I've finally had it with being cooped up. I saw the weather aligning to make for some great winter paddling, so I hauled out all the paddling gear from under weeks of Christmas / domestic life and got organized for the morning. First light this morning was beyond amazing and the temperature had dropped well below zero. I loaded up the Van and headed down to a very frozen Cadboro bay. The morning sun was out and the beach was full of dogs and dog owners. I knew it was going to be interesting unloading the kayak, but it was a bigger ordeal than I expected. I unstrapped the boat and lifted it slightly.. it weighed 100 pounds!


The kayak was somewhat stuck to my car, ice welded to the foam blocks on my roof rack. I parked in the sun to try and get it to thaw out faster, but it wasn't moving. I got the front of the boat free and then had to peel it off the back. It took a good 15 minutes before i could get it off the car. When it was a finally free, I got it down and put it straight on the grass. I pulled off the cover and the cockpit was encased in a giant sheet of ice. I pulled out the cart and took the kayak down to the ocean. I filled her with some sea water and let it thaw for about 20 minutes.


I got all the rest of my gear ready in the mean time and got some nice shots of the shore in the light. I shooed all the dogs off and flipped the boat over. The plan worked and all of the ice had melted thoroughly. I got about 200m off shore and realized I was missing sunglasses. I paddled back and shooed a dog away from my sunglasses and got back on the water. There was no wind at all as I left and the ocean currents were running swiftly. I thought I'd have a look at oak bay first and see if any more boats had taken a beating since my last visit. One of the boats I saw last time was now aground and dismasted. Another boat was completely sunk.


It was an uncanny moment finding the sunken boat. All that remained above water was a boom with a tiny bit of the gooseneck and tack showing. The sail had unfurled and led the eye down to the wreck which was easy to see in the windless morning. I got as many photos of it as I could, but I don't ever remember the boat being above water. The cabin was open for some reason, so perhaps someone's dived down to it or it's the reason the boat sank :P.


From there, I thought I'd cross Baynes and go have a little paddle in the channel between Discovery and Chatham island. The currents were clearly running, but it was a a neap tide, so they did little but push me around a bit. The north wind was a bit more noticeable out here and it was blowing about 5-10 knots which made it pretty chilly. I was followed by 2 other kayakers out enjoying the morning. I got to the channel and pulled out on the north point of Discovery island for a quick country one. I got back down to the beach and took some pictures of the amazingly clear water. The conditions made me want to stay on the water for the rest of the day. The other kayakers caught up to me and waved to me as they passed the beach. The headed up along the coast of discovery island and I hopped back in the boat to make my way home.


I tried the channel to Strongtide island, but today the currents lived up to their name. I paddled out past the little rock garden and into a brisk current that took my boat and turned it 180 degrees before I knew it. I knew that the rock garden was still back there, so I decided to just obey the little current river and head back the way I came. I paddled along the west side of Chatham and across to Jemmy Jones island. The GPS showed that I did happen to drift a bit and the wind really did pick up on my way back. I was paddling a freezing cold headwind on the way back in with a 2-3 knot current at my beam. It was a nice workout on the way back, but it still felt great to just be out on the water.


When the wind comes up, the sailboats come out to play. On my way back in I dodged a few boats on their way out to play. Cadboro bay was thick with sailing dinghys and kayakers. It was definitely a little bit of a cabin fever cure. I slid back to the beach and made sure my boat was throughly dried out so I wouldn't have to deal with the ice issue next week. I met Bernie in the parking lot just as I got the boat tied to the roof. We had a coffee and a look at his sailboat plans while the feeling came back in my extremities.

Trip Distance: 15km

YTD: 15km

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