Adventures on the Blue


So today was my weirdest paddling day on the books by far. This will be less about kayaking and more storytelling. I went down and saw the good folks at Ocean River first thing and got my new whip set up with saddles. The poor Aerostar (aka.Vengabus) finally wore out and now I have a 01 Nissan Pathfinder. It wasn't even worth looking at until the kayak was on top though :). I brought the saddles home, clipped em on and loaded my kayak onto the roof without issue - it's good being a giant sometimes. So far - so good.


I drove down to the bay without incident - the saddles did their job just fine and unloading was just as easy. I was greeted with beautiful, glassy conditions at gyro park. The tide was moderately high and wood was everywhere on the beach still. The sun just wouldn't come out today - just broken grey clouds with little periods of rain. I paddled up the north coast and I met Mike Jackson in his slick looking Greenland 'yak coming back in from a paddle around Discovery Island. He told me he was being sure to get off the water before 3 hit. On my way down I head about a possible tsunami coming, but it was going to be there imminently.

Minutes after speaking to Mike, the VHF pipes up (video above) announcing a formal emergency situation on the water. Ughh. The details of the broadcast are some manner of waves will be arriving from the earthquake in Chile around 3 o'clock. I cut my paddle out to the chains short and hang a right for oak bay just to stay close to shore.


Mary Tod island was packed with birds of all makes and models and they all made noise as I went by. A number of seals were also swimming around me. It was a very calm and serene place to be until the VHF turned on again and announced another terrifying tsunami warning, but here's the twist: The science came through on what to expect. Waves approaching Washington were expected to be around 0.2m. whew. I decided to immediately go out to the chains and enjoy a little quality time with the gulls.


"Not so fast," says fate. some manner of fireball was spilling noxious black smoke up into the clouds, and it looked peculiarly like it was coming from where I live. I was even counting buildings on the skyline and I pretty much assumed I'd have no home when I got off the water. :( What a terrible feeling to have. The smoke disappeared from the horizon about 5 or 6 minutes later and my mind was racing with all the terrors that may have become some part of the city.


Facing an ebbing tide and a fresh headwind, I paddled to flower island and back into caddy bay to head back home. I took a bee line home and found the entire place covered with police tape. ughhh.. a car in one of the back parking lots near my building had caught fire and destroyed a whole lot of the condo's carport. My scooter lives back there and the officer said something to the effect of, "you may not want to look back there." My heart totally sank, but at least my apartment was still in one piece.


A fiery image of what happened in the paper was the first thing I found online about it and my scooter seems to have a front row seat, but I was allowed downstairs to see as much as I could of the scooter from the police line. Luckily the wall was enough to stop the flames from getting up to the scooter, and from a 30 yard glance it seemed fine. JOY. I was able to finally get back to it this morning and it still rides and is just dirty from the flame retardent, wish I could say the same for the cars next to the event :(. If I hadn't gotten off my ass this morning, the kayak would have still been sitting on the ground right next to that BMW. I'm really glad no one was hurt and I hope the police find this guy and soon! And that - was my weird day of paddling.

Trip Distance: 10km

YTD: 82km

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Sunday, February 28, 2010 Leave a Comment 3 comments

BIRTHRIGHT from Sean Mullens on Vimeo.

Found this on Victoria Kayaker Blog. It needs to be seen.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 Leave a Comment 0 comments


Today was just a quick little paddle for some exercise. The winds had died down substantially from Saturday and had become more northerly. The sun was very bright and again I found myself realizing why I still live in Victoria. Caddy Bay beach is still covered in driftwood making for a fun climb down to the sand. I put in and was off on a little tour of the bay.


I did my usual tour out along the north shore and around flower island. The water was smooth and undisturbed. The tide being fairly low, I kept my distance from the rocks along the short to avoid a repeat of the last barnacle scraping I gave my kayak last time. It was a little windier at the edge of Baynes channel and the current was already going pretty swiftly - you could see the standing waves out near the cardinal buoy off Chatham.


I was greeted by little river otters on the way to Cadboro point. Cute little critters. I saw the current gently pushing around the rocks at cadboro point and got a little ride back to Jemmy Jones at a pretty good clip. Jemmy jones also had a nice strong current around it propelling me into a spinnaker regatta. This took all my attention and I tried to snap a bunch of photos of all of them as they wizzed past me. A nice fresh breeze was coming down from the north and was pushing all the boats along with big full sails. ahhhhhhhhh.


I completed this trip by crossing to Cattle Point after the sailboats passed, and had a gander at the boats in the RVYC marina. This was just the start of a fantastic day outdoors. I guess this is as good a time as ever to first mourn the fact I need to wait a year or two before a sailboat because my poor vengabus, gear hauler extraordinare, is dead. On the bright side, I closed a deal on a new truck in fantastic condition, a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder. I should have worthwhile photos of that soon - here's a cell photo - just looking around for a good roof rack solution.

Trip Distance: 8km

YTD: 72km

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Sunday, February 21, 2010 Leave a Comment 0 comments


I woke up this morning and hear the wind on my windows. That wasn't supposed to happen - but turns out the washington wind model was actually correct for once. Paula Louise and John were busy putting in at telegraph cove in the van. I took one look at the conditions and just wasn't feeling like paddling in a 10-15kt headwind and an opposing current. I parted way s with the crew and went on a hunt for a longer bit of paddling. I took the scenic route around beach drive and found the Victoria side was dead calm.


The tide was out a good ways and I had a nice little strip of sand beach to put in. It had been a series of glorious, springlike days leading up to this weekend. I paddled out to somewhere I hadn't had the right conditions to goin the kayak before: Clover Point. Ogden Point to Clover Point is a very scenic bit of shoreline with some big bluffs to look at. The wind was barely touching the water.


The ebb was running pretty well from Enterprise Channel and all the way along the coast, I found a tideline and got a free ride back to Ogden Point and the breakwater. Just beyond the nav aid at the end of the breakwater was a large work barge working on the newly laid pilings at the ogden point facility. They're in the process of lengthening the berths, so longer cruise ships can dock in Victoria without worries of violent weather moving the boats while at their moorings.


The wind really picked up in the harbour and about 3 or 4 fishing boats buzzed around picking up traps from the mouth of the inlet. Near fisherman's wharf a fairly larget pilot boat was just finishing fuelling and heading out of the harbour.. makes a kayak feel really small. I ducked into the inner harbour and decided to head back to the put in.


The water had gotten quite a bit choppier and all the sailboats raced by me on the way out. The breakwater was lined with fisherman and a few of them were catching some pretty big cod and rockfish, many of the fish had already been hooked a few times. I pulled out of the water and headed off to the boat show to look at some really fancy fishing boats with my friends.

Trip Distance: 12km

YTD: 64km

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Saturday, February 20, 2010 Leave a Comment 0 comments


This week I went out with John and Louise, now that they're mobile again. Today was just going to be a short in and out and just a quick shakedown for their new roof racks. Unfortunately, my Van had started acting up a week or 2 before resulting in a pretty severe coolant leak, so I was taking it easy with driving. We agreed on a lap around Thetis lake.


Today started off cloudy and spitting rain. The rain got harder and harder as time went on, but our spirits were good. The conversation was lively and Thetis was flat as a mirror. Not a lot going on at the lake save for a nice high water level and some newly fallen trees. The weather got considerably nicer near the end of the paddle and the beach was just covered in dogs. I parted way with John and Louise and took the Van to the shop later on - hint: the fix didn't take :((

Trip Distance: 6km

YTD: 52km

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 Leave a Comment 0 comments
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