Sunday, April 13, 2008

Breaking New Ground

We were dubious about a paddle as the morning broke. Depsite a total absence of rain in the forecast for today, we were encountering drizzle as we loaded up and headed out to Brentwood Bay. But the drizzle soon stopped, and it looked like we were going to have a great paddle day.
It was Louise, Richard, Paula, Alison and myself today. The plan was to cross Saanich Inlet and see how far down the Inlet we could get. About a decade ago, Louise took a kayaking course and they paddled down to a waterfall where they put in and had a break. Today we're going to seek out this mythical waterfall.
Brentwood Bay Launch

We headed out and crossed the Inlet without incident. Alison and Paula lead the way...

...but their path crossed mine, and I had them in my sights. In naval combat, this is called Crossing the T.

Actually, the crossing wasn't totally event-free. We found ourselves being tailed by over a dozen seals. This has happened before when we've crossed over south of Bamberton. I tried to get some pictures of them, but none turned out. But we did see this fellow sunning himself as we paddled down the shore.

An eagle relaxed in a tree.

While Alison and I were distracted by the eagle, the rest of the group drifted by the next point. As we paddled slowly to catch up, Richard looked like he was doing a "shush" motion and Paula was pointing at the far side of the point. We realized that something was there and as we drifted around, there were two baby seals on the rock.
We were probably closer than we should have been, but we just drifted slowly by and tried not to disturb them too much.
Baby Seals

Then we came upon the ruins of Minus Tirith.
Okay, maybe not that exactly, but there was a stone staircase that went from the shoreline to nowhere.

We never made it into Finlayson Arm. We ended up just going down a part called Squally Reach. That's where we found Louise's waterfall.

There was a small beach there to put in, but we decided to keep on paddling. We crossed, then put in for a rest and a snack at McKenzie Bight.
Snacks at McKenzie Bight

Then we started the final leg back to Brentwood.

We had a great time and were out on the water for about four and a half hours. What a fun paddle!

Brentwood Bay
Trip length: 15.6 km

John's pictures are here.
Richard's blog entry is here.
Richard's pictures are here.


  1. Man what an awesome day. I think I got a full-face cramp from smiling too much. The seals surrounding us was just an awesome feeling. There really is nothing out there, just sheer mountains on either that disappear into the drink. Next time, we're going to have to experience paddling all the way down to the end (bringing a big lunch too). It ended up being a longer trip than I thought, or so the GPS would have me believe. Time goes by surprisingly fast on the water. Looks like we had nice even currents in and out of the place - just a nice lake paddle, but on the deep water.

  2. How many days does the tide ever do exactly what we need? This outing, we crossed on smooth water every time (rare in Squally Reach). Once on the Bamberton side, we caught an inflow eddy, which was a welcome surprise. Crossing back to the other side, the outflow current was mild but helpful as the breeze was in our faces.