Sunday, September 8, 2013

2013.09.253 - Kayak for a Cure 2013

Louise and I hit Willows Beach early this morning to join the 2013 edition of Kayak For A Cure. About 50 kayakers by my guess hit the water, some old hands at kayaking, but others were first-time newbies, and many were cancer survivors so it's a short, easy paddle to Cadboro Bay and back.

But first things first. And first I get my picture taken with Marty the Marmot, the hardest working marmot in show business.
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But when our thoughts turned to kayaking, conditions were beautiful on the beach...
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...but there were some big thick clouds of fog here and there offshore and down towards the south.

Soon, we were off. Herding cats is probably easier.
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I wasn't expecting to see much in the way of wildlife today, the wildlife generally hides when a fleet, is in the water, but a heron kept watch as we paddled by.
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We rounded Cattle Point...
...and into Cadboro Bay...
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...where Paula paddled out to briefly join us.
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A quick stop under wispy fog at Cadboro Bay beach...
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...and then we returned to Willows Beach...
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...for munchies.

Donations received from the Victoria event go towards the local InspireHealth Integrated Cancer Care centre, and today we raised over $22,000.
It's not too late to help -- you can still donate by clicking here.

In support of Bobby, Ann, and Karen.
In memory of Pauline, Jaan, and Sam.

Trip length: 6.98 km
YTD: 48.64 km
More pictures are here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2013.08.252 - A Family Affair

A sunny Tuesday. Well, it's supposed to be. But there's some fog at our launch point at Cadboro Bay.
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We've got a big group on the water today. Louise and I were joined by my sister Brenda who is hosting my great-nephew Michael who is honeymooning here with his new bride Gwylan. Michael is the grandson of my sister Ann who lived back east but passed away last winter, and he and I have never met. We had a great dinner at Brenda's last night trading stories about Ann, although it was kind of weird hearing one of my sisters referred to as "Grandma."
Thanks to Paula, who also joined us on the water today, we were able to get ourselves as well as Brenda, Michael and Gwylan on the water for a nice gentle paddle from Cadboro Bay to Cattle Point. Paula used her Eliza, and lent us her Pamlico and two inflatables, setting a personal record for having four of her kayaks on the water at once.
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I showed off the amazingly scenic Juan de Fuca Strait!
Okay, you'll have to trust me on that.

The fog came and went and came and went, but eventually went. The geese didn't care one way or the other.
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Apart from the geese, we didn't see much in the way of wildlife at first, something we've noticed on other foggy days. Sometimes I think all the animals just sleep in on foggy days. Can't say I blame them.
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Eventually we did see a few seals tanning on a rock...
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...and after a quick crossing to Flower Island...
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...we saw a few more.
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Awesome day on the water with awesome people -- that's how you spend a Tuesday!

Trip length: 6.20 km
YTD: 41.66 km
More pictures are here.

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

2013.07.251 - Seal of Disapproval

There's no question that our kayaking mojo has been absent this year. We've just gone through the driest and most sunshiniest month ever recorded in these parts and we only kayaked twice. Part of the problem is we spent the earlier part of the year nursing minor aches and pains, and dealt with some energy-sapping family matters. But those are winding down now, and we're feeling relatively healthy, so we're trying to get back in to the paddling swing again. And although it was overcast when we arrived at Cadboro Bay beach, the weatherman promised that it would burnoff and the sun would out soon.
And the weatherman always keeps his promises, right?

Paula joined Louise and myself and we headed out hoping that the weatherman would indeed keep his promises. And it looked like he just might. As we paddled along the north side of the by, the thin cloud layer began to abate.
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This heron was enjoying the morning almost as much as we were.

We reached Flower Island and paddled around the far side of the island where a pair of eagles were resting.
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One flew off to sit in a tree....
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...while one seemed quite content to sit in the sun.
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While I drifted away checking out the eagles, Louise was having a close encounter of her own.
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A seal had taken an interest in her and was following close behind her, diving and swimming under her boat.
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Louise reported that it was swimming up to her, diving, turning upside down and looking up here. She spent a few minutes mesmerized as it swan and performed in the underwater sunlit rays.

