Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Local Humpback Hit By Boat

A humpback whale in Barkley Sound was spotted with deep gashes in its back which were probably caused by a boat propeller, according to this story. Nothing can be done to help the whale, but experts believe that the injuries are healing and this whale will recover.
Local kayak guide Kevin Bradshaw watched two other humpbacks swimming close to the injured one, and noted that other whales in the area have suffered similar injuries.
If you see marine mammals in distress, call the B.C. Marine Mammal Response Network at 1-800-465-4336

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Gorge Redux

Another sunny Sunday, another paddle in The Gorge. With no solution to the dead van problem, we are still limited to the home waters of The Gorge. Paula joined Louise and I for another paddle yesterday morning under clear warm skies.
2009-09-27 The Gorge Pano

We headed down to the narrows at Tillicum Bridge and paddled through. There was just a small current flooding current, and not the often seen roaring rapids.
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We weren't the only paddlers out. This outrigger canoe passed us a few times, and we saw other kayakers enjoying this gorgeous Autumn weekend. There won't be many more weekends like this so we better enjoy them when they happen.
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There were lots of geese out yesterday. I'm guessing that a lot were passing through on their way south, although there is a sizable number who live here all year.
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And later, we caught up with the local swan family. We were a little concerned as we saw the parents and only two of the (now very large) baby swans. We'd seen all five swans last weekend, so we eared that something might have happened to the other baby swan.
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But a few minutes later we found the final baby feeding on his own. It looks like he's all grown up now and has moved out of his parents' basement.
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2009-09-27 The Gorge
Trip Length: 8.91 km
YTD: 320.14
More pictures are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Marina Battle Continues

The battle against the proposed mega-yacht marina in Victoria's Inner Harbour continued last night with a public information meeting attended by all three levels of government.
Or that was the plan, anyway, but the City of Victoria backed out at the last minute, leaving only provincial and federal representatives in attendance, as well as the plan's backers and an audience numbering about 350.
Despite not officially attending, Mayor Dean Fortin finally spoke publicly on the matter earlier in the day, telling an interviewer, ""What is being proposed is beyond what's been envisioned, in both scope and scale."
In another development, the South Island Sea Kayakers Association (SISKA) has presented a legal brief opposing the plans to Federal Minister John Baird. SISKA wants a public hearing on the proposal. Dorothea Hoffman, SISKA's treasurer said, "Safety issues, public access to these navigable waters by non-powered vessels and the lack of proper public consultation process are the underlying issues that the independent review panel would be asked to consider, and it's the only vehicle which would provide for full public participation and full disclosure of the potential impact of the proposed marina."
The project must approved by two federal departments and a provincial department before the developers can apply to the City of Victoria for a permit to build the project.
Help stop the marina by clicking here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Gorge

The last weekend of summer. And a glorious weekend it was. Warm temperatures, clear skies, calm winds. All weekends should be like this.
The only downside is that with the death of the van last week, we temporarily have no wheels to take our kayaks anywhere. But perhaps I should amend that. We have no motorized wheels to take our kayaks anywhere; we do have our kayak wheel carts to push our kayaks down the hill to launch on the Gorge. Paula and her inflatable joined Louise and I in our Deltas for a paddle under bright sunny skies.
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We saw this cormorant high up in this tree, usually at the height where the eagles sit. Speaking of eagles, we've hardly seen any around the last few weeks. We think they're probably congregating near salmon streams for some easy pickings as the salmon are now running upriver to spawn.
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These ducks found a nice spot to sit and laze away the day.
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As we moved into Portage Inlet, we saw the swans floating towards us....
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...but they weren't coming to us, but to a family that had called them over to give them a little breakfast. These just might be the best-fed swans on the planet.
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The cat looked on jealously.
Then the cat soon became interested in me: a huge half-person, half-fish. I bet he thought that he could feed on me for a year.
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We wandered up Colquitz Creek to Admirals Road where this new bridge is being built. It was supposed to have opened two weeks ago, but it's still closed. It looks finished. Skateboarders are enjoying the new pavement on it.
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On the way back, this heron posed for a few quick snaps.
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As we neared the end of our paddle we spotted Brian and Marie on their recumbent tandem, and Brian hopes to join us for a paddle next week.
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2009-09-20 The Gorge
Trip Length: 8.14 km
YTD: 311.23
More pictures are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ocean River Gear Grab

