Adventures on the Blue

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After the Pool Session on Saturday, we laid some quick plans for the next day. The current was going to behave itself around 11am, so we'd meet at Telegraph Cove and see how far up the coast we could get. I met only paula the next day and she had carted her Eliza from Cadboro bay to Telegraph cove and was ready to get on the water.



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The wind was very light but gave us a pretty good headwind on the way out. The water was a little choppy, but since we were hed into it, it felt like nothing really. This area was mostly new to me, I'd paddled out this way in a strong ebb once before and didn't get very far. The beneficial flood current wasn't helping much against the wind today.



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We got out to a little reef just off of the hospital and saw a few birds huddling on in the lee trying to stay warm. Northeast winds tend to come straight down this patch, though there's not all that much fetch. There are a number of houses out here that make me sick with envy. One mansion of note sprawled down to the high water line and comprised of many rooms. Must be fun in a big storm.



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Paula and I paddled out just a little past Glencoe Cove and decided to turn around and get a little push from the wind. Paddling full out got me a peak speed of 11.7km/h on the GPS! That's the fastest I've gone in a kayak so far. The boat loved the speed too.



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We stuck close to shore on the way back and had a brief encounter with the reefs that line the rocky shores. Navigating through that while surfing on small waves felt great and we both had fun just gliding around the big rocks sticking out of the water. The wind increased a little on our way back and the water was getting a tad choppier. We hauled out after a nice short run and went for coffee. Way to go Paula for actually putting the kayak cart to good use.


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Sunday, November 23, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments
Fresh from kayaking and sailing, I hopped down to the pool for a little more kayaking. I brought my wetsuit this time and had a try at some of the more tricky balancing feats. I worked on getting from the Bow to the stern without flipping the boat. I tore my wetsuit on one of the deck fittings but I got from the bow to the stern and then flipped the boat over and paddled it upside down. I spent some time with the rest of the group practicing rescues as usual and even conned some of my friends into trying an eskimo rescue. Pretty fun time and it was great seeing some WCPers there too.
Saturday, November 22, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments

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Fresh from my morning trip with Paula, I ran over to Aaron's place and got down to oak bay marina To get out and sail again. I sort of knew what to expect from the winds a bit earlier. We got down to the dock and who should wander by but Katy and her doggie. We all walked down to the boats and Aaron and I set up the cal for a 10 knot wind. We barely had to use the motor at all this time it was just cast off and we were out of the marina. The currents arrested my attention at the marina entrance. The current was tearing around the breakwater in a pretty swift ebb.



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We got out a little from shore and put the sails up. No motoring necessary today!. We chose a tack and found ourselves actually sailing by the lee. The wind was scooting us along at a nice clip and once we seetled into a rhythm the boat started to go where we pointed it. So just to see what the combined wind and current could give us, we got to 5knots sailing down toward trial. THe boat made and all new sound when we started getting up there.



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We tacked and did a 360 toward the chain islands, because we didn't want to get too far south in the current. Fighting the current nearly halved our speed and we started creeping ever so slightly closer to the Chain islands. The wind was south westerly and we wanted to head into it to see how close to the wind we could get. Beating down it, it looks like we were able to get about 50 degrees to it. We tired to go a little further up mayor channel, but it was no use, the current was coming through at just under 4 knots and the boat was having none of it.



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The rest of the cruise was more or less basking in the sunset. The winds were calming down and had veered a bit more westerly. We were at peak current and had stopped making way toward the marina.. a sailing treadmill. So we just took down the sails and motored in just as the sun was setting for the night. Arron showed me how to unhank and stow a Jib in its bag. a lot easier when you see someone do it. We shook out our reef and headed out for coffee.


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Paula and I agreed on a short little paddle around Caddy bay at the last minute this morning, so I loaded up the van and headed down to gyro park. There was a nice little breeze coming through the bay and all of the little dinghys were lining the shore with their sails flogging loudly. We pushed off right before them and got well to the side of the bay to stay out of everyone's way. The water was the color of lead and the storm that had come through the day before had left all kinds of swell behind it.



