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....
IMGP0133 Louise and I tried out some boats.

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.