Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ladysmith Harbour

Whoever requisitioned the weather today did a great job!
For some reason, both the wind forecast and the weather forecast were bang-on... under 5 knots breeze on a sunny, bright day. Perfect conditions for exploring Ladysmith Harbour.
We've been here before, during May the last three years for Paddlefest. And at those times, we did get on the water, but only near the shore to test boats and paddles. Today was a real outing in the big bay that we've been looking at on the map.
There was a lot of boat traffic in this bay, as Bernie led us from shore to a point, and then across the narrows to a small island, part of the Woods Islands. We could tell from the charts that there are log booms on the far side of the Woods Islands, but what the charts didn't tell us is that these islands and others in the bay are made of sandstone.
Big whoop-de-do? Well, not for us. For one thing, we're used to the granite and basalt around Saanich Peninsula at the south end of Vancouver Island. Sandstone has a really different texture and as rockhounds we find that interesting.
All the islands and shoreline on this side of the Island show the compression and tilting that's been going on for millions of years. At Ladysmith Harbour, that means the bay is sheltered by a long peninsula that runs parallel to the main shore of the bay, and the little islands in the bay are long and thin.
It was low tide when we launched, and the shallow water around the islands showed ledges of sandstone that fascinated us. We drifted over these underwater staircases, and I got hung up on one barnacled shelf that was a little higher in the middle than on either end. Oh darn. Left another little pink smear on barnacles and got a new scratch on the bottom of my Eliza. But then, that's why I opted for the rotomolded plastic model instead of the fibreglass composite version. Sure, fibreglass would be eight pounds lighter for Bernie to load on top of a Carshare Co-op vehicle... but he'd probably find re-glassing my kayak every year to be really, really annoying.
Sandstone isn't all that scratchy on my hull, but barnacles sure are.
Sandstone has all these neat textures, from smooth lines and curves that look like arms and fat legs and backs, to sudden cracks and breaks at right angles. And then, where there's a lot of wave action, the erosion makes the rock wear away in curves that look like the rock is dissolving.
When John posts his photos, look for the lace rock and the little galleries and the tiny almost-a-sea-cave that was just big enough for my kayak's bow. What a great day for rockhounding, all along the shoreline out to Coffin Point and back!

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