Sunday, July 27, 2008

2008.24.117 - Marathon

A cloudy and breezey Sunday morning greeted us beside the ferry dock at Brentwood Bay. We arrived an hour earlier than usual hoping for a long paddle south down Finlayson Arm and we were hoping that the early start would diminish our exposure to the afternoon winds that often materialize in the area. But of course, our weatherman's name is Murphy. The winds had come up unexpectedly overnight and were forecast to increase further in the afternoon. Still, we were keen to give it a shot, so we decided to venture out carefully and play it by ear.
Brentwood Bay Pano

It was a small crew today. Louise headed out in her Delta....
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...while Alison avoided the ferry in her Current Design boat.
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I was in my Delta and using my brand new Pentax Optio W60. It takes pretty good pictures, wouldn't you say?
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Brentwood Bay was fairly calm, but once we turned the point into Saanich Inlet, it got a little rougher. The winds were blowing from the south against the flooding tide creating some choppy waves. Plus, the wind was in our faces. Of course.
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We perservered and paddled past McKenzie Bight, and into Squally Reach.
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As we reached the entrance to Finalyson Arm, the wind seemed to die down. We weren't sure if the winds had actually died down or if we were being protected by the tall hills on the side of the inlet. We were hoping that the wind, if it was still blowing, would still be coming from the south and at our backs for the return trip. We passed a rock playing host to a flock of seals enjoying the day. One was splashing about in the water so we kept our distance.
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Alison spotted this eagle.
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A few minutes later, Alison also scared a seal who was sitting on a rock. He dove into the water with a loud splash. And a few minutes after that, Alison scared him again. After he dove into the water he began following us, but we stopped for moment as Alison tried to take some pictures for a panorama shot. The seal didn't realize this and he surfaced right beside Alison. He frantically splashed again as he dove under.
This rock found it all very amusing.
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We turned around and headed back. We soon realized that the wind had indeed died off, so now we had no help paddling against the tide. But we still made better time on the return trip.
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The water was reseaonably cooperative on the way back. It was quite a marathon paddle. Actually, we were out five that's two marathons!
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It ended as it began -- trying to avoid the ferry!
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Brentwood Bay

Trip length: 19.2 km
More pictures are here.
Download the Google Earth.kmz here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

2008.23.116 - Harbour Patrol

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Today, Louise, Paula and I headed out to Esquimalt Lagoon to paddle under a glorious sunny summer sky. Our plan was to paddle around the Fort Rodd Hill lighthouse and into Esquimalt Harbour. There was an offshore breeze that was kicking up a little chop and a flood tide was running, so the Harbour water wasn't as calm as one might expect, but nothing we couldn't handle. Paula was in her inflatable Firefly....
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...while Louise headed out to sea in her Delta.
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We rounded the lighthouse and into the harbour.
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We played in the rocks a bit...
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...but Louise was trying to find a beach that she used to walk to. She found it right beside the site of the old Victoria Plywood mill. My dad worked here for 25 years, but now it's a subdivision and shopping mall. This is all that's left -- the steel rails where they brought in logs out of the log boom.
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Rental space is at such a premium in Victoria that people are now living in floating barrels.
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We puttered around the harbour and then headed back out towards the ocean. This navy boat drew alongside us to remind us that we should stay 100m away from naval facilities on the shoreline.
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He came up between us and the shore, and as he pulled away he kicked up a wake. We had to turn towards shore to ride it out. (Please ignore the secret military facilities on the shore in this photo. You did not see them. Neither did we. We were never there.)
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As we headed back, the Olympic Mountains made a great backdrop for the lighthouse.
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We entered into the Lagoon....
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...which turned out to be Heron heaven! I took about 50 pictures of them.
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Here's a situation they don't teach you in kayak courses.... how to avoid a dog.
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Esquimalt Paddle
Trip Length: 8.4 km
More photos are here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

2008.22.115 - Albert Head to Witty's Lagoon

The skies were cloudy, but the sun was trying to poke through, so we headed out for a paddle around Albert Head. Although there was a breeze blowing, a small group of us, just Louise, Richard and myself, put in to a flat sea. Louise and I were in the water first and as we waited for Richard, we slowly paddled along the coastline.
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Richard joined us a few moments later...
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...and we headed for more open water. We were hoping that the breeze would would lessen once we got offshore, but it wasn't the case. In fact, as we got to the first point, we saw a patch of breakers and swells ahead.
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We stuck close to shore and avoided the breakers, but we still had the swells to contend with. It was an interesting few minutes. Just as a swell caught me unexpectedly from behind, giving me a "moment", I heard Richard cackling gleefully, "Woo hoo!" It was almost as if Bernie was with us.
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Richard liked the shortcut between the rocks.
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We got past the swells, but then the wind was in our faces. Usually our paddles here are in good weather and calm seas, so it was a fun challenge to face less than ideal conditions.
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Eventually, we reached the rocks and islets outside of Witty's Lagoon and headed into them to get a little shelter from the wind. There were a lot of seals around today.
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[insert the theme from Jaws here.]
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The wind seemed to die off for the paddle back, and the sun broke through the clouds. It didn't last, though, as the wind slowly swung around until it was in our faces for the last part of the return trip.
Of course.
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When we started out, we saw this guy standing on some floating seaweed fishing for breakfast. We figure he stayed there during our entire paddle because as we returned, he was still standing on the seaweed fishing, only now he was fishing for lunch.
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Clearly, Richard had a good time. As did all of us.
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Albert Head Park to Wittys Lagoon
Trip Length: 9.7 km
my pictures are here.