Adventures on the Blue


Today I accomplished another milestone and circumnavigated Portland Island solo even with some odd weather rolling in. I gotta say, taking a nap on a warm day on an uninhabited beach definitely is as good as I thought it would be. I planned out the trip carefully and brought some extra gear with me in case I had to stay for the night. I really paid attention to the radio and was able to catch the ferries communicating their intent in the various passages. As I left the island, the winds came up making for a fun and challenging bit of chop and swell in the more exposed sections.


The morning weather was calm as can be and the tide was fairly low. It's always a bit of a rough walk to the distant tide line at Roberts bay. Incidentally, it was full of great blue heron at the intertidal zone again this morning which more than made up for the mucky put-in. Seems morning and low tide is when they like to hunt. There were very few when I made my way back later in the day. I packed the boat and launched crossing Tsehum harbour and making my way to John passage. Turns out every speedboat in the region was transiting John, so I followed Page passage which was being ignored because of it's shallow depths.


From Page passage I stayed east and took Iroquois passage out to Swartz bay and happened to make it just as all ferries were secure. I crossed easily to Pym Island, the water was flat and the visibility was wonderful; you could see Saltspring and Moresby clearly. Pym's an interesting little island, it's very small with a bunch of high dollar cabins lining a fenced off coastline. Passing Pym, I had my sights set on landing on the shell beach behind brackman island. I needed a bathroom break something fierce.


Arriving on the shell beach, I was half surprised to see kayaks - lots of them - resting above the high tide line. I landed and just asked the first person I saw, where's the bathroom? I felt sort of weird tramping through their campsite toward the outhouse. When i got back to the beach, they were 10 minutes of so from putting in to circle the island. I thought they were probably fairly new to the sport - no wetsuits among them, lots of doubles and odd paddle choices. They were definitely a cheerful bunch and as I left I surmised that I'd meet up with them again before the day was over.


The west coast of portland was quiet and rather shady with a few secret pull outs with more shell beach. It was a quick paddle up to the south point of chads island. and I was surrounded by seals. seals covered every rock, scrap of land and water space. 3 or 4 of them were just astern of my kayak snorting loudly. the ones on the rocks just looked at me and went back to basking in the morning sunlight that filtered in. Just as a I snapped a few photos of the seals, my VHF started squawking about an outbound superferry intedningto take Gosse Passage. It was time to exit stage left and go land. Surfing a ferry wake 100ft out wasn't on my agenda today.


I saw not one but two ferries as I rounded Chads island. A queen class and a spirit class headed for Gosse in opposite directions. I thought it might be wise to get off the water before the wake rolls in. I'm sure it would have been fine, but this wasn't really a good time to experiment. So I headed due east and landed at arbutus point, the north camp site on Portland island. I pulled out of the water onto a nice groomed beach and saw no one around, just some tents here and there.


The ferry wake hit the island a few minutes later and made a whole lot of splashing as it hit the shore. you can see in the photo above that the swell really isn't all that bad, but it makes big curly waves and crashes on the beach. Once the wake passed, the place quieted down, birds, clearly everywhere, were singing lots of different songs. I hiked up to the campsite to see if anyone was around. empty. Not a soul to be found. A couple came walking around the rocks about 10 minutes later looking for a trail into the island. They were sailors with a 27 foot boat moored at Princess bay to the south. They found their path and hiked into the forest, so I decided to have a look around.


Arbutus point has a lot of pretty awesome looking arbutus trees all with lots and lots of strange knots and wind damage. A number of eagles perched on the wind shorn limbs near the top of the tree a few times during my visit. I watched the people I had met earlier on the shell beach working their way up the east side and eventually arriving at the beach. I guess I'd have some company after all.


They pulled up to shore and exited their boats with huge grins on their faces. Even that short paddle had them talking about technique and boats to buy. I just sat off the side watching them figure out new and creative ways to not get their feet wet when leaving the boat. Usually it ended up that everyone would get drenched. I asked them if it was a guided trip and they pointed to a guide in the group. Apparently this was their warm up for their broken group islands excursion later in the season. They asked me some general questions and basically it boiled down to be careful, I felt like such a mom.

