Saturday, June 27, 2009

2009 MEC Victoria Paddlefest

Today, MEC hosted their third annual Paddlefest Victoria at Gyro Park on Cadboro Bay. Paddlers came from far and wide to take on-water instruction, attend dry-land seminars, or just paddle some boats.
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The sun shone brightly, but the breeze was blowing as well, possibly making some of the newbies taking lessons a little wary of small but choppy waves it was kicking up.
Paddlefest 2009

The first thing that caught our attention were these beautiful hand-crafted paddles by Select Paddles in Duncan, BC. They make Greenland-style paddles, as well as canoe paddles. They look almost too gorgeous to use.
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We hung out at the Delta Kayaks tent for a while...
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..before checking out the rest of the beach. There were kayaks of all shape and description...
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...but we were here to paddle boats. So naturally Bernie had to be different and he headed out in a boat that you don't paddle: the Hobie. He liked it a lot, but not perhaps as much as his neighbour Curtis who took it out at least three times and seemed to be headed for the horizon on more than one occasion.
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I tried the Nimbus Telkwa and liked this boat a lot. It tracked well, and turned fairly easily for a boat of its size. At 18'3", it's just slightly shorter than my Delta Eighteen5. Our friend Richard paddles a Telkwa HV and likes it, although he sometimes complains that it drives like a tank. I had no problems turning this one -- let's face it, it ain't gonna be nimble, but I found it easy to maneuver.
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Paula tried the Hobie, but didn't do as well as Bernie. She found that she couldn't get the sail unfurled, and found it unwieldy to turn.
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Next I took out the Boréal Design Epsilon C300. You know how when you get into some kayaks and they immediately say to you, "This isn't going to work"? This was the total opposite. This kayak said "Welcome. Get comfy and let's have some fun." I've never tried a Boréal before, and I was impressed. It was fun, and handled today's small chop effortlessly. Bernie took it out after me and he also enjoyed it.
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Bernie also tried a paddle board for the first time. He started by paddling for a bit on his knees, then he stood up and paddled. He did not fall in. He sort of half-climbed off, half-jumped off once, but he did not fall in. He really wanted me to make that clear.
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Paula tried a Valley Avocet LV and see just loved it. She had a hoot! Not that she was looking, but she may have found her next kayak. Negotiations with her spousal unit are underway. We'll keep you advised.
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See you next year!
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My pictures are here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rain Delay

Louise, Paula and I didn't have a lot of time today so we planned for only a quick kayak paddle around Cadboro Bay. But when we got there, we found out that someone had stolen the ocean (as Bernie notes below).
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But nature was doing its best to refill it as a sudden downpour swamped us. We took shelter in the back of the van as the heavy raindrops pinged off the roof.
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It was over fairly quickly and we continued to unload, but my eyes caught the kayak rack on the truck next to us. It's a home-made design, built from old roller blades and door hinges amongst other stuff.
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We headed out, but the showers continued intermittently as made our along the south side of Ten Mile Point.
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I paid my respects to the Buddha, and as I went around the next point I surprised a mother otter and her babies.
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The mother was clearly worried as she grabbed the babies in her mouth and carried them up the rock. The babies seemed curious about me and they kept coming down the rock towards the water, while she kept grabbing them and yanking them back, almost tossing them up the rock. I apologized for disturbing their morning and quickly paddled away.
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Further up the point, we passed some geese...
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...saw an eagle...
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...and a heron.
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Apart from the rain, we had great conditions as we kayaked to Jemmy Jones Island off the end of point. The water was flat, and there was no breeze to speak of, even though forecasts had called for one. However, the clouds were still threatening, and teased us by allowing occasional blue patches to burst through even though dark rain clouds remained above us....
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...until we finally put in. Then the sun came out. Of course.
Cadboro Bay

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Trip length: 5.39 km
YTD: 140.14
The Google Earth kmz is here.
My pictures are here.

Solstice Paddle

They Remembered Everything--except to fill the ocean before paddling.

Paula, Louise, and John setting off into Cadboro Bay this morning. The tide was -0.1 metres as they left the (suddenly very large) beach. High tide of 2.8 metres isn't until 19:16 tonight.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vancouver Island Circumnavigation Record Attempt Ends

Nick Castro has ended his attempt to set a new speed record for kayaking around Vancouver Island after three days due to tendonitis. He began his attempt last Sunday, but on day 2 his left forearm began swelling up. He ended the paddle after suffering more pain on day 3.
He writes on his website, "This is my nightmare… I have developed a good case of Tendinitis on my left forearm. Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon due to overuse of the tendon in question. I guess we know where the overuse came from."
He told the Victoria Times-Colonist that there was little point in continuing as he had no chance of breaking the record with his injury. "Even in perfect health, it's hard to break a record," he said. Once his arm is healed, he plans to have another attempt at the record.
His website also has his daily log, and some nice slideshows from his attempt.
While Nick's attempt is over for the time being, Joe O'Blenis continues his prep for his attempt the break the record this September.
The record is 17 days, 4 hours and 49 minutes, held by Sean Morley.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Breeze

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I arrived at the Cadboro Bay parking lot to see a lot of kayaks slowly being unloaded. And even though it was warm and sunny, it was unexpectedly breezy. The wind was forecast to come up in the afternoon, but it had obviously come in earlier than expected. Paula and Tracy arrived, also caught a little surprised by the breeze.

