Adventures on the Blue

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Tonight was one of those few after work paddles that happens to be on a perfectly still, warm summer's night. It always feels like a dream to be paddling at sunset and tonight nearly put me to sleep in my cockpit :). I put in at VCKC and had it in mind to head down to jutland if the currents were well behaved. The parking lot was jammed with dragonboaters doing last mnute training for the Victoria Dragonboat festival..



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The current under the Tillicum bridge was about a 2kt flood, so it was a bit dicey looking. Some kids were up on the cliff beside the bridge yelling, "you're gonna fall in." Not tonight though.. the water was all going in one direction and wasn't much of a challenge to overcome.. I paddled out the other side and waved back to the kids as I paddled toward the inner harbour.



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It was such a lazy and calm night, I just lily-dipped my way down to Jutland to find it even more crammed with even more of the large dragonboats. Instead of heading further down to the inner harbour, fearing I'd be a bit in the way, I turned around and got a nice push on the flood past the bridge and up toward portage inlet.



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There are a few mute swans swimming around the Gorge right now and they're HUGE. They started swimming over to me, but didn't like the looks of my paddle, so they spooked a bit and headed on the opposite course. I got up to Portage inlet and was overcome with bliss. The skyline had turned fiery orange and the stars were brilliant even before sunset. I took the kayak up along the Colquitz side and noticed a good algae bloom going. The high tide was making it float around in clumps.



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I couldn't travel too far up the river because of the goo, but when I turned around I saw the photo above and let out a year-long-pent-up sigh and leaned back just to take in how awesome summer in Victoria is. With the sounds of the road muted and the air so still, it was hard not to be hypnotized by the evening. I left Portage Inlet as the hush of blue-dusk swept across the water. The light was fading, leaving behind an intense orange sky (probably thanks to forest fires in northern BC. I pulled out at VCKC and retained the giant grin on my face until I finally slept. How awesome is that?!


Trip Distance: 11km

YTD: 195km

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 Leave a Comment 1 comment

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Today I met up with my paddling buddies for a group paddle from Mill Bay marina. The group was John, Louise, Paula and Tracy - a big group for us :) . Because today was a long shoreline paddle, I expected to be talking a lot and annoying everyone to stave off boredom, but this actually turned out to be pretty good.



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What tempered my contempt for paddling along gentrified shorelines with houses no one actually deserves was the crazy amount of wildlife and the company, including their interactions. We launched from the Mill Bay Marina and right off the bat we meet about 15 seals lounging on the damaged and deserted Mill Bay Marina. They all looked up wide eyed of course and realized we weren't a threat and went back to sleeping in the sunshine.



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We make our way down the coast and get to see some more crazy damaged remnants from the gale storm that sieged Mill Bay last winter. There are boats up on the shore and stuck terminally in the shallows along the shoreline just gushing water from the last high tide filling their derelict cabins. With some great conversation here and there, the group began to find a new flow and Louise and Tracy got out front of the pack just as we get to the Mill Bay ferry. I realized suddenly that BC ferries' newest ferry bumper has eyes and ears. I call out to the two in front that they're about 10 feet from a pretty huge sea lion on the docks.



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Like the seals, he looked up, grunted and let out the signature ORT ORT noise they're so famous for before curling up and sleeping again. Well, not before John and I filled our memory cards with his terrifying visage, though :). The two out front laughed to themselves wondering why us in the back were making a fuss and then connecting eyes with the giant furry thing they just awoke.



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We landed on the beach at Bamberton Park. This place is an awesome stop offering full amenities and a great place to watch all types of sea birds. As we pulled ahore, the sea floor was alive with little crabs all either coming or going from shore. The tide comes in fast in the lagoon here, most of our boats were free floating after our short break. Paula brought a box of awesome little muffins to share - it was just what I needed - carbo loading - heh.



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The cement factory was just a little ways down the shoreline, so I gave it a visit while most of the crew held back a ways due to tiredness. There's not much to report here, though. It seems they're repairing or removing the deep sea dock and piles that I saw last time I was here. The grounds have barely changed, just more growth of the grass and trees.



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One of the neat attractions on the way back home were these little birdhouses on the old pilings of some huge, ruined dock. Sitting in the middle of the little houses, you can hear the calls of these little purple martins (swallows) and it's a nice place just to bob in the boat and listen to them chirp to each other. The wind came up a little as forecast and made the water a little bumpier than the group is used to. It was bit of a slow grind, but we all got back in one piece and no one needed a tow or anything. Swinging back into the bay, the seals were all in the water looking for food and that's what we were headed for too. We went to a little pizza place in Mill Bay for a quick debrief.


Trip Distance: 18km

YTD: 184km

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Sunday, August 8, 2010 Leave a Comment 1 comment
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