Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Your Squee! For the Day

Rosie the kitten was just three weeks old when she was found abandoned and sick earlier this year. Her rescuers were not sure she would survive unless they found a surrogate mother, and they found an unlikely one in Lilo the husky dog. It was all the more unexpected because Lilo had never had puppies of her own but Rosie clearly brought out Lilo's mothering instinct. Rosie eventually was adopted by the whole pack of huskies, becoming a bit of an Internet thing a couple of months ago.
Rosie's latest adventure with her new pack is to enjoy kayaking and paddleboarding. That cat gets on the water more than I do.

And of course, there's a video:

Monday, August 31, 2015

Google Kayak Maps

Unless Google Translate is playing a joke on me, this article is describing the Google camera being used on a kayak. The kayaker paddled 1500 kms around the coast of Malaysia, all the while with the Google Maps camera strapped on its back. Check out the results on Google Maps.

Clover Point Wastewater Discharge

Paddlers wanting to launch near Clover Point should take notice! Word has come from the Capital Regional District about an untreated sewage spill at Clover Point on Saturday, August 29.
Here's a quote from the CRD notice on their website pages:

For Immediate Release
August 29, 2015
Clover Point Wastewater Discharge Notice
Victoria, BC
Signs have been posted as a precautionary measure due to a wastewater discharge at
Clover Point on the afternoon of Saturday, August 29, 2015.
Approximately 900 m3 of unscreened wastewater was discharged through the Clover Point pumpstation short outfall as a result of a mechanical equipment failure. The failure has since been corrected and the pumpstation is operating as it should.
In consultation with Island Health, water sampling at locations along the beaches near Clover Point will take place this weekend and public health advisory signs have been posted at all beach access points in the Ross Bay
and Clover Point areas. Lab results from the weekend samples should be available early
next week and if enterococci levels are below the 70CFU/100mL recreational limit the signage will be
For media inquiries please contact:
Ted Robbins, General Manager,
CRD Integrated Water Service
Office 250.360.3061

Big ol' fish and good ol' boys

The winds yesterday were done today. Time for another short paddle on Poirier Lake, a pleasant little lake. There were intermittent flashes of sunshine breaking through the clouds, but a patter of rain started just as Bernie carried the red Pamlico down to the brand-new boat dock. It was a nice warm rain shower, off and on for the next hour, as I paddled in lazy circuits round the little lake.
Bernie walked to the brand-new fishing dock and set up his rod and reel. Before long he waved me over to the dock. "My line is caught on that sunken log again," he said. "First cast!" It wasn't hard to free the hook so he could cast again.
Twice I saw a fish break the surface, several minutes apart, and not a little tiny fish. Once the water was disturbed near enough that I could see the white shape of a fish that looked about two feet long. It was probably smaller, but it sure seemed like a big ol' fish.
Drifted and paddled some more, listening to white guy funky rock on a radio outside a house at one end of the lake. A very retro station. Then back to shore and home to the little house.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Seriously equipped

What a day! after weeks of sunshine, it's raining in squalls. The wind blows in gusts... first nothing, then a breeze, and suddenly the trees are thrashing and then still. With the weather forecast saying "be careful out there" I did NOT go out paddling today. Instead I checked that my kayaking gear is packed just fine under the deck. Now the rain is pounding down in sheets.
Wonder how a family I saw the other day is doing on their camping trip. Their RV was waiting at a traffic light as Bernie and I walked past and saw the family's big smiles and their arms resting on the open windows. On the roof of their RV was tied a big ol' red canoe, the type that I think nearly everyone has paddled for their first time in a boat. Behind the RV was their boat trailer with a powerboat much like a nice Bayliner. And a Zodiac inflatable was tied upside-down on top of the powerboat, with a smaller motor of its own.
"When you're taking THREE boats on your trip," said Bernie, "you are SERIOUSLY equipped."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Vintage Spanish Kayaking

Here's a vintage clip of a kayak race in Spain's Sella River on August 26, 1957.
I like the standing (sitting?) start on the beach. The race was apparently won by a pair from Belgium. Check out the clip embedded below:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Splish, Splash, Flash

About a month ago, we reminded readers that kayaking in a lightning storm is a dangerous no-no. And here's a video that demonstrates just how scary kayaking in a lightning storm can be. A pair of kayakers in Florida get caught when a storm sneaks up on them. Check out the news report below.
We won't point out the irony that the paddler concludes by saying you should play it safe even though he never puts on a PFD.

Here's the full clip of the kayaker in the storm without the news report:

Hutchison Cove

Had a good time on the water on Saturday. Bernie and I launched at Cooper's Cove and headed into Hutchison Cove. Both coves are part of Sooke Basin, where we've paddled before several times!

