Sunday, September 09, 2007

Egg Sac Hunt and Tillicum Road Portage

Last year at this time, we paddled into Portage Inlet and found these strange little sacs in the ground in the far arm of the Inlet.
More Strange Things 3

We were quite puzzled by them (some sort of egg sacs were our guess), and Paula and Louise did some investigating. Eventually they ended up in contact with Dr. Kelly Sendall of the Royal British Columbia Museum (free plug: go see their Titanic exhibit!)
Dr. Sendall expressed an interest in joining us for a paddle to look for more egg sacs and today he joined us far a paddle in the Inlet.

It was, finally, a beautiful summer day. Too bad there's only 12 days left in this summer.
Launch on The Gorge

Paula is the proud parent of a new Eliza kayak. She likes it a lot. And I won't make any jokes about the colour.
None at all.
It sure is pink, though.

As we headed out, this seagull was munching on an early Sunday brunch.

And away we go into Portage Inlet! It was Paula, Alison, Louise, Dennis and myself joining Kelly who was borrowing Bernie's boat as he skipped the science part of the paddle.

Soon we were out at the first point where we found some of those sac thingies. They were few and far between compared to the prime spot last year which was at the far end on the inlet, and the floor was also very thick with algae or muck, so they were tough to see, much less photograph.

I took about 100 pictures of people leaning over their kayaks looking down.

We headed down to the far end of the Inlet but just as we were getting near to where we found fields of these egg sacs last year, we discovered that the tide was too far out. We all grounded and couldn't proceed any further. We might have gotten out and walked, except that the bottom was really squooshy and that probably wouldn't have worked. So if you've ever had a desire to see a panorama picture of five kayaks stuck in the mud, your wish has just come true.
Five Kayaks Stuck in the Mud

So with mission not quite accomplished, we headed back.

We bid goodbye to Kelly, and Bernie joined us to continue down The Gorge.

The game of musical kayaks continued as Paula and Louise swapped boats, giving Louise a chance to try Paula's new ride. Louise likes it a lot, too. Will the fleet pick up another Eliza? Stay tuned next year!

No paddle would be complete without a picture of a heron. Today's paddle was no exception.

We approached Tillicum Bridge. This would usually be the turn-around point, as most times going under the bridge is problematic due to fast currents and a large rock. You can get through easily during a slack high tide, but that's a rare moment in the tide cycle.

Today it wasn't at it's worst, but we could see there was some whitewater, so we turned around. Well, some of us turned around. Bernie and Dennis decided to run the rapids.
No pictures exist of this event, but we watched as first Bernie then Dennis went under the bridge. We heard no Crazy Bernie Laughter™ or shouts for help, so we assumed they made it okay. But we weren't totally sure as the rapids washed them out of our sight.
Paula put her feet up and relaxed -- she's had years of experience dealing with Bernie.
And they did turn up eventually. After they went through to the other side, Dennis and Bernie realized that the current was strong enough that they wouldn't be able to paddle back against it so they would have to put-in and portage back. The problem was that there isn't much in the way of pull-outs on either side. Both sides of the channel on either side of the bridge are rocky and steep. Eventually, they found a spot and then carried their boats back through a park, up the hill to the top of Tillicum Bridge, and across four lanes of traffic.
Then they realized that there was no place to put-in. They had to walk a long block to the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club and there they re-entered the Gorge after completing our first official portage.
It was a great day for a fun, relaxing paddle. Even the seagulls were relaxing.

John's pictures are here.

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