Friday, April 22, 2011

2011.06.204 - Signs of Spring

Any Friday that you can get on the water isn't just a Good Friday, it's a Great Friday. Louise and I rolled our kayaks down the hill to kayak in the Gorge. Sunny and reasonably warm -- could Spring have finally arrived?
2011-04-22 - The Gorge_0055
2011-04-22 - The Gorge_0056
We headed up the Gorge towards Portage Inlet, accompanied by a flock of ducks....
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...and it wasn't long before we spotted our first heron.
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We passed what I like to call Cormorant Tree because it usually has a few cormorants sitting in it. And today was no exception.
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We moved on into Portage Inlet, looking for the local swans. We found one pair nesting in their usual spot as they do every year. We'll check back later in the spring and see how the chicks are doing.
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A few minutes later we saw what at first we thought was a strange-looking blue duck bobbing along the surface....
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...but as we got closer we realized that it was a water bottle floating along. It took a little effort and teamwork...
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... but we able to bring it ashore and empty it, thus performing our good deed for Earth Day.

We began our return...
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...and passed Cormorant Tree once again, but this time we saw a heron in the tree...
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...and he was spending all his time scratching himself. That's not something you see everyday.
We saw one more heron, and this one assumed a more classic heron pose.
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Then we had to roll the kayaks up the hill. Oh, joy.

Trip Length: 8.99 km
YTD: 50.92 km
More pictures are here.
2011-04-22 - The Gorge

Sunday, April 17, 2011

2011.05.203 - Back on the Water

It's been busy round here. Weddings and funerals, and life goes on. This past week I took my Occupational First Aid Level 2 course. How well did I do, I hear you ask? (Yes, my hearing is that good). I do my practical and written exams on Wednesday, so I'll find out then. It's probably good set of skills for a kayaker to have, although firing up a defibrillator on the water could be a shocking experience.
Spring weather has sucked around here. It's as if we went straight from winter right back to autumn again. But today dawned sunny (if cool) so Louise and I decided to ignore the cool weather and headed to Cadboro Bay to join Paula for a paddle.
2011-04-17 Cadboro Bay_0009

Richard was supposed to join us but there was no sign of him, so we headed out for a quick paddle to Chatham Island.
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It needed to be quick for a number of reasons, among them the fact we were launching near slack, and the flood was expected to be a quick one. Also, although it was a sunny morning, there were isolated rain cells around. As we launched, we could see one off to the north-east, but it never came near us.

These oystercatchers were practising their Sunday morning yoga on Jemmy Jones Island.
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We began our crossing to Chatham, but bailed on it halfway across. Paula's inner ear began to go wonky on her just as we encountered an odd eddy that came at us sideways and exacerbated her condition, and some sea lions were in the area feeding, and we decided to give them some space. We turned to head back to the mainland, content to putter through the nooks and crannies of Ten Mile Point.
But when we turned around, there was Richard heading off to Chatham Island! He'd picked a different line for his crossing, but he was only a couple of hundred metres away. We started calling him, but he didn't see us, and when we called, he didn't hear us, even when Louise gave her whistle a blow.
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So there's a thought for you. If your shouts and whistles don't get attention on a perfectly calm day, will they on a stormy day?

We turned around at the Ten Mile Point light...
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...and there was Richard!
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He'd spotted us moving up the coast as he crossed back from Chatham, and he confirmed for us that he hadn't heard us earlier. We began our return to Cadboro Bay and stopped for a moment...
2011-04-17 Cadboro Bay_0057 watch the sail boats play in the bay.
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Trip Length: 8.52 km
YTD: 41.93 km
More pictures are here.
2011-04-17 Cadboro Bay

But wait -- there's more! After we landed and loaded up our gear, we headed down to the Inner Harbour for the "Celebration of Our Harbour" event to promote non-motorized uses of our harbour, and to continue the battle against the proposed mega-yacht marina.
There were races for various water craft, and we arrived just in time to see Mike Jackson win his kayak race...
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...and do a victory roll.
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