Monday, August 31, 2015

Google Kayak Maps

Unless Google Translate is playing a joke on me, this article is describing the Google camera being used on a kayak. The kayaker paddled 1500 kms around the coast of Malaysia, all the while with the Google Maps camera strapped on its back. Check out the results on Google Maps.

Clover Point Wastewater Discharge

Paddlers wanting to launch near Clover Point should take notice! Word has come from the Capital Regional District about an untreated sewage spill at Clover Point on Saturday, August 29.
Here's a quote from the CRD notice on their website pages:

For Immediate Release
August 29, 2015
Clover Point Wastewater Discharge Notice
Victoria, BC
Signs have been posted as a precautionary measure due to a wastewater discharge at
Clover Point on the afternoon of Saturday, August 29, 2015.
Approximately 900 m3 of unscreened wastewater was discharged through the Clover Point pumpstation short outfall as a result of a mechanical equipment failure. The failure has since been corrected and the pumpstation is operating as it should.
In consultation with Island Health, water sampling at locations along the beaches near Clover Point will take place this weekend and public health advisory signs have been posted at all beach access points in the Ross Bay
and Clover Point areas. Lab results from the weekend samples should be available early
next week and if enterococci levels are below the 70CFU/100mL recreational limit the signage will be
For media inquiries please contact:
Ted Robbins, General Manager,
CRD Integrated Water Service
Office 250.360.3061

Big ol' fish and good ol' boys

The winds yesterday were done today. Time for another short paddle on Poirier Lake, a pleasant little lake. There were intermittent flashes of sunshine breaking through the clouds, but a patter of rain started just as Bernie carried the red Pamlico down to the brand-new boat dock. It was a nice warm rain shower, off and on for the next hour, as I paddled in lazy circuits round the little lake.
Bernie walked to the brand-new fishing dock and set up his rod and reel. Before long he waved me over to the dock. "My line is caught on that sunken log again," he said. "First cast!" It wasn't hard to free the hook so he could cast again.
Twice I saw a fish break the surface, several minutes apart, and not a little tiny fish. Once the water was disturbed near enough that I could see the white shape of a fish that looked about two feet long. It was probably smaller, but it sure seemed like a big ol' fish.
Drifted and paddled some more, listening to white guy funky rock on a radio outside a house at one end of the lake. A very retro station. Then back to shore and home to the little house.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Seriously equipped

What a day! after weeks of sunshine, it's raining in squalls. The wind blows in gusts... first nothing, then a breeze, and suddenly the trees are thrashing and then still. With the weather forecast saying "be careful out there" I did NOT go out paddling today. Instead I checked that my kayaking gear is packed just fine under the deck. Now the rain is pounding down in sheets.
Wonder how a family I saw the other day is doing on their camping trip. Their RV was waiting at a traffic light as Bernie and I walked past and saw the family's big smiles and their arms resting on the open windows. On the roof of their RV was tied a big ol' red canoe, the type that I think nearly everyone has paddled for their first time in a boat. Behind the RV was their boat trailer with a powerboat much like a nice Bayliner. And a Zodiac inflatable was tied upside-down on top of the powerboat, with a smaller motor of its own.
"When you're taking THREE boats on your trip," said Bernie, "you are SERIOUSLY equipped."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Vintage Spanish Kayaking

Here's a vintage clip of a kayak race in Spain's Sella River on August 26, 1957.
I like the standing (sitting?) start on the beach. The race was apparently won by a pair from Belgium. Check out the clip embedded below:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hutchison Cove

Had a good time on the water on Saturday. Bernie and I launched at Cooper's Cove and headed into Hutchison Cove. Both coves are part of Sooke Basin, where we've paddled before several times!

We ate a ripe blackberry each as we walked from the van to shore with our boats. No lingering to harvest blackberries! Today was just a short day. If I'd thought about driving to water, I'd have taken my 13-foot Expedition inflatable kayak, but the little 8'6" Lagoon is still so new that I'm practically carrying it to the grocery store and everywhere. I was in the Lagoon and Bernie in the red Pamlico when we set off. By the time I hit the water -- a bare six minutes after leaving the van, I might add, which is a terrific inflation/set-up time for any folding kayak!-- Bernie was drifting back from the middle of the cove with a smug smile.

