Monday, March 19, 2012


There was a crab trap float next to the trash can at the beach this morning. The landlady's dog needs a walk every morning, and it's a good way to start the day first thing, walking through the park and getting close to the beach to see the water. We have to keep the dog from seeing the water, or he'll expect to go leaping into the waves. So that's how I got to see the crab trap float onshore this Sunday morning.
It was a numbered float too, and I recognised it as one belonging to a commercial fishing/crabbing boat that comes through the Bay every two weeks and picks up crabs. A flock of seagulls follows the boat everywhere, expecting tasty snacks tossed overboard.
I was more frustrated than the seagulls, imagining the crab trap sitting on the bottom of the bay, collecting crabs but never being pulled up by the fishermen. Drat! It was a frustrating start to a morning, with a weather forecast for snow and wind that just didn't materialize. We hadn't made plans to take advantage of the long slack tide and cross to the Chathams in our kayaks, because of the weather forecast. The closest our paddle group came to the beach was looking mournfully at it as we plodded off to the coffee shop for a quick cuppa.
We commiserated over the recent news of yet another home heating oil spill into the Colquitz River watershed. That's three this winter. There have been ten home heating oil spills on the Island this year. For heaven's sake, people! Go inspect your fuel tank and pipes. You don't have to be a technician to know what an oily stain is or a big greasy spill. There's no excuse. grr.
John and Louise went off to do a photo shoot. I stumbled into the computer lab on campus and began practising website design for my assignment due next month. grrr argh. And Five Hours Later, I had one page kinda done as a template. Every step had to be done twice. And four separate kinds of things I had to do did all have their step-by-step instructions in the professor's assignment -- but EACH of them had one step that said blithely "Put hotspots in various positions on the image" without defining how to do hotspots (or whatever the middle step was for that task).
I understand the deep appeal of Blogspot websites as compared to Dreamweaver. *sigh*
There was still sunlight in the sky, so I stomped down the hill to the Beach House, snarled at my partner and stuffed myself into my old shortie wetsuit. And yes, it was the little inflatable that I took down to the shore.
I'm tired of justifying the frequent use of this sporty little boat to other paddlers. I notice that those who've spoken to me recommending that I take my sea kayak out instead are all very tall, very broad-shouldered, and cheerfully load their sea kayaks onto the roofs of vans with their arms at full extension overhead (that is, when they go out on the water at all). What do they expect from me? grr argh. I am short and can carry my sea kayak only on days without any wind. This was a breezy afternoon.
It was a great day to ride the ripples and swells in the supple little inflatable, which is much like a playboat for riding waves, but also like a rec kayak for paddling a kilometre or two along shores. I plodded out to the beach with the inflatable on my shoulder and a toque on my head, even though it made me hot.
Why the toque? Well, I'm tired of getting double-takes and frank stares and a few of the people people pointing as I go by in my wetsuit with my inflatable kayak... and my mop of grey hair. Yes, passer-by, I am going sea kayaking in winter on a breezy day. Yes, I am as old as your grandmother, or your canasta partner (depending on whether the passer-by is young or old). Get over it. This is Victoria, where the average age of members of the sea kayaking clubs is 67 -- and rising. The second time I was offered a senior's discount, I was wearing a wetsuit. I still have fifteen years more to live before qualifying for a senior's discount; I just have grey hair. So sometimes I wear a toque or my cold water cap to eliminate that particular source of attention.
Unfortunately, the toque doesn't cover the rest of me, so my pudgy little form plods down to the boat ramp, and every bulge is outlined in neoprene and tight merino. Well, if ya can't look kinda naked at the beach, where can you? Yes, passer-by, I am not a lean hardbody. Yes, you thought most sea kayakers were big husky guys. But I've worn out two short wetsuits in six years without getting much slimmer. I don't see you wading barefoot in the ocean, now, do I?
It was a relief to ride the ripples and swells around to Flower Island and back. The ducks bobbed and turned, and the oystercatchers showed off their colourful beaks and legs next to crows. Black is the colour this season, it seems -- but oystercatchers know how to accessorize.
It took me over an hour, paddling on the treadmill with my paddle feathered, but it felt good to do the circuit. It's a much nicer workout, paddling in Cadboro Bay than sweating in a gym. Windsurfing in this little inflatable is fun. And my speed in it isn't that much slower than Freya's long days slogging through rough weather around Australia. I don't expect to paddle like she does.
At any rate, by the time I was done for the day, the landlady's dog was ready for another walk. And it was time to go find the spouse and let him know it was safe to come home.

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