Monday, May 28, 2012

Age-friendly BC Program Survey

Well, today I filled out a survey for the Capital Regional District. The CRD just got some funding from a program from the province of BC. They want to be sure that regional parks are serving the needs of older citizens.
Are our regional parks age-friendly? I'm not sure... and I'm not sure that as a 51-year-old kayaker whether I'm the responder expected by the survey writer. But then thinking again, I must remember that this is Victoria, where the average age of members of either kayaking association is about 67 years old. And if you've seen the pelotons of bicycle riders zooming around town, an amazing number of those hardbodies are senior citizens. The second time I was offered the senior's discount at a local store, I was wearing a wet suit.
So maybe my opinion is worth surveying. And maybe yours is as well. You don't have to be retired to have concerns about whether your regional parks are age-friendly -- maybe you bring someone to the parks who has concerns.  My big issue is getting my kayak to the water's edge in parks!
So here's the information I received from Karen Preston at the Capital Regional District, with a link that took me to the website for the survey:

CRD Regional Parks was one of fifty-two communities who received an Age-friendly BC grant to support older residents in staying healthy and active in the community!
The Age-friendly BC program focuses on providing communities with support, information and recognition to help meet the needs of an aging population. Local governments can achieve age-friendly recognition and officially become an Age-friendly BC community once they have completed four basic steps that focus on community engagement, commitment, assessment and action.
Regional Parks protects and manages more than 13,000 hectares of spectacular natural areas in 33 regional parks and trails on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. With support of this $20,000 grant, Regional Parks would like to increase visitor accessibility by implementing a trail assessment and information system that focuses on the specific recreation needs of seniors. This system will provide senior visitors with information that will enable them to determine which parks to visit based on their own abilities and limitations.

Tell us what Age Friendly means to you!
 Fill out the on line survey:
 Thank you,
 Karen Preston, CAVR
Coordinator of Partnership Development
Capital Regional District - Regional Parks
490 Atkins Avenue  Victoria BC  V9B 2Z8
T: 250.360.3330

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Everything Canoe

Most of my paddling this month has been in Cadboro Bay, which doesn't make for a lot of variety among posts on the blog. Instead, I'll post a review of a terrific book: Gina 'Waadluxan Tluu, The Everything Canoe.
This is a recent book published by the Haida Gwaii Museum Press in Skidegate. It profiles the recovery of the knowledge of how to make the traditional style of canoes. More than a brief summary, this book details the experiences of several of the carvers involved. Reading it feels like listening to the people talking!
Authors/editors Heather Ramsay and Kwiaahwah Jones complied many short pieces into a collection that connects canoes to every aspect of Haida culture. Profusely illustrated with colour and b&w photographs (including this shot of a traditional canoe abandoned unfinished long ago), this book presents a lot of material with real visual appeal. As a paddler, I was hooked. As a history fan, I found plenty to keep me interested.
If you can't pick up a copy of your own, there's a copy of the book at the Greater Victoria Public Library -- check it out! There's also a great review of the book online at The Tyee and another at The Observer.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Good to the Last Drop II

A couple of weeks ago we shared a graphic demonstrating the amount of water here on Earth, including fresh water, oceans, ice caps and water vapour.
Now along comes the sequel which illustrates not only the amount of water on the Earth, but the amount of water of Jupiter's moon Europa. And here's the kicker: Europa has 2-3 times the water that the Earth has! I want to kayak there!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The BC Coast Explorer and Marine Trail Guide

Volume One of this new series of guide books is brought to you by the same folks that bring you Coast & Kayak magazine. Written by John Kimantas, it focuses on the west coast of Vancouver Island from the northern tip of Port Hardy down to Ucluelet and Barkley Sound.
It's a gorgeous book, with bright colourful maps and hundreds of terrific pictures. What sort of information does the book offer? Next month, Louise and I are heading to Tofino near Clayquot Sound, but with no time to kayak, alas. But if we were planning to kayak there, the Clayquot Sound section of the book clocks in at 14 pages, featuring with a large two-page map of the area showing campsites, put-ins, and kayaking routes. There's a short general overview of kayaking conditions in the area, plus some route suggestions for both relaxed and adventurous paddlers, as well suggestions for other recreational activities in the area like surfing or hiking, as well as a history of the local First Nations. Five route descriptions are given, many with waypoint coordinates for camp sites or other points of interest. Sidebars offer a few other paddling ideas or information. And there's dozens of great pictures.
Definitely worth checking out if you're planning a paddle in our neck of the woods. You can order the book here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Good to the Last Drop

It's hard to imagine as we paddle huge oceans or lakes that there really isn't a whole lot of water in the world. In fact, this tiny sphere represents all the world's water.
The sphere is about 1400km in diameter, including oceans, groundwater and water vapour.
That may seem like a lot, but very little of it is freshwater, only about 4%, and most of that is locked up in glaciers and polar ice caps.
The earth may look like a blue marble from space, but in actuality there's precious little blue on it. And we better take care of it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Camera I - A Mother of a Day

It was a gorgeous weekend out there, perfect for kayaking, so naturally we didn't. Being Mother's Day today, we went on what Louise and I lovingly call "The Old Dames Tour," visiting my mother at her care home in Broadmead, and Louise's mom at her home in Sidney. We are glad to report to report that they are both well and happy, and both will probably outlive us all.

But we also took the time to do a little outdoorsy stuff, and we found ourselves at Fisherman's Wharf for lunch.
I lunched at Barb's Fish and Chips, while Louise went Mexican at Puerto Vallarta Amigos, but we weren't the only ones eating today. The local harbour seals put in an appearance...
...and were rewarded for their effort.

Someone's got a great parking place for their kayak.

Before for we left, we checked out the menu for Grilligans...
...because one day we plan to check out its unusual feature, namely the paddle up order window.

Finally, we decided to follow this guy's lead and soak up some sun.

Monday, May 07, 2012

A new book "My Paddle to the Sea"

Yet another good book about paddling has been getting attention. I'm going to look up My Paddle to the Sea by John Lane.
Based on the positive review in, this is the sort of book that will get canoeists and kayakers thinking and talking about their own watersheds. And that's a good thing. Off to the library! If I could kayak to the library, I'd go there every day. Wait, I do go there most days.

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

Saturday, May 05, 2012


Yesterday was Louie's mumble-mumbleth birthday. With a little help from my sister, her present was delivered to her at a coffee shop.
Bet you can't guess what it is.
Okay, maybe you can.
It's an ergonomic Accent paddle. We checked these paddles out at MEC a few weeks ago and they seem like decent value for the money. Louise has a funny paddling habit where she slowly slides her hands down the paddle as she paddles which results in the paddle becoming totally off centre. Hopefully, the ergonomic design of this paddle will help keep her paddle in the right place, or rather keep her hands in the right place on the paddle.
We'll let you know how she likes it - stay tuned!