Sunday, February 17, 2008

2008.04.97 - Bluster on the Harbour

Once again, the weather forecast was somewhat misleading. It was forcast to be sunny and clear, but it was cloudy and windy instead. But we were planning to go up the harbour into The Gorge, so we would not be going out into open water.

It was Pebbles, Louise, Paula and myself today.

We headed into the wind...

...and towards Ocean River Sports where Bernie and Marlene were joining us in a rented double.

We headed under the Bay Street Bridge and carried on up The Gorge...
Under the Bay Street Bridge

...and under the Trestle Bridge.
Selkirk Trestle

We didn't see much in the way of wildlife today, but we did see something that you don't see on the water every day: a floating leather sofa. The tide was ebbing and the current carried it away, perhaps even out to sea. (Kids, remember that when you're encountering sofas in the wild that they are generally scared of humans and won't bite. In fact, they're just as scared of you as you are of them.)
Sofa, Ahoy!

We paddled up Cecelia Ravine, a small creek that runs into The Gorge that we've never explored before. At low tide, this is mostly a mudflat and a good place to spot herons and other birds, but we were here at high tide and there weren't many around.
The Gorge

We tried, but we couldn't go up very far. It dead-ended under Gorge Road.
Cecelia Ravine

Marlene was having a good time. She very quickly figured the secret to paddling in a double: relax and let Bernie do all the work.
The Gorge

As I said, not much in the way of wildlife today. But we did see this really gnarly tree.
Gnarly Tree, Dude

The wind died down and it was time to head back.

My pictures are here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2008.03.96 - Paddlin' 'Bout the Bay

Saturday was supposed to be a decent day for paddling, so we decided for a little paddle off of the home port at Cadboro Bay.

It was Richard, Paula....

...and Bernie and myself.

We put in at Gyro Park and headed out down the south side of Ten Mile Point towards Flower Island. It was forecast to be reasonably sunny, but there was the occasional dark cloud around above us and what looked like a front passing south of us, so we were wondering if we would get some squalls coming through.
We decided to head on out and the let weather come. But we were going to stick reasonably close to shore just in case.

The clouds broke up and we ended up with a mostly sunny paddle. We went out to Flower and Jemmy Jones Islands. Then we headed south off of Cattle Point and ended up at one of the lighthouses off Willows Beach. We debated heading out to the Chain Islands, but we knew that the "freight train" would be running and picking up speed, so we stayed close in.

We put in briefly at Mary Tod Island as Bernie needed to make an equipment adjustment. Then he struck a heroic pose. Go west, young kayaker.
Vogue... Strike a pose...

After the brief stop, we headed back around Cattle Point and here we saw some cormorants enjoying their perches.


We spent some time noodling in between the rocks and islets. The tide was fairly high (although ebbing) so this gave us a chance to play between some rocks that we don't often get to. That's when Bernie spotted this eagle.



All in all a lovely day on the water.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

2008.02.95 - Super Sunday

It's SuperBowl Sunday, so what are a bunch of kayakers to do? That's an easy choice...who cares about the big game when we've got kayaking to do!
Today we're putting in at Cooper's Cove in Sooke. It's cool and cloudy this morning, and there's also a forecast for a bit of a breeze. We were worried it might be too rough to go out of the cove into the Sooke Basin proper because of the breeze, but the winds simply never materialized. The water was flat and inviting, and we took up its offer.
The tide was right in, as we were launching at high tide. We didn't realize that we have so little beach to launch from. So we took it in turns to launch and headed out one at a time. Today we had Jason, Richard, Paula, Bernie, and Louise paddling.
Getting Ready

And yours truly, of course.

So our little fleet headed out into the cool but otherwise perfect paddling conditions.
Starting Out

Bernie, Louise and Paula set the early pace.

Richard loves his new kayak.

We left the Cove and entered the Sooke Basin. We decided to head west towards where Sooke River enters the basin. None of us had gone this way before, so it would be a new experience. With the tide changing just as we were launching, we would be paddling into the out-going current on our return, but it shouldn't be too bad.
Always remember kids -- practice safe boating.
Remember kids...always practise safe boating.

Many people have accused Bernie of losing his marbles. Well, give him some credit -- here he is looking for them.
I Think I Dropped Something

Here's a fishing boat tied up for the winter. You can see just how glassy smooth the water was. It was just about perfect for paddling.
Fishing Boat

We made it around the point and into the mouth of the Sooke River. There's a highway bridge that you cross over just as you enter the town. While the rest of the gang went to the bridge, I went to check out something that caught my eye.
This seagull had found a gnarled tree branch to perch on. And even though I was a fair bit offshore, it was pretty shallow here which surprised me.
Seagull on a Log

The other seagulls were giving me The Evil Eye. Since I was vastly outnumbered, I thought it best that I retreat. I was barely gliding over the bottom, and this was at high tide.
This stump begged me to take its picture. So I did.

As we turned to head back, we could see all the chimney smoke trapped by thermoclines. There wasn't a hint of breeze today, which is unusual for these parts, so for the moment the smoke wasn't going anywhere.
It was a super paddle on a super Sunday.
Heading Home