Saturday, April 29, 2006

Kayak yak yak button

I made us a button, in a manner of speaking. The actual making was done by Adam Kalsey's button maker, a PHP script that creates little png images for saving after you specify text, colours and position of the midbar. In this instance, the bar position is at 37, the left text box starts at 5 and the right at 3. If you don't like my colours, you can make your own. If you don't speak hex codes, HTML clinics translates. When you save, it might try to give a .php extension - at least it does on my Mac, I have to specify the extension as .png.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Cadboro Bay Episode II: Attack of the Clones

This was easily the best day weather-wise we've had so far this year. Bright, sunny and warm. We did have some blistery gusts on the water that raised some chop here and there but it was a sweet day paddling.
Here's Louise and my new boats. We wanted to start our shake-down cruise in our new boats in familiar waters so we returned to Cadboro Bay.

Here's Louise just after the first launch...

...and my obligatory self-portrait after I launched. Am I happy in this new boat or what?
Self Portrait

Paula still managed to stay ahead of me, though... at least for a moment.

Dennis in his inflatable with the Olympic Mountains behind him.

The fleet sets sail!

Our new Delta's are just a dream to handle. Easily the fastest boats of our group on the water today, they cut through the water like a hot food utensil through dairy products.
We saw a few seals and geese (no good pictures of them, alas), and I am pretty sure a seal bumped my boat.

If you look carefully in a tree above Paula's head, you'll see an eagle.
Too small to see? Maybe this blow-up will help.
Okay, how about another angle. Do you see it now?

Here's me again. Woo hoo!

These are very attractive boats. Birds like them particularly. Here's a crow getting ready to do some business on Louise's boat.

And in one of those "I-wish-I-had-a-camera--oh-wait-I-do!" moments, here's a blimp flying over the city while I was driving home.

My pictures are here.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

New Toys

This time, it's John and Louise's turn to get new kayaks.
Two brand new 14' Delta Kayaks, in point of fact, the very latest in thermoformed boats, purchased from a new store, Northern Wave Kayaks in Sidney. (These are actually the first two kayaks they've sold.)

Here's Louise in hers.

And here's John in his. Although similar, they are not identical boats. Louise's is actually a shallower model. There's only an inch difference, but it gives John's boat a roomier cockpit and an extra eight gallons of storage space.

Here's John perfecting his "dry exit."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Willows Beach

This morning we faced the remnants of a storm that had blown through overnight. It was choppy with the occasional large swell and wind gusts. Another fun paddle at Willows Beach!

Today's paddle was much like an airplane flight: the take-off and landing were the most exciting parts!

It was choppy and splashy and windy, but we had a good time playing out in the surf.
Paula! Wait for the Rest of Us!

A fun time was had by all... even this cormorant!

My pictures are here.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thetis Lake

Yesterday, we had a nice little paddle in Thetis Lake. Just outside Victoria, Thetis is a deep lake carved out of the rock by the last retreat of the glaciers. It's beautiful and chock full of natural goodness.

Here our little fleet prepares to shove off.
It's A Beautiful Day

Under the bridge -- always a test of steely nerves and raw courage.

We found a little stream and paddled up. It didn't go too far so we retreated back to the lake.
The End of the Line

Turtles! Yes, we found some turtles sunning themselves on a log!

Bernie was so excited about the turtles that he got lost!

Clearly, I must have enjoyed another day paddling!

My pictures are here.

Simpson in my Dreams

Last night John & I watched the Simpsons, some American Idol in the hopes Queen would show up, a performance kayaking DVD and then more Simpsons. The last episode we watched has a scene of Bart diving and he passes....a skeleton in a kayak of all things. It was pretty much bedtime after this episode so we hit the sack and went off to dream land. Most dreams are the subconsious putting the day's events into your inner filing system and so every once in a while my dreams tend to be the day's events rolled into one. And on top of all the other things my brain had absorbed I had kayaks threaded throughout my day. Earlier I had gone kayaking with Bernie, Paula, Dennis and John. Later in the day I googled delta kayaks, Current Design, wetsuits and life vests. To dream land I went with all this to be sorted and filed.....

Take the kayaking DVD, take the part with the whitewater....(John & Bernie have both seen this DVD and own it) and now imagine the Simpsons replacing the humans. Yes, there's Homer going down the whitewater...D'oh D'oh D'oh! There is Marg and Homer with Bart scouting out the river ahead. Marg saying "I don't know Homie it looks dangerous." There is Homer drooling....Eskimo rollllll.....achghhhhhh.... Marg in her helmut and sporty river kayak showing us how to stop in the river. Lisa and Bart twisting and turning down the whitewater.

Marg in a double with Homer and Maggie peeking out of a hatch as they paddle along the ocean. Homer doing Eskimo rolls and trying to get back into his kayak..."Marg Marg I'm wet and cold and I can't get back into my kayak... can I have yours?"

Now ask John or Bernie for the DVD, watch some Simpsons (make sure to see the one I did) and then go to sleep and dream your own Simpsons version.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Cadboro Bay: Episode I: The Phantom Hedgehog

Today's plan was originally a trip to Sombrio Beach. But Dennis had a sore shoulder, Paula was feeling sick, and Alison had the wimpiest excuse of all: out of town on business.
Ha. Sure. Whatever!
So Sombrio was abandoned for another day when a fuller crew would be available and a hasty small excursion to Cadboro Bay was undertaken. We set out under cloudy skies and light rain. But after a few minutes, the clouds didn't break and the sun didn't come out and the rain didn't stop and it didn't turn into a bright sunny day.

We saw a few seals, an eagle and some big bird that might have been a hawk. But it was the geese that were everywhere this trip. They were sitting in small groups all over the rocks.

We paddled around the shore, through little passages and around big rocks.

Bernie got lost for a moment and almost headed to Japan.

Louise didn't venture quite as far.

And I took a picture of myself.

Indiana Klassen and the Coffee of Doom.

My pictures are here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Busy week

Managed to get on the water four times in the last week; Telegraph cove last Wednesday, and then Friday some friends showed up from Calgary; Tom and Barbara. Tom is a long time paddler, so it seemed natural to head out on the Gorge with them to spend a beautiful afternoon.

We shared the water with sculling teams out practicing--the water around Victoria is really very busy, and busy pretty much every day of the week. The Inner Harbour has a couple of airlines, a ferry, the water taxis, and of course boats of various sizes.

We made it as far inland as the Tillicum Gorge bridge and then back to the Inner Harbour.
Kayakers are so well-respected in the Inner Harbour that they stopped traffic on Johnson St. nad raised the bridge to let Tom and Barb paddle through.
Oh, and some other people took advantage of the bridge being up as well.
Sunday was the Tod Inlet paddle with the regular paddle group and the addition of our two kids. Ben, the mountain man below, seemed to really enjoy himself--after getting over me insisting on activity-appropriate clothing.
My photo of the starfish from a $20 underwater camera. John's image , well....let's just say his camera wasn't $20.
Speaking of John--a rare shot of John not taken by him.
And I swear, I was just paddling along when it leapt up on the boat!
Tuesday turned out to not only be a nice day, but an extraordinary one! Beautiful beautiful day. And Sidney was gorgeous.

And of course, the obligatory John-shot. Oh wait, that's not John, that's me. Damned virus is spreading....
Dennis played in the currents between the rocks, riding it out into the channel.
The rocks were really something to see--worn by time and the sea.
And the weather held through the whole paddle--as you can see. A great week.