I had some better advice for them though: get your boats up on the beach, because there's a ferry coming by. Most of them promptly walked down and moved their boat 6" up the beach. We all watched it roll in and it quickly pulled most of the boats out to sea. One actually went a little father out than I expected, but they got it under control. These people had the kayaking bug big time - boats, where to go, what stuff they need... sometimes I think it must be neat to be a real guide and chat about all this stuff with newbies. So willing to learn, the doors so open to new knowledge.


I told them about the seals around the corner and they all suited up and were gone. I thought it was time for a nap while I waited for the tide to turn on the beach. I found a nice piece of driftwood and rested my eyes for a couple hours. I awoke to a stiff breeze and sailboats raising their main sails in anticipation of fair winds. I still had about half an hour before I was in slack territory, so I slowly got everything packed in my boat and checked the VHF weather, I was going to be treated to 10-20knot winds on the way home - joy!


I left my little island paradise and worked my way back south toward Princess bay. The wind was mostly westerly and at my beam with enough fetch to send some fun wake under my hull. I just worked with it, still heading into a weak flood current. The boat doesn't cock too badly in waves, so I felt pretty confident along the coast. I arrived in princess bay with a face full of sea spray. I had a look at all the boats and saw a nice wooden sea kayak perched on top of a small trawler. Everyone was anchored the same direction - facing the tortoise islets. I took a wind speed measurement just outside of hood island and I got a solid 15kt average.


The wind kept my hands off the camera in between swartz bay and pym. The swell was being amplified and I was falling into rather large gaps in the waves. I braced through most of them and jumped a few others getting just covered in water as the wave broke over my bow and stern at the same time. It was awesome! Once I got to the entrance to Tsehum harbour, I had to take it pretty slow because all kinds of traffic was coming and going. Sailboats going out and nauseated speed boaters coming home for the night. Out by the little group was thick with whitecaps and all the sailboats were lining up for their turn to go fast.


Here was a neat bit of weather in action. Looks like a pretty mean updraft, would have been fun to be in a plane at this point. The clouds didn't amount to much, though. Seems there's another front coming in and it changed my peaceful flat water into a bumpy ride. When I returned to the beach I was delivered a few feet from the car. The tide had come in a long way

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Saturday, May 31, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments


Alright, so I've seen Brentwood bay from a few angles now. The only way I've yet to go is north. The plan today was to at least visit so called 15 minute island, or Senanus island. The trip got extended a bit beyond that, and we ended up almost paddling out to Pat Bay before turning around. 15 minute island gets its title from the "It can't be more than 15 minutes away," and from the end of the marina in brentwood bay, that guess is mostly correct. From jumping boat wakes to enjoying a fairly serene place, this paddle put a big smile on my face.


Alison left early this morning for a hot lap around Tod Inlet, so those of us who arrived at 9 met Allison already geared up and rip raring to go. I was the last on the water this morning and we were surrounded by kayakers. One couple was incoming after an early start and another, Dave, met us at the parking lot all ready for the VCKC outing leaving from Coles Bay later in the morning. The weather was overcast so i stupidly donned my paddling jacket. Lucky for me, the paddling jacket breathes really well, so I didn't get too hot on the outing. We put in at our usual launch next to the ferry terminal and made our way out to 15 minute island.


Brenwood bay and the entire saanich inlet was a giant swimming pool. Any wind we found failed to cross the 7knot mark and generally acted as air conditioning instead of a nuisance. on our way out we got to see a number of boats in the marina, but the one that sticks in my mind was a small power boat covered in astro turf. A quick look in the cockpit revealed a sign that said, "please keep off the new lawn." From the marina we headed out to Senanus island and had the opportunity to jump a nice boat wake on the way up to the shores. I paddled as fast as could to catch it and came slamming down on the other side. We arrived at 15 minute island and rounded it handily - cathcing some snaps of oystercatchers enjoying the sun and peace. John was able to get pretty close to them, so I look forward to the entry on kayak yak.


