Sunday, March 30, 2008

2008.11.104 - The Little Group

Unlike yesterday when the weather played out almost exactly as the weatherman predicted, today the weatherman's prognostications were less than stellar. It was supposed to be mostly clear this morning, sunny in fact. But as we arrived at our launch point in Roberts Bay in Sidney, it was lightly raining and clearly not, er, clear.

But we kayakers are hardy souls, so we headed out with a wary eye on the uncertain weather. It was Richard, Alison, Paula, Louise and myself today.

We passed by this marker that was festooned with cormorants. One provided a little comedy relief as he must have thought that I was venturing too close. He jumped off the marker and landed in the water to escape, but he was paying so much attention to me that he didn't notice that he had in landed in the water dead center in the middle of five kayaks. After a moment he suddenly realized that he had indeed jumped from the frying pan and into the fire, and he took off quickly!

We headed out towards what we call amongst ourselves the Sidney Islands, but are really called The Little Group. It's a small archipelago that can be used as a stepping stone to the islands that are further out. We had been thinking about going around Coal Island -- the currents weren't particularly strong today -- but we really weren't too sure about the weather, so we thought it best to save that for another day.

These two guys didn't mind the weather...

...but it was sure concerning us. It didn't seem to be getting any worse, but it wasn't getting any better, either. We were getting some light squalls and dark clouds passing us. At least we didn't get much in the way of wind.

After we explored The Little Group a bit, we decided to cross to Coal Island. The weather was clearing a bit now, but there was some *ahem* spirited discussion before we made the crossing. You can see that it's not terribly warm out. There's snow in them thar hills.

The crossing to Coal went well and we paddled along the shore for a bit, past this old boathouse.

We crossed back to the mainland and checked out a harbour.

A heron posed for me....

...and a goose, too.

These homes are on pilings. They may survive the rise of the oceans due to climate change, but I sure wouldn't want to be around them when the Big Earthquake hits.

A blustery but fun day on the water.

Trip length: 10.7 km
My photo's are here.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

2008.10.103 - Around Ten Mile Point

It was a small group today, just Louise, Richard and myself. The weather outlook gave us about a two-three hour window of good weather before another front came in so we headed to Cadboro Bay for a paddle around Ten Mile Point.

It was almost a flat calm as we headed out under a mostly sunny sky.

The water was smooth as a mirror in Cadboro Bay.

This goose was enjoying the heavenly sunshine.

Richard just got a new camera, a Optio W30, the same as mine, and he spent a lot of time taking pictures, so I ended up with a lot of pictures of Richard taking pictures. The Olympic Mountains in Washington State are in the background.

We paddled around Ten Mile Point and headed towards Telegraph Bay. The tide was ebbing and the current was deceptive here. Louise and I stopped for a moment and you can see quite clearly on the GPS track how far we drifted backwards in the short time we paused. Richard's boat seemed to glide over the surface and he pulled quite a bit ahead of us. It wasn't from the lack of us trying to keep up!
Louise found this cloud to be very amusing for some reason.

As we headed back we found our old friend the eagle on a rock. Actually, I'm not sure if he's the same one that we often see or not, as the markings although similar don't look quite the same.

He was very patient with us and posed for us for a few minutes. Then we headed back to shore just as the clouds and the rain came in. As soon as we got ashore, packed up and entered a nearby coffee shop, the hail started. Perfect timing!

Trip length: 9km
My pictures are here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

2008.09.102 - Thetis Lake

We weren't sure about the weather today. Like Friday, it was going to be unsettled today. But there was supposed to be a window of a few hours between rain showers, so we made a quick trip for a paddle on Thetis Lake. (We heard later that it was quite stormy off our regular haunt at Cadboro Bay. Apparently, rescue boats were pulling people out of Baynes Channel, so it looks like we made a good decision to hit the lake instead.)

It was Louise, Paula, Alison, Richard and myself on the water today. It was quite the little traffic jam.

We paddled by this pair of geese. The geese were acting strange today. A few minutes after we passed these two, a third goose flew by and these two starting chasing him. In fact, they practically forced him down on the lake. And they did it two or three more times during the paddle. Suddenly there would be some ungodly loud goose-honking and the geese would fly by and one of them would get forced down into the lake. We assume it was a territorial struggle of some sort, and the geese were taking it very seriously.