Today was Ocean River's annual Fall Sale, a sure sign that the seasons are changing. (Another sign was the winds that blew in during the afternoon.)
Richard was either sad or still asleep:
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Louise was annoyed that I was taking her picture:
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Bernie was Bernie:
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and Paula was performing mime, likely a portrayal of the various ways she plans to kill me if I ever post this picture on the blog.
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I, of course, was much too photogenic to even bother with taking a picture of myself. It's a curse.

Under the tent we went for bargains and I was seconds away from snagging a used Werner Kalliste paddle, but a man (whose real is unknown but will be forever referred to as "Some Bastard") got to it seconds before I did.
2009-09-19 Ocean River Sale 007

Richard gave a good grope to the new Tahe Marine Greenland boat that's getting rave reviews. We both agreed that it's a fine looking looking boat and that after radical hip reduction surgery and maybe a leg amputation, we might actually be able to get inside one of them.
2009-09-19 Ocean River Sale 012

We escaped mostly intact. Louise picked up an Icebreaker top. Richard picked up a pair of gloves to replace a pair he lost surfing, but there were rumours that he was going back in to buy more clothes. Paula chatted up the folks from Wavelength Magazine and Bernie went next door to have a coffee. The one-piece fleece I had been watching for the last couple of weeks that I had wanted to pick up for under my drysuit wasn't there today. Some Bastard must have grabbed it.
Now to start saving pennies for next spring's sale!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Meeting the Three Wise Men

Okay, counting the nudist it might have been four. And the strong guy, maybe five.

