Saturday, July 31, 2010

SISKA's Kayak For A Cure

The in-box had a note yesterday about SISKA's plans for another charity kayaking day in August, like last year's event. This relaxed paddle is for any local kayakers as well as members, and it covers about 13 or 14 kilometres in beautiful Saanich Inlet. Here's their message:

SISKA is thrilled to once again be supporting Kayak For A Cure™ Victoria! The 3rd annual Kayak for a Cure™ Victoria benefiting the Canadian Cancer Society will take place on August 22nd, 2010. The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. 2008 and 2009’s Kayak For A Cure™ Victoria together has raised over $11,000.00 for the Canadian Cancer Society!

Kayak for a Cure™ Victoria is a relaxed day paddle launching from Verdier Park-Brentwood Bay into Saanich Inlet; we stop for lunch at Spectacle Creek falls before heading back to Brentwood Bay for a post paddle wrap-up BBQ.

SISKA encourages all members to sign up and paddle at Kayak for a Cure™ Victoria on August 22nd to help raise much needed funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. If you’ll be out of town August 22nd on that long awaited kayaking adventure, please support the KFAC Victoria paddlers by making a donation.

To join Kayak for a Cure™ Victoria or to support a paddler, go to the CCS KFAC Victoria page and click “Join Our Event” at the top of the page, or support one of the paddlers listed. Together we can make a difference.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sea Monsters

There ARE sea monsters. They prowl Cadboro Bay and the surrounding shores. They've even been spotted in lakes.
They're obnoxious humans. Don't be a sea monster! If your activities at the beach involve emitting loud noise or noxious fumes, think about the others who will be affected. What you consider enjoyable music might be loud noise to someone else. That little bit of exhaust from your boat's engine will fill the hollow of a lake surrounded by trees, or a bay surrounded by headlands. And the others being affected are not only humans.
Take some time this summer to be confident that you are indeed not being a sea monster. Be kind to our visiting gray whale, for example. Pick up your litter. And for cryin' out loud, wear a PFD or life jacket when in any kind of boat! Kids are watching you. Be a good example. There've been more than six drowning deaths in BC during the last eight days alone. Most drowned people had their accidents within a few feet of shore or a dock. Wearing a life jacket, even a secondhand cheap old one, is an effort in the right direction.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Story To Tell

We've all seen that famous video in which a breaching killer whale lands on a kayak, bit t's a fake -- it's really a Korean Powerade advertisement.

But this is real. A 10m southern right whale, apparently known for their bad vision, gave a whale-watching couple off of South Africa a whale of a tale (and a tail of a whale) when it suddenly breached onto their yacht.  Neither occupant of the boat was hurt. The whale did not appear to be injured.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nature's Smörgåsbord

Albert Head
On this gorgeous Sunday morning, Louise and I headed off for a paddle from Albert Head Regional Park, around Albert head, to Witty's Lagoon Regional Park. This is one of my favourite places to paddle. Current and conditions are always good here, and there's always something to see.
And it didn't take long to spot some seals on the first rock that we passed.
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 023
We knew that just around the point there's a couple of big rocks where seals love to congregate. We thought that having spotted seals so soon into our paddle that these rocks would be covered in seals.
But in fact, they weren't. Not a one.
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 142
But that didn't matter on this day. The sun was warm, but not too warm, and the wind was blowing but not too strong. Everything was just right. It was like Goldilocks had designed the weather program for the day.

So the seals weren't around, but the birds were out. We saw a lot of turkey vultures during the day, but I didn't get any good shots of them. I got a nice shot of this bird....
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 025 copy
...and I have no idea what it is. A jay of some kind? (Felix in the comments below says it's a kingfisher.)

