Sunday, April 27, 2008

2008.13.106 - Paddling Come Rain or, er, Rain

We knew that the rain was coming. A front was going to pass through sometime around noon and bring with it some showers, so we weren't sure how long a paddle we were going to get before the rain. But we decided to go for it. We're kayakers, after all -- we dress to get wet.
So under cloudy skies, we put in at Telegraph Bay. It was Louise, Alison, Paula and myself today.
Telegraph Bay

I'm using a new piece of gear for my deck camera. I've been using a Sticky Pod suction cup to mount my deck cam onto my boat and it mostly works pretty well, but it does have its drawbacks. It's really meant for a flat surface and of course kayaks aren't flat, so you've really got to find the sweet spot on the deck where it will stick, otherwise your camera goes swimming. Also, after a few hours the Sticky Pad does have a tendency to pop off. So I was thinking what I needed was something that was curved, yet has a flat top to mount a camera on. As it happened, I was surfing the online MEC catalogue and saw they had these things on clearance. This is actually the attaching stand for a kayak sail, but it works great as a camera mount, and all the hardware from the Sticky Pod fits it perfectly. There have been some rough water days that I haven't bothered with the deck camera, because I knew it was going to get swept off, but this should be nice and steady on those days.
Picture 323

Before we even got in the boats and started paddling, I was taking pictures. An otter swam by, and although I tried I never got a good shot of him. But there was a heron who was watching us launch.
Picture 360

Soon we were off and on our way. Every time we paddle here, we pass this tree and there's always an eagle in it. Today was no exception.
Picture 362

We were supposed to be paddling against a slight ebbing current, and if there was a current, it was very slight indeed. The water was calm and flat, and the rain seemed to be holding off. We proceeded west towards Mount Douglas Park.
Picture 111

We paddled into a small cove behind Queen Alexandria Hospital. We've never poked around in it before, but today seemed like a good day to noodle between the rocks. It was a good thing we went in, because we saw this heron doing a little fishing.
Picture 389
Picture 379

We continued on under the gaze of some deer. There were three of them looking down on us as they calmly enjoyed Sunday brunch.
Picture 397

After we passed the deer, we played in the cave.
Picture 336

Well, we call it a cave, but really it's a very small rocky cove. But it's a fun little place to poke around in.
Picture 345

We headed back, and again passed under the watchful eyes of the deer.
Picture 407

Finally, the rain hit. We also caught a couple of wakes to play in on the way back to end a great paddle.
Picture 283

Telegraph Bay
Trip length: 8.5 km

Sunday, April 13, 2008

2008.12.105 - Breaking New Ground

We were dubious about a paddle as the morning broke. Depsite a total absence of rain in the forecast for today, we were encountering drizzle as we loaded up and headed out to Brentwood Bay. But the drizzle soon stopped, and it looked like we were going to have a great paddle day.
It was Louise, Richard, Paula, Alison and myself today. The plan was to cross Saanich Inlet and see how far down the Inlet we could get. About a decade ago, Louise took a kayaking course and they paddled down to a waterfall where they put in and had a break. Today we're going to seek out this mythical waterfall.
Brentwood Bay Launch

We headed out and crossed the Inlet without incident. Alison and Paula lead the way...

...but their path crossed mine, and I had them in my sights. In naval combat, this is called Crossing the T.

Actually, the crossing wasn't totally event-free. We found ourselves being tailed by over a dozen seals. This has happened before when we've crossed over south of Bamberton. I tried to get some pictures of them, but none turned out. But we did see this fellow sunning himself as we paddled down the shore.

An eagle relaxed in a tree.

While Alison and I were distracted by the eagle, the rest of the group drifted by the next point. As we paddled slowly to catch up, Richard looked like he was doing a "shush" motion and Paula was pointing at the far side of the point. We realized that something was there and as we drifted around, there were two baby seals on the rock.
We were probably closer than we should have been, but we just drifted slowly by and tried not to disturb them too much.
Baby Seals

Then we came upon the ruins of Minus Tirith.
Okay, maybe not that exactly, but there was a stone staircase that went from the shoreline to nowhere.

We never made it into Finlayson Arm. We ended up just going down a part called Squally Reach. That's where we found Louise's waterfall.

There was a small beach there to put in, but we decided to keep on paddling. We crossed, then put in for a rest and a snack at McKenzie Bight.
Snacks at McKenzie Bight

Then we started the final leg back to Brentwood.

We had a great time and were out on the water for about four and a half hours. What a fun paddle!

Brentwood Bay
Trip length: 15.6 km

My pictures are here.