It’s not every day I meet three wise men – or three men who think they are wise – but then, it’s been about ten years since I last paddled at Salt Spring Island. On Tuesday I went commando kayaking, as Dubside calls it.
I packed up an inflatable kayak sent to me by Advanced Elements (the Expedition, their biggest solo kayak) and the Backbone sent to me by Lee Johnson, a follower of Kayak Yak and the #1 fan of Expeditions and Backbones. The gear bag has room for a take-apart four-piece paddle, a PFD, bilge pump and throwbag of rope, water bottle and a doublestroke pump the size of my thigh. (I may be short but Lord knows, I’m not tiny.)
I stuffed a little drybag with a squall jacket, merino wool Icebreaker shirt, wallet, cell phone, ball of yarn & needles and snack bars, then hopped on the bus. One transfer got me and about 48 pounds of gear all the way to the Swartz Bay ferry. I knitted a baby bootie on the way, and listened to a podcast of the CBC’s program Ideas, so this was a real multi-tasking kind of morning!
After trundling my gear down to Berth 3 at the terminal, I settled in to wait for the ferry to Salt Spring. A nice old coot came by, a talkative older guy who accepted a granola bar from me and then observed, “You know, I have to tell you this, miss, you really have to lose forty pounds off your waistline. And I wish you’d wear a hat.” I put my hat back on and listened as he gave more advice to the six people and two dogs and a bird who came by during the next half-hour.
A cloudy morning turned clear as the fog burned off and the 5km breeze blew a few sheets of cloud past all day. The weather turned out perfect – you couldn’t have requisitioned better weather with a mission statement and a government grant. The crossing gave me a great view of Portland Island and Russell Island.
There was a bus stop at the Fulford Harbour ferry terminal, but no bus to Ganges was scheduled to meet this sailing. I looked around for a nearby launch spot. Both public docks had great ramps but were too high above the water. When in doubt, shop!
I stepped into The Wardrobe, a lovely little boutique full of hippie clothes, and spied one of the little velvet hats from Tibet that aren’t being brought over the ocean any more. Had to have it, even if too small for me. It will fit either Erica or John just fine (Bernie’s niece and nephew who paddled with us in Cadboro Bay). The store owner told me there were two beach accesses within a short walk: one to the right of the ferry (a three-metre vertical scramble down a dirt bluff) and a nice little shell beach about 500 metres down the road.
Do not believe locals anywhere who say that a beach access is less than a klick away or level access or a nice clear trail or even easy to spot from the road.
I was lucky enough to meet a dog-walking lady who agreed there was a nice little shell beach just down the road, as the store owner had told me. She and her schipperke dog walked by me into the tiny town of Fulford Harbour. I slogged up three hills (none of which my local guides had mentioned) and was half-way up another before twigging that I’d missed the trail to the beach. Half-way back, the dog-walker met me on her return. “You missed it!”
She showed me the trail. It was hidden under overgrown bushes, and made for hobbits! I bent over and crept through lovely-scented brush and trees, on a footpath barely wide enough for both my shoes, and not wide enough for the battered luggage roller with my Expedition strapped to it. Still, the brush opened up and I made it eventually to the shore along a quite pretty walk. It might be even more pleasant if one isn’t walking backwards tugging a tippy 48-pound bag over uneven ground.
2009-10-04 Salt Spring Island 111
At the shore was a two-metre drop over steep rough rock to a perfect little shell beach. Got the gear down without either throwing it nor falling after it, and set up on shore. Bliss.
Another dog and another local arrived as I was prepping to launch, a polite older fellow. I gotta say, of all the grey-haired men of my acquaintance, he was the second-fastest at getting naked. He and the dog were in the water, swimming, before I looked up from tying my paddle leash.
This bay at Fulford Harbour confirms a trend I’ve noticed among several bays here at the south end of Vancouver Island and among the Gulf Islands. The bays all point in roughly the same direction – 120 degrees from magnetic north on my compass, kind of south-east. The shoreline on the north and east side of these bays is usually rocky and at a moderately steep angle to the water. The shoreline on the west and south side of these bays is usually more sloped to the water. I was on the north and east side today. It was a shoreline very like the comparable shore of Cadboro Bay, in my home waters. The biggest difference was not one but three shell beaches, only one of which is on Reserve land for the Tsawout band.
At the bend in the bay I turned round and followed the rocky shore back, appreciating the water-stained colours of the basalt and the lichens and mosses growing on the stone. Into the little harbour at Fulford, I puttered around the ferry dock and two marinas, getting well out of the way before the ferry came in. Along into the estuary and over to the far side of the bay for a few minutes, following the sound of a drum on the shore. I hopped ashore at the picnic area to check out the petroglyph held by three tree trunks. It’s a fairly large carving of a face – a seal, according to the brass sign fixed nearby. Next time we come to Salt Spring I hope to make a rubbing of it.
The road runs right by the water here, and there is a roadside stand at the farm gate across the road. Hurray! Though all the eggs were sold, I had enough cash in my pocket to buy a jar of peach jelly and a little bag of handmade gift tags.
Nearby was a young man, lighting a small fire on the beach. We said hello, and then he asked me, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, our lord and saviour?”
I said Yup. He was very happy to hear it, particularly happy for someone whose worldly goods fit into a shopping cart and whose furniture was a drum on a beach log. He was wise enough to talk about how good God was, and the world, and to say bye nicely when I paddled away across the estuary. Saw the lovely old rock church, and paddled back up to the tiny town.
2009-10-04 Salt Spring Island 109
Under the dock I found a tiny beach at high tide, landed and packed up my boat. I scrambled up the little bluff with some of my gear, and looked around. Some poor young dude was waiting for the bus or a ride, and he very kindly put down his own pack and carried my kayak bag up to the road. One-handed, without assistance or complaints. Yay helpful stranger!
He was kind, but the third wise man didn’t make an appearance until after I’d caught the ferry back to Swartz Bay and got on the bus. A young native guy got on behind me and said, “You gotta hear this song. My friend wrote it.” He chatted nicely all the way in to town while I finished knitting another bootie, and was pleased to be given the booties for his little nephew. In trade, he told me a poem, of which the only lines I can remember are:
We do not need to think our way into a better kind of living.
We need to live our way into a better kind of thinking.
Then he lifted my heavy gear bag off the bus at my stop. I got home by ten-thirty.
All in all, a good day, including the visits from three men who thought they were wise and two who were wise enough for the moment.