Then there was the heron.
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 034 copy
Then there was the other heron.
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 055 copy

We reached the entrance to Witty's Lagoon...
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 100 copy
...and quickly discovered where all the seals were hiding.
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 105 copy
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 070 copy
I love the spots on this one.
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 079 copy

This eagle was up in a tree, seemingly keeping watch on the seals around it.
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 077 copy
It was like a nature smörgåsbord. "Yes, I'll have two herons, two eagles, lots of seals, easy on the vultures, and just a dash of otter for flavour."
2010-07-18 - Albert Head-Witty's Lagoon 107 copy

Trip Length: 11.72 km
YTD: 122.77 km
More pictures are here.
2010-07-18 Albert Head gps

Post #800 on the blog. Woo hoo!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Yes, I saw a whale! Yes, from a kayak, not from a zodiac with the Straitwatch biologist listening to the VHF radio to hear where whales had been sighted. I just went out and happened to see a whale.
When I put the kayak on my shoulder Thursday morning, I was just heading out for another mid-day paddle in my home waters. Same old same old, out to Flower Island and back. It was a pretty good moment for an ordinary outing, I gotta say. Clear blue sky, warm but not hot, no wind. Tide was out and heading lower.
By the time I got to Stein Island, the whale-watching boats were roaring in with roostertails of wake flaring behind them. Sonofagun. They were stopping right off Flower.
There's been this gray whale hanging around the Oak Bay area. The Times-Colonist newspaper wrote about people spotting it from Ten Mile Point to Trial Islands over the last two weeks. There's a great little news report from A Channel on YouTube here. If you have no idea what a gray whale is, it's a good idea to go see that three-minute video. The biologist who gets interviewed says this whale looks young and healthy. There's another YouTube video of this whale well worth seeing here, which shows what you might see from shore or a whale-watching boat.
There were eight whale-watching boats in all, floating between Cadboro Point and Jemmy Jones Island, off Smuggler's Cove. They turned off their engines like good, conscientious nature watchers.
Mama Seal was floating in the little channel between Flower Island and Evans Rock. She glared at me, as if to say "You humans are WAY too noisy today!" I pulled up against the steep rocky shore of Flower, looking at the whale-watching boats to see if they knew where the whale was. I pulled into first one nook and then another. Tucked in among the rocks like this, inside the kelp at low tide, I was in barely enough water to float my kayak. The flexible, tough bottom of my boat rasped on the rocks and barnacles, but I didn't move offshore.
Gray whales feed in shallow water. Bernie has seen them right next to a cliff. Kathy saw this one just barely offshore at Turkey Head, browsing up food from the muddy shallow bottom. I was betting that the whale might even come between Flower and Evan. I had to be in a place that a whale absolutely couldn't need to go. These narrow rocky nooks wouldn't have stopped a transient orca hunting a seal, but a gray wouldn't want to roll on its tummy on a rock.
I heard it first. The whale came up to breathe, just off Evans Rock, and dipped down. Three breaths and a long pause under water, maybe six minutes or so.
The boats were really close -- probably too close for the rules, but the whale seemed patient with us. I knew we were supposed to stay 100 metres away from a whale. But when the whale came closer than that, we boaters did the only thing we could: they shut down their motors and I huddled into the rocks.
Here's where I was when I saw it. See Flower Island, off the big headland? See the rock just offshore? That's where I was, at low tide, tucked in with rocks all around and under my kayak.
And here's what I was paddling. John took this photo a few weeks ago, at the rally against the proposed Marina in the Inner Harbour.

Yep, the good ol' Dragonfly, my reliable inflatable kayak from Advanced Elements. (The new version of this 8' 4" model is called the Lagoon, and it is even better.) Not the boat most whale-watchers use, admittedly. But that gray whale was getting followed rather too close for comfort, followed by four zodiacs and four big powerful howling boats full of whale-watchers. I was glad to be in something small and almost silent. And no other boat I have is both small and tough enough to sit on that wet rock shelf, just barely out of the whale's way. I am in awe of this kayak's outer shell. The material of the lower deck has some new scratches on it from today's adventure, as I shuffled my butt across a couple of barnacled rocks. The scratches are barely deep enough to see and feel -- mere cosmetic damage.
The whale appears to have a few scrapes on its back, but no visible cuts or injuries. Apparently gray whales got that name from those mottled marks that look like scrapes or scars. And it's big! This is a young one? Good grief, how big are the mature ones? How big is this one compared to the really big whales? The sound of its breath is bigger and deeper than any animal I've heard, bigger than orcas and elephant seals. OMG.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Victoria Council Takes Action To Limit the Size of Proposed Mega-Yacht Marina

