Sunday, May 06, 2012

Solo Shot

Today I got a chance to do something that I haven't done very much of, and that's go for a solo paddle. Despite it being one of the nicest paddling days so far this year, Louise had booked the morning off to attend a Japanese Tea ceremony with Paula, leaving me to my own devices.
So the question became "where to to paddle?" Although fairly adequate at self-rescues, the only roll I can make with any reasonable amount of certainty is this one:
So a venture too far off-shore might be unwise, especially since as a result of last night's so-called "super-moon" the currents were running today in many of my favourite paddle places.
So I turned to the trusty old home port of The Gorge for a quick trip out to see if I could spot any baby geese or swans out yet.
Despite it looking deceptively calm, I was quickly reminded of the pull of the ebbing current as soon as I left shore as I was immediately pulled along (running right to left in the photo). Although it's many kilometres from the open ocean, it's still a salt-water tide affected inlet. The current was easily handled, but you can see from the GPS track at the bottom of this post that I was doing about 4 to 5 klicks an hour faster coming back with the current than I was heading out against it.

First I paid my respects to The Iron Man...
...then watched a heron enjoying some early morning fishing.

A little further up, a solitary swan was also enjoying an early paddle.

The water was crystal clear in some spots along The Gorge, a far cry from what it was like 50 years ago. Various groups and clubs have worked tirelessly through the years to return The Gorge to its past splendour and they've done a remarkable job, although every now and then you see that they haven't removed all the crap from these waters.
Two traffic pylons that are 150 metres from shore. Someone deliberately dumped them out here.

And the northern bank is not immune to indiscriminate acts of dumbassery, either. As a teenager I can remember walking along this shore and discovering that some yahoo had dumped all the solid cement garbage cans that were along the path in to the water.
And many decades later, they still remain, popping up for air at low tide.

Was I successful in my quest to see swan and/or geese babies? No. The local swans were still nesting by the looks of it...
...but one has to imagine that there will be swanlings hatching soon.
As for the geese...
...they were hanging out with a gold mermaid and a plastic heron. And I've got no idea what to make of that.

Trip Length: 7.54 km
YTD: 52.18 km
More pictures are here.
the gorge


  1. Always enjoy your images, John. I'm curious about what kind of camera you generally use while paddling. I have a Panasonic DMC-TS2 - pretty much indestructible and great when conditions are really wet but I'm sometimes disappointed with the results. Thought I'd begin some research with you. Thanks in advance. Duncan.

    1. Hi Duncan
      One of these days I've got to write a proper post about the cameras I use, but hopefully this reply helps you in the meantime.
      Lately I've added a GoPro to my arsenal, usually mounted somewhere on my kayak. I set it to take picture every 10 seconds, and haven't really used it much for video. I had it out yesterday, but the memory card fritzed so I ended up with nothing from it.
      Mostly, I have two cameras that I take out. The Pentax Optio WG-1 is a waterproof point and shoot that I keep in my PFD. I've had a couple of the waterproof Pentax Optios in the past and they've all worked really well (in fact, I have an older model I want to sell). I've read some complaints here and there about just waterproof (or not) they really are, but they've worked fine for me. Mind you, I don't go out of my way to get them wet, so you mileage may vary. For taking a quick snap while on the water, it works great.
      The other camera I take out is a Canon Powershot XS30 IS. I keep this one in a dry bag in the cockpit. It's what some call a "bridge camera" between a point and shoot and a full-blown DSLR. The main feature for me is that is has a whopping 35x zoom on it which is great for wildlife shots. Easy to use, and you get great shots with it. I had an earlier model of this one too (that I'm also looking to sell) and moved up to this one because it had a longer zoom. Both have been great cameras.
      If you want to know which camera took which picture, just click on almost any picture in the blog. That will take you to flickr and you can see which camera took the shot.

    2. Many thanks, John, that's helpful info. Keep up the good "work". :) Duncan.

  2. What are you using to track your paddle trips?

  3. Hi Kimberley
    I use a Garmin eTrex HCx GPS. Once I've downloaded your track from my GPS to my computer, U can upload it to a free online app called GPS Visualizer, which is at Here I can select various outputs: Google Maps, Google Earth, jpegs or others.
    What I do is use GPS Visualizer to convert my GPS track to a Google Earth file, then in Google Earth I load it up, and use Google Earth's save image function to generate the picture.
    Hope that helps!

    1. Thanks, I checked it out today. Works great!