As we go into the Hallowe'en time and beyond, into the dark time of the year, you may notice some loud booming if you're out on the water west of Victoria. Don't panic! The Canadian military is doing some manoeuvres during the first week of November, west of Sooke near Sombrio Beach. They'll be test-firing artillery and many large weapons. So if you hear some unexplained booming when you're paddling at Albert Head or Sooke Basin, don't be alarmed.
And if the booming is more of a rumble from the south-east, it's probably the Growler taking off from the US military base on Whidbey Island, again. We've been hearing it lately around Cadboro Bay and Ten Mile Point, so they must be using the runway that points in our direction.
These noises are just another reminder that human-made noises carry much farther over water (and probably under water as well) than we expect. Certainly, I felt surrounded by a bubble of outboard motor noise when riding in a zodiac for Straitwatch, watching the whale-watching boats. But being in a kayak and hearing zodiacs go by showed me that the bubble of noise is big enough to fill not only the bowl of Cadboro Bay, but all of Oak Bay's big curve as well, echoing off the Chathams and the Chain islets. And that's with my half-deaf ears!
Let's hope that J, K and L pods of orcas are playing in the Gulf Islands instead of hanging out near Jordan River when the Canadian military is on manoeuvres this week. Boom-shaka-laka means something else these days...