Friday, December 19, 2014

That's One Way

Probably not the most conventional way of launching a kayak off the dock....but it worked! Check out the video below:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Kayak Tour to see lights in Brentwood Bay

When I went looking on the blog for postson our times paddling in December to see Christmas lights, all I could find at first were posts mentioning Christmas... So I guess we'll just have to do a December paddle on the Gorge again this year to look for lights. And if you'd like to do your own paddle while watching Christmas lights, there's an opportunity for you in Brentwood Bay! Just saw this notice in the newspaper:

See Christmas lights from a different perspective at Saturday’s Family Kayak Lights Tour. The two-hour tour takes participants into Brentwood Bay in a flotilla of kayaks and canoes.
Tour operator Pacific Paddlesports will give a brief lesson before setting out in the boats, which will be decorated with Christmas lights. Participants are encouraged to dress warmly with a waterproof layer on top. Bring a travel mug for free hot cocoa.
Cost is $25 per person or $75 for a family of four. No experience necessary. The tour runs 4 to 6 p.m. at Port Side Marina, 789 Saunders Lane, Central Saanich. For details, go to

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1890 Canoe Race on the Gorge

Found two old photographs in the City of Vancouver Archives, taken May 24, 1890. They show a holiday scene on the Gorge Waterway, and they're titled "Indian canoe race in gorge, Victoria, BC."  You can click here and here to see the image on the Archives website, and look through other images.

Wonderful to see the canoes, and the rowboats much like those newly-available through Whitehall with their reproductions of classic designs. The shoreline is still thickly forested, while nowadays in this industrialized part of the Gorge Waterway there are trees only on a few private lots and in parks.

I think the location of the 1890 canoe race is on the part of the waterway called the Upper Harbour and Selkirk Water. Races were certainly held here in the past. This part of the waterway is below the narrows under the Tillicum bridge, so these holiday boaters would be avoiding the reversing waterfall at the narrows. If you want to see some modern photos of Selkirk Water and the Upper Harbour, check out these posts on Kayak Yak with photos taken by John.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Old School Irish Kayaking

Here's some British Pathé coverage of a kayak race on the River Liffey in Ireland. If you like a lot skin-on-frame kayaks overturning then this clip is for you.
Check out the embedded video below:

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Memory Lane

I've been going on Kayak Yak and taking a paddle along memory lane today. Remember when Bernie camped on D'Arcy Island? That was an epic kayak camping trip in the wooden kayak he built.
And what about the time a seaplane took off beside us as we were paddling round James Island? Talk about feeling like speed bumps...
I still envy Louise's chance to paddle off Rebecca Spit at Quadra Island. It would be terrific to go as a small group to Quadra, to paddle the Main Lakes, and in the bays. If we had a Clam Shoot, maybe we could book Harper Graham's boat to ferry our kayaks up to Octopus Islands park for the day.
At any rate, that's enough memories for now. Hope you enjoy looking at these past posts too!

Friday, December 05, 2014

There's a Reason For A Skirt

Pro Tip: You should probably put a skirt on before trying a seal launch. Check out the video embedded below:

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Kayaking in Light

Here's a look at kayaking as you've never seen it before. This picture, and others like it, are the work of Ontario photographer Stephen Orlando. Using a long exposure technique called light-painting, his kayaking photos capture beautiful curtains of light moving across lakes and down rivers.
You can check out some of his other galleries here; his kayaking gallery is here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Kayaking Cats

Finally, we have ascertained the ultimate use for the Internet: kayaking cat videos:

Friday, November 21, 2014


As the Dire Straits song goes, "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug." And this would be a bug moment as this poor paddler attempts a rough water launch.
Check out the video below:

Power waves overturn kayak vertically from Renzhi on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Life With The Salmon - book review

Paddlers, be on the lookout for small boat use in a variety of books, especially books from modest-sized Canadian publishers. The latest paddling fix I've found was in a wonderful title from Theytus Books. It's the second book from author Diane Jacobson, and it's called My Life With The Salmon. Click here for a link to the publisher's website.

While most of the book discusses the author's time working with salmon enhancement programs, there is a strong element of boating. Jacobson and her colleagues use a variety of boats to reach the various places where they are gathering data on salmon and their habitats. If you're not strictly a kayaker, you can read along and nod sagely as she speaks of the small open motorboats being used to cross a river estuary or reach an island, and of canoes on lakes and rivers. There are even some of her colleagues who swim and snorkel downstream to report on river conditions for salmon. Safety concerns while boating are mentioned several times in her book, as well as a healthy amount of awe for her experiences along the rivers and ocean shore of her homeland.