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Paula and I had a discussion about whether or not the days of print are limited and discussed the finer points of user generated media versus the establishment while cutting through the chop and swell. We gabbed all the way around cattle point and down willows beach until we saw a sailboat in a very un-sailboat friendly place. I couldn't tell if the boat was recently shipwrecked or just junk allowed to float onto the rocks (or both). Still had sails on it! I snapped a few photos for posterity.



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We were getting a bit close to the rocky shoreline, so we headed up through the moorings near oak bay marina and had a look at some of them. About half way through our gawking, the all slowly changed direction with the wind. It's a weird feeling seeing a bunch of large boats all rotating around their moorings. A few people were aboard their boats cleaning the decks and checking everything out including us. We lazily headed back to Cadboro bay and catching the last of the flood around cattle point. When we got back to shore, all of the little sailing dinghys were doing some training near the beach and a few larger craft were on their way out of the bay.


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Aaron and I decided to meet this morning and go for a little cruise with a boat from the Oak Bay Sailing school, a cal 20 named red current. These boats really feel like dinghys, but overall it was like sailing its bigger brother just bit more nimble in turns and a bit wilder in container ship wake. Today was glassy water and light winds in most of Oak bay, so we motorsailed most of the time and sailed off the motor when the wind was enough to push us over the currents.



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I got to the marina at about 10 and met Aaron for a quick coffee. Aaron had just been handed the keys, so we walked down to the boat and rigged her up as well as we could to deal with the light winds. I watched as Aaron hanked on the jib and I helped set up the sheets. It was a pretty quick process and we were on the water in moments. Aaron knew the marina, so he did the honors of leaving the dock. We got out past the turkey head breakwater and found we were the only sailing vessel out on the water. That's always a good sign, right?



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Aaron pulled out the chart and we made a course for Baynes channel to see if the east winds would be there. The buoyage is fairly clear in Baynes and plumper, and we stayed out of most of the rocky places. The water got glassier as we passed Cadboro bay and we were totally on motor, the mainsail flapped listlessly from side to side. Cadboro point was our first glimpse of wind patterns on the water. Once the wind freshened a bit we turned off the motor and had a little light wind practice. The variable directions made it kind of hard to consistently keep our sails full, but we were still at the edge of Baynes, so as the little wind patch passed, we just got dragged toward Strongtide island.



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I tuned into the weather and heard a report for 4 knot winds at Trial island. That was about the best we were going to get, so we turned tail and headed toward Trial island. We passed through mayor channel and out to Trial island. We got a little distracted by some other sailboats heading out toward the traffic lane. We followed them a little ways to see if they knew any secrets, but they seemed lost, so as we became becalmed again, we decided to maybe try Juan de Fuca.



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Right near Staines point, we began to get the predicted 4 knot wind and we were immediately back to sailing. We kept to the outside of Brodie rock and played with points of sail in order to get to Gonzales point and line up for our eventual docking. The wind and little bits of chop made for a couple of happy... us. We tacked as we got near Gonzales point and got another great little boost of power. The boat sailed nicely back to the Lee Rock Buoy, where we took down the sails and headed back.



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For some reason, one of the boats we passed on our way out turned around and came back in as we came in. We were also followed in by a bright yellow boat called "Tigger," and I snapped a quick photo of his boat on the glassy water as we came in. We docked nice and easy and made the boat fast. It was a pretty successful day despite the challenge of sailing in light air.


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Saturday, November 15, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments


So I've watched This is the Sea 4 with my friends over at Kayak Yak and I generally enjoyed it. The second disc of expeditions was definitely the highlight for me. Some jaw dropping visuals and a great capture of the emotion and interaction between friends over a long and daring adventure. I was turned on to a quick behind the scenes interview of Justine and Barry by Simon Willis' update that it's his most watched podcast so far. Listen in to his podcast Here and feel free to buy This is the Sea 4 here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments

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Cadboro bay is my hood. I've been out there so many time this year and I just keep crawling back for more. Today I met Paula at the beach and marveled at the nice calm day that was laid out for us. No noisy halyards slapping the masts in the sailing association and no big trees moving. The wind was dead calm and the waves were gently lapping on the shoreline. Yesterday's swells were gone.



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It was a chill day of paddling, and Paula and I were mostly just chatting about the man made rules around whales, whalewatchers and our postulations about their perception of the surrounding world. We crossed to the chains easily with only two tiny little eddy lines from Baynes. The chains had taken on their winter colors: dead broom plants, greyer rocks and big kelp beds all around. We were watched by really young seals who would duck down under us on our approach and glide right in behind us to keep a nice safe watching distance.



