Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beach is Beautiful!

The beach is beautiful even though the weather is gray and dull. My boat is beautiful even though it is short and wide because it is HERE on the water and it drifts past rocks and ducks and quietly slides along under the eagles surfing the offshore breeze over the treetops. And I too am beautiful even though i am gray and dull and short and wide, a good match for the weather and the boat. Bring it on!

Public Consultations for Draft Gulf Islands Management Plan

Got a little press release today, from Parks Canada and the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve! They're looking for public input on their draft management plan for GINPR. You can download a copy from their website link and read it -- the plan is an interesting short paper, summing up some good news and plans for the future.
It's not necessary to be a kayaker or other small boat user to send input to Parks Canada. Heck, you don't even have to be Canadian or a local resident! If you'd like to come visit this park speckled across several marvelous islands, give your opinions. If you have insights based on your experience of other parks, that's useful too. And tell them you heard from us about their call for public input.
Here's the English version of the press release:
Photo from the GINPR website - I think this is Sunset Beach on Portland Island.


We are writing to invite you to participate in public consultations for the
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve’s draft management plan. From today
until June 9, 2013, we encourage you to obtain a copy of the draft plan and
to submit your comments and suggestions. This can be done via our website
at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/gulf, by e-mail at gulf.islands@pc.gc.ca or by
telephone at 604-654-4000.

We also welcome you to provide your thoughts in person at one of the
following public meetings being held in May:

   •    Saturna Island Recreation & Cultural Centre, Saturday, May 11, 11 am—2 pm
   •    Sidney—Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave., Thursday, May 23, 7—10 pm
   •    Mayne Island Agricultural Hall, Saturday, May 25, 12 noon —3 pm
   •    Pender Island Community Hall, Sunday, May 26, 11 am—2 pm

These meetings will begin with a short presentation followed by a question
and answer period and an opportunity for discussion with park reserve

Public consultation on the development of management plans is required by
Canada’s National Parks Act. However, we view this as an important
opportunity for ongoing dialogue with you, to ensure that the Gulf Islands
National Park Reserve remains a real and inspiring part of the Canadian

We would like to thank you for your on-going interest in and support for
the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and welcome you to share this
information with others in your professional and personal networks.

We look forward to hearing from you.


The Management Planning Team,
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Oystercatcher Season!

Well, I think it's oystercatcher season, anyway. It's spring, the air is just a little too cool for crowds, and the wind has finally dropped after a migraine-inducing weather front that blew in big gusts of wind.
One of the things I like best about my little inflatable is noodling along shorelines, coming close to the kelp-covered rocks where the oystercatchers are scrambling around. Charming birds -- black as a crow or raven, but with bright eyes, red beak, and pink legs. And as if that weren't enough, they squeak. Honest. Cutest little sound on the shoreline.
No photos today. Check out artist Anne Hansen's blog for her dynamic and striking paintings of oystercatchers and other shoreline life.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Vote For The Coastal Environment

Yes, there's an election called for May 14, here in British Columbia. No, that's not a kayaking topic, not at first glance. But I'm hoping we'll all go into this election ready to vote not only as citizens, but as small boat people.
I hope that we'll all make sure that whoever we vote for as a local candidate, whichever party they represent, all of the people we want to represent us will also represent our concerns for the natural world where we live. Sustainable use of our resources supports jobs and people as well as the environment! The Department of Fisheries and Oceans cannot do good work without good directions from provincial and federal authorities.
Check out Alexandra Morton's blog here to see her concerns for salmon preservation. There must be other websites and blogs that you can recommend to help us all be informed about our candidates and our parties, and our local concerns. I also like to go to Anne Hansen's blog, not only for her comments but for her artwork -- check it out and scroll down to see oystercatchers & other charming coastal creatures!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Another Epic Journey!

