Sunday, June 25, 2006

Summer Daze on Willow's Beach

Cue classic West Coast paddle shot

OK, it's a bad pun. I may be part troll, since my brain works less and less well the hotter it gets. It's 30 C at the airport, probably a touch higher here, my computer's fan is blasting and, for want of a fan, my own CPU is melting down. The best place to be today was the water, a sentiment shared by a sizable proportion of Victoria if the gathering on Willow's Beach was anything to go by. Our own party was a small but select trio of Paula, Bernie and myself (Alison), accompanied by a large chorus of seals in the middle act. The excursion started unappealingly with a long schlep across sand-flats to the distant ocean - low tide launch - wherein we realized that the tide was indeed far out, kayaks were heavy, and it was on its way to being hot. Launch, in eelgrass, was slimy, but from then on conditions were perfect. The sea was glassy and silky and our kayaks simply skimmed over it. We dodged in and out of the Chain Islands (plus, since many of the humps of rock exposed had the seaweed and dark staining that indicated they were below high tide), to the fascination and comment of about 100 assorted seals observing from the rocks and the water. Including one curious baby seal who wanted to get closer - but since mamma wasn't likely to believe it was all her offspring's fault, we opted for retreat. We had our obligatory eagle sighting (photo), saw a sea urchin enfolded in ribbons of kelp, more sea urchins (photographed) on the rocks, aforementioned seals, some very large seagulls, oystercatchers, cormorants, cranes, various exhibitionistic fish, and something very large seen only by Bernie. We made it to the far side of the Chain Islands and worked our way round and came back; by that time the current was beginning to run and a peculiar stiff hot wind picked up as we headed into the beach, blasting off Cattle Point and running parallel to the beach - gave us the only real work we did all day. We discussed art, how not to go paddling, natural selection (not unrelated to the previous), how the snow on the Olympics related to the water supply (aquifers), handbuilt wooden kayaks, how this is not the time of year to go to Toronto, and how perfect a paddling day it was.

"Man, the traffic's heavy today"(Sealjam)

Sea urchins (really), taken with one of those old fashioned dryland cameras ...

Is it possible that there are only 2 eagles, following us around??

Perfect paddling day


  1. We had a good time at brunch, expensive, kayaking would have been cheaper! We saw everyone parked at Willows but we could not locate you to say "hi".

  2. We thought about paddling up to the Marina and heckling you from the waterside. But ultimately, that would have been poor manners. So we didn't.