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Louise and Bernie didn't join us today; Louise has caught a summer cold, and Bernie was sleeping off a three day hike on the Juan de Fuca Trail.

We launched and headed out. We'd been hoping for a quick crossing out to Chatham Island, but the closer we got to open water, the less that option seemed likely. The wind and waves were picking up, and so there's not a lot of pictures today, too much paddling instead!
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We took shelter for a moment in the channel between Ten Mile Point and Flower Island. There were breakers in the channel. Okay, so the breakers were only a foot high, but you just don't get breakers in that channel! We decided to continue along the shore but then Paula's inner ear went wonky, so we thought we'd better head back to the beach. As we approached our take-out, Paula's ear improved, and we saw the southern shore of the bay was actually quite calm and protected from the wind, so instead of putting in, we continued around the bay towards the marina where we found a couple of herons looking for breakfast.
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We continued through the rocks...
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...where we found this gentleman taking his new Capella 163 for its inaugural paddle.
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Eventually we headed in, passing some others who would appreciate the breeze a little more than us.
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Trip length: 8.18 km
YTD: 134.75
My pictures are here.

Rolling Into The Record Book

Randy Fine likes to roll his kayak. In 1991, he set the world record for continuous kayak rolls with paddles: 1,796 rolls.
Earlier today, he set out to break that record. He started rolling at 8:00 am. Two hours later, he had rolled 2,018 times.
Fine thinks he could have continued, but the heat and water temperature finally got to him. "I was getting delirious," he said.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Googling Fat Yak

So I'm poking through all the gobbledygook of Google's Webmaster Tools for this blog. And I have to tell you, the Tools' Help Pages should be called the No Help Pages. I can barely understand any of it. It's like reading an alien language. I'm half expecting Mr. Spock to say that the reason for my distress is that the universal translator is broken. I'm hoping that somehow Douglas Adams is going to make a miraculous resurrection, if only to stick a fish in my ear.
Anyway, I have managed to figure out that one of the most popular search queries that brings readers to this blog is the blog's name, Kayak Yak, in reverse: yak kayak.
And no, a yak kayak is not made from the hide of long-haired bovines found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia. Ocean Kayak makes a sit-on-top called a Yak Board, which some commercial websites refer to as a Kayak Yak Board.
But wait: there's more. A company called Yak sells kayaking helmets.
And then there's the company called Yak Dawgs who will take you kayaking fishing. But only if you're a hardcore kayak fisherman apparently, like this month's Dawg Of The Month Juan, aka Psychofisher. I am not making this up. (Actually, there are some nice video clips on the home page, so check 'em out if kayak fishing's your thing.)
This blog also comes up in the results when people search "yak yak Toronto." They are most likely searching for the Yuk Yuks Toronto comedy club. It also shows up when people search "falling bridges," "Seawards kayak death," and "kayak for buses."
It also apparently comes up when people search "Swedish feet," and "Canadian feet." Golly, I hope people don't get the wrong idea about the blog.
My favourite query? The blog shows up on page 3 of the results for "yak calling." However, I was disappointed that the number one result for "yak calling" has nothing at all to do with the aforementioned long-haired bovines from south Central Asia, but instead is a Canadian discount long-distance provider. ("Just dial 10-10-YAK!") In fact you have to go all the way to results page 11 before you find anything about real yaks.
Another popular search query is Fat Yak Kayak. Turns out that there's a company called Fat Yak Kayaks that also make sit-on-tops.
Fat Yaks. Who knew?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Local TV Profiles Local Kayaker

Local TV station CHEK 6 ran a story tonight on Nick Castro as he prepares for his attempt to break the record for circumnavigating Vancouver Island starting this weekend.
The station doesn't provide an embed for the clip, but they do have a link here to the whole program.
(Don't worry -- you don't have to watch the whole show. Nick's segment is the first one, right after the intro.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kayaking Over Barriers

