Monday, July 06, 2015

Fire Ban in CRD Parks

Hey, paddlers who like to go ashore and cook while day paddling or camping! We just got this press release from the Capital Regional District parks branch, quoted below. If you're in one of the CRD's parks around Victoria -- heck, if you're in any park on the Island or nearby islands -- the dry spell has caused extreme fire risk. Basically, don't light any campfires in a park or even on an isolated beach as the forest is tinder dry. One spark can fly in the wind. If you use a gas barbecue or campstove, be really careful and supervise it carefully.

Information BulletinFor Immediate Release
Monday, July 6, 2015

Fire Ban at Regional Parks Expanded to Include Charcoal Barbeques

Victoria, BC– Effective immediately charcoal brick and briquette barbeques are prohibited at all Regional Parks within the Capital Regional District due to the current extreme fire hazard rating. Propane and gas barbeques are allowed under direct supervision. The campfire ban at Island View Beach and Jordan River Regional Parks Campgrounds remains in effect. The bans are intended to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. Park visitors are asked to be aware of all spark sources and to report forest fires to 911.


For media inquiries, please contact:Laurie Sthamann, Communications Coordinator CRD Parks & Environmental Services Tel: 250.360.3332 Cell: 250.890.8030

Even if you're somewhere that still looks green, the whole province is dry and no rain is likely for another week or two. Check out this video taken by Karl Johanson of a fire that started June 29 on the Panama Flats, where he and Stephanie have paddled their kayaks in Colquitz Creek during winter flooding. The green bushes and trees are flaring up, fast and hot.

Fireworks and Kayaks Don't Always Mix

A Michigan kayker badly injured his leg and blew up two kayaks when the fireworks he was igniting exploded prematurely. Another kayaker was also injured. The man dropped the fireworks mortar into the water between the two kayaks when he realized the powder had ignited early.
Check out the video below:

Friday, July 03, 2015

Kayakers Rescue Dolphin

Here's your "feel good" kayak story of the week. Kayakers in Scotland saved a dolphin from drowning. Investigating after being advised by someone on shore that there was a dolphin in distress, they discovered three juvenille dolphins near shore. However, one was trapped in seaweed and was slowing being pulled underwater and in danger of drowning. The kayakers managed to free the dolphin from the seaweed and direct it back out to open water. In return, it gave them a couple of joyous jumps.
Check out the video embedded below:

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Cooper's Cove in a new kayak!

Today I had a chance to do two great things. One was to paddle in Cooper's Cove, which we've visited before as you can see at these posts, but I haven't been here in a boat for years. The other was to try out my new inflatable kayak!
Yes, I have a little fleet of kayak, and a number of them are inflatable. Yes, this one is a new model of one I already have. I've been using it for seven years, and oi, these puppies do get a little worn out after a while, y'know?
At any rate, I'll write a better post soon with a review comparing this model of kayak to the others I've paddled. For now, I'll say WOW, and close with a link to my SPOT message showing my location on this sunny day as the tide was coming up to full tide slack.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Canada Day Paddle

Louise and I went for our annual Canada Day Paddle on the Gorge. Every year, Gorge Road is closed for a mile-long block party.

We don't usually see much wild life on our Canada Day paddles -- most of it finds something better to do than hang around with a few thousand humans while they make music, eat food and play road hockey -- but we did see something fitting for this day: Canada geese.
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A quick paddle to the bridge and back and we were done. Time to get ready for the fireworks!
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Trip length: 3.39 km
YTD: 8.34 km
More pictures are here.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Kayaker Rescued Off Denman Island

According to this story from the Victoria Times-Colonist, a kayaker was rescued last Friday evening by the crew of the BC Ferry, the MV Quinitsa. While docked at Denman Island, crew responded quickly to a rescue call. A woman on shore had heard someone calling for help from out on the water, and due to the swift action of the ferry crew, the kayaker was rescued about a mile from the terminal. The paddler and her kayak were taken to the terminal.
While no details were released about the kayaker or the nature of her emegency, she was fine and she picked up her kayak the next day.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Ten Mile Point weather station for boat users!

 Kayakers in Cadboro Bay, there's a new website to put on your list along with Big Wave Dave.

"A new website that uses data from a private weather station at Ten Mile Point should be a boon to local residents as well as recreational boaters and ocean enthusiasts in and around Cadboro Bay," says an article on the Saanich News website. "The weather station is owned and maintained by local resident Julian Elliott, a San Francisco native who retired to Saanich with his wife. While Elliott has been operating the weather station since 2006, the user-friendly website will be appreciated by outdoor enthusiasts, he said."

Here's a link to the article in Saanich News about the new weather station.

Our friends Susan and Mike in their canoe

A bug on their canoe's gunwhale could have heard the following during Tuesday night's canoe lesson:
Mike: Why don't you take the stern?
Susan: I don't want to take the stern.
Mike: But you're doing so well! You should try the stern.
Susan: But I'm happy in the bow.
(Later.... with Susan paddling in the stern.)
Mike: What the heck are you doing? Can't you get us going in a straight line?
Susan: You said you wanted me in the stern.... (more bickering....)
Cue LOVE BOAT theme music....

