Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday to Newcastle Island

The day started with everyone meeting up for breakfast at ToHo's. It was a nice, relaxed breakfast with conversation and a chance to read the Saturday Globe and Mail over coffee and a couple of those still-some-ways-from-good breakfast sandwiches they sell.
The idea of a long-ish drive up to Nanaimo and then a paddle was discussed and finally rejected in favour of the far better idea of a return to the lovely community of Cowichan Bay. As this would be Bernie's fifth trip to Cow Bay in the last ten weeks, he was selected to lead the convoy over the Malahat.
It turned out to be a most beautiful morning in CB, the tide was ebbing, the water glass-flat. The sun was out, the temperature about 15°, and while the boat ramp was in use, it was by no means busy.
Before even begining to unload the boats, there was much delight in watching the local harbour seal fishing in the shallow waters; he (or she) cruised about near the dock, plainly visible even while fully submerged. Once the boats were in the water, there was the added bonus of seeing a large number of Dunganess crabs, various jelly fish, multiple sea stars, and at least three moonsnails. With the water so clear and the sun out, it was also possible to do a lot of fish watching, with several species of fish being observed.

The group headed across Cowichan Bay to Genoa Bay(?), where there was a very busy marina. After paddling across the channel in front of the marina, we pulled into a midden beach where people have been eating clams and oysters since about six minutes after the glaciers retreated. We perched ourselves on the top of the small bluff overlooking the channel--really, the most obvious place to sit--where we saw that the practice of eating oysters and tossing the shells back towards the water continued right into the present day (probably less than two hours before we arrived, actually).
After a brief lunch, the group continued down the north(ish) side of the bay out to the light on the point. Here it was not much more than spitting distance across to Saltspring Island. So, after taking turns spitting, we decided not to paddle across (the people on the other shore waving their fists and yelling about having been spit at was only one reason for the decision).
Across the mouth of Cowichan Bay to the south shore and then back along that shore to the boat ramp completed the eleven kilometres or so of paddling for the day. By this time, the parking lot at the boat ramp was full and over-full, as everyone had decided that it was a good afternoon to be on the water, and once again we'd already had the best part of the day on the water before the rest of the world showed up.
Then it was into town for coffee and dark chocolate buns (Mmmmm, Callebeaut chocolate....) from the artisanal bakery and a refreshing wander through the cheese shop, and then it was regretfully time to come home.
Once again, Bernie and Paula led the convoy of one back over the Malahat and into the comforting confines of Cadboro Bay, having finally paddled both their new boats together for the first time.

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1 comment:

  1. Oh sure, don't bring any chocolate buns for those of us who stayed home due to sick partners.