Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SISKA Energizer Paddle #1

Our recent Paddle Canada Level 1 certification has perks so to speak and one of those is taking part in the SISKA Energizer Paddles. An Energizer Paddle typically is longer in length than a casual SISKA Relaxed Paddle and can also include a crossing. Each paddler is also expected to be able to keep up with the pack for the duration of the trip.

This past Saturday we participated in the Energizer taking us from the tip of the Saanich Peninsula (Moses Point) over to Saltspring Island and up to Musgrave Rock. The forecast on Friday night was looking pretty miserable with 60% chance of rain during the morning and high winds developing late in the afternoon. Early Saturday morning we prepared ourselves accordingly with the probability of getting wet as the low cloud and fog was a good indicator how the day might be. Funny how things can change so fast though as we arrived at the put in location the low ceiling lifted revealing broken clouds and the sun starting to shine through.

The group arrives at Moses Point and gets ready for the paddle.

Joanne Nicolson was our trip leader for this paddle and she lead the 14 paddlers through the pre trip briefing making sure that we all knew what the plan for the day was. A pretty straight forward plan that involved crossing Satellite Channel then hugging the shoreline of Saltspring Island until we reached Musgrave Landing which would be our lunch break. Total length of the trip would be around 18 km.

Launching just after 10:00am and with a very slight breeze at our back which made for almost perfect conditions, the group crossed Satellite Channel continuing at a steady pace up to Musgrave Rock. Using a free iPhone App called Marine Traffic I was able to determine the name, size, destination and pretty well what the captain was eating for breakfast (not really :-) of the cargo freighters anchored in the distance.

Passing Musgrave Rock we were greeted by an eagle almost like standing guard over his island. It amazes me how many bald eagles we see once we leave the populated areas and this trip was no different.

For the trip out I mounted my GoPro Hero 2 on the bow and let the video run until we landed for lunch. Hopefully
soon I will get the new WiFi module which will allow me to remotely control the camera no matter where it is mounted.


Lunch was just inside Musgrave Landing and the group made their way onto the rocky outcrop like a bunch of castaways to enjoy the sun. Not too far away were our rides lined up resting for the trip back.

After lunch we prepared for the trip back and this is where I got to speak with new paddler (Jackie) and recent PC Level 1 graduate who signed up for the paddle as a visitor. Jackie recently moved from Australia and has got the kayaking bug managing to borrow gear for the trip. Seeing my GoPro mounted on my helmet in true "Gear Head" fashion she was curious how I operated it.

Working our way back along the shoreline allowed the group to interact with each other and I think that is what makes these SISKA paddles rewarding. Getting know people who share your passion for the water is amazing and we have met a lot of new friends over the past 6 months since joining the club.

The crossing of Satellite Channel back to our put in location was almost like the calm before the storm. In fact you can see in the distance the massive wind storm that hit the area about 30 minutes after we landed and were loading up to head to our debrief location. The weather forecast was for 25 km/h winds from the west around 4:00pm and right on time it hit. In fact when we drove out we got a quick glance of Satellite Channel and Pat Bay they were a fury of white caps and high seas. Checking the airport winds they were recording 38 km/h with 53 km/h gusts!! Talk about great timing and planning to get back to our put in location......THANKS Jo for looking after the group. :-)

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