"I've already caught a crab," he said. "And a fish. Well, the fish struck at the blackberry seed I spit out of my teeth. And I've seen a turkey vulture soaring overhead. My day is complete." Congratulations were in order, even when he admitted that the crab had been thumb-sized, floating, and already released, and the fish was a tiny fingerling.

Most of the sea life we noted after that was a series of jellyfish. Moon jellies were floating all around. We paddled past the bluffs and into the mouth of Hutchison Cove, where we drifted for a while and contemplated an immensely large house visible on the shore. Here's a SPOT signal showing our location on our way back.

We followed along the Goodridge Peninsula on the outside of Cooper Cove and then on the inside, contemplating the geology and the wear-and-tear on this little peninsula. It formed after the end of the last Ice Age, and most of the sediments we can see above the waterline piled up in the last 10,000 years. There are clamshells and black earth here, which apparently means the ashes and shells from First Nations middens. It would have been a nice place for clams and ducks. A hundred years ago it was a site for construction of concrete tunnel sections to convey water from Sooke Lake reservoir to Victoria, so the site saw some pretty rough use. Now it's recovering and looks like a park. Part of the Cove is a sanctuary for migrating birds.

A seal or two popped up behind our boats and watched us before dipping down again. We weren't on the water long, but it always feels like the right place to be.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Duke Kahanamoku's Birthday!

Hey paddlers! Particularly surfers and stand-up-paddleboarders! Today is the 125th anniversary of Duke Kahanamou's birthday. Check out today's Google doodle.
If you don't know who this legendary surfer and Olympian was, here's a website summing up many interesting things about his life, and the Wikipedia page. Or you could start at this link and have some happy reading. Among his many achievements, he made use of a longboard for lifesaving.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Kayak Robot

Artist Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk made this model robot, which is one of a series she is making. She says:
Here's a commission I did a couple of months ago titled "Kayak Bot." He's made from a cocktail shaker, some cheese slicers, an old film can and other bits. He was quite a challenge but it was fun to stretch a bit out of my comfort zone.

Check out her Facebook page for more robot models!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Whale Of A Tail

Kayakers in Alaska answering the call of the wild experienced the spalsh of the wild as a humpback whale came in close and dove under one of their kayaks. They got splashed, and also a video that we can all enjoy. Check it out below:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Old-Timey White Water Kayaking

Here's a clip of vintage white-water kayaking in the Eifel mountain area of Europe in 1964.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Incredible compact packing

There are few kayaks better for travelling than a folding or a folding inflatable kayak. There are few ways to camp that are better than paddling, if you like comforts and not having to carry everything on your back all day long as you hike. Now I've just seen a page online posted by a kayak camper who has got compact packing of his folding inflatable kayak down to a science. Check this link for photos and a quick summary of all the gear that gets tucked neatly inside an Advanced Elements model called the Fusion, with two small bags on deck. Thirteen feet of slim boat that can be taken on an airplane or train or bus, packed with camping gear and all in a load that didn't break that paddler's back on the trip. Salute!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Most Dangerous Game

Heard a story from Ben about another of his canoeing trips, this one with his friend Danny. While paddling in the Okanagan valley in central British Columbia, Ben and Danny took a canoe up one of the feeder creeks.

I'll pause here to note that Ben's never actually purchased a good canoe. He's always just found a canoe, in a friend's back yard or on Kajiji or sunk in a bay. These aren't good canoes. Usually if a person owns it, he or she says "It's got a big crack in it, but you can have it if you want it." Ben gets to work with a container of Epoxy or something, and voila! a floating boat that he can use for a summer and then give to someone with room to keep a canoe. Often it ends up as a planter or else gathers dust till someone else wants to get out on the water.

Two summers ago, one of these rattletrap old canoes took Ben and Danny up a creek for four days of minimalist camping. When they paused to set up camp the first night, Ben assured Danny that they did not want to let the canoe drift away during the night. This mishap had happened to him before on another river camping trip, and he had walked downstream for two days before coming across that canoe stuck on a sandbar. Never again! Danny could go right ahead and set his sleeping bag on the bank above the creek, but Ben intended to sleep inside the canoe under a bit of tarp with at least one of the paddles. That way, even if the canoe drifted away, at least he wouldn't lose it -- and he'd be able to steer.

