Saturday, June 27, 2009

2009.19.150 - 2009 MEC Victoria Paddlefest

Today, MEC hosted their third annual Paddlefest Victoria at Gyro Park on Cadboro Bay. Paddlers came from far and wide to take on-water instruction, attend dry-land seminars, or just paddle some boats.
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 014

The sun shone brightly, but the breeze was blowing as well, possibly making some of the newbies taking lessons a little wary of small but choppy waves it was kicking up.
Paddlefest 2009

The first thing that caught our attention were these beautiful hand-crafted paddles by Select Paddles in Duncan, BC. They make Greenland-style paddles, as well as canoe paddles. They look almost too gorgeous to use.
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 007

We hung out at the Delta Kayaks tent for a while...
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 015
..before checking out the rest of the beach. There were kayaks of all shape and description...
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 008
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 013
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 012

...but we were here to paddle boats. So naturally Bernie had to be different and he headed out in a boat that you don't paddle: the Hobie. He liked it a lot, but not perhaps as much as his neighbour Curtis who took it out at least three times and seemed to be headed for the horizon on more than one occasion.
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 027

I tried the Nimbus Telkwa and liked this boat a lot. It tracked well, and turned fairly easily for a boat of its size. At 18'3", it's just slightly shorter than my Delta Eighteen5. Our friend Richard paddles a Telkwa HV and likes it, although he sometimes complains that it drives like a tank. I had no problems turning this one -- let's face it, it ain't gonna be nimble, but I found it easy to maneuver.
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 028

Paula tried the Hobie, but didn't do as well as Bernie. She found that she couldn't get the sail unfurled, and found it unwieldy to turn.
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 032

Next I took out the Boréal Design Epsilon C300. You know how when you get into some kayaks and they immediately say to you, "This isn't going to work"? This was the total opposite. This kayak said "Welcome. Get comfy and let's have some fun." I've never tried a Boréal before, and I was impressed. It was fun, and handled today's small chop effortlessly. Bernie took it out after me and he also enjoyed it.
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 033

Bernie also tried a paddle board for the first time. He started by paddling for a bit on his knees, then he stood up and paddled. He did not fall in. He sort of half-climbed off, half-jumped off once, but he did not fall in. He really wanted me to make that clear.
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 038

Paula tried a Valley Avocet LV and see just loved it. She had a hoot! Not that she was looking, but she may have found her next kayak. Negotiations with her spousal unit are underway. We'll keep you advised.
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 040

See you next year!
2009-06-26 MEC Paddlefest Victoria 018 crop

My pictures are here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

2009.18.149 - Rain Delay

Louise, Paula and I didn't have a lot of time today so we planned for only a quick kayak paddle around Cadboro Bay. But when we got there, we found out that someone had stolen the ocean.
2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones Island 064

But nature was doing its best to refill it as a sudden downpour swamped us. We took shelter in the back of the van as the heavy raindrops pinged off the roof.
2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones Island 063

It was over fairly quickly and we continued to unload, but my eyes caught the kayak rack on the truck next to us. It's a home-made design, built from old roller blades and door hinges amongst other stuff.
2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones Island 055

We headed out, but the showers continued intermittently as made our along the south side of Ten Mile Point.
2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones Island 066

I paid my respects to the Buddha, and as I went around the next point I surprised a mother otter and her babies.
2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones Island 017
The mother was clearly worried as she grabbed the babies in her mouth and carried them up the rock. The babies seemed curious about me and they kept coming down the rock towards the water, while she kept grabbing them and yanking them back, almost tossing them up the rock. I apologized for disturbing their morning and quickly paddled away.
2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones Island 019 crop

Further up the point, we passed some geese...
2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones Island 021
...saw an eagle...
2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones Island 037 crop
...and a heron.
2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones Island 052

Apart from the rain, we had great conditions as we kayaked to Jemmy Jones Island off the end of point. The water was flat, and there was no breeze to speak of, even though forecasts had called for one. However, the clouds were still threatening, and teased us by allowing occasional blue patches to burst through even though dark rain clouds remained above us....
2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones Island 070
...until we finally put in. Then the sun came out. Of course.
Cadboro Bay

2009-06-21 Jemmy Jones

Trip length: 5.39 km
YTD: 140.14
The Google Earth kmz is here.
My pictures are here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

2009.17.148 - Summer Breeze

2009-06-014 Cadboro Bay 001
I arrived at the Cadboro Bay parking lot to see a lot of kayaks slowly being unloaded. And even though it was warm and sunny, it was unexpectedly breezy. The wind was forecast to come up in the afternoon, but it had obviously come in earlier than expected. Paula and Tracy arrived, also caught a little surprised by the breeze.

