Sunday was a great day for me. Got out and about in the village, did the coffeeshop thing, wrote, and -- ta dah! -- got on the water in a kayak on a bright afternoon!
I love paddling in the winter months. The water in Cadboro Bay is clear again! The crowds of people on the beach have dwindled to include only People Who Like The Beach A Whole Lot instead of the throngs of People Who Bought A New Swimsuit and People Who Think Going To The Beach Is Required In Summer. I am much more interested in sharing the beach in winter with the people who are determined to deal with the cool air.
This Sunday, the University of Victoria Sailing Club was out in full force. Team after team of young people were hauling out their little sailing boats, one after another. The bottleneck of traffic jam on the simple boat launch relented for a moment, and I was able to carry the kayak to shore.
It was the Jackson Kayaks Mini-Tripper. Really, it's meant for kids to noodle around a pond, but I've been taking it out along the shore to Flower Island. The large, open cockpit and slightly tippy narrow hull mean that I don't go around Flower... that would break my self-imposed rule (I'll go anywhere I feel confident about swimming BACK from!) even if it lets me see more of the big bay and even Mt Baker.
Sunday's paddle was a great time. A flock of seagulls was clustering near the middle of the bay, probably finding a shoal of small fish to catch. Many boats that are anchored in the bay all summer have been hauled ashore now, before the big storms of November.
I got chatting with Guy, the owner of the house along the shore with a dock reached by a steep path past the Tiki Hut. Where's their Buddha gotten to these days? Guy reports that the Buddha suffered some slings and arrows of outrageous fortune during his days in the rock niche or just above the dock. Not only did Buddha get knocked around by the otters, a wasp nest was built in his head! A broken arm on the statuette was enough to get Guy and his wife bringing the Buddha up near the house. It has been fine there for over a year. So have Guy and his wife. They love their little dock, but mosquitoes in summer and chill wind in winter make it a place they don't linger as much now as they did ten years ago when they first bought the place. Up at the top of their steep path, they sit outside, untroubled by mosquitoes or chill breezes off the water.
On my way back from Flower and Sheep Cove, I saw that the flock of seagulls was clustered by the little dock. "Did you feed them or something?" I asked Guy, and he shook his head, marvelling.
"They're fishing," he said. "Herring or something. And the seals are hunting, too."
Three little heads were bobbling up and dipping down. It looked like Mama Seal and two young, slim harbour seals were darting around for herring. How wonderful to see them herding the fish against the rock wall at that side of the bay!
I gave the seals, seagulls, and surviving herring a wide berth, then paddled back to the boat launch at Gyro Park. Every time we go on the water, even in familiar places, there's always something to see, and something to enjoy.