Justine Curgenven has been talking about the epic journey being made by her friend, Sarah Outen. A word to the wise: when Justine Curgenven starts saying that someone is doing an "amazing journey" -- word up, folks, this is one amazing journey. Justine knows amazing.
Photo by Buntari Martosudjiro, shown by Justine Curgenven on Facebook
 The current leg of Sarah Outen's journey is a solo crossing of the Pacific in a rowboat. This ambitious crossing can be read about at Sarah Outen's website. It's only one leg of her planned human-powered trip around the world, on a route never done before, from London back to London as she bicycles, kayaks, and rows around the world. This photo was taken by a friend of hers near Choshi-shi, Chiba, standing on a breakwater as Sarah Outen launched on her Pacific crossing.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Know Your Boat

It's terrific getting out on the water on a spring morning when there aren't too many people on the beach and the water is still pretty clear from winter cold. Even the same old stretch of shoreline seems new when the tide is unexpectedly low (yeah, yeah, I could look at bigwavedave.ca and plan ahead). What I like is knowing this shoreline and knowing my kayak.
When I can see that iron loop above the water, I know the rock it's bolted into is just below the surface. I can get close enough to the corroded iron to tap it with my paddle, but not touch it with my hand, not before the skeg of my kayak drags on the underwater rock a little.
Knowing my boat at that moment is a good thing. I know the rigid rubbery skeg is a little lower than the rest of the hull, so that if I'm careful getting away from the rock, the barnacles won't scrape the hull of my inflatable. The hull is tough, but let's not take foolish chances with wear-and-tear!
I'm not the only one who knows my boat. Mama Seal came by -- or another speckled Harbour Seal that looks like her -- and nodded at me before ducking down after a fish. There must have been a school of fish that I couldn't see. The only one I saw was in the beak of a seagull, who landed on a rock and flipped the little fish so that it could be swallowed head-first.
I scooted around Flower Island, blooming now with the camas that gave it the name, enjoying all the starfish cuddled into wet cracks. There are a lot more starfish around the bay now than five years ago! Maybe this is a sign of an improving environment.
Then, back along the shoreline to the beach, and putting away the little inflatable. The tarp I pull over the other kayaks in the yard has been moved by wind. The wrinkles are never the same from one day to the next.
It's a darned good idea to know your boat in the water, and on land, too. When a child goes missing in Edmonton in winter, the call goes out on radio for everyone to look in their yards and garages and behind the shed, in case the missing child is shivering in some out-of-the way place. If your boat is on land, keep familiar with it in different ways from when you're on the water. If there's a tarp covering it that's got dust and leaves sifted into the folds and creases, I won't tease you! But you should be familiar enough with your boat and its cover to know if it's been moved by somebody. One day it might save somebody's life.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Update from BC Maine Trails!

It must be spring! There's more news from the BC Marine Trails Network. We just got their press release, which you can check out here. Or go to their regular website and keep up on all they've been doing to promote kayak travel along the BC coast with appropriate campsites to suit the local areas.
It's good to know there are so many people interested in supporting sustainable use of wilderness and 'near-wilderness' areas. What's going on in your home waters? Are you part of the solution or part of the problem when you're out and about in your own boat?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Collaborating with Commander Hadfield

Hot off the interwebs is the latest photo posted by Chris Hadfield, commander of the International Space Station. He was passing overhead and took this lovely photo of my home waters around Saanich Peninsula.
Thank you, Hadfield, for making your space photographs available!
It's not hard to make out the city of Victoria, or at least the downtown core around the Inner Harbour, Upper Harbour and the Gorge. My home on Cadboro Bay is obscured by the shadow of a cloudbank across Ten Mile Point, but you can see Cattle Point, Oak Bay, McNeil Bay, Foul Bay, Clover Point and the Ogden Point Breakwater, which I saw this morning from a little bus along with a small group from my Dad's nursing home. We could see across the water to Esquimalt -- just as you can see from above in Hadfield's photo -- and the shore from the Lagoon to Albert Head and Witty's Lagoon. Also clearly showing in the photo are James Island and even Brentwood Bay on Saanich Inlet. We've posted lots of trip reports here at Kayak Yak -- check 'em out with the Search function at the top of this page.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Never Know What You'll See When You Go For A Walk

Pop quiz! What's this?
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There's no prize, and you'll probably figure it by the end of the post. And no, it's not the zero-g toilet from a Soviet-era space capsule, as someone suggested.

Louise and I went for walk along The Gorge this weekend. We were too busy to go kayaking, as we have been a lot so far this year. Some kayakers we are.
But at least we were walking along our local kayaking route, so there was that.
And we saw some of the usual things we see while kayaking along here: herons...
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...and swans.

