Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Heeeeere, Whale! Wha-ale!

Nope, no visible whale today. And I looked, too!
I headed out along the Uplands shoreline of Cadboro Bay this afternoon, out past Loon Bay and Spurn Head into the Big Rock Garden. That's where all the mansions have manicured lawns and rock walls that run down to the water.
So, there weren't any whales that I saw, but it was great to get out on the water. Any day I get to see two volcanoes (both Mt Baker and Mt Rainier) is a good weather day if nothing else, and a good day for my inner geologist. While I didn't see the whale that our friend Jono saw from Cattle Point last night, there were dozens of semi-aquatic mammals on the beach at Gyro Park. Fashion alert: Bikinis have now become teeny-tiny again. When did that happen? I must have missed the memo. And while the truly marvelous little beaches at the Big Rock Garden were, as almost always, empty, I did manage to catch sight of not just one, but six specimens of the sub-species Rich Human Beings.
Okay, okay, I know that pretty much everyone living in Victoria could be identified in the field guide for Rich Human Beings, but work with me here: some of us are a little bit more rich. And whenever we've paddled along this shore, it's rare to see even one person, even on a bright, sunny weekend. This was a mid-week day and I was stunned to see two people in their yards, and two groups of two people descending to the shoreline via public access stairs. Don't ever let anyone tell you that it's a waste of taxpayers' money to build a Public Beach Access. I see 'em getting used. Even in the Uplands, that's how many people get down to the shore and see a bit of what we in our boats get to enjoy so much.
As far as nature goes, I did get to see herons and an oystercatcher, and a couple of otters. Here's a link to the map my SPOT sent when I was out looking around and smiling.
Maybe I'd have seen the gray whale if I went to Cattle Point... but a breeze was coming up and I had to paddle facing into the breeze all the way back. Not much, really, but it was a reminder to spend only an hour or so on the water, not two or three.
There was enough wind, actually, that the Royal Victoria Yacht Club had at least two groups of beginners out in little walnut-shell sized boats. Yes, I know that making judgemental comments about the size of a boat is pretty picky for someone who paddles in an 8 1/2 foot inflatable much of the time. I'm just sayin'. Small boats. Shaped like bathtubs. Really.
You can see the RVYC highlighted on a map here. You can usually hear the newbies out in their sailboats for the first or second time. There are few sounds that carry over water better than the sound of a dozen children in a dozen small sailboats... unless it's two dozen children in a dozen small sailboats. There was screeching, and yelping, and several loud smacks.
I ducked inside the breakwater to be out of their way, and out of the breeze for a few yards. It's always nice to see the pretty yachts moored here, and sometimes there's someone cleaning a boat or even taking it out for a spin.
Out among the few sailboats tied up to floats in the bay, I came across Mike Jackson and his friend Dan. They were practising rolls in their Tahe Greenland kayaks... very spiffy looking boats, and so easy to handle. We reminded each other about Saanich Parks' plans for Gyro Park, and what the neighbourhood and kayaking community can do to preserve beach access.
Back to shore, and up the sandy ramp while avoiding sunbathers. It wasn't a whale-spotting day, but it was still a good time to be out on the water.

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