On the north shore is a fantastically weather beaten white light nav aid. It's one of those places where you could take 100 pictures of the thing and not get a single bad one. I like well behaved subjects like navigation lights. Alison rhetorically asked "we don't have to turn back now do we?" I immediately said hey let's go over to that distant headland! And that headland turned into another headland. I sort of wanted to see the ocean science pier in Patricia bay, so it was nothward ho. There wasn't much resistance to paddling quite a few kilometers in search of pat bay.


We passed the usual amazing homes that seem to grow out of the rock faces. There really is no absence of money out here. It seems to be a rule that you must own a boat and it must be awesome or hidden under the porch. Some houses on the points even had a full angled view of the entire northern inlet. We passed dyer rocks and found a lone yellow balloon just chillin on the bank. John commented that it may have been left by the ballooninites, a prehistoric culture capable of... well... magical things... involving balloons. Anyway, we rounded the point and found yet another point! It's a neat coastline, but I think it's based on fractals. Only a mere 15 minutes from pat bay, everyone decided to turn around and head back.


It felt like we had current on the way back, but there wasn't much change in our speed according to the GPS. Looking at the plants below was just as confusing. The plants seemed to bend to both ebb and flood even though the tide was clearly on its way out. I think it may be that we benefitted from an ebb tide on our way out and paddled back on slack tide. I kind of had to run today, so I just cranked out the last few kilometers, so I could get the boat back on the car asap. Next time around I think I might want to leave from Deep Cove or Pat Bay and go explore even further north. There's a whole lot more repeating overpriced coastline to see up there, too :) .

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Sunday, May 25, 2008 Leave a Comment 1 comment


Today I intended to go to Cadboro Bay for a quick paddle around the chains, but I'd missed the tide turn and didn't have enough time to go everywhere I wanted. I got everything ready and headed up the highway to Island view beach, which promised a tide turn of an hour later. I got to the beach and realized what a crappy launch point it actually is. With a giant berm in the way of the actual beach and a fairly long walk with a loaded boat, it was kind of beastly just getting to the water safely. The low tide also made for more walking a slippery conditions, so lesson here is don't carry a full boat and try to launch approaching high tide when possible


As I pushed off from the launch point I saw a whole bunch of potential trips. I could circumnavigate James or Sidney island, head north up to Sidney and the groups of islands I've paddled before, go down to Mount Doug or cross to D'Arcy Island. This was really a non-decision, even though a south course would have been wiser, I was going to D'arcy.


D'arcy Island has a fond place in my heart. In high school, our class had chartered a small boat to take us out to the nearest shoal and from there, we rowed into shore in a dinghy. The visit came with learning a sad bit of local history in the area. This island was used as a facility to imprison mostly Chinese lepers in the past. Almost no original written recounts of the treatment of the lepers or day-to-day life in exile exist. This wasn't exactly health management, this was mostly government endorsed sociopathy: Banish those with deteriorating health to an exposed island and allow their disease to kill them off. When our teacher offered to take us to the island to see the ruins of the camp and the "caretaker's" cabin, we were in for intense alienation. I sat on the island taking pictures and trying my best to capture the serene beauty of the place, while somewhere in the back of my mind, I tried to make that mix with what happened here nearly 100 years ago. D'arcy island is somewhat hallowed land to me. It has some of the finest scenery I've seen so far, and yet it has a dirty secret that's unresolved, undocumented and has, for the most part, disappeared into the natural environment. In fact one of the original goals of mine with kayaking was to one day make it back to D'arcy. I feel like I've graduated already.


I left the beach glancing over my shoulder for land marks in case I got nailed by current out in the strait. The weather consisted of: blazing hot sun. 28 degrees, 1014.5 rising pressure and undetectable winds. I'm glad I used lots of sunscreen earlier. There's no running from the sun on the water. I paddled up to the sheer cliffs on the south point of James Island and continued past into a really sweet beneficial current swirling due east between James and Sidney islands. I did relatively few strokes and quickly approached the south tip of Sidney island, lining up for a stop on D'arcy's northern shore.


