Saturday, October 29, 2011

Get a Kayak..... Go Paddling!

I have to admit that I didn't sleep too well last night in anticipation of the busy day ahead. However, we woke up to perfect fall conditions with the warm sun shinning and calm winds. The perfect day to go pick up our new Delta 15.5 Expeditions kayaks and take them out for a test paddle!

Right on time we were at Ocean River Sports as soon as the doors opened at 09:30 met up with Jordan who has been handling the details of our purchase. A word of note, right from our first experience of walking into Ocean River and signing up for our first course the staff we have talked to at the store, emailed with, been taught from have been simply amazing. Brian, you should be really proud of the people who represent you and your company!

After finalizing our equipment choices we headed down to the storage area and unwrapped our new "toys".  It was neat to see them emerge from their padded packaging (I should have taken a photo DOH) and we completed a quick and perfect PDI before getting them loaded onto the truck. We had decided earlier that our test paddle would be at Elk / Beaver Lake Regional Park so off we went.

The perfect fit!

We have walked around the 10km shoreline trail of Elk / Beaver Lakes many times before and know of all the beach launching areas so we chose Hamsterly Beach as the portage from the truck to the shoreline is short and the beach is sandy. I have also seen kayakers launch from this area before and the parking area is good too.  We got to work adjusting our seats and rudder peddles when a lady walking the trail stopped by and said she also has a Delta kayak and loves using it on the west coast of the island. It was great to hear that comment prior to our first trip out!

Suited up and ready to go!

After some final adjustments of our PFD's, skirts, paddles our kayaks we were ready to go. We had noticed the winds had come up a bit from the west and on Elk Lake typically really strong westerlies can create good chop and whitecaps so we planned our departure direction and return if the winds increased. Our first beach entry was uneventful (we didn't go splash LOL) and we completed a few final  equipment adjustments and headed out. About 15 minutes after launching the winds dropped off to a slight breeze.....perfect!!!

Robyn "I love my kayak"
The first thing that both of us realized was that WOW! we sure made the right decision in our selection. When we first used Delta's several weeks back we really like the cockpit comfort factor and with the boats being new the feel is so "crisp". After a few minutes I started working on some edge turns doing circles around Robyn as she paddled and it felt like I could just keep leaning the kayak further and further without it wanting to finally roll. At one point in my circle I stopped paddling and took a picture of Robyn who had the smile of happiness on her face as she paddled.

Continuing on our clockwise direction we passed the Elk Lake Rowing Center which was bustling with activity on the docks. Boats were being ready to head out onto the lake and it sure is a different perspective seeing the impressive facility from the water. As we passed the docks we came across lily pads and reeds in the shallows that were home to various birds. I was surprised by the number of Blue Herons that we spotted and also surprised when I paddled up on top of a submerged stump that stopped me dead in the water. "Full reverse captain" and I backed off the stump. LOL

We continued south towards Beaver Lake by-passing the customs agents (LOL) but paddled past one of the small islands separating the two main lake bodies. Here we found Cormorants warming themselves in the sun as well as a Western Painted Turtle resting on a log. I was surprised how large the turtle was and figured it was at least 6 to 8 inches long! Pretty cool!


 It's funny how you don't see all of the islands in the middle of the lakes when you walk the trails but they are there and I can only imagine what it would be like to explore them closer. Rumor has it that there is a Geocache on at least one of them so we might have to see if there is a good landing location to visit the site. There are lots of stumps (hidden) and above the waterline especially in Beaver Lake which probably is a result of the system being dammed many years ago to supply Victoria with water. Many are marked with orange buoys so that boaters don't happen to hit some of the larger ones.

Gecko Paddler and his new kayak

Remember what I said about the westerly winds??? Well after making it around 3/4's of the lake system the winds started to come up from the south east and we got to experience a pretty good chop and stiff breeze (5-10 knots?) into our face. This was our first real wind challenge since taking on kayaking but the Delta's were very stable and we had no difficulty making our way back to Hamsterly Beach. 

Robyn leads the way back to Hamsterly cutting through the slight chop and breeze.

After 2 1/2 hours we landed back at our starting point with smiles on our faces from ear to ear. It was a great
maiden voyage of our new Delta 15.5 Expedition's and everything worked flawlessly.

The "twins" ready to be striped down and loaded back onto the truck after a great first paddle.

Yes, we are going to have so much fun exploring and challenging ourselves with this new pastime.  Want to go paddling with us??? Send us an email or post a comment.....see you on the water soon!

Mark & Robyn


  1. Mark and Robyn - love to read of your enthusiasm for the sport! Glad to hear it was a great day in the new kayaks. Duncan.

  2. Hi Duncan - Thanks for the comments! Saturday was a special day for sure and yesterday we scouted coastline around Victoria for launching spots since the winds were blowing pretty good. Now... if we had taken our kayaks with us we could have been on the water as many places were sheltered from the winds. :-)


  3. Congrats. Hope you enjoy yours as much as I have enjoyed mine. May you have as many miles in them as well! I have paddled the 15.5 a couple of times and was surprised how nicely it handled as it is considerably wider than my seventeen - I think the 15.5 just as fast and snappy as my longer narrow version. I actually have 2 15.5's in my yard that friends store on my rack. Beautiful boats.

    Enjoy, paddle safe.


  4. Thanks PO ;-)

    I have to admit that reading your blog and watching your instructional videos while you paddle your Delta was a factor in our purchase. Delta really makes a nice boat and we look forward to many, many miles of fun in the future.

    Mark & Robyn