I'll pause here again to wonder why the guys didn't just tie the canoe to a tree. Camping on Quadra Island, I lifted the small boats onto the bank above the shore. Also, I tied my inflatable kayak to trees while camping on the Red Deer river, because weather changes in Alberta can be sudden and strong, causing rivers to rise or winds to blow strongly enough to roll canoes and kayaks. Maybe there weren't any trees along that Okanagan creek, and maybe the bank was very steep.
I'm also wondering whether Ben has ever awakened in a canoe that is unexpectedly bobbing downstream without a paddle. There are some things a mother just doesn't want to know.

But I digress. When we left our story, our intrepid adventurers were settling down for the night. In the morning, Danny woke first, sat up, and had a terrific view of the creek and the canoe and the tarp-draped shape that was Ben. Abruptly, Ben snorted and sat up, clawing the tarp away and grunting. Unfortunately, he wasn't alone on the edge of the creek. A Canada goose had curled up there as well.

Found this photo of a Canada goose in attack mode in an article online.
Big bird, so it and Ben were sitting up looking at each other eye-to-eye.
Startled, the goose panicked and screamed a loud hooonnk. It struck out at the sudden movement of this noisy, hairy creature. And it didn't just punch him with its hard beak, which I can assure you (as the veteran of goose battles on the farm) leaves one bruised and bleeding. Nope. It slammed both wings forward hard against Ben's head and boxed his ears. He went down like he'd been hit by a bus. 
Now it was Ben's turn to scream. By the time he kicked off the tarp, his ears were bleeding, he had an instant thunderclap of a migraine, and his head was ringing like a gong. The goose made a hasty and noisy retreat.
Meanwhile, Danny laughed hard enough to roll off the creek bank.
"I'm deaf!" screamed Ben. He added some choice words about the evil bird that stayed just out of reach as Ben fell out of the canoe and flailed about on the shore.
Danny couldn't stop laughing.
Ben had some more choice words about evil companions.
By the time they set out downstream, Ben had enough of Danny's laughter. Since Ben's head felt vile and he could barely move, he decreed that Danny could make up for laughing by doing all the paddling.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Rivers of Gold

It makes for a gorgeous picture (photo credit: Jerry McBride/PA Wire/Zuma Press), but it's a disaster. Last week, at least two groups of kayakers on the Animes River in Colorado discovered that the water was no longer, well, water-coloured, but instead had turned orange. They decided to run the river anyway, correctly guessing that the strange colour was due to something happening at the abandoned Gold King Mine upriver. What they didn't realize was that the river was now full of toxic wastewater containing high levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum. The colour is actually caused by the disturbance of the sediments, not by the toxic elements. Just how toxic the river is has yet to determined.
It turns out that an Environmental Protection Agency crew were digging around the abandoned gold mine in an effort to investigate leaks. The mine's plug burst, and the small, intermittent leak became a fast moving wave of disaster.
The sludge is making its way towards the Colorado River, and local residents and businesses have been warned to avoid drinking, swimming and paddling in the area. Paddlesports companies in the area are taking a hit. “It’s a total disaster for us,” says Matt Wilson, owner of 4Corners Riversports in Durango told Canoe and Kayak. “The river has been closed since Thursday and I’ve lost over $15,000 in cancellations already. The poor Animas River took a major hit and we still haven’t heard from the EPA as to what the exact dangers of the toxins are.”

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Buebird of Happiness

I think I saw the Bluebird of Happiness, while paddling on Poirier Lake.
Maybe it was the kingfisher that fluttered out of the trees and swooped low over the water, stooping for a fish. Its big beak is as wide as a grin.
Maybe it was the Steller's Jay that perched in a spruce near where I was marveling at the pedal boats tied up at one dock, and the inflatable lounging raft at another. That blue flicker is brightest in a sunbeam. We don't get mountain bluebirds here, and bluejays are rare.
It might have been one of the blue dragonflies that darted around catching mosquitoes and swirling in pairs. Not sure how big the Bluebird of Happiness is supposed to be. It could be very little.
But when I came along the north shore of the lake as I did a couple of circuits with and against the breeze, as I got closer to the fishing dock there were two fishing lines coming out from behind the bushes along the shore. Gossamer in the sunbeams, the lines moved as unseen hands tugged on them. The sight of them pulled on my heart as if the hooks had set into my own flesh. I came round that shore, swinging wide to avoid crowding the lines or chasing any nearby fish, and saw my partner and our son standing in the shadows on the fishing dock. There was my spouse in faded denim and gray and our son disappearing into the woods in dark colours and khaki. Their strong hands pulled on the lines and I had to look away or the Bluebird was going to pull just a little harder on my heart than I could handle. The kayak bobbed under me and I went to listen to the music playing at the other end of the little lake. "Oh my my, oh hell yes..."