That Rumbling Noise

God Bless CBC Radio!
Ever hear a mysterious, rumbling sound when you’re on the water near Ten Mile Point? CBC Radio in Victoria has tracked down the source.
People from Oak Bay to Cordova Bay have been noticing a sound that has no obvious source. It’s an engine sound, low and rumbling, and it is HUGE. It shakes windows and vibrates the ground. Our paddle group has noticed it many times during the last two years, and lately we hear it every time we launch at Telegraph Bay. I’m half-deaf, especially in low frequency sounds, and this sound still makes a big impression on me. We’ve been wondering if it’s construction sounds, or a different engine on one of those big container ships. Very unsetlling when we’re on the water!
The staff at the local station for CBC Radio tried to find the source of this sound that local people were hearing. Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt knew nothing, neither did the Airport at Pat Bay. Eventually, the CBC reporter got hold of Kim Martin at the US Naval Air Base on Whidbey Island, in Washington State.
Until they reached her, Martin and the base had no idea we in Victoria were hearing that huge rumbling sound. But she knew what we were hearing. It’s a military aircraft taking off.
The aircraft is the Growler, a big, radar-jamming plane.

So, what we’ve been hearing is the Growler taking off, from time to time for the last couple of years. There's more than one of these aircraft at the base. The reason we’ve been hearing it more frequently lately is because the US Naval Air Base on Whidbey is doing runway repairs to two of their four runways. There are only two runways in use these days. Depending on the wind direction, it’s a lot more likely these days that they’ll be using the runway that points the planes in the direction that carries the sound forty-five kilometres across the strait of Juan de Fuca right to us.
If anybody ever wonders why the local resident pods of orcas aren’t increasing their numbers even though they’re not being hunted, this huge rumbling noise can only be one more stress factor in the lives of nearby killer whales. The strait of Juan de Fuca is the second-busiest waterway in the world. The traffic through here and past the islands is constant, and so many of these boats have noisy engines. Noisy enough, at any rate, for this half-deaf kayaker to hear the cruise ships and container ships that glide past, twenty and thirty klicks away. I cannot imagine what it sounds like to a whale, that low rumbling sound as the Growler takes off. But it is a creepifying sound that vibrates my body and my boat.

Addendum: The Victoria Times-Colonist has a story on that rumbling noise here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lighthouses being de-staffed

At Mike Jackson's blog, I learned that there's another distressing trend of our government -- once again, the move is on to automate lighthouses and fire the staff.
Dunno how often any of you go past a manned lighthouse, but those who do are very aware of the difference between an automated lighthouse and one where a live human being is present. Usually the lighthouse keeper is working with a spouse and sometimes children, to make sure that the duties are all met.
If you need more convincing, check out the history of the lights at Pacheena and Bamfield, or maybe the wreck of the Valencia.
Then maybe you'll click on the link below to sign a virtual petition, or write to your Member of Parliament. (No stamps needed to write to MPs!)

