Sunday, May 28, 2006

James Island Circumnavigation

Today, we headed out to Island View Beach. South of Sidney, it's a rocky launch point, especially at low tide. And that's what we were facing: an ebbing tide, with a strong breeze forecasted. On arriving, the wind was absent, and we decided on a long paddle.

This was our largest group yet. After a couple of weeks away, Alison came out of hiding to paddle, and Dennis, now recovered from his West Coast trek also came along, joining The Usual Suspects, Paula, Louise, Bernie and myself. Also along for the trip were Louise's friend Tracy and her friend Maureen. We decided on a circumnavigation of James Island.
Our large fleet heads out!

Tracy and Maureen took an early lead in their longer and faster boats...
...but the rest of us kept up (nearly)!
Me First!

Bernie's back was a little sore so he and Dennis decided to go to the south tip of James Island and beach so Bernie could stretch it out. They planned to meet us on the other side of the island, but they ended up having quite an adventure of their own. (But whatever happens on Brokeback Island stays on Brokeback Island.)

The Obligatory Self-Portrait.

We continued on to the north. We were going against the tide, hoping that when we went around the island we'd catch a break with the currents coming back.

We finally reached the northern tip of the island and swung around. (That's a Washington State ferry in the background.)
Turning Point

The north side had some nice sandy beaches and shoreline. What it didn't have was a cooperative current. The tide turned around just as we did. Lucky us. So we spent the return trip also fighting against the current. And the wind came up, too. Yay.
It was turning into the longest paddle ever for some of us. A stretching stop was in order.

The yellow plant all over this cliff is called broom. It spreads like crazy and chokes up anything else that tries to grow. Broom was imported and is not native to this area. (When I was a kid, my mom used to say the same thing about broom not being native to my bedroom).

Now's here's something interesting... there's a wonderful but steep beach on the backside of James. You can see the flow patterns that the water running off the beach. These patterns are similar to patterns found on Mars and lead scientists to believe water once flowed over its surface.
James Island:

Oh, look! More geology! Check out the layering in this cliff at the south end! (You just thought this was a plain old Kayaking blog, didn't you? You didn't think you'd actually be learning stuff!)

After a long four hours, the last hour a tough slog against wind and currents, we made it back to shore.

Bernie was especially pleased that I didn't take any pictures of him doing something goofy.
Oh my god! It was THIS FREAKIN' BIG!

My pictures are here.

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