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kayak Racing In France

Here's a clip of some vintage white water kayaking in France. Filmed on the Vezere River on July 22, 1953. Cleary, it was a rough day on the water as many kayakers rush by down the river without their kayaks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Animas River Contaminated with Mine Water

The paddling season on Animas River ended this summer on August 6.
Over three million gallons of wastewater from the Gold King mine has entered the river. The city of Durango, Colorado is on alert, and the river has been closed. Click on this link for photos from the Denver Post, including the local paddle company cleaning their boats and holding a yard sale.
Think about your own home waters in the wake of this incident. How can we make industries safer for the environment? How can we use our rivers and coastal waters safely and sustainably? As the Canadian federal election is ticking through its time, find out how your local candidates and the party of your choice feel about changes to the Navigable Waters Act that formerly protected thousands of lakes and streams.

Free Pump Out Services in False Creek Marinas

Small boat users in False Creek, Vancouver, have had an unhappy time this summer and last. The water has tested as having a lot of E.coli bacteria, due in part to human activities in this busy bay. It's not recommended to paddle in parts of False Creek, and it's no fun paddling when you can't splash and have to clean your boat & gear thoroughly or risk getting sick.
Now the Georgia Strait Alliance is sharing the following press release:
Keep our water clean, pump don't dump

Vancouver Park Board is offering free pump out services to boaters at Burrard & Heather Civic Marinas of False Creek in order to #KeepItClean. Please forward their message to your boating friends!

Keep our water cleanAs we cruise into the much-awaited summer season, the Vancouver Park Board has launched a water quality campaign designed to remind boaters, dog owners and beach goers to keep Vancouver's water clean for the health, safety and enjoyment of everyone.
Vancouver Park Board is doing its part to reduce boat sewage, a source of fecal bacteria in False Creek. You will see reminders to keep our water clean on social media, signs, banners and postcards around Vancouver in the next days.  

In addition, the Board now offers  free pump-out services to all pleasure craft in our waters at Board operated civic marinas (Burrard and Heather Civic Marinas). The service was previously free to marina members, but is now available to the general public to keep our water clean.

Free pump-out service:

Available for pump-outs:

  • 7 am to 6 pm (May long weekend to Labour Day long weekend)
  • 7 am to 4 pm (Labour Day long weekend to May long weekend)

Visit for more information. Remind your friends on social media to keep our water clean by using #KeepItClean.

To find more information about water quality, visit

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Muir Creek paddle and video

In June, I went for a marvelous  paddle, though a short one in the estuary of Muir Creek.

This was a good day to pull the little inflatable kayak out of our van and set it up on the creek bank. There was very little current as the creek nears the ocean, and I drifted about happily crossing from side to side or going upstream without any effort till a few dozen yards above the bridge it was too shallow to go further. The water is low from June to September, but I hear there is much more run-off in rainy months from November to March. I drifted downstream into the brackish, swampy part of the estuary. The other half of the estuary was open to the sea. Linking the two parts was a place that at high tide would be fine for paddling, but I was there at low tide. The link was a pebbly mini-rapid too shallow for even my boat. So I contented myself with exploring this side of the estuary and watching bubbles of swamp gas rise from the muddy bottom.

I can see why artist Jeffrey J. Boron has made a painting of Muir Creek. This place is a good one for a short outing in a sheltered space! It would be even better at high tide. If you click on this link, you can see the location along the shore west of Sooke and east of Sandringham Point. Just after West Coast Road crosses Muir Creek, there's a place to pull off the road and park. Room for half a dozen cars, maybe, but no improvements like you'd expect at a park. That's because it isn't an official park; it's just been treated like one by the local residents and visitors. There's a terrific website about Muir Creek and the many good reasons to make this site a park.

