Sunday, August 08, 2010
Sea Lion Surprise!
We put in at Mill Bay this morning for a paddle down to Bamberton and back. Louise and I had never paddled this stretch before, while our paddling companions Richard, Tracy and Paula had. Tracy asked me if I'd ever been down this stretch, and after I answered in the negative she replied, "It's pretty boring!"
Well, it wasn't that bad, and if nothing else it's another few clicks to knock off our attempt at breaking the record for the Slowest Circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.
Richard squatted to take a picture -- at least, I hope that's all he was taking!
It didn't long to find where all the seal action was -- it was on the dock beside our put-in!
A rainstorm had blown through yesterday after weeks of clear skies. There were still some cloudy remnants but nothing that should have been of concern, although winds were forecast to pick up in the afternoon.
We approached the dock for the Brentwood Bay-Mill Bay ferry. A little warning if you're kayaking in this area: the ferry approaches the Mill Bay dock from the south and passes very close to shore. Very close. So close you could spit onto the beach from the car deck. So be Ferry Aware when you're kayaking near the dock.
Sometimes, there's other things to look out for as well. Louise and Tracy got a little ahead of the rest of us as we approached the dock. They became distracted checking out the clouds because Richard had been keeping us updated with weather reports and fog was rolling into some nearby locations. They were passing very close to the dock and as they passed by I noticed a large brown float of some sort up on the end of the concrete pad of the dock. As they passed only a metre or two away, the "float" unfolded itself. Richard and I began shouting, "Look out! To your right! A sea lion!"
They still didn't notice. It was only when the sea lion went "Bort! Bort!" right beside them that they realized that they were in a spot that maybe they didn't want to be in. The sea lion could have very easily rolled off the dock and landed on them swamping both kayaks. They quickly scampered out of the way.
We pulled in at a beach for a moment...
...where Paula and Richard discussed paddle shaft lengths.
Paula likes to use a 230 or even a 240, while some of us feel she should be using something shorter. Different strokes for different folks. The debate continues.
We'd been wondering about the fog. Although we could look back and see that Salt Spring Island was totally socked in...
...and hear the radio reports describing Fulford Harbour down to visibility of about two metres, it was holding off in our area. Besides, we weren't doing any crossings, just sticking to shore, so we felt reasonably safe.
We pressed on to the old cement works at Bamberton...
...then turned around for home.
As we approached the ferry dock again, we saw that the sea lion was still on his perch.
We're wondering if he is used to humans as the ferry had docked here once since we'd last seen him, but he apparently didn't move.
And then the wind came up a bit sooner than expected which made for an interesting paddle back to the take-out!
Trip Length: 15.94 km
YTD: 142.59 km
More pictures are here.