Friday, September 29, 2006

The Joy of Flex

Louise and I each had a flex day today, so we decided a paddle off Willows Beach was in order. What a great day! I can't believe that October is two days away. It was just perfect out on the water. Maybe all this global warming business might be a good thing after all. (Not!)

And what would a paddle be without a heron?

We cruised by Mary Todd Island and then decided to head out. We haven't been out to some of the rocks out there so we decided to tread new ground, er, splash new water.

Usually, this rock is covered in seals... where did they all go?

So we headed out to the next rock.

Okay, now here's some seals.

We went out to the next rock.

More seals. (And remember the lighthouse in the distance. We will speak more of it later.)

These seals seemed almost tame. This guy popped up beside me and wasn't scared or panicked at all.

More seals doing what seals do most of.

Check out the white seal in this group.

This guy played for the camera.
You Lookin' At Me?

And so did this guy.

We headed out to that lighthouse. Hey... is something on it?

Yep, a bald eagle!

He flew off, but landed on a nearby marker.

Enough bird watching, time to head back.

My pictures are here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sidney Islands Again

It's hard to believe it's the first weekend of Fall. It's a warm, blue and cloudless sky. Just gorgeous. Really. I mean it. There won't be many more weekends like this for the next few months, so we'd better enjoy them while we can.
Party on the water

Tracy heads out. You can see that we had some chop and currents to deal with today.
Riding the Waves

Alison and Louise follow...

...and Paula and Bernie take up the rear. Actually, I guess I took up the rear so I could get the picture.

We were going to the same islands we went to a couple of weeks ago, and we ended up going a little farther this time.
We battled some strong current to start...

... we took a little refuge in a small cove.

We crossed over to some rocks.
Rock, ahoy!

Here's a Spirit-class BC Ferry approaching the nearby Swartz Bay ferry terminal.

Bernie went around north side of the little island to try and catch the current that came around the south side. He caught it, all right.

He came whipping down the current sideways. Clearly Tracy is not worried.

The Sidney Sphinx.
The Sidney Sphinx

We rested again and Bernie told us a story about a kayaker that had a whale breech right in front of him and swamp his boat. Just as he finished a seal popped up and splashed right beside Tracy. She almost jumped right out of her kayak (and that would have made an interesting photo)! And remember that ferry? It had passed well to our north about 20 minutes earlier... and suddenly its wake came through the same channel that Bernie ran. A couple of huge waves came sweeping by us. Always watch out for those ferries!
The Gang's All Here

We moved on to other rocks and found some seals.

Then we crossed towards Coal Island and this little guy insisted on posing for me.

As we turned around, we saw a sailboat off in the distance.

We passed some rocks with more seals on them.

Homeward bound.

My pictures are here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Let's Be Careful Out There

While riding my bike home yesterday across the Gorge Bridge, I saw a kayaker get in trouble. He was in a long Current Design boat, possibly a racing boat. He had just gone under the bridge and was followed by a eight-man sculling boat and the coach in a small motorboat.
I'm guessing that the kayaker did not see the motorboat go by, or he didn't realize that he needed to turn into the wake. Either way, the wake of the motorboat broadsided him and he went half-way over.
He shoved his paddle down into the bottom and stopped himself from going totally over. But he was stuck on his side, half in the water and half out.
There was little I could do up on the bridge except have my cell phone handy to call 911 if he needed help. And he did -- he was calling out.
Another kayaker and a pair in an outrigger were quickly there and helped right him. The coach in the motorboat puttered away in blissful ignorance.
So today's lesson, Grasshopper: even in calm, shallow, well-travelled and familiar water, accidents can happen. Let's be careful out there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Rainy Day People

Fall must be here. I can't remember the last time it rained when we went kayaking. But it's Sunday morning and the sky is crying.
We gave up on Plan A, the Witty's Lagoon paddle, as the winds and rain were coming up and quickly came up with Plan B, Thetis Lake. We're going to have to make more Plan Bs as ocean paddles will become more problematic as fall and winter approaches.
Any Day is a Good Day to Paddle!

This means it's time to dig out the rain gear...

...and we're happy to wear it, right Louise? Right? Louise?

And so our fleet was already soggy as we headed out.

Bernie brought a bagel. But did he bring enough bagels for everyone? Nooooo!

Paula led the charge...
... and Alison tested the idea that the faster she paddled, the less rain would hit her.

Under the bridge.
Under the Bridge

Not much wildlife out today. Even the animals had more sense than us.

Bernie did find a rock.
Land, ho!

Time to head in and get dry!

My pictures are here.