Sunday, September 2, 2012

2012.15.240 - James Island

We always seem to forget about kayaking around James Island. Located off a decent launch site up the Saanich Peninsula at Island View Beach, James used to house a munitions plant a century ago. These days it makes an ideal outing for paddlers, not too far from the mainland of Vancouver Island, but far enough that with a little imagination you can get that "we're out in the wilderness" feeling.
However, be warned -- it is a private island. But it is for sale. Start saving.

And so we were off on this bright sunny Sunday. Louise is gaining more experience in her new kayak and she looked forward to the first long paddle in her new ride.

The crossing to the cliffs on James' south shore went reasonably well. We encountered a few patches of slightly confused water...befuddled water might be a good way to describe it. Once we reached the shore, the water calmed down as we paddled along the shore.

Here we saw a young eagle.
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We also saw an otter scampering along the shore. Running away from the eagle? Who knows. He was in a big hurry -- this was the only shot of him I got.
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As we headed up the east side of James, we started to remember what a slog paddling around the island can be. The current never seems to go where it's supposed to, and the wind can come up and down quickly, blowing in from odd directions. Adding to the slogginess of the paddle was the fact that neither of us was feeling very energized today. Louise was really feeling it as her new ergonomic paddle doesn't allow her to cheat, or in other words adjust her grip on the paddle to favour her bad shoulder. In the long run this will help strengthen her bad shoulder; in the short term, her shoulder sometimes becomes very achy when she kayaks.
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We got a reminder of the slog as we turned around the sandbar at the north and an unexpected breeze from the south blew into our faces and against the ebbing tide. We decided to cross back here, a longer crossing but at least we'd be paddling along the mainland shore if the wind got worse. This resulted in a longer paddle, as we now had to go around the large sandbar on the mainland.
But it's still a gorgeous place to paddle.

Trip Length: 15.69
YTD: 124.68 km
More pictures are here.
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