Friday, May 11, 2012

Double Header Sunday - May 6th (AM and PM Paddle)

It had been quite a hectic week leading up to the weekend with the painting of a couple of bedrooms and a bathroom in the house preparing for new carpets arriving this week. So much that I didn't have time to write this blog entry until this afternoon once all the reno's were completed.

So better late than never ..........

Last Saturday was a full day of prep and paint (5 coats) of the bathroom so that it would enable us to paddle in the (AM) SISKA Intertidal Paddle at Willows Beach on Sunday morning. The forecast called for amazing sunny conditions with light winds and the weatherman didn't disappoint when we arrived at the Tea House put in location at Willows Beach. We were sure glad that we had our Swagman wheels with us today as it was a long haul down to the waterline without them.

Robyn posts a picture on Facebook while the group starts to gather for the pre-paddle briefing. 

With an almost zero tide the Intertidal Paddle was a chance explore the eel grass and kelp for the diverse sea life that exists here. Our guides for the day were biologists Dave Guiliani and Mike Jackson who between them have an immense knowledge base of what lives beneath the surface. Because of the "Super" full moon that occurred on Saturday night it was the perfect opportunity for Dave to explain (in the sand) the gravitational effects of the moon and sun resulting in the low tide on Sunday.

We spent the next three hours poking around islets just off shore and Mike made an early discovery of an orange sea slug. It was really amazing to see  trained eyes find so many things in the water. If you  just spend some time and let your eyes search things start to show themselves amidst the seaweed and kelp.

A little like bumper cars working our way through the many islets covered in kelp

While paddling along the Oak Bay Marina breakwater I looked down into the murky depths and spotted a sea cucumber which Mike identified as a California Sea Cucumber. For this picture I put my GoPro camera into the water but the turbidity didn't allow the picture to be very clear.

Although this is not the California Sea Cucumber that I found, this is what it would look like if we could have brought it out of the water. One of the reasons why I knew it was a sea cucumber was from my days of scuba diving so my trained eyes knew what it was.

As you can see from our morning paddle track we didn't travel very far or very fast as most of the time we were staring in the water looking for critters.

For the PM paddle Robyn convinced our new paddle buddy and yoga instructor Kathryn to test out her Current Designs Solstice GTS kayak in Brentwood Bay.

Ya think she likes her "yak"????

Kathryn and her husband (Rob) live a stones throw from the water in Brentwood Bay and recently purchased (2) Current Designs Solstice kayaks and all of the gear from friends of ours. In fact Robyn and I used both of these kayaks while were were waiting for our kayaks to arrive last fall.

It really is a great story because of the timing as Kathryn and Rob were looking for kayaks and that Rob is in Moose Jaw undergoing flight training with the Canadian Air Force. So it was all up to Kathryn to check out the kayaks and gear, make the deal and get the kayaks back to their house. We think she did a great job and no doubt Rob will be very pleased when he gets back home in a couple of weeks.

Living so close to the put in location near the Brentwood Bay ferry dock we unloaded our kayaks in Kathryn's driveway and after passing on our knowledge (roles reversed.. we the teachers and Kathryn the student) on how to outfit the kayak, we simply rolled our rides down to the beach on the kayak carts. A final check of the safety equipment at the beach and we were on our way. Knowing that Kathryn had been in a kayak before was comforting and it was obvious once she started out. Besides ....... she's Navy so one could say the water is her second home.  LOL

During this "shakedown cruise" we headed over to a landmark that we have been wanting to visit for some time but the tides just were right on previous paddles. This time it was perfect as I just paddled right up to the lighthouse, stepped out of my kayak and retrieved the Geocache that is hidden in the lantern room. Don't be fooled by how easy this looks as a wrong step would have resulted in me swimming in at least 20 feet of water.

Heading down into Tod Inlet and it was safe to say that Kathryn was like a kid on Christmas morning grinning from ear to ear and all smiles. Then again she is always like that. LOL  It was a great opportunity for the three of us to share stories while paddling on such a pristine early spring evening. If this is what paddling in the summer is going to be like..... sign us up!!

One happy paddler!

Mirror image just below the dock at the world Famous Butchart Gardens.

One day this summer we must come back and see the Butchart Gardens fireworks show from the kayaks. Now that we have preferred parking and a couple of new paddle buddies close by that should make for a great blog posting. ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Mark, that's a nice manoeuvre (balance and flexibility) getting from the kayak onto the lighthouse - I think we're definitely going to have to take up yoga like you guys! Duncan.