Sunday, June 15, 2014

2014.05.258 - The Great Experiment

Louise and I decided to head to the dark side today and try our hand at stand-up paddle boarding. It's something we've always wanted to try as The Gorge near where we live would be a great place to SUP. We could carry the boards down the hill easily and launch into its flat and calm waters.
We hooked up with Jason from Epic Surf Co. for a lesson.

We met early on this cloudy and drizzly morning at Gonzales Bay, a small but sheltered bay on the southern shore of Victoria.
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The first thing we liked about paddle boarding? These boards are light!
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But then the hard part began, getting on the board and standing up.
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It's not as easy as it looks. First you have to get on your knees, then try and move to your feet, then stand up. It sounds simple, but it takes some getting used to. And it didn't always go well.
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But finally, she's up!

Louise was really good at it, and really got the hang of it. Although she had a few falls, she was really good about getting back on the horse and trying again, and managed to stand up quite a few times and went for a couple of long paddles. I was able to get up on my knees, but really found myself having a hard time balancing on my feet. I did manage to stand up a few times, but I didn't stay up for long. :)
There's something about not being on solid ground that my feet don't like. I have the same feeling if I'm in skates or rollerblades -- my feet total rebel, they want to be on the ground, ground that preferably isn't moving. It's odd...while on the paddle board on my knees, I had no problems. (Although you can't edge really well on a paddle board. As I found out.)

Most of the time, my view was this:

But Louise was a whiz at it.
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Will we do it again? Not sure. No question we had fun, but I am not sure we were convinced enough to try it again. We'll sleep on it and see. And you will see it here, if we try it again.

Trip length: .5 km
YTD: 26.08 km
More pictures are here.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

2014.04.257 - Baby Hunt


A warm sunny morning greeted Louise and I as we rolled our kayaks down the hill for a paddle. The object of today's paddle was our annual pilgrimage up The Gorge to look for baby swans. There's two local swan couples, one in The Gorge that have lived there for a couple of years, and another couple in Portage Inlet that have been there for at least six or seven years. So be warned; there's possibly lots of cute feathered goodness ahead in this post.

First, we noticed a heron preening in the morning sun near our launch point.
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We kayaked by the first swan nest. Mom was sitting on the nest, and there was no sign of baby swans. Or dad for that matter. We'd thought we might have seen mom and some babies a few days ago from a distance when we were on a walk, but we really weren't sure. And with the the high grasses, mom could be hiding almost anything in there. But if she had any baby swans in there, we saw no sign of them today.
A few minutes later we spotted dad out for his Sunday morning walk, er, swim.
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Soon, we paddled by some geese and clearly they had had some luck on the baby front.
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Another heron was fishing for breakfast.

Then we headed for our first trip under the new Craigflower Bridge after its official opening a few weeks ago.
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This fancy new bridge replaces an 80 year-old bridge that looked like this:
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Going under the bridge moves you from The Gorge to Portage Inlet and we headed for the nest of the the other swan couple. But disappointingly, there was no sign of them. The beach area where they've nest for years looked undisturbed, so we wonder if they are still around. Perhaps they've moved on.
So, no swan babies. But as we looked in vain for them, we saw a pair of youngish looking herons.
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It was high noon, but low tide and we were getting stuck in the mud and silt botton of the Inlet. Time to head back.
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Trip length: 6.83 km
YTD: 25.58 km
More pictures are here.
2014-06-08 The Gorge