Saturday, June 30, 2007

Oh. Deer.

It's a long weekend, so why not a long paddle? We decided to put in at Albert Head Park, and paddle around to Witty's Lagoon. It was a very low tide, so we knew we had no chance of getting into the lagoon itself, but it's always an enjoyable paddle to get there.

We headed out. It was Louise, Paula, Bernie and myself today.

As we rounded Albert Head, Bernie ventured a little further out....

...and then I glanced over and saw him against the mountains. Then I saw the valley and tried to get a shot of him at the base of the valley. I started yelling at him to stay still!
On the Waves
Bernie and the Mountains

It's not easy to coordinate two kayaks on a rolling ocean, but eventually I got the picture.
The Olympic Mountains from Victoria

As we neared Witty's Lagoon, this heron decided to pose for me.

We put ashore for a quick stretch...
Landing at Witty's Lagoon

...and this little guy ran by.
Oyster Catcher

For the return trip, we had a surf launch. Okay, not much of a surf, about three inches or so, but it still counts as a surf launch. Louise headed through some rocky islets near the lagoon.

Here, a heron was doing a little fishing.

We drifted between the rocks....

...and by a seal.

There were some pretty cool-looking jellyfish out. We don't usually see purple ones like this.

Then I spotted a strange looking rock on the shore.
Nap Time

Only it wasn't a rock, it was a deer sleeping on the beach.
I'm Awake

He didn't seem too worried about me. I guess he figured that I wasn't going to suddenly crawl out of the ocean.
And a few minutes later, we saw another deer up on the rocks.

Another great paddle in the greatest place on earth!

John's photos are here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Voyage of Discovery

Last Saturday, we had a long slack tide, a perfect time to make a run for Discovery Island.
We put in at Willows Beach and headed out: Dennis, Bernie, Louise, Paula and myself.
Heading Out

For many of us, we were heading into uncharted waters.
Well, not literally uncharted waters. It's not like we were going off into the Bermuda Triangle. There's lots of charts for these waters. I just don't recall anyone bringing one. My point is that only Paula and Bernie had gone to Discovery before. The rest of us were Discovery Island newbies.
Anyway, the plan was to put in at Willows, scoot by Mary Tod Island, then head out to the Chain Islands, then turn and head for Discovery Island, putting at the campground at the far side of the island.

We reached Great Chain Island, and I was dumbfounded by the amount of seabirds around. The island was covered in seagulls.

The seagulls were making a racket because eagles were around and landing on the island, which was making the mama seagulls really nervous.
Cleared for Landing

The eagles were not popular. Anytime they got near the island, the seagulls went after them.

And if an eagle landed, they were often harassed and attacked.
Eagle and Seagull

The geese weren't particularly impressed.

The seals didn't seem thrilled, either.

There were eagles everywhere. Bernie figures he counted at least a dozen without really trying.

Birds were flying around all over the place. A seagull flew so close to me that I felt the wind brush my face. I was certain that I wasn't going to get any good pictures because there was so much happening that I didn't know where to point my camera. Eagles were flying and landing, seagulls by the dozens were flying and landing. Amazingly, none of us paddlers got crapped on.
After watching the show for a while, we pressed on through the rest of the Chain Islands....
The Chain Islands

...then headed into open water to cross...

... to Discovery Island...

...where we put in on the beach for a stretch and a nibble.

We had lunch at a little park at the camping area.

Bernie and I hiked up to the lighthouse. It's automated now, but the lightkeeper's house and outbuildings are still there and in pretty good shpe. It wouldn't take much to make them livable again.

Bernie checks out this position marker. We know it's a position marker because that's all it says on it: "Position Marker."

Bernie even found an old set of his dentures. Or a salmon jaw.

Another group of paddlers joined us and it became a crowded parking lot on the beach.
Discovery Island

Then us first-timers had to pose for our obligatory we-conquered-Discovery-Island pictures. First myself....

...then Dennis...

...and Louise.

It was time to head back.

We returned via the Chain Islands. The seagulls and birds were still having a go at each other.
We discovered that the eagles were catching fish and dropping them on the rocks to eat them. The seagulls were worried that the eagles were going to poach their eggs or any baby seagulls that were about (which was probably happening - a little appy before the main course never hurt anyone). And the eagles were fighting each other for the dropped fish as well. The eagle in the picture below had just had a run-in with another eagle before he settled in to enjoy his fish. I did not get a picture, alas.

My photos are here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cadboro Bay Not Drowning Practice

Last Thursday, we embarked on a rare mid-week evening paddle, as we decided to do a little practice session on the ocean.

Paula thought it would be amusing if she stuck her tongue out while I tried to get a picture of myself. It's really a shame that Paula never returned from this paddle....

Since this was a practice session, someone had to get wet, and Bernie went in.

Louise moved in to save Bernie. He filled his boat up with water and Louise had quite a time trying to empty his boat.

Just for fun I tried lifting Bernie's boat up. Because he has only one small bulkhead, his boat can take on a lot of water and get very heavy. Louise took over again, and Bernie was eventually saved.

Bernie dunked himself again and this time it was Paula's turn to save him. It was at this point that we realized that we weren't practicing to save each other, we were practicing to save Bernie, a far more likely event in any case.

Bernie, only wearing his half-wetsuit, was starting to feel the effects of the cold water, so it was my turn for a dunking. (I was smart and was wearing my full suit.)

I didn't want to be rescued, however. I wanted to try a self-rescue and see if my repaired shoulder hindered my climb back into my boat. Into the drink I go!

And I popped up with from under my boat my customary cry of "Holy fuck, that's cold!" This was followed by the spitting out of salt water, then by a shriek as cold water found its way to my naughty bits. Onlookers on the beach were no doubt wondering who was the large woman with a beard who was such a poor paddler that she had fallen out of her kayak.

And I had trouble. Part of the problem was that apart from the shoulder being weak, I simply had forgotten what to do. I waited while Paula emptied my boat....

...then got the paddle under the strap....

...the paddlefloaot on the paddle, lined myself up.....

...and pulled myself on my boat.

Success! Any day not drowning is a good day!

My pictures are here.