While I was paddling, Bernie went the route marked on this website as he walked along the footpath to the ocean shore and then east on the cobble beach to look for fossils. He found some, of course, from the Sooke formation!

A couple of days later in June, Karl and Stephanie went to Muir Creek  with their dog Isaac. Karl took this video, which he posted on YouTube as part of his series on Great BC Beaches. It looks like the tide was high during their visit.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Follow-up on the Norway shooting incident four years ago

Four years ago, there was a terrible shooting incident in Norway, which we mentioned briefly here on the blog because among all the events and deaths of that day there was heroism by two small boat users who rescued forty of the teenagers from the island. The summer camp at Utoya has been opened at the island again, reports the Guardian newspaper, and young people are returning to this place for camping and boating.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Kayakers Save Eagle

We've covered previous stories of animals hitching rides with kayakers. Usually, it's a small seal trying to hitch a ride, but sometimes it might be a video of a dog or cat riding a kayak. Yes, we've posted cat videos. And occasionally we find a story about a bird needing a ride, as when a kayaker gave a drowning owl a ride.
North Island Kayak recently posted this picture to their Facebook page of an even more incredible bird encounter, as two guides found a soggy young eagle in Johnstone Strait. According to their post:
"We knew it wasn't going to make it as it was just dogged, and was shaking like mad. On paddling closer it immediately started to make its way towards my kayak and tried to get on the bow but it couldn't make it. We figured the stern of the Wes' would be easier, with a little paddle help he made it up on deck. We paddled to the shore and with twenty eagles watching delivered him to dry land."
Wow -- what an amazing encounter!

Friday, August 07, 2015

The kayak that started it all

As John noted yesterday, we've been blogging here at Kayak Yak for ten years now. And the kayak that started us all paddling together is still being used this summer. The Pamlico from Wilderness Systems wasn't new when we bought it from a kayak rental place at Elk Lake; it probably wasn't new when they bought it.

This has been our go-to boat for a lot of purposes. That wide-open cockpit is useful. Are we paddling at a sheltered beach in a flotilla with kids? Put a kid in the front between the paddler's shins and the Pamlico can handle it, if everybody's careful and wearing PFDs. Is Bernie going to harvest some bullwhip kelp for making pickles? The Pamlico makes it easy to snake a couple of kelp pieces into the boat. Getting a beginner on the water? This is an easy boat to climb into or out of even for someone with a stiff knee.

The keel on the Pamlico helps this ten-foot long kayak glide a little straighter than a smooth hull.

Now the rotomolded plastic of its hull is scratched from being run up on rocks or dragged along the sand. Still holding together, this is one tough boat. The Pungo from Wilderness Systems is what they make now instead of a Pamlico single; it has a bulkhead and hatch cover like Bernie installed in this one. If people are thinking about going to a hardware store and buying one of those thin cheap kayaks with no flotation, I hope they decide instead to go to a kayak store and buy a tough kayak like the new versions of this one. It's safer and it's built to last or repair! And the kayak store will teach you lessons.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