Despite legal threats from the developer and the local Chamber of Commerce, Victoria City Council began the process of rezoning a water lot in the harbour, a move that if completed will drastically limit the size of a proposed maga-yacht marina.
According to this Victoria Times-Colonist story:
"WAM Development Group and local developer Bob Evans are partners in a proposal to build the controversial $20-million, 52-slip marina for boats between 65 and 135 feet long on a 2.63-hectare water lot running along Lime Bay Park and in front of the Royal Quays condo buildings. They are hoping to lease the lot from the province, which owns it.
But, if approved, the city-initiated rezoning of the water lot would significantly alter those plans — reducing the number of vessels able to dock there by 40 per cent."
The new zoning plan will eliminate heavy industrial uses but still allow an albeit smaller marina to be built. The final rezoning bylaw is expected to be put before council sometime in August.

Our Home Waters Get A New Name

Our home waters now have a new name - The Salish Sea. According to this CBC report, "A large area of coastal waters off the south coast of British Columbia were officially named the Salish Sea by both First Nations and government leaders at a ceremony in Victoria on Thursday. The new name doesn't replace any of the existing official names for Puget Sound, the Juan de Fuca Strait or the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver. Instead the original names will be retained, but the name Salish Sea will be used to indicate the entire area. The name refers to the language of the First Nations groups that originally occupied the area."

We Need These!

Oh wow!

I just found out about something I didn't know about half an hour ago, but now I need two of them!

And yes, I found it on the internet. Specifically, at one of the links we put on the right-hand side of our page. The fine people at have written about a kayak launching ramp at Windsor Castle Park in Virginia.

This is the completely coolest low-tech/hi-tech hybrid I've seen this week. It's a state-of-the-art launch and landing ramp for canoes and kayaks.
Is that neat, or what?
How many times have any of us small boaters had trouble getting one or more of our paddling group members into the boat and on the water? All it takes is being just a little less flexible or having just a little less balance than a kid, and bam! you're a Differently Able Paddler.
I'm not just talking about very old people and very disabled people here. One of our paddlers (who shall remain nameless) is 6'3" and rough, tough & strong but has the dickens of a time trying to launch off a pool deck or off a wharf. Another needs assistance sitting down or getting up from a stable seat, which leaves the loaded sit-on-top kayak grounded on the beach instead of floating. And then there's me with no sense of balance in these busted ears: when I stand on one foot and put the other into a floating kayak, it's with all the concentration of Nadia Komaneci going for a gold medal on the uneven bars. Oh, it can be done. But Nadia made it look graceful.
This ramp could be a real tool to enable people to launch and land their canoes and kayaks safely and without injury.
The photo above is from the official website for Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield, Virginia. Scroll down to look at more shots of this great dock and ramp. To quote from the website:
A gangway leads down to a 24' X 25' floating dock equipped with bidirectional ramps.
Each ramp is equipped with rollers to allow kayaks and canoes to glide down to the water.
Simply place your kayak or canoe on the launcher, step in without the risk of capsizing,
and use the guide rails to pull yourself across the rollers to the water.
Recovery is just as easy. Simply guide your kayak or canoe between the guide rails and
pull yourself up the ramp until you reach the break in the handrail and exit your kayak
or canoe safely.
This is what we need for Thetis Lake! It would be great to have one at Elk/Beaver Lake, too. Bernie figures that Cadboro Bay needs one as well at Gyro Park. Here in Victoria, the average age of a member of either the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club or South Island Sea Kayaking Association is 65 years old. A ramp like this wouldn't stop people from launching off the sides of the dock or from the beach, it would be a convenience.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Current Affairs

