Friday, April 20, 2012

Relaxing In The Nanaimo Estuary

This weekend we are camping at the Living Forest RV Park which has always been a favourite location for us because of its terraced RV sites and view of the Nanaimo River estuary. Ever since we started kayaking we have wanted to come back here and explore the many channels of the estuary and in particular see the many bald eagles that live in the area.

The RV park has a great put in location right on the river that flows out towards the city of Nanaimo. At this location the river is influenced by the tides of the Salish Sea changing the landscape dramatically from the low to high tides. During the low water levels most of the estuary is nothing more than mud flats but during high water the established river channels clearly show themselves much like roadways to the open ocean.  

Here is the view from the same location but looking up the river. During low tide the currents run pretty good but they can be paddled and it's a good place to practice moving from eddy to eddy. When the water level is perfect you can actually paddle the "loop" that takes you to another ocean bound channel but today the currents prevented us from making it to the junction further up the river. 

Making our way out into open water we noticed a Cessna Sky Wagon tied up to one of the log booms and of course we just had to check it out. The pilots were walking on the log booms so we stopped to chat with them where they explained that they were looking for a particular boom that would be selected for processing at one of the local mills nearby. 

Every time we paddle we work on some skill improvement and today it was proper positioning of our hands on the paddle shaft. Last weekend Sheila P. noticed that our hands were too close together and suggested marking our paddles with tape for hand location so that our elbows are at 90 degrees when the paddle shaft is place on top of our head. Although feeling awkward at first we both noticed less stress on our forearms, improved efficiency in our stroke resulting in an increase in our speed. Thanks Sheila!!

As the tide rose the mud flats submerged and we were able to make our way up the other main channel of the "loop" in hope that we could complete our quest that we tried earlier. The water level just wasn't high enough to pass the last set of rapids so we turned around and focused on getting some pictures of the bald eagles in the area. During the salmon spawning season there are so many of them in the estuary that we are looking forward to coming back in the fall. Robyn took this great picture of a mature eagle that was no more than 25 feet away.....amazing creatures!!!

A great day of relaxing in the shallow waters of the Nanaimo River estuary. Our track below shows us paddling through the log booms but we didn't actually. The booms have moved since the last Google Maps image was taken. :-)

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