Thanks to two years of fund raising by the Comox Valley Wheels In Motion Quality of Life Project, disabled people on the Comox Valley will be able to try kayaking after the group purchases an accessible kayak.
The kayak features pontoons that can be raised, lowered or extended to provide the right amount of stability, and can be paddled with just one arm.
It was designed and built by Bruce Fuoco, who lost the use of his right arm after a stroke in 1996. He and his friends spent five years developing various prototypes before settling on the current version that can accommodate many different disabilities.
Jim Milina, chair of the Comox Valley Wheels in Motion Rick Hansen event told the Comox Valley Echo:
"It's about breaking down barriers. The water, to me, is a perceived barrier. Then I meet a guy like Bruce and all of a sudden the dream can be reality.
That experience is priceless, especially given the estuary. It's just so breathtaking around these parts.
I have trouble putting it into words, but that's just incredible."
The Comox Valley Wheels In Motion Quality of Life Project is holding their annual fund raiser this Friday and Saturday night at the Whistle Stop Pub.

Here's a video clip demonstrating Fuoco's design:

Monday, June 08, 2009

Five Kayakers Rescued Off Trial Island

Five kayakers had to be rescued from the waters off Trial Island yesterday by the Oak Bay and Victoria Coast Guard Auxiliary after their group of 12 kayakers was swamped by a passing power boat, according to the Victoria Times-Colonist. Another woman was able to swim to shore, but she and four others were taken to hospital for treatment of hypothermia. A lighthouse keeper spotted people in the water next to their kayaks just after noon yesterday and alerted authorities. By the time rescuers arrived, they'd been in the water about an hour, according to the T-C. A spokesman for the Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination centre says that all the kayakers that went over were not very experienced.
Trial Island is known for its rip currents, and the currents were forecast to be medium to strong yesterday. And a power boat charging through the area wouldn't have helped matters. I wonder if this was a group taking a lesson as many local kayak businesses run surf and current courses in the area. If so, were the teachers so overwhelmed by the number of people in the water that, an hour later, there were still five people swimming?
Thankfully, all's well that ends well. And remember: dress to get wet...and cold!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Quick One on Telegraph Bay

It's another beautiful day in paradise here on The We(s)t Coast, and there's no better way to spend part of the weekend than kayaking on the calm waters of Telegraph Bay. Louise, Paula and I planned for an early morning launch and we were pleasantly surprised when Tracy made another unexpected appearance to kayak with us.
We weren't the only ones out early this morning. Three families of geese were also on the beach. I haven't seen as many goslings before as I have this year. We're practically being overrun with them. Well, no, not really. But last year I think I saw one gosling while this year I've given up counting. Maybe I'm just going to all the good spots this year.
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The geese launched at the same time we did.
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I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked today as I was distracted by a wonky GPS that had suddenly decided that there were no satellites in the sky for it to lock on to. According to it, some sort of giant space disaster involving a massive EM pulse which knocked out all the world's satellites must have occurred. But I think I would have read something in the papers about a giant space disaster.
Anyway, we headed up the coast...
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..towards the cave.
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Tracy had never seen the cave before.
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As we headed back, this gull watched us warily.
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We passed the geese one last time, then the paddle was over. Now the weekend is over, and it's back to reality. Sigh.
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Trip length: 8.68 km
YTD: 126.57
My pictures are here.

end of the day paddling

Rich had asked John, Paula and I to join him for a paddle on the Gorge with an 8:00 pm start. We arrived, loaded up and hit the water to await Paula's arrival. She was bringing her inflatable on the bus. Although she missed one bus, another is never far behind and she arrived!

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Paula's kayak fits into a bag and she is able to take it with her on any bus or throw it into the back of the car. A bit easier when a vehicle isn't available to carry her Eliza.

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Fully inflated Paula's kayak is launched and she joins us for the trip down the Gorge on a lovely Friday night in Victoria BC. Is there a better way to spend a Friday night...well not unless you are relaxing on a patio or BBQing and have a couple cool ciders.

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31 pictures for you

John is our major photographer as most visitors and followers of this site know. Whenever I try to capture him in his kayak it is often when he is not paddling.

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As we paddled down the Gorge the sun starting to set, touching water and sky with incredile light and making for photo opportunities. Paula without a camera just floated and enjoyed her surroundings...ahhh..what an evening.

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31 pictures for you

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31 pictures for you

These are only a few, I had so many more with this incredible light. But it was time to keep paddling and eventually we would lose the light. It really was a magical evening, with the sunsetting if you faced one way...

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and the moon rising if you faced the other.

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Rich was going to paddle around Portage Inlet as we really did want the paddle to be an official night paddle. So we headed around the inlet and as we passed by houses and docks we got these strange puffs of warm air followed by really cool air. And before the light completely disappeared and before my camera failed, I was able to capture a photo of John paddling his kayak.

31 pictures for you