You might expect that if we had two weeks off work during the beginning of summer that we might get a lot of kayaking in. Sometimes things just don't work out the way you would expect. We had out of town family visiting, plus we adopted two new kittens (and they are a more than a handful). Add to that a few days of record-breaking heat which rendered me into an immobile puddle. So it wasn't until the last day of our vacation this past Sunday that Louise and I were able to drag our kayaks out of the basement and hit the water, taking another kayaking course through the fine folks at Ocean River, this time on navigating currents.
Oak Bay
We were joined by six other students and two instructors, Gary and Gary. Although it was a clear sunny day, the forecast was calling for strong winds, with a gale warning up for Juan de Fuca Strait, our destination.
Still it was hot enough that there was much complaining as we slipped into our neoprene and headed out. Helmets were the order of the day, not only to protect our heads should we go over in shallow water, but to protect our heads from errant golf balls as we paddled alongside a golf course on the way to Gonzales Point.
2010-07-11 Currents Course 009

Down near Gonzales Point, it was obvious that a strong wind was coming up. There was no more complaining about how warm we were in our neoprene. Gary and Gary left us in a small protected cove to scout ahead, telling us they'd be back in five to ten minutes. From the cove we could see the waves out in the channel getting whipped up, and we knew that it would be worse around the point and out in Enterprise Channel. After they'd been gone 20 minutes, the general consensus amongst the students was that they were going to call the course off, so we were all a bit surprised when they reported back that we were going to proceed with the lesson. They said that conditions were right on the cusp of what they felt comfortable in exposing us to, but felt that we could handle it. Also, because the wind was blowing from the southwest, roughly the same direction as the current, if any of us got blown away, we would be blown back around Gonzales Point towards where we'd come from and into relative shelter.
2010-07-11 Currents Course 011 copy

So we headed out and around the point and into some swells and a strong wind. We put in for a brief respite at another beach...
2010-07-11 Currents Course 021
...while Gary and Gary surveyed the waters and got weather updates. We clambered up a rock to see what we were getting ourselves into.
2010-07-11 Currents Course 020

Finally we began the lesson, which turned out to be not entirely successful due to the strong wind and currents. Keeping track of eight student kayakers under these conditions must be the equivalent of herding cats. And with the wind, it was sometimes difficult to hear instructions.
2010-07-11 Currents Course 024 copy

But we plugged away at it, even though most of the students had moments when we felt way out of our comfort zone. Near the end of the lesson, we even did a little surfing out in the channel.
2010-07-11 Currents Course 034 copy
Before everyone had a chance to surf, the wind picked up really hard. We turned and headed towards shore to regroup to return to our launch point. It was clear that some of us were struggling in the conditions, but a few minutes of paddling got us around the point and into calmer waters.
While the lesson might have left something to be desired because of the conditions, the experience of being out in it was terrific. This was easily some of the worse stuff Louise and I have ever been out in, and the confidence and experience gained is immeasurable. (Gary and Gary also realized that the lesson was less than ideal because of the conditions and will provide an opportunity for everyone to retake the course. And we met some prospective future paddling partners, too.)

2010-07-11 Currents Course

Trip Length: 8.68 km
YTD: 111.05 km
More pictures are here.