10 Years of Kayak Yakking

Here's something a little different for Throwback Thursday. Ten years ago tomorrow, we published this blog's first post, a paddle report from Cadboro Bay.
It was only the third time I'd ever been in a kayak, and the first time Louise and I had been out in our new-to-us kayaks (which you can see below) that I had bought off my sister, and the first time I'd ever been in a kayak on the ocean. My previous two times kayaking was just going for a couple of little lake paddles in Paula and Bernie's little red Pamlico (which you can also see below). Despite living on the ocean's shore for most of my life, it had never even occurred to me that kayaking might be something I might like to do until Paula and Bernie bought their red kayak second-hand, maybe even third hand, from a rental place that was unloading old rental boats, and they dragged Louise and I out to Elk Lake to give it a spin. Hesitatingly, I climbed into their kayak not sure what to expect, but after a few paddle strokes, I was enthralled, a big smile spreading across my face. I could get used to this, I thought to myself.
A few days later, Bernie and I rode our bikes out to Matheson Lake, where we met Paula and Louise who drove out with the Pamlico tied to the roof of the car. While the four of us picnicked on the beach, we each took a turn paddling the little kayak around the lake. I think it's fair to say we were all pretty hooked by this point.
Then I recalled that my sister had bought a pair of kayaks some years earlier, a pair of purple Dagger Bayous. Inquiring, I discovered that they had used them only a couple of times and that they were just taking up space in her basement. So a deal was struck, the kayaks had a new home, we had a new hobby, and our bank accounts have never recovered.
As we geared up, I also bought a waterproof case for my digital camera, and it only seemed natural to me to take pictures while we were out kayaking. Every since then, I've taken at least one camera out with me when kayaking, sometimes even three cameras. (Except for that infamous time when I forgot all my cameras at home.) I had a couple of other blogs going (blogs were A Really Big Thing back in 2005) so starting a kayaking blog seemed like an obvious thing to do.
And now, here we are ten years later.
The blog continues...we'll be at well over 1800 posts by the end of the year. Our most popular post continues to be a 2010 post about the two Norwegian guys in full wet suits who were waiting on lawn chairs in the street for the Google Maps car to drive by. Over 17,000 page views. I have no idea why that post is so popular. If I knew why, I'd be a millionaire blogger by now.
We've slowed down the kayaking in the last few years; various injuries and aches and pains have taken their toll, and after all, we are no longer young spring chickens in our early 40s! :) Also, landlubber issues and activities have consumed more time. And time, of course, is the one thing that there's never enough of.
The little kayaks Louise and I paddled in this post are long gone from our home, moved on to another good home. Their replacements in our basement are bigger, better and much more seaworthy. These newer kayaks probably don't get used as much as they would like, but they do get used every so often. And every time we use them, that big old smile spreads across my face.

And so, without any further ado, here's a re-post of that first blog entry from August 7, 2005:

A lovely sunny day for a paddle. Bernie's keen to begin.

Here I am, the first time out in my new ride, a Dagger Bayou. My sister and her hubby owned a pair of these and have hardly used them over the last five years. So in one fell swoop I bought two kayaks, all the gear and roof racks. Yes, I know my paddle is facing the wrong way. I'm just a newbie. This is only the third time that I've been in a kayak. I don't even have a skirt yet.

The Daggers are slightly longer than Paula and Bernie's Pamlico, which they took turns in.
Here's Louise in her Dagger.

Paula is really setting the pace.



This is fun! I think I could get used to this!

John's pictures are here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Some People Are Dying to go SUPping

There's a myserious man in Australia who is stand-up paddling the lakes and rivers around Canberra dressed like an undertaker. And to make his costume authentic, his paddleboard resembles a coffin.
Some believe he is a local paddler who is known for paddling odd creations (like this kayak he made from plastic bottles), while others are unsure of the origins of the paddlebaord phantom who plies the foggy waterways. Either way, it's a mist-ery.

Amy Schumer goes SUP!

Okay, now it's official that comedian Amy Schumer is the happening thing -- because she's gone stand-up paddleboarding with her girlfriends. In an interview Monday night on the Daily Show, she told host Jon Oliver about having a marvelous holiday with her circle of friends. And Jennifer Lawrence came along for the day they went jet-skiing and had all kinds of fun.
As the saying goes, Pics or it didn't happen. Here's a photo that Schumer put up on Instagram and Twitter:

You can see many more images from that holiday if you google "Amy Schumer" and paddleboard. The page also comes up with images from her press conference with relative Senator Chuck Schumer in which they both speak in favour of gun control legislation in the wake of a cinema shooting at a showing of her film Trainwreck.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Susan on the North Saskatchewan river

Friend Susan had this to say on Facebook:

Had such a fantastic day canoeing on the North Saskatchewan, that we've decided to turn pirate. Next time you see me on the river, we'll be flying a Jolly Roger and waving cutlasses and cursing the power boats.
Also want to buy some chocolate pieces of eight. Anybody who can answer the riddle, 'what's a pirate's favourite letter?' will get one. Unless they're in a power boat.

When a friend of hers suggested that the favourite letter might be ...'R'...   Susan replied:
A good guess! But a pirate's first love is the 'C'!