Sunday, July 30, 2006

Saanich Inlet Crossing

If we're in our kayaks, it must be Sunday! Our first cloudy day in a number of weeks greets us as we put in. We didn't have a specific plan, as we weren't sure about the weather. It had rained heavily overnight and the rain was still threatening. But there were some breaks in the clouds.

Bernie's paddle does not get off to a promising start as he got into his boat backwards.

We put in at the Brentwood Bay Ferry Terminal (point A). We decided to try our first crossing of Saanich Inlet to Bamberton, an old cement plant on the shore (north of point B). We had also talked about doing a day trip down Finlayson Arm one day, so we decided to head south down the Arm after we had crossed to see what this area was like.

And away we go! Bernie starts by playing in the ferry's wake.

He also wanted to make sure we were going the right way. (Note that he's still backwards in his kayak. Ha, just kidding! Gotcha!)

Louise sets the pace...
... and Paula keeps up.

Now we're out in the Saanich Inlet proper. Ahead of us is the cement plant. We knew that winds were going to be rising over the course of the day and we figured that we might be somewhat sheltered from them by the hills around the Inlet. That theory didn't work out though, as the winds came up and grew stronger during our crossing.

We stuck together and paddled on.

It took us about 30-35 minutes to get across the Inlet. We came in a little south of the cement works (point B).

We went south along the coast. The winds continued rising and it was a battle.

Louise doesn't seem to have noticed the seal to her right.

We saw a few other seal moms with their pups in this spot, but the water was rough and the pictures didn't turn out very well, alas. Below are a moms and her pup, one near the center and another on the left edge.

Mind you, the pictures of the eagles fared a little better. There's two in the tree ahead of Paula.

After taking the last picture of the eagle, he flew off. I had turned my kayak around to get the shot and was facing backwards to our direction of travel. I realized that I was surrounded by seals. They were popping up all over the place. I slowly started to paddle backwards and I discovered they were following me. I kept paddling backwards and they kept popping up quickly then ducking beneath the waves. There must have been at least a dozen of them. It was like "Whack-a-mole" except that they were seals and I didn't have a mallet. Eventually, they stopped following and I turned around and caught up to the group at point C, when we decided that the winds and the waves were getting a little much. We had to cross the Inlet at some point to return home...
IMGP1132 we turned and began our crossing.
Then the Wind Came Up...

It looks rough, and, well, it was. But with the wind and the waves at our back now, the paddling was pretty easy. But we still has to careful that we kept in line with waves so that they wouldn't broadside us.
Rough Crossing

How windy is it? Check out the flag behind Louise.
WIndy Paddle

We rounded point D back into Brentwood Bay, much less open than Saanich Inlet, and the waves and wind died right down. The rest of the paddle was calm and peaceful.

We went down into Tod Inlet...
...and put in at point E...
...for food! Paula and Bernie brought along some wrap fixings. It sure hit the spot.

After a little break, we continued down Tod Inlet...
...until we reached the end (point F).
Paddling Down Tod Inlet

As we came back, Bernie discovered a cave-like thing. Maybe it's a cave.

Finally, another great paddle comes to end.

My pictures are here.

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