There are a number of rocks around here and I didn't scrape my hull at the low tide, if I were to do it again, I'd stick to going back the same way I went in. There is a transition between the deep and shallow just to the west of my inbound path where a fairly strong whirlpool and large eddy line live. I ended up going backwards for a second which is not a heartwarming feeling. The rocks are covered in sea life and sea weeds below. As I approached the north shore of D'arcy, I had a good look at the beaches. They are all fairly large pebbles to big sharp rocks. - no signs of sand. I helped my kayak up onto the rocks hearing the fibreglass moan and crackle as I lifted it. She was a little more loaded than usual today.


I hopped up the beach and was greeted by two (to fifteen) bald eagles all making their distinctive chirp in the trees. One managed to swoop right down on the water and bring up a big meal of some thrashing animal - couldn't make out what it was, but it didn't want to be caught. The rocks on the shore here are covered in sea life and trees somehow manage to grow into them and the fine layer of moss and soil that cling there. I had a little water and a light snack and watched the water for noisiness. it would be a short stop on D'arcy this time round as the tide was due to turn on my way back in. The trip this far was nice and comfortable, despite leaving my gloves in the car.


Things were afoot on the water on the way back to the car. I got that funny hands-on-my-hull feeling of the beginning current flow and the I ended up in the power of whirlpool I spoke of earlier. I was lily dipping on the way out, trying to avoid hurting my hands, but this was no time to lily dip.. I was actually watching James get further away and so I just dug in all the way back to James. Being pulled out into Haro was not my plan today. It was a rather strange current, but looking at the charts it kind of makes sense. The water comes up along the coast and then is redirected by the spit of land just north of Island View. Another lesson learned. The best time to leave D'arcy is on an ebb tide, which accounts for the low tide rocks and the beam of current that shoots through Hughes passage.


Returning from James island was a piece of cake with only a few boats to look out for. The air was thick with 2 stroke smoke as a family left the shore in their powered dinghy. A heron was hunting supper on the shore, but was pretty unsuccessful, flying to his next spot a few times before scoring a small bite on an slightly offshore rock. I got back to shore and had to deal with the boat again. This time the situation was a little more annoying, because I was pretty tired. By the time I had the boat all loaded, I was on empty - completely exhausted from exposure and heavy lifting. I headed into town for some grub and just crashed at 7pm. What a Wuss. D'arcy island is definitely in my sights for an overnight camp out.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments


Today I had planned an after work paddle from the songhees to the inner harbour, but I got distracted and ended up putting in at Ogden point right beside the breakwater. This little are of water is really susceptible to wind chop, so I spent a good bit of time surveying it before bringing the boat down to the beach. The pressure was rising and it was warm out with not a puff of wind, so off I went.


The beach at the put in was a tricky one, the beach drops off sharply and becomes too deep to stand even 10 feet off shore. I was launching at high tide which left me with a pretty rocky beach and a few bits of driftwood to lay the boat down on. I got the kayak out past the little shore breaking waves and got in without too much effort although the paddle had little to no purchase if I actually needed it. The plan was to go have a look at the swiftsure boats before race day. There were also two huge cruise ships in port.


It's great seeing the inner harbor from this angle. There are so many things in this are you just can't get to by foot. Drifting around the coast guard buildings and into fisherman's wharf, one starts to get the feeling this stuff has been here for a really long time. Last time I got a glimpse of this area was when I took the Coho Ferry. One my way into the harbour I got to meet both the clipper, numerous float planes and the incoming Coho from port angeles. It's a bit of squeeze, but the vessels are traveling so slowly, the wake is almost negligible even 20 feet away.


As I got into the inner harbour I saw a whole lot of masts and a whole lot of rafted boats. Everyone was celebrating: popping corks off their champaign, laughing cheering and generally in a good mood. I can't even remember how many people I waved back to. The whole inner harbour just reeked of merry making. Can't wait to see them all race tomorrow! It'll be a great start to a full weekend of paddling for me :)


With so many boats, it's hard to pick a favorite, though none of it is helping my boat addiction. I am loving some of the paint jobs on the boats this year - really creative looks on some of the boats: from Chinese dragons to WWII aircraft teeth! As I was photographing the boats, I heard the coho making preparations to leave and the wind started to come up a little. I thought it was best to get moving, so I took the north shore out to the end of the aircraft runway, spotting lots of oystercatchers and seals in the west bay.