Saturday, May 30, 2015

west coast holiday

Quick note here cuz typing on a tablet is wiggly ... Bernie &I are camping at French Beach this weekend. Got the little inflatable. Will find places to paddle that are sheltered. Have already visited SandcutBeach. Currently having brunch in Jordan river. Will write about trip when we return. Meanwhile, happy June:-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Seattle Demonstration May 16

The demonstration in Seattle’s harbour on May 16 saw hundreds of activists assemble in an amazing kayak flotilla around Shell Oil's drilling rig which is headed for the Arctic. Mother Jones magazine has an article with several photos, some of which show traditional First Nations boats as well as kayaks and canoes.
Some wags have laughed at the absurdity of hundreds of kayakers protesting a fossil fuel drilling platform by driving to the protest in cars that burn fossil fuels, then in paddling in boats derived from petroleum products. It is worth observing that many of these paddlers launched from the local kayak rental places. I note as well that in this photo, two of the closest boats are Advanced Elements folding inflatable kayaks which are excellent for transporting on a bus or carpooling, and another is a home-built wooden kayak. (So there ;)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Naked Guy Tackles a Canoeist

Yes, a video that is exactly what the title says. We believe in truth in advertising.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Kayaking on the Hudson ends in tragedy and charges laid

This is one story for which more is going on than heard in the first news reports. It seems that on a warm Sunday afternoon April 19 a couple went kayaking on the Hudson River in New York state. They launched at Plum Point Park at 4:15 pm to head a kilometre or two across the river to Bannerman Island. Only one of them survived to return; some days later, she was charged with second-degree murder. There's an article from the New York Times on the topic.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Victoria paddlers find new paddle partner

There's a heartwarming story on CBC radio today, about a group of Victoria paddlers who found a message in a bottle while training in the Inner Harbour. The message said to please put the bottle back in the water -- "my last wish was to see the world." The bottle also contained dusty ashes and a photograph from a man's Celebration of Life. (The story is reminiscent of the National Film Board film Paddle to the Sea by legendary canoeist Bill Mason.)
The paddlers knew that currents in the harbour aren't likely to carry the bottle out right away, so they've resolved to bring the bottle with them when they leave on a paddling trip to Alaska. That seems like a good start to seeing the world!
Click here to read the story on CBC news, with quotes from Russell Henry and photos of the bottle and the paddling group. That page also has a link to the CBC Radio story, with an audio recording of All Points West show host Robyn Burns interviewing Russell Henry, and here you can find another news story with an embedded video.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Whale Smelling

Earlier today, Louise and I went out on our almost annual tradition of taking a whale watching tour. We were in a purpose-built whale catamaran from Five Star Whale Watching, but we weren't the only boat heading out to find some whales today, as some lucky people (like those below) were likely to get a slightly wetter experience.

We eventually crossed into American waters, and where's a better place to see an eagle?
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And here's the whale!
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A couple of minke whales appeared to be feeding, but they were very stealthy about it. They only popped up briefly a couple of times. We actually smelled them more than we saw them, and, oh boy, they smell. A brief whiff of rancid whale breath was all the captain needed to put the brakes on the boat so that we could check them out. (Yes, I know boats don't have actually have brakes. Please don't send emails.)

So we didn't see much in the way of whales. Nature does what nature will do, and not to our schedule. But we did see seals. Lots of seals.
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Chalk Boat

Why yes, you can make a boat out of chalk. Or using chalk, anyway.

This is chalk art by artist David Zinn in Michigan, and you can see more on his website.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Paddle the Undiscovered Country

I suppose it's always a good idea to have your final kayak journey planned out well ahead of time....

Friday, May 15, 2015


These days, when thinking about the news of Freya Hoffmeister and her World Paddlers Award as well as Justine Curgenven's video Kayaking the Aleutians, I'm reminded of Jane Austen.
Yes, the novelist, who wrote Pride and Predjudice and Sense and Sensibility. No, really -- there's a connection between Austen and paddling. She was interested in small boats, after all, as you can see at this link. It was in her novel Persuasion, released in 1816 that she wrote:

"I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives."

Accordingly, here's the video trailer for Kayaking the Aleutians, showing two women not in calm waters.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Emily Carr canoe painting

Found a colourful painting by Emily Carr and had to share it. Looks like the shoreline along Burrard Inlet, on the North Vancouver side. The canoes look like traditional First Nations boats to me, maybe Kwakwala/Kwaguelth.

This painting was done by Carr in 1912, and is the property of the Vancouver Art Gallery. It and a few other images by Carr are shown in an article in the Walrus magazine. There are other comments about Carr being affected by seeing and riding in First Nations canoes in an article about a show at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

PaddleFun Fest in Nanaimo May 16 & 17

Looks like the BC Marine Trails people are setting up to have a good time paddling in Nanaimo on May 16 and 17. They have sent out reminders of their PaddleFun Fest event, taking place at Departure Bay. Check out this link to see their website notice of the event, which looks like a lot of fun on the water and shore. You can also click here to go to the website for the proposed Nanaimo Boathouse, or click here to see the schedule and register.

Sorry that today's post has no new photographs. But hey, Departure Bay is a nice place to launch in Nanaimo. We've written about Departure Bay on the blog here, and there are some terrific photos that John took showing the bay and the area, so go read that page! Or you could click here to read our other posts mentioning Nanaimo in general, and those have photos.