The Last Round Up

I've been feeling like an old man for the last few days. I've been troubled by some low level back spasms, something that's never bothered me before, which naturally leaves me wondering if this is just a minor injury or strain that will heal in a few days, or is this the start of chronic middle-age stiffness and the slow start of declining abilities and health. I also seem to have banged my right foot on something and bruised the underneath of it which is causing me a bit of a limp which is obviously not helping my back at all. Even worse, I can't remember when or how I banged my foot, so clearly my memory is rapidly failing me as well. Alzheimer's can't be far behind.
Through a bit of a communication gaffe, we ended up paddling on Saturday instead of our usual Sunday paddle, but it was probably all for the best as Saturday was terrific for paddling, a gorgeous late summer day that was warm and full of sunshine.
We decided to head up-Island to Ladysmith. And although we have been there many times before for the annual Vancouver Island Paddlefest, we've never gone there and explored the area.
The start of our journey involves driving north from Victoria along Highway 1 over the Malahat Summit (what we locals call "over the 'Hat"). You can see from this picture taken at the summit that you make quite a climb considering that the drive from Victoria starts at sea level. Keep that thought in mind -- we'll get back to it.
You can also see in the photo some of our other paddling places in Saanich Inlet. The island across the inlet is what we call among ourselves 15 Minute Island (because it always seems about 15 minutes away) but is really called Senanus Island. The cove to its right is Brentwood Bay and further down to the right behind the trees is Finlayson Arm.
Sannich Inlet Pano

We arrived at Ladysmith and our put in at Transfer Beach. Sealegs Kayaking operates right on the beach and it looked like they were doing a rip-roaring business renting kayaks.
Transfer Beach

Soon we were in the water and underway. Paula and Bernie had rented a vehicle from the Victoria Car Share Co-op and Louise and I used my van, so we were able to get all four big boats on the water today, and it was well worth the effort. We crossed the inlet to the far side and meandered around the islands.
2009-09-12 Ladysmith 036 copy

The islands seem to be made mostly of sandstone. It's so odd to see solid rock with holes like a sponge and as bubbly as an Aero bar. And yet, here we were surrounded by these beautiful formations.
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We found long shelves of sandstone that paralleled the shoreline, and at the water line these shelves seemed to have been compressed to the thickness of paper or cardboard.
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Then Bernie had what he called "a serious WTF moment."
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Looking down he discovered a trailer sitting in the water just off a small uninhabited island. Go figure.
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Bernie's back was bothering him, so he returned early. Louise, Paula and I pressed on to Coffin Island...
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...then made our way back to Transfer Beach.
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As we put in, Bernie, feeling better now that he was moving about a bit, cheerfully told us how he'd holed his kayak while loading it on their rented van. A small hole, about a couple of centimeters square, but a hole just the same. He was so cheerful about it, however, that we were wondering if he was overmedicating on his pain meds. But no, he was fine and looking forward to repairing it. I mentioned out loud that it might be a good article for the blog (hint hint).
After a quick bite from the concession stand, it was time to return to Victoria. Louise and I bid good-bye to Paula and Bernie as they were going to hang out in Ladysmith a little while longer.
As Louise and I headed south, we got closer to the Malahat and the climb we and the van would have to make. Leaving Victoria heading north, as we had done in the morning, the climb is long and mostly gradual, but heading south, as we were doing now, the climb is a quick and steep ascent. It has claimed many a car. It was about to claim another.
As we started up the hill the van responded fine, but about half-way up, an unusual knock started in the engine. As we crested the summit, the van began losing power, and the knock grew louder. Louise and I exchanged worried looks. Getting stuck here, halfway between nowhere and nothing was going to make a long day even longer. We made the summit and we began the long downhill. The van seemed to have enough power to handle flat stretches, and I was hoping we could nurse it home, but another small hill loomed and that was the end of that.
The knocking increased and suddenly something snapped. It sounded like something broke free in the engine and fell off, but we never found anything.
A loud bang, total loss of power, puffs of smoke. None of these things were good.
I pulled the van over and we jumped clear. Something had gone seriously wrong under the hood. Smoke was coming off the engine, and we quickly began preparing to off load as much gear as we could and our kayaks onto the shoulder of the highway. But soon the smoke cleared, and any immediate danger passed. We were just stuck on a dangerous and busy highway with a dead van carrying two kayaks on its roof.
2009-09-12 Ladysmith 044
We phoned for a tow truck -- it was going the cost the equivalent of the national debt to tow the van back to Victoria. But what else could we do? Paula and Bernie drove up a few moments later and they offered to take Louise and some gear back to town while I waited for the tow truck. They scrounged up all their half-drained water bottles and left them with me as they took Louise back to town.
Soon the tow truck arrived and I told to the driver to take it my house. The van looked to be in a sorry state as she was loaded up for the trip home.
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My father bought the van new in 1981, and when he passed away eight years ago, it became mine, and since I discovered kayaking four years ago it has served yeoman's duty in transporting my gear and myself, as well as my fellow paddlers. But like me these past few days, it has been feeling its age the last few years. It has served my family well, but it has served its time. After some expensive transmission repairs last year, it is just not worth sinking more money into it. And from the loud bangs, I'm sure that whatever's wrong will cost major moola.
The tow truck operator hooked up to the van, and I climbed into the cab of his truck. My faithful steed made its last trip home empty and alone.