I did a double take when I saw this place. The leftmost building reminded me of hidden gun turrets from WWII that I'd seen at Fort Rodd Hill. I spotted two of these installations near McLoughlin point. From here it was a wary crossing across to Ogden point and back around the breakwater.


Getting out of the water was even more crazy than getting in. the water had come up another little bit leaving little to no beach and just craggy rocks. The surf had calmed down a bit, so I just drifted into the beach and proceeded to do the least graceful disembarkment I could muster. As I loaded up the boat I was treated to a great sunset with some low cloud sneaking in to soak up the sunlight. Just a great night on the water. Looking forward to the swiftsure tomorrow morning! I may have to digress from kayaking a second to show off pics from that :)

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Friday, May 23, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments


Today was the first day I thought, hell with it, I'm going across Baynes to Chatham with no regard for the turning tide. It was a gorgeous day: bright sun, strange cloud formations and shore birds everywhere. It's always a nice, varied outing in Oak bay that offers something new every time. I left just at the tide turn and would decide how to get to Chatham once I was out to Jemmy Jones.


Obviously, leaving on the beach as the current is changing means that the current is going to be tame 10 or 15 minutes later. I got to Jemmy Jones and the water was flaaaaat.. no signs of current or wind, so I crossed easily knowing that coming back in might be trickier after I doddle around Chatham taking pictures. I headed into the island's western side between Strongtide and Vantreight Island. It's funny how turned around you get going into the channel. Oak bay seems to disappear completely to strange rocks and gnarly trees. The wind has no fetch in the islands, so the water is glassy and the bottom is visible most of the time. You can detect the current direction by looking down at the eelgrass.


I headed down Discovery Island way and waved to some of the campers on the north tip of the island avoiding large jagged rocks exposed in the low tide. I circled Chathams's east side and saw two huge eagles withing about 3-5 minutes of one another. They were both harried by seagulls and crows, but seemed unwilling to move from their perch. One of the eagles had a golden color, but I couldn't tell if it was a Juvenile bald eagle or a golden eagle. I kept circling the island until I arrived at Strongtide island again. By the time I had come around the islands, Baynes had cooked up its famous standing waves and the water was looking a lot different than earlier in the morning.


Today's forecast was a pretty slow running current, maybe around 1-2 knots at the time I'd be paddling back. I've been wanting to just play in the current, and oak bay seems like such an accessible area to do so with little to no real risk in such nice conditions. I was watching the kelp beds at Strongtide island and the little bulbs were almost completely submerged on a definite flood current. I saw an eddyline fast approaching, so I nosed into it and off I went across baynes. Current is an odd animal. I found myself mostly forward paddling and bracing with no real corrections needed. Looking at the GPS, I'm surprised I crossed as fast as I did. I only got pushed a little off course. My target at all times was Jemmy Jones Island.


I think I'll try sticking my boat into some more current and get up some confidence over the subject. It's really not as bad as it looks. When I was crossing Baynes, I was scared of the noises of the streams and the standing waves, but they really aren't going to much but be a nuisance at under 2 knots. It's nice succeeding at something that seems a bit nuts from the outside. I put in a solid 13k today and really got some sun in the process.

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Monday, May 19, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments


Decisions, decisions. Today I drove up to Ladysmith to experience Paddlefest at transfer beach. All I can say was I was impressed with the whole event. Lots of vendors with lots of gear and lots of patience. It was a great place to really set to the task of figuring out what bit of kayaking gear was next on the list. Last year, I was planning to buy a boat from this very event and if my boat hadn't fallen into my lap with a well timed Craigslist posting, I really would have bought exactly the same kayak. :) I tried every kayak my size on the beach, and the update version of my boat was still the best fit - though the Seaward Infiniti 155 TX has some things going for it.


