It's the first day of spring!
The calendar says it's spring, and the weather does, too. There are robins and other birds making themselves seen and heard all over the city. But today I saw the thing that confirms spring around here: somebody brought a boat to the water.
Somebody who wasn't a hardcore paddler out several times during the winter. Yup, it looked like a dad and two kids carrying a boat through Gyro Park to launch by the storm drain. I wandered down to the shore to see them worm their long boat through the small rock garden and around into Sheep Cove.
This was after my own time on the water. The wind blew my inflatable kayak out to Flower Island in record time. I rounded it and came back, feathering the paddle because of the breeze. Not a bad day for seeing birds, either. There were at least two herons fishing along the shore, and a cormorant resting on Evans Rock, several waterfowl I haven't learned to recognize yet, and best of all, a large Golden Eagle. She was practising flying into the wind, and I got a good look at this eagle as she passed slowly overhead. This may have been the eagle that Richard photographed one day at nearby Jemmy Jones Island.
Today I looked at old posts on the blog and realized something important. My inflatable kayak from AdvancedElements is five years old! It's a Dragonfly, an older version of the Lagoon. The colours were chosen by West Marine, the store that sells these kayaks under the name Skedaddle.
That's not a "sit in the closet all winter" inflatable kayak, either. When I'm not paddling it or taking it on the bus, most of the time the kayak sits 3/4 inflated in the porch so it's ready to go. Rain, snow, and racoon footprints have caused no problem for the tough deck and hull. Neither have stony beaches, barnacled rocks, and tarry docks.
Once a year I give the kayak a good coat of 303 sun protectant. The bright deck colours have faded just a little. There's a grubby stain where the deck rubbed against a dock green with algae, but most of that mark came off with a wet facecloth and a bit of dish soap. And there is a small rust stain where the kayak leaned against a rust mark on my bike.
This kayak has been on the water at least fifty times a year, in all kinds of weather. In the summer, I take it out on the bay two or three times a week. In winter, this kayak has faced air temperatures below freezing, breezy days, and snowfalls. It's been deflated, folded into its bag, transported and reinflated well over a hundred times. It's a wonderful boat, and the new version (the Lagoon) is even better.