Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lazing on a Wednesday Afternoon

Well, the morning was sunny and I was stuck inside as usual. But by the time I got home at about 1:00, the sun was still out and I decided on a quick trip out.
I had a rough plan.
Plan A was to paddle out of Cadboro Bay and then, depending on which way the current was heading in Baynes Channel, I'd head either south or north and circumnavigate Chatham and Discover Islands. This is something I'd never done before. I had been out as far as Discovery some months ago, but never all the way around.
Of course, I did have a Plan B.
Pretty simple, really. Just take the channel between Discovery and Chatham. I've never been the whole way though there either, so it seemed like an excellent second choice.
Things did get off to a bit of a slow start; there were two women walking on the beach who decided to come over and talk to me. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk, and more, I love to talk to women, and worst of all, I love to talk to women about kayaking--particularly when they seem to think that my going out on the water is fairly cool. So by the time I finally did get out on the water, the sun was pretty much gone.
Minor setback. I knew that the forecast called for increasing cloud in the afternoon, possibly even showers. But I was dressed for the weather, so no worries, eh? I finally got underway and fifteen minutes later, I was exiting the bay.
It was still a gorgeous afternoon. There was only a light offshore breeze, and to the southeast , the Olympic mountains loomed over the bank of clouds moving through. I came further out of the bay, approaching Jemmy Jones, and Mount Baker came into view. And what a view! There were no clouds in the northeast, and the sun was reflecting off of last week's snow, making for a picture perfect moment.
But as I passed Jemmy Jones--noting that the current was still running strongly northwards, it quickly became apparent that I had misjudged the winds on departure. Once I had passed out of the shelter of the bay and Ten Mile Point, the winds proved to be a fair bit stronger and blowing southwards: against the northering current. By the time I was halfway across Baynes, there were some fairly significant waves building up.
The waves weren't bad--nothing I haven't paddled before--but looking south, there was what looked like a low pressure system coming in (remember that rain in the forecast?). Low pressure to the south, high to the north, north flowing current, well the signs did not point to conditions getting any better. More of the same, possibly worsening, is more like it.
So it turned out that I devolved to Plan C.
Which means that my hoped-for circumnavigation turned into a truncated paddle. Still, a terrific 6km paddle with seals in the middle of Cadboro Bay, another out by Jemmy Jones, tonnes of birds, and beautiful views. Just not yet around the islands.

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