Sunday, September 28, 2008

2008.32.125 - The Chapel is Open

This morning was gorgeous: bright, sunny, warm. Winter may be inexorably drawing nearer, but today felt more like a summer day as the sun's warm rays and the clear blue skies made for a perfect paddle day as Louise, Paula and myself put in at Thetis Lake for an early morning paddle and some practice.
They don't call it "Sun" day for nothing.
thetis pano

We headed out for our paddle, with Paula leading the way in her inflatable...

...and Louise and I followed behind.

It was just perfect on the lake. Flat and glassy as a mist came up.

I'm not much for organized religion, and a quiet paddle like this on a beautiful Sunday morning is as close as I'll ever get to whatever gods may or may not be out there. As Paula said as the light streamed down around her, "The chapel is open."

After our paddle, we practiced near the beach at our launch point. This was a good chance for us to do wet exits, re-entries, and take the obligatory embarrassing pictures of fat neoprene-covered asses crawling awkwardly into their kayaks.

My fat neoprene-covered ass went first.

This was the first time for Louise and I to try re-entries in our new kayaks. One thing I discovered is that this boat sits a little higher in the water then my old boat, making it a little harder to climb in.

But I did it. And so did Louise.

Another great paddle!

Friday, September 26, 2008

2008.31.124 - The Twilight Zone

Richard proposed an evening paddle on Portage Inlet and Louise and I readily accepted.

The weather was cloudy, so we weren't expecting any sort of gorgeous sunset. Often it seems like Spring and Fall in Victoria only last about two weeks each, a brief transitional buffer between winter and summer, and this week was following suit as clouds, wind and rain greeted the equinox.
Despite the weather, Richard was keen to begin.

We paddled down The Gorge...

...and into Portage Inlet as the sun went down.

I did my bit to keep the waters clean by fishing this bottle out of the Inlet. Dr.McGillicuddy's Fireball Whiskey Shooter. Looks like good stuff.

This was a great paddle! Calm and clear water, gorgeous conditions. We paddled around the Inlet savoring the transition from day to night.

Then the Dr. McGillicuddy's kicked in.

John's pictures are here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

2008.30.123 - The Grand Tour

It might have been the last day of summer, but this morning we were dressed like it was the first day of winter. The weather reports were a little confusing. Some were issuing small craft and gale warnings; others were calling for just a slight breeze. We had one thing going for us; the currents should be relatively light and easy to deal with.
2008-09-21 The Grand Tour 001

It was Richard, Louise, Paula and myself today. Our plan was to take advantage of the weak currents and give Louise's and my new Delta kayaks their first trip into more open water, and head over to Discovery Island. Considering the forecast, we decided to be a little cautious so first we paddled over to Flower Island at the end of Ten Mile Point.
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From there, we paddled another half km or so to Jemmy Jones Island. Here I started laughing. We'd reached Jemmy Jones in only 20 minutes, when back in the day when all we had were 10' playboats, this was a day's paddle!
We could see the occasional squall passing off to the east of us behind Discovery Island. The currents were slow as predicted, and there seemed to be no sign of the wind. So we pressed on and made the 1 km crossing to Chatham Island.
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Last week, we couldn't spit without hitting a heron. This week, the seals were everywhere. These two fellows were relaxing on the rocky shore of Chatham Island.
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From Chatham, we paddled towards its neighbour, Discovery Island. Once again, just about every rock had a seal on it. And it stank of dead fish and seal poo.
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At Discovery, the wind still had not come up and so we decided to alter the plan and do "The Grand Tour," and cross over to the Chain Islands. There we saw -- wow, what a surprise -- more seals! (And yes, this islet is totally covered in seagull droppings.)
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Richard crept in close to this seal.
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We said goodbye to the seals, and crossed back to the mainland.
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Once back along the shore, we headed south in the direction of Trial Island. We poked our noses out around Gonzales Point and found ourselves in some waves. This is the demarcation between Haro and Juan de Fuca Straits and can make for a bad day for the unaware and illprepared kayaker. Today, it was just fun. Louise and I were impressed with our new boats. We had huge smiles all day as the boats effortlessly cut through chop, wake and waves. We love our new boats!
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We headed back north up the coast our launch point at Cadboro Bay. We weren't the only people who enjoyed a great day on the water.
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The Grand Tour

