Monday, March 27, 2006

Sombrio - March 25, 2006

Just couldn't resist Somberio Beach. So on Saturday I took off and arrived there early morning and immediately set up camp.

The sky was clear so I went down to the beach to check out the view.

There were about 10 surfers on the water. The waves were on the tame side according to one of them I spoke to.

Still the excitement was too much. I ran back up the hill, inflated my kayak (alias you know who), swung it up on my head and practically ran back down to the beach. She performed better than expected. The waves were much calmer than last October. My first launch was a bit of a disaster as the first, small wave tipped me over and tossed me out. I then figured out how to launch correctly and paddled out in to the blue-green sea.

Below you see a graceful, properly executed entry. Then a rapid paddle before the next incoming waves swamps the kayak.

And that's the trick, folks - get out as fast as you can because the problem is the shallow water.

Second rule: head for the waves and see what happens. No time for unnecessary articles like spray skirts. You simply want meet the waves as far out as you can and just before you do, lean back as far as possible, otherwise the wave will come right over the top the fill the kayak up with water at which point you might as well start over.

For most of the day I paddled from one end of the beach to the other. I ventured into some of the higher waves and found that once you're out far enough the kayak is relatively stable. Only when the wind comes up does water splash over the top. I avoided waves that were large and cresting, but even when I did get caught a few times, I found the kayak again was quite stable. At the south end of the beach there a cove next the ridge which is the beginning of Somberio Point. What's cool about the cove is that the waves reflect back from the massive rock so that the they seem to come from all directions.

In the afternoon I practiced lauching and landing the kayak - the fun part. Surfing the waves is easy if you can keep the kayak at 90 degrees from the wave. It feels like your kayak has just started up its invisible motor and suddenly you're propelled along at a nice clip usually bringing you right up to the beach.

Now I know that many of you are wondering, "who took the pics?" Well, a breath-taking blond in a well-fitted wetsuit just happened to walk by" ... I know - "only in your dreams." Guess I'll have to keep my romantic adventures for a different blog.

It was a tiring day. I dragged Ms. Kayak up to the campsite and took a well-deserved break.

After some hot chocolate and a cimmon flavored granola bark I was back in business - a walk on the beach (with you know who!)

There is a lovely waterfall at the south end of the beach just before the Juan de Fuca trailhead. Luckily there was enough light for a photo.

You would expect Frodo to be hanging out in a spot like this. It is truly magical even if you're not into mushrooms.

The tide was out so I was able to get some of those "teeming with life shots."

The day seemed packed with adventure and the beach is simply beautiful - until the weekend campers arrived with cases of beer, guitars and far too many young girlfriends, but they were very friendly and soon I had neighbours on either side of me. Luckily it rained hard most of the night. The next morning the young campers cleared out as the sky and the sea were gun metal grey with gloomy, dark patches on the horizon as if nature too suffers bouts of depression. The weather changed about every three minutes from rain to moments of sunshine. Finally it was steady rain - so I walked the Juan de Fuca trail for about three hours over slippery rocks and roots and even slipperery stairways. Scenery was dramatic around Somberio Point. By the time I made it back to the tent I was utterly waterlogged. So by late afternoon I packed up and headed back to Victoria.

This place is a total high. It is nature as revelation!

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