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

Time for another safety check among all us kayakers and general seashore and boating enthusiasts. Who knows how to swim? That's a good start.
Who has taken a water safety course and has some idea how to rescue a drowning person? Aha. Thought so. And if ya took a course, how long ago was it?
How about we take a moment and read the article that gave this blog post the thought-provoking title Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning, written by Mario Vittone.
That article sure made me think. I took Red Cross swimming lessons for years. I started lifeguard training, though I didn't get a certificate. But when I pulled my five-year-old son back up to the surface of a lake without dropping his twin sister, it became really clear to me that keeping people safe around water is not a piece of cake.
Water Safety Is Hard, Dammitt!
Kids fall into the water without any warning and often not even a splash or shout.
People who are drowning are often quiet and struggle a lot less than you'd think. Well, they might not look like they're struggling till they get a grip on a rescuer and climb up him or her to stand on the rescuer's head.
And just in case you need some motivation, it's a grim fact that most people who drown are within a few yards of a dock or beach. Most children who drown are within a few yards of adults. Most of the people who drown while out in a small boat have a life jacket or PFD, but it's stuffed behind the seat instead of being worn.
It's not enough to be the smart kayaker who wears a PFD and knows how to swim. If you're ever the one who DOES see someone drowning, let's hope you know enough not to come alongside and grab the person's hand. Panic makes drowning people strong and desperate.
I hope that I'd be a calm enough rescuer to remember that there's a paddle float on my kayak's back deck. And there's a rope in a throw bag on the front deck.
A paddle float could make a good flotation device! It has almost as much lift as a PFD, and loops on both ends to grip. During safety practice in Thetis Lake, I've floated around holding onto my paddle float from North Water. We figured then that if we ever had to tow a swimmer to shore with a rope, it would be a good idea to clip two paddle floats together and let the swimmer use this float. We know that the cold water where we paddle makes a swimmer numb in minutes, so usually the best idea is to get a kayaker out of the water and back into his or her boat. We're just noticing how we react when we dunk ourselves. It's fun to feel smart and in practise. And maybe we'll be ready if an emergency happens.

Monday, July 12, 2010

This Is The DVD Sale

There is no question that some of the best kayak films of the last few years have been Justine Curgenven's This Is The Sea series from Cackle TV. With the four DVDs in this series, plus her recent excursion to the Dark Side as chronicled in her latest DVD This Is Canoeing, Justine has created a terrific set of paddling films that explore every facet of paddling, from totally crazy whitewater kayaking to calm and lazy lake canoeing, and from complex multi-week expeditions at isolated locales to a quick afternoon's paddle at a favourite neighbourhood location. There are plenty of stories for every type of paddler to enjoy, and if you've never checked them out, now might be a good time as Cackle TV is having a sale for the rest of the month of July. Buy one DVD, and get a second one at 50% off. After all, it's never too early to start Christmas shopping for those hard-to-please kayakers on your list....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Not Looking For Whales This Time

Friday was a paddling day with company this time. Marlene and her daughter Pebbles joined me for a morning paddle in Cadboro Bay. Pebbles carried down the Dragonfly and handled it very well by herself on the water. The StraitEdge2 got carried down to the beach by Bernie and me. Marlene settled herelf in the front and I sat in back as the engine.
It was already hot by 10:00 am, and an hour and a half on the water had us dazzled by bright sunlight. We kept a sharp eye out for that gray whale that people have been seeing near various points around Victoria, but it seems to have moved on from this part of the shore.
Instead, there were several herons, and various other birds to enjoy. It also seemed to be a good day to see jellyfish -- we saw big ones like poached eggs, and clear moon jellies from saucer-size down to thumbnail size. There was also a new colour of jellyfish to be found this time: pink! Yup, pale pink jelly all over and four pink circle details where a moon jelly has four white circles. There are some photos I found online of some jellies much like what we saw, but ours were each swimming alone.
And several little fishes popped up to the surface and jumped as we went past. Low tide is a good time to see several things that hide at high tide.
We went out between Flower Island and Evans Rock, turned and came back.
It was Pebbles who caught sight of a mother otter and her baby on Flower Island. They were climbing up across the rocks. Wonderful!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Floating Phone

For those who are seeking more kayaking gear that's actually intended to get splashed or immersed, there's a new product: the Float Phone!
Anyone who has soaked a cell phone while kayaking knows that it's so frustrating that most phones aren't waterproof. It's great to think someone's got a waterproof phone on the market. You can read about it here.
Unfortunately, the ad doesn't make it clear whether this is a cell phone or just a cordless phone for around the house. My guess is cordless. That means it might be an option for some of my neighbours with the waterfront properties to use while they're paddling around in the bay.
It also doesn't help that the Float Phone weighs two pounds (almost a kilogram). That's more than any of my paddles.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Sunday Shoreline CleanUp

It's sunny and everyone wants to get on the water! Do you have your plans for the weekend? A couple of us are doing a course on Sunday, but there's plenty of options for others of us...

