Sunday, June 15, 2008

2008.21.114 - MEC Paddlefest 2008

A bright and warm sun heated up the sea and sand as hundreds of kayakers hit the beach at Cadboro Bay for MEC Paddlefest 2008.
Our day started out with a stop at Paula and Bernie's place nearby, where they showed off their new kayak. It's a Lazer, about eleven feet long. They found it abandoned on the beach. They've put up "Found" notices around the neighbourhood, but so far no one has claimed it. Because Bernie can only fit one leg in, it's now Paula's fourth kayak. Once she gets one for every day of the week, she may stop.
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As mentioned, Louise and I stopped by Paula and Bernie's to start the day with a quick nosh at Starbucks, then we headed down to the beach. The rest of the regulars are out of town; Alison is on a course in Montréal, and Richard is at a scooter rally in Idaho. (That's what he says, anyway. We think he's here.)
It was just a gorgeous day for paddling, the only complaint was that the breeze was a little chilly, but that is just a minor quibble. It was beautiful.
Cadboro Bay

There were some on-water courses and some on-land courses, but we just wanted to demo boats. Louise hit the water first in this Point 65°N kayak. They seem like good boats at a good price. I can't say that Louise was overly impressed with it, but she didn't mind it at all.
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Then she tried this Current Design Gulfstream. She found it a little tippy and not her thing. I tried it and it fit like a glove that was two sizes too small.
It's too bad -- I like the look of Current Design boats and they seem really solidly built and excellent kayaks, but I just can't find one that suits me.
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We couldn't come here and not try the Deltas. Here, Louise gets ready to head out in the Sixteen. This model is not in production yet, but we hear that they may hit the stores in August. Louise loves this boat. She'd've bought one on the spot if there were any for sale.
Paula took it out and was impressed, too, but she still prefers her Necky Eliza.
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I took out the Delta Eighteen5. And I liked it!
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It was a fun and picturesque day on the water, a perfect last paddle day before I take a short medical leave. Let's hope the weather is still good in July when I'm back on the water!
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My pictures are here.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

2008.20.113 - Coal Island Again

Today, Louise and I returned for a another paddle around Coal Island, this time bringing Paula who missed our first paddle there.
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Do you think that I have enough gear on my deck?
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We decided to follow the same route that we took last time, and explore some of the islands before crossing to Coal.
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We didn't see a lot in the way of wildlife today, although I did mange to annoy this heron....
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...and Paula kept watch on a seal. Or was it the other way around?
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The winds were coming up and the tides were ebbing, and we discovered that the currents between the islands were running a little too much for our liking. There were a few whorls and eddies, some standing waves, and even a few small standing breakers. We decided to change our route and stick to the first channel near the mainland and cross the more open water of Swartz Bay to go to Coal Island.
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This left us a little more exposed to ferry traffic, but we knew when to expect them and I figured we would pass one as we passed Coal Island. As we approached Coal, we could see one coming the other way. We ducked into the lee of the island to wait for it to pass.
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Paula was further out than I was and she let a out a big "Whoop!" as it passed us.
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In fact, she paddled out very close to it.
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Well, no, not really. The foreshortening of the zoom lens makes it look as if she was closer than she was.
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The winds were not subsiding, and as we went around the point of Coal Island and began to head back, we were into some chop. And then I heard the Coast Guard on my radio announcing that a gale warning had just been posted, just at the half-way point of out paddle. This paddle might turn very interesting indeed!
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We continued around Coal -- what else could we do? In the end, we did fine. We avoided the nastiest looking currents, and easily handled most of the chop. Only on the last crossing of the paddle when the winds came up again and the waves were a little choppier and coming across us sideways were some of our stomachs starting to feel it. No one felt nauseous or anything, but some of us agreed that a long paddle in such waves could have been a real adventure, especially once the puking started.
But today's paddle had no such issues, and was great fun!
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Coal Island
More pictures are here.