We arrived right at opening time and the water was calm with a slight hint of breeze from the southeast. I bumped into an old coworker of mine, Nick Horscroft, who is now taking care of sales for Seaward. We talked a bit of shop while he was helping a couple fresh kayakers pick out a new boat from the British style catalog. The water area was full of boats of all styles from plastic recreational boats to Hobies with their strange propulsion systems to full kevlar layups (being dragged mercilessly across the rocks by people who didn't know better).


Paula took out a tandem inflatable kayak to see how it would maneuver for some friends. I could barely squeeze into the thing, but a 6'4" guy in the back and 5'2" in the front might work as long as the shorter person doesn't mind you using their lower spine as a footrest. Louise took to the water immediately trying out a new 16' delta thermoform. I walked around and had a gander at all the 'yaks on the beach and had a sit in one of the most gigantic boats I've tried yet, the CD Solstice GT Titan (this was the LOW VOLUME version). It is honestly made for huge, and I mean huge paddlers in both directions. I got in it and i could have probably rolled up and slept in the cockpit. I tried one of these last year, where I complained mostly about the really high deck, but this model was -intensely- larger than I remember. I guess there's a kayak for everyone, now. If you're over 300# and tall, this may be your match, if you're neither of those, you won't see over the dash.


The party was in full swing, so I decided to finish taking photos and get changed into attire for the water. I had paddles to test today (and I took out some different boats too). The mission was to compare various paddles starting with the lowest priced ones and going up to full carbon awesomeness. I got back down to the water and took out an Atlantis Titan with two nimbus paddles, both in graphite. This combination probably wasn't the best as i had to paddle hard for very little forward movement. Not really my style of paddling, so i started to look for longer touring blades from Aquabound - makers of my current paddle. I took a few of their paddles out in the Solstice GT Titan LV. As I said before, that boat's deck was simply too large and too high. I hit the 220cm paddle on the side of the boat with any notions of "high angle padlding" or "stern rudders". I returned it and took out the telkwa and tried testing thee paddles again. They were okay, very similar performance to my current paddle, just a small weight difference.


It was time to step up to the more expensive paddles. I wandered over to MEC's booth and tried out a Lendal kinetic touring S with a cranked handle and then wandered over to the seaward camp for a go at the Infinity 155 TX. I got in the boat and thought, "hrmrrm...tippy," but that got erased as soon as I started turning it on edge and being less of a cork on the water. I kind of liked it after even a 10 minute ride - I'll have to kick the tires on a 175 sometime and see if length has anything to do with initial stability. The Lendal was a nice paddle, just a great feel, felt like it belonged in my hands. Never got my hands close enough together for the cranked area to actually mean anything. If anything, I'd say that a wide handhold on a cranked paddle will transfer a lot of the strain to your fingers, though it'll remove the strain on your thumbs and wrists for sure.


I moved to Werner paddles, starting with the Athena. The Athena behaved oddly on waves, perhaps it wasn't the right shaft length or something like that, so I decided to try the Camano in resin and it ended up being my favorite with the Kalliste in carbon being a close second. I guess I'm a low angle fan after all. As I was testing the Werner paddles, I got the opportunity to test out a greenland paddle from a friendly paddler, George. It's a totally different paddle experience and man is sculling ever easy with that paddle style. Didn't feel as fast to me, but greenland paddles are whole different mindset with a whole lot of other skills to learn beyond a 5-10 minute demo session. I think I'll set to building a GP soon as well as picking up a Camano in resin with a straight shaft to replace my aging paddle.


I wrapped up my paddle test and got changed for lunch. We had a great meal at Renee's in Ladysmith and we were back to the shoreline while everyone finished up courses and oggled various boats on the shore. The pic above is from a beautifully crafted wood boat near Sealegs. Everyone assembled to look at the handiwork wondered how on earth anyone could put it in the water (where barnacles and rocks live). As the night came to a close, the rain rolled in. We headed for dinner and then back to Victoria. I hope to get out kayaking sometime during the week, looks like we're in for a bunch of nice weather. It was great to experience paddlefest, and I hope to make my local Werner rep happy in the next little while. Thanks to everyone who made the event flow so smoothly.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments


Well that was fun. My face now tastes like salt and my hair's standing on end. Good thing I bought a new paddling jacket recently or I would have been pretty wet and cold. I got off work a little later today, and I was watching all the trees and flags flapping like crazy downtown. I thought it might be good practice to start somewhere protected and paddle out to it for my after work paddle this week. Sorry for the lack of photos, I was making sure I kept both hands on the paddle today (no rudder this time).