A few minutes later, we had a serious emergency as Paula found a spider crawling on her kayak. Luckily, Paula did not panic too much, and she was able to put the spider ashore.

A peaceful paddle on a quiet lake. Too bad it had to end.

Trip length: 5.5km.

Friday, March 21, 2008

2008.08.101 - Caddy Bay

Any day on the water is a good day, and on this Good Friday, Louise, Paula, Richard and myself went for a paddle from Cadboro Bay to Willows Beach.

We paddled out alongside the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, and checked out the boats.

We found this aluminum cat, and Richard checked it out. We figured that you could paint it black and use it in the new Batman movie.

Soon after we saw a heron hanging out on a rock.

We followed him from rock to rock, but finally he got bored with us and took off.

The weather was a little iffy. At some times, we thought we were about to get rained on as we watched squalls pass around us. But we never got rained on and when the sun did occasionally poke through the clouds, it was gorgeous.

Trip length: 9.9 km

Sunday, March 16, 2008

2008.07.100 - Opus 100

Today's paddle is a momentous paddle. It's lifetime paddle number 100! Not bad for someone who took up this sport only two and a half years ago, and spent six months of that on the disabled list.
My personal stats break down like this:
15 paddles in 2005;
50 paddles in the first 11 months of 2006 before my bike accident;
29 paddles the last 9 months of 2007 after recovering from my bike accident;
and 7 paddles so far this year.

Paula, Louise and I returned to Ocean River to do some demo paddles.
Louise and I both tried the 17' Delta. She was in the Sport version, and I was in the Expedition model which is one inch deeper. Unlike the 14' Deltas that we currently own, this model has a harder chime and is a little narrower, so it was a little woobly at first. (Yes, "woobly" is a technical kayaking term. Or so I was told.) But it didn't take long for that feeling to pass, and the Delta gave us a smooth and fast ride.

We joined Mark from Delta Kayaks and some other Delta paddlers for a jaunt around the harbour.

Paula had to be different and she went out in a composite Eliza.

We both enjoyed the 17' Delta a lot. It tracks and turns very well and was very nimble. It went right to the top of Louise's list for a new boat. I enjoyed it, and I found that I had more knee room than in my current 14' Delta, and that was nice, but the cockpit is a little smaller and that made it a little tougher for me to get out with my bad shoulder. I also found my feet were in cramped quarters at the end of the cockpit (but I was wearing sneakers instead of my paddling boots, so that didn't help). It may not be the boat for me, but I can't say anything bad about it -- it was a sweet ride. I will try one again before trading up.
Will we see Louise in her own 17' one day? Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

2008.06.99 - Cadboro Bay to Willows Beach

Another cloudy Sunday. We decided to head from Cadboro Bay to Willows Beach. We were just about to head out when we came up with a great idea, "Let's paddle the kayaks instead!" Bernie was certainly keen to try this new approach. "Now you tell me!" he said.

So we headed out: Bernie, Louise, Paula and myself.
Louise and I toured around the beach while Paula and Bernie launched....

...that's where I found this guy in a tree.

Bernie and Paula joined us and we headed down Cadboro Bay towards Flower Island.
Playing Catch Up

It was a cloudy day, but there were some sunshine seeping through the clouds. There were a lot of sailboats around, and a lot of them were training, so we had to keep our eyes on them.
Sailboats and Mount Baker

We also kept our eye on Mount Baker...just in case it decided to erupt.
Mount Baker

Out of Cadboro Bay, we headed south towards Willows Beach.
Onward, ho!

We found this eagle perched up on a rock.
Eagle Having Breakfast
This is the same eagle we saw in the area three weeks ago. Here he's enjoying a crab for breakfast but he's being bothered by crows who are hoping that he'll drop some crab crumbs for them. At one point he had three crows bothering him. Eventually he got annoyed enough with them that he took off, but we'll see more of him later.

This seagull was also enjoying crab for breakfast.

Bernie headed back early as he was having equipment problems, and Louise, Paula and I puttered around Willows Beach for a bit, then headed back. We were paddling against an ebbing tide now, and the wind was coming up a little more than forecast.

Then we spotted our crab-eating eagle on another rock.

Soon we were back at the beach...

...and off to Starbucks to warm up!


My pictures are here.
Trip Length - 8.2 km