2009-09-12 Ladysmith

Trip length: 11.74 km
YTD; 303.09
More pictures are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ladysmith Harbour

Whoever requisitioned the weather today did a great job!
For some reason, both the wind forecast and the weather forecast were bang-on... under 5 knots breeze on a sunny, bright day. Perfect conditions for exploring Ladysmith Harbour.
We've been here before, during May the last three years for Paddlefest. And at those times, we did get on the water, but only near the shore to test boats and paddles. Today was a real outing in the big bay that we've been looking at on the map.
There was a lot of boat traffic in this bay, as Bernie led us from shore to a point, and then across the narrows to a small island, part of the Woods Islands. We could tell from the charts that there are log booms on the far side of the Woods Islands, but what the charts didn't tell us is that these islands and others in the bay are made of sandstone.
Big whoop-de-do? Well, not for us. For one thing, we're used to the granite and basalt around Saanich Peninsula at the south end of Vancouver Island. Sandstone has a really different texture and as rockhounds we find that interesting.
All the islands and shoreline on this side of the Island show the compression and tilting that's been going on for millions of years. At Ladysmith Harbour, that means the bay is sheltered by a long peninsula that runs parallel to the main shore of the bay, and the little islands in the bay are long and thin.
It was low tide when we launched, and the shallow water around the islands showed ledges of sandstone that fascinated us. We drifted over these underwater staircases, and I got hung up on one barnacled shelf that was a little higher in the middle than on either end. Oh darn. Left another little pink smear on barnacles and got a new scratch on the bottom of my Eliza. But then, that's why I opted for the rotomolded plastic model instead of the fibreglass composite version. Sure, fibreglass would be eight pounds lighter for Bernie to load on top of a Carshare Co-op vehicle... but he'd probably find re-glassing my kayak every year to be really, really annoying.
Sandstone isn't all that scratchy on my hull, but barnacles sure are.
Sandstone has all these neat textures, from smooth lines and curves that look like arms and fat legs and backs, to sudden cracks and breaks at right angles. And then, where there's a lot of wave action, the erosion makes the rock wear away in curves that look like the rock is dissolving.
When John posts his photos, look for the lace rock and the little galleries and the tiny almost-a-sea-cave that was just big enough for my kayak's bow. What a great day for rockhounding, all along the shoreline out to Coffin Point and back!

Friday, September 11, 2009

This Ain't As Easy As How It Looks In All Them How-To Videos....

This seal launch video would not be what you call textbook perfect....

...but he lands it!