Y'see, Jacobson is a member of the 'Namgis First Nation, and boating is a natural part of the life in her community on the coast. "The river taught me that it has the power to give life and to take life in an instant," she says at one point.

If this were a kayaking book, I'd ramble on about it. But it's great to see the use of small boats being such an important element of such an interesting book. This book was awarded the Best Regional Non-fiction Prize by the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2012.
If you want to see what it's like to be offshore in a small motorboat, we've got a link to a video here. And if you're interested in salmon stories, check out Kayak Yak posts here on our forays into salmon-bearing streams.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's Hammerhead Time

Earlier this week, a pair of kayakers in Florida had an unexpected follower on their journey: a hammerhead shark. The shark followed them for about two miles before moving off. One of the paddlers later quipped to a local paper, “It’s not really a huge thing to see sharks. But when you have a dorsal fin trailing you like [it's] Jaws, it’s a different story.”
One of the paddlers whipped out his GoPro and shot the footage below:

This wasn't the first hammerhead encounter to get caught on video. Below is an encounter from last year when a hammerhead tried to take a nibble or two from another kayaker, causing the paddler to start hitting the shark with his paddle:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sidney Spit Reminder

The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve has published a reminder to users of the park that part of Sidney Island -- the park area north of the prominent fence line -- is closed to the public from November 1st 2014 through February 28, 2015. You can find notice of this annual closure in the Times-Colonist.
The park area south of the day-use area on Sidney Spit is closed during the winter for public safety reasons, to facilitate hunting by First Nations during this time. The fallow deer on Sidney Island have become so numerous that a cull is necessary to reduce their numbers.
Though the day-use area of the island is still open to the public, and the mooring buoys and the spit itself are available for boaters to use, it is a good idea for kayakers and other boat users to plan visiting other parts of GINPR until the closure is lifted March 1st.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Expect the Unexpected

So I'm trawling through youtube looking for kayaking videos. Because I have no life. But anyway, I stumbled upon this video. A pair of paddlers are lazily paddling a quiet section of the cold Detroit River when suddenly one of them unexpectedly goes swimming. We could critique some aspects of the paddlers' preparations as it looks like the swimmer wasn't dressed particularly well for immersion, but on the other hand the rescue, such as it was, went smoothly with neither paddler panicking and the paddling partner taking charge of the situation. And apart from the clothing, both paddlers seemed well prepared.
But what struck me was how quickly a seemingly benign paddling situation could turn into a rescue situation. There's no wind, no waves, no expected surprise. Just a tree branch, and a quick moment when gravity overcomes balance. Living near The Gorge, Louise and I paddle in conditions similar to this all the time, and sometimes we take the calmness for granted. Consider this a gentle reminder to expect the unexpected.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blue-Green Algae Bloom Confirmed At Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park

Word up, for anyone planning to paddle at Elk Lake or Beaver Lake this week -- there's blue-green algae blooming along part of the shores. Check your launch sites!
The Capital Regional District sent out a press release today with the news, and it's copied below.

Public Service Announcement
For Immediate Release
November 7, 2014
Blue Green Algae Bloom Confirmed At Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park
Victoria, BC - Water tests conducted at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park have tested positive for blue-green algae bloom. Visitors are advised to avoid areas near the visible blue-green sheen, which appears as surface scum. Pet owners are advised to keep animals on a leash and prevent them from drinking or swimming in either lake.
For further information, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications

Jeanette Mollin, Administrative Clerk
Visitor Services and Community Development
Capital Regional District / Regional Parks
490 Atkins Avenue, Victoria, BC V9B 2Z8
T: 250-360-3341 F: 250-478-5416

Friday, November 07, 2014

Flying Kayak only it flew straight to the ground....
At least he has a PFD on. Not that it helped, because there's no water.
Needless to say, don't try this at home. Or anywhere.

Sunday, November 02, 2014


There are all kinds of neighbours around here. We meet the nicest people when we're out in our kayaks! We are also lucky enough to meet plenty of animal and plant neighbours as we noodle around the shorelines and cross to some of the islands. Now I've been lucky enough to find a website called VictoriaDiving made by another kind of neighbour: one who goes diving along these shores. Sometimes he takes his gear in an inflatable motorboat and goes out to some of the same places we go.
It's interesting to see his perspective on these shoreline places, as he ducks under the water and down far deeper than I though most local divers went on solo dives. Check out his website -- there's a map showing places he's been. You can look on Kayak Yak at posts of places we've been, such as Telegraph Cove, and then go to his website and find posts he's made about the same place.
Neighbours can be grand.

Friday, October 31, 2014