2009-06-014 Cadboro Bay 027
Louise and Bernie didn't join us today; Louise has caught a summer cold, and Bernie was sleeping off a three day hike on the Juan de Fuca Trail.

We launched and headed out. We'd been hoping for a quick crossing out to Chatham Island, but the closer we got to open water, the less that option seemed likely. The wind and waves were picking up, and so there's not a lot of pictures today, too much paddling instead!
2009-06-014 Cadboro Bay 030

We took shelter for a moment in the channel between Ten Mile Point and Flower Island. There were breakers in the channel. Okay, so the breakers were only a foot high, but you just don't get breakers in that channel! We decided to continue along the shore but then Paula's inner ear went wonky, so we thought we'd better head back to the beach. As we approached our take-out, Paula's ear improved, and we saw the southern shore of the bay was actually quite calm and protected from the wind, so instead of putting in, we continued around the bay towards the marina where we found a couple of herons looking for breakfast.
2009-06-014 Cadboro Bay 016
2009-06-014 Cadboro Bay 020

We continued through the rocks...
2009-06-014 Cadboro Bay 042
...where we found this gentleman taking his new Capella 163 for its inaugural paddle.
2009-06-014 Cadboro Bay 054

Eventually we headed in, passing some others who would appreciate the breeze a little more than us.
2009-06-014 Cadboro Bay 055

2009-06-14 Cadboro Bay

Trip length: 8.18 km
YTD: 134.75
My pictures are here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

2009.16.147 - A Quickie on Telegraph Bay

It's another beautiful day in paradise here on The We(s)t Coast, and there's no better way to spend part of the weekend than kayaking on the calm waters of Telegraph Bay. Louise, Paula and I planned for an early morning launch and we were pleasantly surprised when Tracy made another unexpected appearance to kayak with us.
We weren't the only ones out early this morning. Three families of geese were also on the beach. I haven't seen as many goslings before as I have this year. We're practically being overrun with them. Well, no, not really. But last year I think I saw one gosling while this year I've given up counting. Maybe I'm just going to all the good spots this year.
2009-06-07 Telegraph Bay 040
The geese launched at the same time we did.
2009-06-07 Telegraph Bay 044

I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked today as I was distracted by a wonky GPS that had suddenly decided that there were no satellites in the sky for it to lock on to. According to it, some sort of giant space disaster involving a massive EM pulse which knocked out all the world's satellites must have occurred. But I think I would have read something in the papers about a giant space disaster.
Anyway, we headed up the coast...
2009-06-07 Telegraph Bay 030
..towards the cave.
2009-06-07 Telegraph Bay 009
Tracy had never seen the cave before.
2009-06-07 Telegraph Bay 011

As we headed back, this gull watched us warily.
2009-06-07 Telegraph Bay 015

We passed the geese one last time, then the paddle was over. Now the weekend is over, and it's back to reality. Sigh.
2009-06-07 Telegraph Bay 061

Trip length: 8.68 km
YTD: 126.57
My pictures are here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

2009.15.146 - Full Moon Fever

Finally our mini-heatwave has broken. The last three days have seen record-setting daily highs here on the We(s)t Coast, with yesterday topping out at 30.9C. We didn't reach the all-time high of 33C that we hit about a year ago, but it was still bloody hot for these parts.
Temps will cool to a more seasonal 20C over the weekend and we might even get some rain in a few days. But tonight was still pleasant and balmy and Richard suggested an evening kayak in The Gorge, and we jumped at the idea.
Gorge Pano

The conditions were perfect. With nary a ripple on the water, Louise, Richard and I put in.
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 117

Paula arrived a bit late in commando mode, so while she pumped up her Advanced Elements Expedition, the rest of us checked out the rapids under the Tillicum Bridge.
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 020

The tide had just turned so there were no rapids this time. But the current under the bridge was picking up, and Richard played in it for a few minutes.
Double Trouble

We turned around to head back to pick up Paula and saw that we were heading into a glorious sunset.
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 029

Louise and Richard met Paula at the shore, but I followed a mama duck and her babies. They crossed my path in the golden glow of the last rays of the setting sun.
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 038

At the risk of repeating myself, the sunset was gorgeous....
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 127
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 122
...and as the sun went down in west...
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 045
...the full moon rose in the east.
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 085

Soon, darkness replaced the blue sky...
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 157
...but even in the dark, nature couldn't hide from us! We found a heron that was fishing for a late night snack....
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 103
...and a pair swans and their chicks.
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 094

Eventually, we headed back, and this great paddle came to an end.
2009-06-05 The Gorge and Portage Inlet 110

2009-06-05 The Gorge

Trip length: 9.93 km
YTD: 117.89 km
More pictures are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.