We ate a ripe blackberry each as we walked from the van to shore with our boats. No lingering to harvest blackberries! Today was just a short day. If I'd thought about driving to water, I'd have taken my 13-foot Expedition inflatable kayak, but the little 8'6" Lagoon is still so new that I'm practically carrying it to the grocery store and everywhere. I was in the Lagoon and Bernie in the red Pamlico when we set off. By the time I hit the water -- a bare six minutes after leaving the van, I might add, which is a terrific inflation/set-up time for any folding kayak!-- Bernie was drifting back from the middle of the cove with a smug smile.

"I've already caught a crab," he said. "And a fish. Well, the fish struck at the blackberry seed I spit out of my teeth. And I've seen a turkey vulture soaring overhead. My day is complete." Congratulations were in order, even when he admitted that the crab had been thumb-sized, floating, and already released, and the fish was a tiny fingerling.

Most of the sea life we noted after that was a series of jellyfish. Moon jellies were floating all around. We paddled past the bluffs and into the mouth of Hutchison Cove, where we drifted for a while and contemplated an immensely large house visible on the shore. Here's a SPOT signal showing our location on our way back.

We followed along the Goodridge Peninsula on the outside of Cooper Cove and then on the inside, contemplating the geology and the wear-and-tear on this little peninsula. It formed after the end of the last Ice Age, and most of the sediments we can see above the waterline piled up in the last 10,000 years. There are clamshells and black earth here, which apparently means the ashes and shells from First Nations middens. It would have been a nice place for clams and ducks. A hundred years ago it was a site for construction of concrete tunnel sections to convey water from Sooke Lake reservoir to Victoria, so the site saw some pretty rough use. Now it's recovering and looks like a park. Part of the Cove is a sanctuary for migrating birds.

A seal or two popped up behind our boats and watched us before dipping down again. We weren't on the water long, but it always feels like the right place to be.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Duke Kahanamoku's Birthday!

Hey paddlers! Particularly surfers and stand-up-paddleboarders! Today is the 125th anniversary of Duke Kahanamou's birthday. Check out today's Google doodle.
If you don't know who this legendary surfer and Olympian was, here's a website summing up many interesting things about his life, and the Wikipedia page. Or you could start at this link and have some happy reading. Among his many achievements, he made use of a longboard for lifesaving.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Kayak Robot

Artist Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk made this model robot, which is one of a series she is making. She says:
Here's a commission I did a couple of months ago titled "Kayak Bot." He's made from a cocktail shaker, some cheese slicers, an old film can and other bits. He was quite a challenge but it was fun to stretch a bit out of my comfort zone.

Check out her Facebook page for more robot models!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Whale Of A Tail

Kayakers in Alaska answering the call of the wild experienced the spalsh of the wild as a humpback whale came in close and dove under one of their kayaks. They got splashed, and also a video that we can all enjoy. Check it out below:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Old-Timey White Water Kayaking

Here's a clip of vintage white-water kayaking in the Eifel mountain area of Europe in 1964.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Incredible compact packing

There are few kayaks better for travelling than a folding or a folding inflatable kayak. There are few ways to camp that are better than paddling, if you like comforts and not having to carry everything on your back all day long as you hike. Now I've just seen a page online posted by a kayak camper who has got compact packing of his folding inflatable kayak down to a science. Check this link for photos and a quick summary of all the gear that gets tucked neatly inside an Advanced Elements model called the Fusion, with two small bags on deck. Thirteen feet of slim boat that can be taken on an airplane or train or bus, packed with camping gear and all in a load that didn't break that paddler's back on the trip. Salute!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Paddleboarding With Orcas

When you're out stand-up-paddleboarding, always remember not to look down. Because you might see something big that startles you, like an orca.
But if you are going to look down, always remember to take your camera. So that you can film the orca under your paddlebard....like this guy did:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Most Dangerous Game

Heard a story from Ben about another of his canoeing trips, this one with his friend Danny. While paddling in the Okanagan valley in central British Columbia, Ben and Danny took a canoe up one of the feeder creeks.

I'll pause here to note that Ben's never actually purchased a good canoe. He's always just found a canoe, in a friend's back yard or on Kajiji or sunk in a bay. These aren't good canoes. Usually if a person owns it, he or she says "It's got a big crack in it, but you can have it if you want it." Ben gets to work with a container of Epoxy or something, and voila! a floating boat that he can use for a summer and then give to someone with room to keep a canoe. Often it ends up as a planter or else gathers dust till someone else wants to get out on the water.

Two summers ago, one of these rattletrap old canoes took Ben and Danny up a creek for four days of minimalist camping. When they paused to set up camp the first night, Ben assured Danny that they did not want to let the canoe drift away during the night. This mishap had happened to him before on another river camping trip, and he had walked downstream for two days before coming across that canoe stuck on a sandbar. Never again! Danny could go right ahead and set his sleeping bag on the bank above the creek, but Ben intended to sleep inside the canoe under a bit of tarp with at least one of the paddles. That way, even if the canoe drifted away, at least he wouldn't lose it -- and he'd be able to steer.

