Saturday morning looked beautiful, but the stiff breeze blowing into Cadboro Bay had us all looking doubtfully out at the water. There would be no crossing Baynes Channel to the Chathams and Discovery Island this morning!
It was still a good enough day to get out on the water, so we did. Well, three of us. Bernie skipped off to some philosophy conference up at the University. Alison is in Montreal, Tracey is busy this winter, Marlene paddles only in doubles on warm summer days, but we had three regulars.
Louise and I launched through the surf. (hah! Surf... knee-high waves, but it was enough like surf that I fitted my skirt in place and shuffled the kayak across a little sandbar that kept the water shallow for a couple yards.) John was still setting up his camera when Rich arrived, and the two chatted on the beach for a few minutes. Rich wanted to see if we were going paddling today.
It's understandable that Rich assessed the wind as something that would have the rest of us coming back to shore in twenty minutes... so he headed off to Brentwood Bay to do a long paddle in Saanich Inlet instead. (Turns out he ended up paddling from the breakwater through the Harbour into the Gorge.) We ended up taking over an hour and a half to do two simple loops in the bay that would normally have taken us about half an hour.
The first loop took us out to Stein Island through the steady progression of waves rolling into the bay. It was fun to face them, with our boats rising up or ploughing through the crests. We kept talking all the way -- that's why this blog is called Kayak Yak, eh? cuz we're always yakking.
At one point, John spluttered to Louise, "Your bow just disappeared completely under that wave, and you didn't miss a syllable!" Of course she didn't stop talking. She was telling me a story about an annoying person from work. She wasn't going to let a little rough water give her the willies and stop that story from being told. Everyone knows that indignation trumps trepidation any day.
Then we turned round and surfed back towards the middle of the bay and the shore. There was a brief stretch onshore, while once again a passerby asked us about our boats. This time it was a fellow paddler who is eagerly anticipating the new Delta kayaks that he ordered through John and Louise's friend Mark.
Then we headed out again, wet from spray and surf, with a couple of gallons of water in the Deltas. I pulled on my cold water paddling cap from MEC, a nifty neoprene cap that I keep tucked inside my pfd at all times, ready to wear if I get wet or chilled. Hey, Bernie and I have three of these caps between us, as they make good winter wear inside a parka hood.
The second loop took us over to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and behind their breakwater to Loon Bay, an oasis of calm on that breezy morning. As we left the shelter of Loon Bay we headed out to ride the wind and waves back towards the beach. This is where the wind blew us apart!
Louise scooted on ahead, with the fastest boat and her usual response to wind (which is to paddle faster!). John held back a little to paddle sweep, as both Louise or I seem more likely than he to flip. I darned near went over twice, turning to see him smoothly riding waves a few yards behind me.
And ahead, just as Louise got to shore, the white hull of her boat rolled up, parallel to the shore and waves. She scrambled to her feet and pulled her boat and gear out of the water as John and I zoomed up to join her. A surf landing that ended up being a wet exit! not a bad thing at all.
There was time for a hot cup and snack at Olive Olio's before picking out a couple of books at the rummage sale at St George's... I'm starting to look forward to that church's Strawberry Tea. In the meantime, hope that Richard went farther and had at least as good a time in Brentwood Bay as we had. Twenty minutes, my ass. We were all soaked with spray before Louise's wet landing, and it was a marvelous time.