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I returned to good ol Cadboro bay today for a nice paddle in the lazy currents and good tide height. The plan was to circumnavigate Chatham and Discovery the long way around. The water was very calm today with only little wisps of air gracing its surface. The weather was more or less... typical. Not raining, not sunning... just gloomy and cold. Hey, it's still winter. It took about 15 minuted for my van to de-ice and get warmed up. When I took the boat off the rack, it was covered in ice too. Joy. I got the boat rigged up and got myself in, wading in the crystal clear water.



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I was following a small group of kayakers out of he Bay, the crossed at the mouth of the bay and headed toward Cattle Point. I was grinning as I saw Baynes Channel from Flower Island, it was just flat, grey and unadorned with any sign of tidal rips. I scooted right to the north tip of Strongtide Islet and along the coastline of Chatham, where I took this cheeky video. The video is showing the contrast between my goofy bathtub and the last blog that talked about the rip at Ten mile point, which I highly recommend reading if you haven't already. The water was little wavier on this side, but not much was going to get the ocean moving today.



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I ducked into a little inlet that led to a fantastic little side trip right into the heart of Chatham Island. I'm glad I was gifted with a nice high tide today as it let me access this beautiful little lagoon with a small islet in the southern extreme of the waterway. There were many varieties of birds here, small harlequin ducks, eagles, herons, oystercatchers, gulls of all kinds and most importantly, geese. As I paddled over gravel and shells with only a hint of blue indicating there was water between me and the sea floor, I was getting honked at. The geese had seen my clever plan to enter their water with my kayak and were.. um.. cheering me on.



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I approached the source of all the commotion, and a few groups of geese were resting on a jaw droppingly beautiful little island full of arbutus trees, bright green lichens and a red tinged plant that grew right into the rocks. I'm not sure how any of the plants get any kinds of nutrients, as they're growing right out of a rock. It's one of those places where I just took a moment to really take it in. The geese were happy I'd left and had fallen silent. It was then I heard the faint noise of a rooster crowing somewhere far off. That's how quiet this place is.



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Reluctantly, I left this little lagoon and saw another neat little thing that I love about paddling at Chatham Island. The trees here have been sculpted by the wind, who embodies a madman with hedge clippers that has crafted his own little Bonsai tree farm. The trees have had every branch facing the wind ravaged, so all of the trees have ended up with a distinctive posture. Getting back to the point, the one I saw today reminded me a bit of that old Disney movie, The Flowers and Trees. You can almost see the bad old tree caressing the reluctant belle.



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Discovery had only one big difference today.. none of the kelp was afloat. The little tops were sticking up, but there were almost no floating bits. It made going around Discovery island a pretty simple task. The old lighthouse is looking pretty bad these days. looks like the wind and humidity have been stripping off big swaths of paint and planks from the surrounding buildings. The foghorn station is getting marine algae growths which has stained it slightly green.



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The East portion of Discovery was unusually empty: no campers, no boats. All there was to see was a number of massive cargo ships making their way up the inside passage (storm's coming Monday by the looks of it). Those cargo ships sure do light up the VHF something fierce, but to top that all off there were two Navy vessels sneaking through that needed to be boarded and inventoried. I turned the radio down a bit with all that natter. At the southern part of Discovery was an errant tide rip where the sea moves over the shallows. The tidal predictions were really good and makes me want to go out sailing.



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I ended up at the Chain islands and the birds were not here. The islands were totally empty of birds! I guess all the gulls had chosen other roosts, so the seals moved in. Lots of seals were watching me and doing a peculiar thing that looked kind of surreal. The seals were sitting on rocks maybe an inch below the tide which made it look like they were levitating on the ocean. A couple of deadheads were doing that too.



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I paddled over to Oak bay and found a nice little jet of current that took me swiftly to fiddle reef where not one, but two eagles were watching for food. They didn't notice that I was taking awful, blurry, crap photos of them. Sorry readers - I'll let John get the eagle photos next time. You've seen eagles: graceful, awesome looking... my photos were brown blobs, which wasn't the gestalt I was shooting for.



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I paddled right into a regatta of laser boats and starting snapping photos before I realized I was kind of in their way. It's not every day the laser crew make it out past the mouth of the bay. I ducked in behind the rocks to keep my distance as another wave of sailing dinghies sailed past. I need to start knocking on some doors around the uplands. I found a few places that I'd like to rent from.



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Scccrrraaaape. Knocked out of my daze of waterfront house shopping, I realized the tide wasn't as high as I'd hoped. I gave my kayak another battle scar just outside the RVYC marina for the reason of: being awesome. I paddled around the mooring field and found there are others who take boating just as seriously as I do. This one had one of those angry aircraft face things on it, but it was exceptionally not well-drawn. I headed back for the car and beached the kayak just as the sun came out. It's all good though, I took the scooter out and burned off some gasoline along some twisty roads to celebrate.


Trip Distance: 18km



YTD: 71km



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