I'll pause here again to wonder why the guys didn't just tie the canoe to a tree. Camping on Quadra Island, I lifted the small boats onto the bank above the shore. Also, I tied my inflatable kayak to trees while camping on the Red Deer river, because weather changes in Alberta can be sudden and strong, causing rivers to rise or winds to blow strongly enough to roll canoes and kayaks. Maybe there weren't any trees along that Okanagan creek, and maybe the bank was very steep.
I'm also wondering whether Ben has ever awakened in a canoe that is unexpectedly bobbing downstream without a paddle. There are some things a mother just doesn't want to know.

But I digress. When we left our story, our intrepid adventurers were settling down for the night. In the morning, Danny woke first, sat up, and had a terrific view of the creek and the canoe and the tarp-draped shape that was Ben. Abruptly, Ben snorted and sat up, clawing the tarp away and grunting. Unfortunately, he wasn't alone on the edge of the creek. A Canada goose had curled up there as well.

Found this photo of a Canada goose in attack mode in an article online.
Big bird, so it and Ben were sitting up looking at each other eye-to-eye.
Startled, the goose panicked and screamed a loud hooonnk. It struck out at the sudden movement of this noisy, hairy creature. And it didn't just punch him with its hard beak, which I can assure you (as the veteran of goose battles on the farm) leaves one bruised and bleeding. Nope. It slammed both wings forward hard against Ben's head and boxed his ears. He went down like he'd been hit by a bus. 
Now it was Ben's turn to scream. By the time he kicked off the tarp, his ears were bleeding, he had an instant thunderclap of a migraine, and his head was ringing like a gong. The goose made a hasty and noisy retreat.
Meanwhile, Danny laughed hard enough to roll off the creek bank.
"I'm deaf!" screamed Ben. He added some choice words about the evil bird that stayed just out of reach as Ben fell out of the canoe and flailed about on the shore.
Danny couldn't stop laughing.
Ben had some more choice words about evil companions.
By the time they set out downstream, Ben had enough of Danny's laughter. Since Ben's head felt vile and he could barely move, he decreed that Danny could make up for laughing by doing all the paddling.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Rivers of Gold

It makes for a gorgeous picture (photo credit: Jerry McBride/PA Wire/Zuma Press), but it's a disaster. Last week, at least two groups of kayakers on the Animes River in Colorado discovered that the water was no longer, well, water-coloured, but instead had turned orange. They decided to run the river anyway, correctly guessing that the strange colour was due to something happening at the abandoned Gold King Mine upriver. What they didn't realize was that the river was now full of toxic wastewater containing high levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum. The colour is actually caused by the disturbance of the sediments, not by the toxic elements. Just how toxic the river is has yet to determined.
It turns out that an Environmental Protection Agency crew were digging around the abandoned gold mine in an effort to investigate leaks. The mine's plug burst, and the small, intermittent leak became a fast moving wave of disaster.
The sludge is making its way towards the Colorado River, and local residents and businesses have been warned to avoid drinking, swimming and paddling in the area. Paddlesports companies in the area are taking a hit. “It’s a total disaster for us,” says Matt Wilson, owner of 4Corners Riversports in Durango told Canoe and Kayak. “The river has been closed since Thursday and I’ve lost over $15,000 in cancellations already. The poor Animas River took a major hit and we still haven’t heard from the EPA as to what the exact dangers of the toxins are.”

But, on the other hand, some people can find humour in any situation, as per the video embedded below:

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Buebird of Happiness

I think I saw the Bluebird of Happiness, while paddling on Poirier Lake.
Maybe it was the kingfisher that fluttered out of the trees and swooped low over the water, stooping for a fish. Its big beak is as wide as a grin.
Maybe it was the Steller's Jay that perched in a spruce near where I was marveling at the pedal boats tied up at one dock, and the inflatable lounging raft at another. That blue flicker is brightest in a sunbeam. We don't get mountain bluebirds here, and bluejays are rare.
It might have been one of the blue dragonflies that darted around catching mosquitoes and swirling in pairs. Not sure how big the Bluebird of Happiness is supposed to be. It could be very little.
But when I came along the north shore of the lake as I did a couple of circuits with and against the breeze, as I got closer to the fishing dock there were two fishing lines coming out from behind the bushes along the shore. Gossamer in the sunbeams, the lines moved as unseen hands tugged on them. The sight of them pulled on my heart as if the hooks had set into my own flesh. I came round that shore, swinging wide to avoid crowding the lines or chasing any nearby fish, and saw my partner and our son standing in the shadows on the fishing dock. There was my spouse in faded denim and gray and our son disappearing into the woods in dark colours and khaki. Their strong hands pulled on the lines and I had to look away or the Bluebird was going to pull just a little harder on my heart than I could handle. The kayak bobbed under me and I went to listen to the music playing at the other end of the little lake. "Oh my my, oh hell yes..."