I drove down the scenic route from Clover point, around Trial island and eventually ended up at Caddy bay. I stood on the beach looking at the water and it seemed pretty gentle in the bay, just a pretty big wind from the southwest. Off in the distance, sailboats were heeled over nicely. I popped the boat off the van and put in.

I got out to the edge of the bay and I realized that Baynes and plumper passage were full of whitecaps. I put my nose out just little south of cattle point and really had to work to read the wave action. lots of reflections and noise and a pretty steady flood current. I took my time and just pushed, thinking I could hop over to Mary Todd island and declare victory, but the swell started to really pick up.

The wind was howling through everything that dared to stand over 20 feet. I played in it as long as I could and decided just to head back in. it's kind of fun being thrown between waves, this loud splach noise as you fly off a bit of swell with some wind behind it. I'm glad the current was going the way it was, or I would have had some epic surf to deal with. Not sure how strong the wind was, but boy, I don't think I've seen oak bay quite this choppy.

I ended up following a flotilla of sailboats back into the bay and racked up another 5km and got to really practice my stern rudder, adjusting the paddle angle to deal with wind and a little more balance than usual. I even got to brace a couple times and I'm feeling pretty good about low braces in swirly, mid sized waves. Next paddle stroke I want to pick up will be a bow rudder.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments


Today I joined John, Louise and Alison for a nice paddle from Roberts bay and out around Coal island. I hesitate to call it a circumnavigation, but we did a big circle around the island. We arrived at Roberts bay to a very low tide and a brilliant, sunny day with only a little haze from the morning air. We slopped our kayaks down to the beach and poled our way out of the shallows.


We planned to go clockwise around coal island today to us the last of the ebb to bring us home. We crossed the busy lane at Tsehum harbour and kept to the east short of page passage, a little passage filled with islands and islets. We were drawn into this passage by the looks of a little islet called "Rose Rock." To explain rose rock, take a round piece of rock and just fill it with trees. It's a neat little bit of geology. There were some currents near shore, but overall they were just the last little bit of noisy water before low tide. The place was windswept and full of dilapidated buildings and boats.


we turned just south of Goudge Island and headed toward Coal Island's west side. As we turned around the point we noticed a strange building with some graffiti on the front... Alison thought: "Haida styled graffiti" I thought "ancient flying spaghetti monster prototype." Just past this little building was a really interesting intertidal zone that looked more or less like a gravel pit at low tide. This is a place I'd like to come at an extreme high tide just to see if you could get in there in a kayak. We had more weird current/rogue wake coming through the passage and it got even weirder as we headed into John Passage.


As we neared the exit of John passage we saw the ferry terminal to port and the ferry crossing toward it from the east. The rocks north of Carney point were exposed and full of seals sunning themselves. They gave me indignant dirty looks and dropped in the water. Didn't see any pups, just big, black and white adults. We headed North along Lewis bay and more seals were coming up and flapping around before diving. Just near the cable marker, we saw a rodent going about its business, may have been an otter? Not sure what lives out there.


The wind picked up as we rounded the north point of Coal, but it was a very non threatening day overall. Very little current and gentle swells. The photo above is Charmer point and an example of the rugged coastline at the points of a lot of these islands. Coal Island was nearly rounded, so we hopped on over to the little group and had a little rest stop at the east point of Ker Island.


The current and gentle tailwinds whisked us back to the beach where the tide level had changed very little from the morning. We found some delicious inhabitants in the muddy sands at the beach. It was time for lunch, but we left the crab alone.

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Monday, May 5, 2008 Leave a Comment 1 comment
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