtles on the same log that we did last year. But this time, the turtles scrambled into the water long before we got within camera range. We also fished a few pop and beer cans out of the water, but I found the strangest item of all under the water: a purse with a rock in it. Clearly someone didn't want it found, and a trip to the local police to turn it in after our paddle was added to the agenda.

When we got back to shore, we were met by the Keetley Krew: Leslie, Darren, Thomas and Jeffrey.

Leslie decided to embark on her own personal Paddlefest. Here, she tries Louise's boat.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey found a way to get rid of his brother. And Bernie.

Later, Jeffrey got rid of his body and became just a floating head.

Then Leslie headed out in Bernie's boat....

....and then she tried Alison's boat. She tried every boat on the beach, including some that didn't belong to us. But I won't include any pictures of that -- I don't want to embarrass her.

She would have tried Paula's boat, but Paula was practicing a two-person rescue with me.

Another fun and wet day.

My photos are here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

2007.15.79 - MEC Paddlefest

It's a nice sunny Sunday, and time to get on the water.

A local kayak store held a demo day today, so instead of the usual Sunday paddle, we enjoyed a day of paddling other people's boats.

There were mostly Seaward Kayaks to demo. Louise started off with a Cosma TX, a thermoformed plastic kayak...

...while I started out in a Tyee XT, a longer thermoformed boat. We find them slightly tippy at first but that feeling soon passed. My boat was deep and with a big cockpit, which is something I need due to my shoulder injury. Getting out of a boat can be a bit of a struggle.
Overall, we liked the boats, but we had two big issues. First, the seats suck. We hated 'em. (To be fair, I took it out again later, and was able to adjust the seat so that it was better. Not acceptable, but better.) Also we both noticed the sound of running water while we were paddling, like someone had left a tap open somewhere below the decking. It was very strange and disconcerting.

Paula tried a Silhouette and hated every second she was in it. She truly hated this boat. "Hate" might not even be a strong enough word. "Despise" only begins to broach her feelings about this boat. In fact we didn't notice a single person who liked it. One poor woman spent five minutes trying to get in it (and falling into the water) before giving up on it.

Then Paula tried the Luna which she much preferred.

Meanwhile, Bernie headed out in this Chilco which he enjoyed.

Paula and Louise tried this tandem and loved it. It has a huge storage capacity. They want to take it on an expedition sometime. They figure that it is so fast that they could beat Bernie and I to the landing site, set up the camp, and have food waiting for us by the time Bernie and I arrive. (At least, that's the way I remember hearing it.)

Paula (who tried every boat on the beach at least twice) tried this Ascenté and liked it a lot.

While Bernie was trying this Intrigue, I paddled the fiberglass version of the Tyee that I had tried earlier. What a difference! It paddled like a dream, the seat was comfy and it had great initial stabilization when compared to the thermoformed version. I talked to the Seaward rep about it and he said that he finds that thermoformed are too "slippy" in the water. Now, some slipperyness is a good thing, but he thinks that thermoformed boats go a little too far. Add to that the extra stiffness you get in a fibreglass boat, and he still thinks glass is the way to go.
I'd have to agree that at the very least the fiberglass Tyee gave a much cleaner and stable ride than the thermoformed version. But despite them both being the same model, I had a devil of a time getting out of the fiberglass version. The cockpit seemed just a little smaller, and this was enough to make it a real chore for me to get out of it.

Bernie tried the Silhouette, too. He hated it.

Time to save money! Need more boats!

My photos are here.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

2007.14.78 - Canada Day Paddle

A bright and sunny Canada Day morning greeted us as we put in at Willows Beach for a paddle out to the Chain Islands.

It was Tracy, Paula, Louise, Bernie and myself today. We enjoyed our paddle through the Chain Islands on the way to Discovery Island last week that we decided to visit the Chain Islands again and putter around all the islets.

The ladies set the pace....

...while Bernie and I lagged behind...

...and behind us, this ferry boat crossed our wake. None of us have ever heard of this ferry, the Victoria Express, and we were a bit surprised that it came this close to the shore. And look at the wake it's kicking up! Good thing that it's behind us and we don't have to cross it!

Oh wait, it's heading towards us! Bernie and I had two different reactions. He decided to try and outrun it (and maybe even surf it), while I decided to face it and ride it out. I don't think either of us had faced a wave this high before.
Paddle, Bernie! It's Gaining!

Here it comes!

Needless to say, we survived. In fact, my boat rode the waves so well that I didn't even get a drop of water on my deck. By the time it got to Louise, Paula and Tracy, the wake wave had become a lot less threatening. Soon we were in the Chains.

The eagles didn't seem to be around today like they were last week, and I guess the seagulls were happy about that.

But there was still the occasional eagle watching our little party exploring.

Bernie headed up a little channel and found something interesting...
Gather round, Bernie's Found Something

... a sea cucumber.
What Bernie Found

And, too soon, it was time to head back.

My photos are here.