Trip length: 14.91 km
My photos are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

2008.29.122 - An Afternoon Quickie

Louise and I have had our new kayaks for only three days and already we've taken them out twice. Not bad, eh? Somehow I think Louise really likes her new ride.
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We're thinking of heading for Chatham/Discovery Islands next Sunday, so we wanted to get a little more time under our belts in the new boats before then. Today we joined Paula for an afternoon quickie in Cadboro Bay.
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I explored a rock garden on the south shore of Ten Mile Point and stumbled upon this heron that was so close I could have patted him on the head. He decided that his admiring public was a little too close and took off, his wings rustling as he took flight. (Not a great photo, though. Oh, well.)
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We saw the occasional seal pop up, and a family of otters scurry over Jemmy Jones Island, but it was the herons who were out in full force today. We passed this one just a few minutes later.
2008-09-15 Cadboro Bay to Jemmy Jones Island 001

I don't think that we had intended to head this way, but we ended up out at Jemmy Jones Island, and Chatham Island was beyond that, beckoning us. The currents looked doable and we could have easily made a quick dash there and back, but we had a limited time today as we were meeting friends for coffee afterward. It was a tough call -- Chatham was pulling hard.
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So we headed back, where we saw a heron up in a tree doing his best eagle impression.
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And soon we were home. We'll see you next weekend, Chatham Island!

Cadboro Bay to Jemmy Jones ISland
Trip length: 5.69 km
My pictures are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

2008.28.121 - Seeing Red

It's hard to believe that some of us have been off the water for over a month. And in the middle of mostly sunny summer weather, no less! As the old saying goes, life happens.
There were family get-togethers, injuries, work obligations, and a weekend of bad weather that fouled-up paddling plans for the last few weeks. But now the weather's great, we've quit our jobs, the injuries have healed, and we've divorced our families, so now we are back in the paddle again.
And it's not like we ignored kayaking during the layoff. Far from it. Both Louise and I ordered new kayaks from the good folks at Ocean River, and they arrived yesterday.
2008-09-14 Gorge Portage 004
Louise bought a Delta Seventeen Sport (on the right). It's promises to be a little more edgier and playful than her old Fourteen5.
I went with the Delta Eighteen5 Expedition (on the left). The cockpit is a little bit roomier for my legs, which I like, yet still fits good in the hip area. It tracks nicely and goes quick, too.

Louise launches her new boat for the first time.
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We were joined by Paula (in Commando Mode) for an inauspicious first paddle into Portage Inlet, then down The Gorge.
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It's was a gorgeous day for paddling, and other people clearly had the same idea. Only moments after putting in, Richard and a friend paddled by us. They put in somewhere down the other end of The Gorge and had had to portage over the Tillicum rapids.
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They were going to head up Colquitz Creek, while we were going the far side of the Inlet to look for more jelly goobie egg sack thingies. So after we paddled together for a while, they went right, and we went left.

We headed around the point into egg sack country.
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We finally found more of the egg sacks. We thought about trying to get one and open it up, but it seemed too dangerous. (We all know what happened to John Hurt when he tried.)
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Every other time I've been here, I've never managed to get a picture of the train...until today.
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We saw the swans again. It looks like they are the darlings of the Inlet. This gentleman stopped his Sunday chores to sit on his dock and feed them.
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We paddled back past our starting point and down The Gorge where the geese were plentiful....
2008-09-14 Gorge Portage 083 plentiful that they were guarding the beach preventing us from landing.
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The obligatory goose porn shot.
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Trip length: 6.92 k
John's photo's are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.