Jody Watson of the Capitol Regional District (CRD) Parks Branch sent me a note today. Her news is that CRD Parks people are doing a shoreline cleanup on the weekend -- and they're inviting volunteers to come along.
She says: We are holding a work party at Point Ellice (2616 Pleasant Ave) this Sunday, July 11th from 10 am – 1pm. The weather is expected to be gorgeous and it will be beautiful down by the water! We hope that you can join us! We will supply tools, gloves and refreshments. Please wear appropriate footwear. All volunteers on Sunday will be entered to win a $25 gift certificate from Il Terrazo/5th Street Bar and Grill.
Mark your calendars! Our schedule for fall/winter work parties will be: September 12, Oct 3, Oct 24, Nov 14 and Dec 5th.

So, how about launching at Songhees on Sunday morning at 9:00 am? There's that great little public beach with free parking on Sundays, but I'll take the bus and an inflatable. We could paddle through the Upper Harbour and Selkirk Water, then land at the Point Ellice dock to join the volunteers at 10:00 am. An hour or so clearing ivy and bindweed along the shoreline, then we'd paddle back to the Songhees beach.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Having Some Fun

Here's a video of sea kayakers doing some surfing at the Gold Coast. Plenty of thrills and spills!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Heeeeere, Whale! Wha-ale!

Nope, no visible whale today. And I looked, too!
I headed out along the Uplands shoreline of Cadboro Bay this afternoon, out past Loon Bay and Spurn Head into the Big Rock Garden. That's where all the mansions have manicured lawns and rock walls that run down to the water.
So, there weren't any whales that I saw, but it was great to get out on the water. Any day I get to see two volcanoes (both Mt Baker and Mt Rainier) is a good weather day if nothing else, and a good day for my inner geologist. While I didn't see the whale that our friend Jono saw from Cattle Point last night, there were dozens of semi-aquatic mammals on the beach at Gyro Park. Fashion alert: Bikinis have now become teeny-tiny again. When did that happen? I must have missed the memo. And while the truly marvelous little beaches at the Big Rock Garden were, as almost always, empty, I did manage to catch sight of not just one, but six specimens of the sub-species Rich Human Beings.
Okay, okay, I know that pretty much everyone living in Victoria could be identified in the field guide for Rich Human Beings, but work with me here: some of us are a little bit more rich. And whenever we've paddled along this shore, it's rare to see even one person, even on a bright, sunny weekend. This was a mid-week day and I was stunned to see two people in their yards, and two groups of two people descending to the shoreline via public access stairs. Don't ever let anyone tell you that it's a waste of taxpayers' money to build a Public Beach Access. I see 'em getting used. Even in the Uplands, that's how many people get down to the shore and see a bit of what we in our boats get to enjoy so much.
As far as nature goes, I did get to see herons and an oystercatcher, and a couple of otters. Here's a link to the map my SPOT sent when I was out looking around and smiling.
Maybe I'd have seen the gray whale if I went to Cattle Point... but a breeze was coming up and I had to paddle facing into the breeze all the way back. Not much, really, but it was a reminder to spend only an hour or so on the water, not two or three.
There was enough wind, actually, that the Royal Victoria Yacht Club had at least two groups of beginners out in little walnut-shell sized boats. Yes, I know that making judgemental comments about the size of a boat is pretty picky for someone who paddles in an 8 1/2 foot inflatable much of the time. I'm just sayin'. Small boats. Shaped like bathtubs. Really.
You can see the RVYC highlighted on a map here. You can usually hear the newbies out in their sailboats for the first or second time. There are few sounds that carry over water better than the sound of a dozen children in a dozen small sailboats... unless it's two dozen children in a dozen small sailboats. There was screeching, and yelping, and several loud smacks.
I ducked inside the breakwater to be out of their way, and out of the breeze for a few yards. It's always nice to see the pretty yachts moored here, and sometimes there's someone cleaning a boat or even taking it out for a spin.
Out among the few sailboats tied up to floats in the bay, I came across Mike Jackson and his friend Dan. They were practising rolls in their Tahe Greenland kayaks... very spiffy looking boats, and so easy to handle. We reminded each other about Saanich Parks' plans for Gyro Park, and what the neighbourhood and kayaking community can do to preserve beach access.
Back to shore, and up the sandy ramp while avoiding sunbathers. It wasn't a whale-spotting day, but it was still a good time to be out on the water.