Mega-Yacht Marina Public Information Session

A public information session concerning the proposed mega-yacht marina for Victoria's Inner Harbour will be held at 6:00 pm on September 22 at the Da Vinci Centre on Bay Street. Representatives from all three levels of government will be present. Victoria MP Denise Savoie called for the meeting, saying, "It's a hugely complex issue, and it makes it all the more important to have that meeting so there is a clearer understanding of how projects like this are approved."
The meeting will be an information session only; no decisions will be made on the proposal which is opposed by many in the local kayaking community.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Rare Tuesday Paddle

This past past weekend may have been the last long weekend of summer, but it sure felt like the first weekend of fall. Cool breezes and showers developed over the course of Saturday, Sunday and the holiday Monday, which put the kibosh on our copious paddling plans. But we can't complain; we've had five months of splendid kayaking weather, kayaking every weekend since the beginning of April though until the end of August, and this was our first weather cancellation since, what, January? Five months is a pretty good run.
Even though the weather wasn't the best on the weekend, I had a sneaking suspicion that today's weather would be pretty good. After all, today was the first day of school, and the first day of school was always warm and sunny. At least, that's the way I remember it, as I stared out from my school desk through the window to beckoning blue skies all those years ago.
And so on this bright and clear Tuesday, as thousands of school children across the city moaned and sighed at the prospect of the new ten-month forced incarceration that lies ahead, Louise, Paula and I headed towards Telegraph Bay to get at least one paddle in over our extended long weekend.
Telegraph Bay

Before we hit the water we saw a deer and two fawns make their way through a small copse of trees. This turned out to be a little foreshadowing for our paddle, as the four-legged animals ended up being far more interesting than the winged or finned animals that we usually see.
2009-09-08 Telegraph Bay 008

It was a perfect day to be out....
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...but when you get right down to it, we saw a lot of odd things. Paula rescued a volleyball from a kelp bed. How in the world does a volleyball get in a kelp bed?
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We passed by this seagull enjoying a breakfast of fresh fish heads...
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...then past this house with its own helipad.
How do you get a helipad in a residential area? Isn't there some kind of zoning thing or something? I mean, the hoops you have to jump through to get a new driveway put in, and this guy has a helipad? His neighbours must love him every time he comes home, dive-bombing out of the sky and rattling windows for blocks around.
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I was using my Stohlquist drysuit for the first time today. This was my first experience in a drysuit, having generally used a neoprene Farmer John and a paddling jacket up to now, but I've gotten tired of the neoprene itch and the wonderful aroma that permeates my van on the way home after a kayak paddle, that unmistakable stench of wet neoprene.
And so far, so good. It kept me nice and dry, and not too warm. It seems to breathe really well. I wore some Icebreaker Merino wool underneath and that did the job keeping me comfortable today, although I suspect that I will need to add some fleece to that as the weather gets cooler. The only complaint is that the neck gasket is very tight, uncomfortably so. I felt like I was getting strangled the whole trip. I see that this year's model has replaced the rubber neck gasket with a neoprene gasket. I can't say that I'm surprised.
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Finally, we passed by a house that we've watched being built for the last three years. As we looked at it, a dog loped into view. A big dog, with odd flopping ears, and it was followed quickly by another. Then another. We quickly realized these weren't dogs, but it took a moment until our brains finally matched up the unexpected visual images our retinas were sending with the patterns of farm animals taken from too many childhood renditions of Old McDonald's Farm.
Goats! A flock of goats! (Yes, "flock," though uncommon, is acceptable.)
We weren't sure if the goats belonged on this property or not, as they looked like they were enjoying the free run of the neighbourhood. They trundled up a small hill and headed down the street. So if you live on Ten Mile Point and your goats are missing out of their enclosure, try the big house at the end of the point. Your neighbours' gardens will thank you!
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2009-09-08 Telegraph Bay GPS
Trip length: 12.32 km
YTD: 291.35 km
More pictures are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.