Then we saw something that you don't want to see as a kayaker, namely a large chunk of the Saanich Fire Department stopping at a small beach with their rescue boat.
Fortunately, there was no emergency, only an equipment check-out and practice session.
A little push...
...and the rescue boat was in the water...
...while the "victims" prepared themselves...
...to be rescued.

The swans were not perturbed.
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Friday, April 12, 2013

The One That Got Away

Last weekend a kayaker fisherman in Hawaii had a large tuna on his line. But a tiger shark also had dibs on the tuna and didn't want to share.
Check out the video below:

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Hot Stuff

I've always wanted to kayak with icebergs, but three kayakers (in a story I first spotted at Paddling Headquarters) went to the opposite extreme. A few weeks ago, Pedro Oliva, Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic went paddling with lava, kayaking along a shore in Hawaii where the lava from the Kilauea volcano flows into the sea.
Stookesberry said, "This was a bit of a side journey.We were on a big kayak expedition exploring the rivers and waterfalls of Hawaii, but there had been no rain and the rivers were empty. So to keep ourselves occupied we took our kayaks out to see the lava flows. We didn't have any intentions of getting as close as we did to the lava. But Pedro being Pedro, wanted to explore a little closer. Once Pedro realised he wasn't going to instantly melt away, he got out and started walking on the cooled lava. He dipped his oar into some lava and it literally exploded right there."
I guess Werner Paddles will have to add "dip in lava" to their quality control tests.
Check out the video below:

Friday, April 05, 2013

Beach Combing

Earlier this week, Louise and I headed up island to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve for a couple of days of R'n'R. We stayed at the same place we stayed last year, the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort. Our only complaint from our stay last year was that we didn't have a real good view from our room. This year, we had no such concerns.
Later on in the evening, we would dine in the resort's restaurant while three gray whales jumped and played at the entrance to the cove. After dinner, an eagle squatted in a tree watching the sunset.
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But before dinner, Louise needed to procure her dessert, so a drive north to Tofino and the Tacofino food truck was required so that she could stock up on Chocolate Diablo cookies.
On the way back, we stopped at the main beach.
It was a cloudy and misty day, but being in such a beautiful place still brought a smile to Louise's face.
We watched a couple of would-be surfers taking a lesson. I don't know how much they were learning, but they were having a lot of fun.
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The next morning, Louise decided that her toes weren't purple enough, and she made herself an appointment at the resort's spa. She was pleased with the results.

We bought an early lunch at Ukee Dogs.
Louise had a Japanese Dog, with shredded nori and teriyaki caramelized onions.
I had a Mac and Cheese dog. That's fairly self-explanatory, and covers many of the basic food groups. Cheese is a food group unto itself, right?

After lunch, we drove back to the park and checked out Wickaninnish Beach.
It's hard to believe, but back in the day you could camp on the beach and even drive your car along the sand. My father and I camped this way a few times in the early 1970s. The best part was that every now and then someone would park too close to the incoming tide and come back to find that their car had sunk in the wet sand. Those cars are probably still there if you dig deep enough. My father took this picture of beach camping in 1974.
1974 Long Beach
Here, we did see some surfers riding the waves. It was a gorgeously sunny day, and we were told that the waves are small on sunny days. But about a dozen people were out riding at this spot.
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We spent a couple of hours wandering the sand, Louise collecting stones, and me collecting pictures.

Our next stop was Radar Hill, the site of a planned WWII radar installation. The view is stupendous.
A hummingbird flitted about the lookout point. He had one favourite branch he kept returning to, much to our delight.
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While I was busy with the hummingbird, a steller's jay snuck up behind me.
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We continued north until Tofino, where we walked around the town for a bit, enjoying the First Nations artwork...
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...and the shoes on the power lines.
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Hunger called and we had dinner at the Wildside Grill.
Like they say on the tv show, you gotta eat here.

Souls are recharged, time to return to the - ahem - real world.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Planning Ahead For The Apple Festival

I'm already making plans to attend the 14th Annual Salt Spring Island Apple Festival at the end of this summer! Our paddle group did this before and had a great time. John and Louise had a great time paddling on Salt Spring last year. This year, I'll bring an inflatable kayak and noodle a bit in the harbour, as I've done before but not on Apple Festival day. Who wants to come along? Sunday, Sept 29, 2013.
Check out the Apple Festival Website: saltspringmarket.com/apples/