Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Natural Science

No doubt you are asking yourself, "Hey, this is a kayaking blog. Why the EXPLETIVE DELETED is there a picture of a Victoria Transit bus on here?"
This is a NovaBus, built in Québec and the latest addition to the local fleet, and has been in service about two years.
And what has this got to do with kayaking? It happens to be a little known fact that you can transport your kayak on a bus.
2008-08-03 Portage Inlet 001

To offer proof of this notion, may I present Exhibit One: Paula and her kayak in a bag. She caught the bus a block from her house on the other side of town and rode directly to today's kayaking put-in on The Gorge.
2008-08-03 Portage Inlet 002

In about fifteen minutes, she's on the water. She's following in the footsteps of well-known commando kayaker Dubside. (We thought of calling her Paulaside, but that just sounded like a crime. And DubPaula is the name she's saving for her spoken-word/reggae CD.)
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She's joining Louise and myself for a paddle from The Gorge into Portage Inlet on another wonderful and hot summer day. Paula's interested to see if we can find anymore of those glooby egg sack things that we've seen in past fall paddles. We're looking for them a little earlier than usual, so it will be interesting to see if we spot any.
Gorge Pano

I'm more interested in swans. As we crossed under the Admirals Road bridge, we could see the bird deflectors added to the power wires. These were added last year after the local family of swans (which we've photographed here and here) were electrocuted and died. However, earlier this year a new family of swans moved into the area and on May 18, Louise and I saw them and their six little swan chicks. We were curious to see how they were making out and were hoping to spot them. Between the glooby egg sack and the swans, we were starting to feel like amateur biology scientists.
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I never seem to get many pictures of ducks, so here's one for all you duck lovers out there.
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We didn't have to wait long to see the swans.
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It looks like only three babies survived, but they seemed to be in good shape. They sure are a lot bigger than they were three months ago. The family was quite relaxed as we drifted by.
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Louise is enjoying the beautiful day on the water.
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We made it to the farside of the Inlet and headed up Craigflower Creek. The tide was low (and getting lower) so we were a little surprised that we could make it in. We hoped to go as far as the tunnel under the Trans-Canada highway as we've done before, but the water level was simply too low and we had to turn around at the Helmcken Road bridge. This is a beautiful little creek.
2008-08-03 Portage Inlet 045

We had seen a few egg sacks in the Inlet, but we also found some in the Creek. We were a little surprised, figuring that the water would be fresher in the creek as opposed to the saltier water of the inlet, but Paula tried the creek water and pronounced it "brackish."
2008-08-03 Portage Inlet 040

We had to hustle out of the creek because we realized that the tide was still heading out and we didn't want to get trapped. Back in the inlet, I was only able to get one picture of a heron the whole day. This is it.
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As we returned to our launching point, the swans were swimming nearby. This is how to spend a summer day -- playing on the beach!
2008-08-03 Portage Inlet 114

Trip Length: 5.8 km
John's pictures are here.
Download the GoogleEarth kmz here.

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