Whale Sighted Again?

Hey, Jono says he saw a gray whale off Cattle Point last night!
Dunno about anyone else, but as soon as I put dinner in the oven to cook, I'm getting my kayak down to the shore and going looking for the whale again.
Oh, this is fine news...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Planning Ahead for October Apple Festival

We had heaps of fun last October at the Apple Festival on Salt Spring.
Let's look into catching the 9am ferry to Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island for the Apple Festival on October 3rd!

You can read about the Apple Festival at Harry Burton's website, or the website for the Salt Spring Market.

We can check out some of the apple farms like last year, and bring our kayaks for some paddling. If the weather's good we might launch at the steep little bay near Long Harbour, or at Ganges Harbour, or in Fulford Harbour. Even if no one else paddles, I'll bring my little inflatable to noodle around on some of the lakes.

As we learned last year, bring a picnic or bag lunch or else you'll end up having to buy some expensive but tasty local treats!

It's possible to do this trip without taking a car, by taking the #70, 72 or 73 bus from downtown to Swartz Bay ferry terminal. You could bring a bike on the bus and ferry, or walk to at least one or two of the apple farms and the Fulford Hall. But people bringing kayaks or planning to tour the island would want to bring their cars, so carpooling looks like a good idea. Post a comment here and we'll see how well we can plan for carpooling.

Ferries leave Swartz Bay to go to Fulford at 9:00 and 11:00 am, and they leave Fulford to return to Swartz Bay at 3:50, 5:50 and 7:50 pm. Camping and B&Bs are an option if anyone wants to head over on Saturday and come back on Sunday... ooo, camping in October... pretty scary, eh?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Canada Day Almost Paddle

Happy 143rd Birthday to us!

I'd forgotten that having new kittens was pretty much the same as having a new baby, with the possible exception of the epidural. And at 1:30 this morning as one of the kittens decided to use my dangling arm as a way to climb up on to the bed as I slept, I was reminded of the the time that I slashed my arm with rusty razor blades. Actually, I've never done that, but I imagine the results would look very much the same. Anyway, the point is that lack of sleep has been a regular feature around the house these past few days since the kittens arrived, and the rain this morning gave us the perfect excuse to cancel paddling plans and attempt to catch up on lost sleep.
Later in the morning, Paula dropped by and joined Louise and I, dressed in our finest Canada Day hats, to walk along Gorge Road for the annual Canada Day Gorge Road Block Party.

Some people were braver than us and hit the water...
...and others are always out on the water come rain or shine.

And finally, some gratuitous kitten shots:

Stand-Up Paddle Race Coming Up!

There's a series of races with stand-up paddleboards happening around Vancouver Island this summer. Look for the Victoria race on July 11 at Ocean River Sports, at their shoreside location on the Upper Harbour next to Capitol Iron.
Ocean River has a website page about this event here. Check it out!
Now if I only had a sense of balance, I could enter... shall have to be a cheering fan instead.