Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's a Gas

Louise and I met Paula at Brentwood Bay for a quick paddle.

Paula was in her inflatable today, so we thought we'd stick close to shore and meander down into Tod Inlet. From our put-in beside the ferry terminal we turned to the south and crossed towards the Inlet.
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0060
Someone followed us for a while.
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0062 copy

As we entered Tod Inlet, and Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, Paula put ashore for some adjustments to her boat....
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0064
...while this heron enjoyed a little breakfast.
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0030 copy

As we paddled down the inlet, we saw many sail boats and cabin cruisers that had moored for the night.
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0069

But as we paddled by this eagle....
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0036
...we realized that we were paddling through a slick of oil or gas on the surface on the water.
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0073
It wasn't very thick, nothing more than a thin skin on the surface, but it was everywhere. The whole southern end was covered in it, and occasionally Paula and Louise would gag when the wind shifted and they inhaled a lungful of fumes.
We initially assumed that one or more of the boats moored in the inlet had had a fuel spill, but then we recalled that there had been a major fuel spill into Goldstream River a couple of months ago. Goldstream River does not connect directly with Tod Inlet but it does with nearby Saanich Inlet. Could tidal action have pushed the fuel out of Saanich Inlet into Tod Inlet where there it sits, slowly evaporating?
It was a depressing thought that the fuel in the water that was spoiling the inlet was not being attended to, no matter how it got there. The only upside was that the animals did seem to be avoiding the area.

We turned around and headed back...
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0078 copy
....and watched a heron cruise in for a landing.
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0039 copy
He got into a staring contest with us.
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0046
I think he won.

Louise checked out some sea stars...
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0084 copy
...and then it was time to head back.
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet_0070

Trip Length: 6.08 km
YTD: 137.01 km
More pictures are here.
2011-07-10 Tod Inlet


  1. Yeah, I know it was a short paddle outing today -- only 6 klicks -- compared to scooting across to Bamberton or around the point to McKenzie Bight. But I have to thank Louise and John for not powering up and zooming on -- I think they both were as upset by the oil slick as I was. We started seeing the swirls and rainbows and the surface before we reached the 2 kilometre point on our trip. The stink got worse as we reached the end of the inlet, by the estuaries of two small streams. I went slower and slower, having no heart for a vigorous trip over more distance. I'm off to write notes to BC Parks and to Columbia Fuels.

  2. From high rise to water side - your post and photos capture the essence of this.

    What a tragedy about the oil slick. Somehow these things happen, but that no-one is bothering about it, is something to be concerned about.