Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012.14.239 - Cadboro to Willows

Before lashing your kayak to your car, you should always go through your checklist and make sure you've got all your gear. Change of clothes, check. Paddle jacket, check. Hat, check. Cat, check. Wait...? Cat?
Well, no. Parker wasn't hoping to get packed up in our gear and "accidentally" get taken kayaking, he just wanted his people to stay and worship him.

Cloudy skies and a mild flood tide greeted Louise and I as we met Paula at Cadboro Bay for a relaxing paddle. Louise is enjoying her new kayak. I want to call it The Green Monster, she wants to call it Kermit. But I digress.
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We haven't had a chance to take The Green Monster to a lake yet to do some rescue practice with it (and that's coming next week), so we're sticking close to shore until then. So the plan was just a quick meander to Willows Beach.
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A heron watched our progress...
....while some geese accompanied us.
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I finally got a close look at the hovercraft that's been parked at the Oak Bay Marina for a while.
Looks like it could only fit one person, maybe two if they're very friendly.

There were a few seals around, but we gave them a wide birth today. But I did get a nice shot of this one as our paddle ended.
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I think he's got a mustache!

Trip Length: 8.89 km
YTD: 108.99 km
More pictures are here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

2012.13.238 - A Day Off

A rare weekday off for just myself today. So while Louise was diligently at work preparing for the fall university session, I spontaneously decided to start the day with a quick paddle up our home waters of The Gorge. See, Louise? I can be spontaneous!
Whatta ya mean this isn't what you meant?

Anyway, I had barely started when I spotted something off to my left.

Yes, a heron. And I'm going to warn you now. It's going to be another one of those posts filled with heron pictures. They're obviously doing well this year on the Gorge, and are making a comeback in Beacon Hill Park as well, despite being virtually wiped out there by eagles a couple of years ago.

Okay, let's get the rest of the heron pictures out of the way. I passed a couple more as I kayaked up the Gorge towards Portage Inlet.
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I passed under the bride into Portage Inlet....
GOPR3973 the early morning sun beamed down. We've had some hot days during the last month or so. Yesterday was a scorcher, today was shaping up to be another.

I spotted a bald eagle in a tree, or at least what I thought was an eagle. Scanning trees for a blob of white has been a good method for finding eagles, at least until now. Today I was fooled by a seagull.
Well played, seagull. You win this round.
Actually, you can see it in the trees in this shot if you look closely.

A few minutes later, I paddled through hundreds of floating white feathers. Since I had seagulls on the brains at that moment, I tried to imagine what would have caused all the seagulls in the area to suddenly go bald. No wonder he was hiding in a tree!
On further reflection, there just aren't that many seagulls around here. So unless the local swans had suddenly exploded for no good reason, I'm guessing the culprit here is geese. There are a lot of transients heading south right now in addition to the locals, and I suppose they must molt or something. I guess. I dunno, who am I, Dr.Goose?
I soon encountered the local swans....
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....and since they obviously have not spontaneously exploded, my geese theory is looking better all the time.

Before heading back, I looked for some of the gelatinous egg sacks that we see on the sandy Inlet floor in the fall. As it was a low tide, I couldn't do a lot of exploring without bottoming out but I did spot a few of them.
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Not all of my animal encounters were with winged animals.
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As I returned to my put in, I saw the same heron that I saw when I launched, still working the same fishing spot.
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I don't know why he stayed there. I watched him for a long time and not once did he strike for a fish.

With that, the paddle came to an end. I need to figure out a way to not go to work tomorrow so I can paddle again!

Trip Length: 6.85 km
YTD: 100.10 km
More pictures are here.
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

2012.12.237 - Apparently, It's Easy Being Green After All

Albert Head
A gloriously sunny day. Totally flat water. A (almost) new green kayak.
Louise and I put in at Albert Head Park for a paddle around Albert Head to Witty's Lagoon. Low tide so we knew we wouldn't be entering the Lagoon itself, but would be stopped by sandbars at its entrance.

This was Louise's first outing in her new to her green Delta Sixteen after trading in her old Delta Seventeen. It's clear from her comments on the water today that the Seventeen was totally the wrong boat for her. She clearly enjoys a boat with greater primary stability and the soft chine of her new boat fits her needs more than the sharp chine of the Seventeen. She's a happy kayaker now!
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Just off the rocky beach at Albert Head, seals lazed about on a couple of small islets.
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We paddled past more seals....
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...until we reached the entrance to the lagoon.

We poked around the entrance, as well as some islands off-shore, but as I suspected we kept encountering sandbars just below the surface that blocked our further passage.
A heron watch us paddle by.
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Heading back, a pair of deer looked down on us. There were three in total, a mom and two fawns.
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We took a little shortcut through the end of the head that we unimaginatively call The Shortcut.

Paddle #1 with the green machine is a success! Looking forward to paddle #2!

Trip Length: 9.22 km
YTD: 93.25 km
More pictures are here.