Today 6 of us went out to Sooke to experience paddling the Sooke Basin and had a blast! The water was dead flat and the wind was quiet - it was the perfect day to be in a tiny craft on the sea. We had an interesting group - the kayak yak guys and a guy I learned to paddle with back in August, Jason M. It was awesome meeting Jason again and this was my first time paddling with John and Lou.


The paddle started in Cooper's cove - mirror like water as far as the eye could see. I pretty much suspected it would look like this reading the weather info this morning and I was pleasantly surprised with my prediction - I'm slowly getting better at understanding marine weather which is positive :). It was nearing high tide and the wind was blowing from a protected direction. Once everyone arrived at Cooper's Cove, we geared up and set off one by one on the tiny public launch. My boat was happy to see me - just after launch I turned around to look at Bernie adjusting his pegs, and I notice my rudder happened to be pointing up at 45 degrees. I stowed the rudder and headed into the cove.


It was a rusty and rustic place, where there weren't dilapidated old boats, there was nature in it's winter slumber. shrubs and trees were red tinted sticks and the hills had snow on them. I had a bit of a zen moment on the way around the peninsula, just staring at the ripple patterns from the hull. It's hard to get that kind of tranquility these days. The water was so calm that people were seeing shellfish at the surface and all that interrupted the silence was us chin wagging and water birds spooking and taking flight.


We rounded a pretty shallow sandbar at Billings Point and were into the Sooke harbour. We paddled up the mouth of the Sooke River, which seemed pretty lazy this time of year. You can see the power it potentially has though. there were many tree trunks scattered in the harbour entrance pushed out presumably by strong current from the river. The trees were all gnarled and decaying slowly in the sea. A friendly seal came to see what we were up to in his river - and he popped up again and again as we paddled under the bridge into Milnes Landing.


Perhaps a little worried about the shallow sandbar and current, we headed back to the put-in expecting a challenge. As Jason passed one of the shallow wetlands in the bay, the birds jumped into the air and took off. I managed to catch a bit of the commotion on camera. I ended up leading the charge into the current around Billings point and it really wasn't flowing, but the water was very shallow and I heard the scrape of sand below me as I crossed back into the Basin. It was a piece of cake and good to remember for next time. The basin was just as we left it, except now it had become even more impressive as all of the residential smoke hung in the windless day.


I really wanted to just stay out here all day, it was just a special place. John and I straggled behind filling memory cards with images. You can see the smoke hanging in the mountains around us and a dense mackerel sky above us.


We rafted up and shared around a little thermos of hot chocolate amongst us. All around us was rather desirable property - even the "cheap" homes would have done fine for me. We're a colorful bunch. After the short break, we headed back to the vehicles slowly but surely. After the paddle, we headed to a little greasy spoon style cafe called Mom's in downtown Sooke. In the end it was an 11km paddle and I'm perfectly comfortable with that distance or more. The GPS tracked well for the third time in a row, so you can get KML to play with in google earth or maps and have a look at where we went. I'd way rather do this than watch the Super Bowl.

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