From Flower, we crossed to Jemmy Jones Island with the intention of paddling around it, but as we closed in, we could hear seals barking and we could see young seals at both ends of the island. We decided to forgo paddling around and leave the young ones in peace.
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Instead, we paddled towards the end of Ten Mile Point and played around in a cove that only exists at low tide. Normally, this would be a series of small to medium-sized channels, but not today. We spent a few minutes floating around checking out the sponges and seaweed.
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After a while, a mother seal and her baby entered the channel.
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They seemed calm at first, but clearly baby seal was interested in us and kept trying to get closer. Mother seal kept swimming in front of the baby and nudging it away from us.
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Finally, she popped up right in front of me, and with an exasperated splash let us know that we were no longer welcome.
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Even though we were in the cove first, we weren't going to argue the point and quickly moved away.
Afterwards, we discussed whether the seal was being overtly aggressive or not. We concluded that the seals must have been somewhat curious as they had clearly approached us -- made a straight line for me at one point -- but mom had obviously determined that we had overstayed in their area and gave a polite but firm warning.

So we took the hint and headed back, past Flower Island, where the eagle was still in the tree.
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Trip length: 6.43 km
YTD: 35.46 km
More pictures are here.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

2013.06.250 - 2013 MEC Victoria Paddlefest

You couldn't ask for a better day for a Paddlefest. Well, you could, but that would be greedy.
In the midst of an incredible run of sunny weather, Louise, Paula, Bernie (yes, even Bernie!) and I arrived at Willows Beach for the 2013 version of the MEC Victoria Paddlefest.
And it was a picture-perfect day, unlike last year's "Fog-fest."
But bright sunny skies made for a big turn-out this year, as we bumped into old friends and paddling buddies.

There were already a lot of kayaks in the water when we arrived....
IMG_1809-001 we headed up the beach to check displays and boats. Here Louise and Paula watch as a potential customer checks out a boat.

Paula chatted up the Necky rep for a bit....
...then headed out on Ocean River's Discovery Island tour....
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Louise headed out in a Sterling Reflection on loan for the day from one of The Hurricane Riders.
No sooner had Louise got in the kayak, then our friend Mark rolled up onto the beach in another Reflection. He and Louise traded notes while I continued to practice the art of taking unflattering photos of kayakers.
While Louise was out in the Reflection, I took a Sterling Grand Illusion out. These are nicely outfitted and sturdy boats. And insanely light to carry.

Next, Louise took out a Tahe Marine boat. I didn't catch which model it was, but I think it's a Reval.
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Louise wasn't as keen on it, and didn't like the seat very much. I took a Boréal Design Epsilon C300 out for a spin and quite enjoyed it.

All in all, a gorgeous day at the beach.
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Trip length: .42 km
YTD: 29.03 km
More pictures are here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

2013.05.249 - Flying Our Flag

Many of our North American readers may have noticed that there is a heat wave going on. Here on the southern tip of Vancouver Island we may not be melting under the insane temperatures the southern U.S. is getting, but we are suffering under abnormally high temps here, too. Okay, I am suffering, not we. Apparently some people like record-breaking heat. I don't. Give me snow over a heatwave any day.
Yesterday's high of 30.8C was not a record breaker, but it was very close, and today's 29.8C temp was a new record, and the humidex means it felt like 32C. That's official "I-feel-like-I'm-dying-weather."
But it's Canada Day, and a little hot weather isn't going to stop us from flying the flag during our annual Canada Day paddle down The Gorge.

Louise and I rolled the kayaks down the hill to our local put in on The Gorge. Paula was going to join us but was running late, so we watched to local Canada Day parade pass by.

Yes, the Saanich Police Department employs the latest in modern crime-fighting technology.

Just as the parade ended, Paula appeared and set to work inflating her kayaking. Louise and I went for a little paddle as Paula got ready. Louise did some stroke practice and enjoyed a quiet moment of tranquility having a little float...
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...while I watched a heron in its favourite fishing spot.
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I figured that I might as well get as many pictures of the heron as I could as this would probably be the only wildlife we would see today. Most of the birds in the area don't like the huge crowd we get in this area on Canada Day and seem to either hide or just go somewhere else.

Faster than you can say "Pierre Poutine," Paula was ready and we headed out. Even though we were out early, we could already feel the heat rising. Even the cool breeze we were picking up on the water was slowly being overpowered by the rising temperature.
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We made it to the new Craigflower bridge construction site before deciding to turn around. We still wanted to visit the 1.5 kilometer-long Gorge Canada Day Block Party before it got so hot that we melted into puddles.
And something was attracting me onto shore....
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First, we checked out some classic cars. Anyone remember this one?
It's not the original...but it's a darn fine copy.

If you wanted to experience some more cultured fare, there were dancers...
...and rockers.
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If communing with nature was more your style, you could hang out with a marmot instead.
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Or you could take your best friend kayaking.
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And what could be more Canadian than a giant game of road hockey? On course, if you're going to play goal on the hottest Canada Day on record, you better dress the part, right?

Trip length: 4.20 km
YTD: 28.62 km
More pictures are here.