Monday, July 25, 2011

G-L-O-R-I-OUS Paddle to Discovery Island

G-L-O-R-I-OUS.... Glorious! (with apologies to Van Morrison...)
Readers of the blog this summer (or this non-summer as the case may be) may recall a common theme running through many past posts, mainly me bitching about the weather and The. Summer. That. Never. Arrived. However, summer swept in this weekend in full bloom. A high of 26 yesterday and nary a cloud in the sky. Tomorrow is forecast to be 10 degrees cooler, but that's like a whole day away, so let's not worry about that, and instead bask in the glory of today's weather! (Because we all know it's ain't gonna last!)

Louise and I joined Paula yesterday for what looked like a perfect day to paddle to Chatham Island. Not only was the weather cooperating, but the currents were expected to be about as favourable as they could possibly be, a long slow flood that would give us enough time to reach our destination and noodle about for a bit.
I didn't get off to a good start as a little scenic detour down a small channel among the islets near our starting point in Cadboro Bay tuned out to be a little shallower than I was expecting. Oops. Love that grinding sound. Not.
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So much for my short cut. After I caught up, we pressed on across the small straight to Chatham Island.
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Once there....
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.... the conditions were idyllic and we decided to take advantage of them and go around both Chatham and Discovery Island. We saw a fair number of seals today, and they seemed extra curious about us. We were constantly shadowed by dark little pairs of eyes that gently rose out of the water then slunk stealthily beneath the surface. We tried to give them their distance as there a lot of momma and baby seals out together, and we didn't want to become the subject of an angry mother's wrath.
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We headed around the northern shore of Chatham. We'd already seen the occasional eagle flying around, and we'd spotted one upon our arrival at Chatham flying with something in its talons but it was too far away to make out what. Whatever it was, it was clearly not going to have as good a day as we were having.
We spotted another bald eagle landing ahead of us behind some rocks, As we approached, we realized there were two eagles and the younger one on the left was eating something. Could the older eagle have been doing some hunting for the younger one? It never took a bit of lunch, at least not that we saw.
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As we scooted around the rocks, the older eagle took off but the younger one remained behind and enjoyed its meal.
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At the time we were guessing it was eating a fish, but after looking at the pictures its obviously something else. What, I'm not sure, but the eagle was sure enjoying it.

From there we headed into the bay at the north end of Chatham.
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If you time it right at a high tide, the small channel in the end of the bay fills up and a small island named Cactus Island can be circumnavigated, but the tide wasn't high enough yet. We jumped out for a quick stretch and some snacks.
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On our way again, we made our way out of the bay and down the eastern shore of Chatham towards Discovery.
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It's very important to make sure to roll over when you're tanning to get that "all-over" tan.
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Paula found this round formation in the rocks on the far side of Discovery, probably erosion caused by wave action. Upon further investigation, it was not as deep as it looked only 30cm or so, but still quite interesting.
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As we headed back, the breeze picked up a bit. We were treated to mirror-flat waters on the east side of Discovery, but the water was a little bumpier as we headed back along its southern shore.
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After we crossed back to Flower Island near the mainland, we saw an otter playing in the water. It paid no attention to us as it did some fishing. Why should the eagles have all the fun and get all the eats?
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And finally, one last surprise. As we sat down for coffee after the paddle, our kayaking buddy Richard suddenly appeared, his appearance all the more surprising because he moved to Vancouver a number of months ago. He was in town for the day and by happenstance was in the area as he saw us drive by with our kayaks. A perfect capper to a great day!
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Trip Length: 16.96 km
YTD: 153.97 km
More pictures are here.
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1 comment:

  1. Wasn't it a great day! The SISKA paddle to Russel was great too.