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Our conversation was a little broken as we got near plumper passage. We started to drift with the flood tide and we changed course to head toward Jemmy Jones island. We were just floored by the scenery: the entire world was suddenly lit up by morning sun and all the colors of uplands with the bright spinnakers of yacht club boats gave me shivers. We thought we'd give 10 mile point a little looksee, so we started over to the light at cadboro point.



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We could see some of the breaking waves at the edge of Baynes and found that the tide prediction was dead on. The rocks at cadboro point were being surrounded by a strange rainbow in the fog bank that rolled through just to the north of us. The area near the light was calmm as could be with asmall little current heading up through the rocks. We saw a couple of interesting birds out here in addition to the cormorants, seagulls and oystercatchers. These birds were about duck sized with pointed bills, brown heads, a spiky hairdo and orange legs - I think they may be mergansers.



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We turned around at cadboro point and headed back down the shore waving to some of the boats on the way in. The nice little break from big southeast blows was just a treat and made it a great day to be out in the kayak.


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Sunday, November 9, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments

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Today was our 3rd lesson in our competent crewing course with VIMA. The November weather is here, and the big old Southeasterlies were fairly active in the strait. I had gone down to Ogden point to scope out the waves and wind at about 8am, and it was incredible. The waves were battering the beach and the breakwater and the wind was howling through the deep sea terminal. Half of me was looking forward to it.



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We had breakfast and the wind just chilled out over about an hour and a half. By the time we got to the dock, the weather was downright pleasant - the last of the rain blew through as we boarded the Rose. We checked out the weather and tides and decided we'd go stick our nose out and play around at the harbour entrance. So We set to rigging the boat up for a big blow as forecast. We put two reefs in the main, and got a chance to rig a new jib on the furler. We learned how to properly flake and fold up a jib and it's kind of easy once you see it done.



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Once the boat was rigged up for the wind, we cast off and motored out into... flat water. We've been blessed with great weather every time we've gone sailing! As we left the inner harbour, the distant squalls over the olympics slid out to the east leaving behind some beautiful beams of sunlight on the mountains. Today was made of two colors, grey and yellow. We passed a small fishing vessel in the harbour which demarcated the point between the flat water and the massive swells left over from the last storm.



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So the swell... yeah.. it turns out 3-4 foot seas make me a bit seasick after a couple of hours. We motored over to Brotchie ledge and raised sail. The wind was a little stronger out here, but we got some good practice putting up the sails while the deck was moving around in the swells. Once we were back in the cockpit, we each got a chance to turn the boat through a few points of sail and our skipper sat back and just gave us guidance - I'm totally getting a hang of maneuvering under sail.



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Which brings us to the next challenge, recovering an overboard crew member under sail. Katy showed us the technique for it and then had us each do it. It's kind of neat, just zooming into the GPS track, you can actually see we all managed to do a nice speedy recovery of our little bobbing flag under sail! This is the kind of stuff that makes taking a proper course worth its weight in gold. Not only is it clear that you can recover someone under sail with a bit more practice, but it's also a good idea of how to spin the boat around for general maneuvering. Practice concluded once we were all good and seasick. :D



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We motored back home through the swells and into the protection of the inner harbor. We pulled into dock nice and smooth and then faced our final exam for certification. Katy took us up to a nice little cafe on the marina and we got to sit down and write our exam with a plate of chicken fingers and coffee. The test was pretty easy with multiple choice questions directly from the bold items in the book. If you have a photographic memory, you'll pass no problem. We all passed without problems and got a our log books. I'm pretty psyched about sailing overall Now comes the long considered decision on whether to pounce on a boat or not.


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Take Some Sailing Lessons with VIMA »





Saturday, November 8, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments
It was a fair day today, but I didn't manage to make it out to the water in time for sundown. I drove out to crystal pool and was allowed to party with every one. :) I practiced self rescues the whole night and got in and out of the boat pretty easily. Nothing to see here, just a fun lil pool session, even picked up the secret to the cowboy re entry on my giant beamy boat.
Sunday, November 2, 2008 Leave a Comment 0 comments
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