Wednesday, July 29, 2009

2009.25.156 - Alison's Great Idea

We are burning up.
Well, not quite. But we are in what some weather-watchers believe is the worst heat wave in these parts since records started being kept. It is brutally hot for BC. A high of 35c, but the humidity is making it feel like 40c here in Victoria. This is our fourth record-setting day in a row. Today was the hottest day ever recorded in Vancouver. I'm past melting; I've gone straight to sublimating.
It's strange that last December we had one of the worst cold snaps here in memory, and now we're having the worst heat wave in recent memory. Are these weather extremes a sign of things to come? Or worse, a sign of things that are already here?
With Alison's visit lasting just a few more days, we had wanted to do more kayaking this week but the extreme heat had thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into the plans. We were planning to go to Saltspring Island today but the idea of driving in hot cars and taking a ferry only to end up somewhere hotter than here had only limited appeal even to the masochists among us. Then Alison said, "Why don't we go to Thetis Lake for a quick paddle, then spend some time practicing wet exits?" That's why we like Alison; she's so smart!

Of course, we weren't the only people who thought that a quick dip in the lake would help cool things off. The smaller beach at Thetis is a favourite spot for dogs to get a brief dip and drink while they hike around the park with their people. Today, the quicks dips were long cooling swims.
2009-07-29-Thetis Lake 001

Louise and I headed out while Alison and Paula, who arrived a few minutes later, geared up. Even though it was still early morning, we quickly found ourselves sticking to the shady potions of the lake as already the sun was bearing down on us and warming us up noticeably.
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We also did our bit to help clean up the lake. Someone enjoyed their new inflatable raft but threw the box behind some rocks....
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...while Paula either pulled a bottle of cider and a Heineken can out the lake, or was starting her daily drinking binge early and wasn't ashamed about it at all.
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We saw a heron basking in the sun...
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...while this eagle seemed to be enjoying the shade.
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Then the fun began. After all, the real point today was to get in the lake and cool off. We have not practiced enough lately, so it was good to get in the water to try our rescues, and we were all quite pleased that they went so well. First, Alison did a paddle float rescue. The only causality was a lost sponge. (I thought it was Scottish slang for when someone does something daft. "Ach! Have you lost your sponge?" If it isn't, it ought to be. I'm starting a campaign to see that this phrase enters common usage.)
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Louise has had trouble re-entering her boat in the past using the paddle float rescue, so she bought herself a stirrup and gave it a try today. That worked well for her and she was able to get back in no problem. Then she tried a cowboy re-entry.
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She started too far back, and the paddle float was in the way, so the first attempt didn't work so well. But this is why we practice, right? A couple of adjustments to her technique and she was in!

Then Alison decided to stand up and applaud Louise's efforts. And she did!
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Then it was my turn, and I went for a few dunks and re-entries.
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But even after all that dunking, we still needed to cool off. Off to the Quik-E-Mart for Squishies!
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Trip length: 5.01 km
YTD: 192.10
More photos are here.

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