Friday, July 20, 2012

Paddling A Fair Way To A Fairway

Yesterday was one of those afternoons while at work that I had a "calling" of sorts that I should be out in my kayak. The air was so still and sun was burning through the whispering cirrus clouds making their way over southern Vancouver Island and so I went to work putting a paddling plan together for the early evening.

Checking Big Dave Wave's site on my iPhone for the local forecasts confirmed my thoughts and it didn't take much to convince Robyn that we needed to go on our first mid week after work paddle. (another first for us) I had a pretty good idea where we would be paddling before I left work and my thoughts were confirmed when I caught view of the conditions around James Island while driving home. One word .......  Like Glass!  OK that was two words.  LOL

Mt. Baker keeping a watchful eye on us.
The plan was pretty simple and it had been on our paddle "bucket list" for a while to complete a circumnavigation of James Island. This would be our opportunity and we took full advantage of what mother nature was offering us. Launching from Island View Beach we followed a familiar course north to Cordova Spit and then angled across Cordova Channel to James Island. The last time we paddled in this area the tide was ebbing pretty good and a noticeable rip was present at the tip of the spit but today with the tide about to go slack there was not even a ripple on the surface.

Paddling along a shoreline that we had only seen from the Saanich Peninsula we made our way to the northern spit of James Island and the first thing I thought was that it would make an absolutely amazing marine park. Many of you might know that James Island is for sale for around $75 million plus change and all I could think about was how this little piece of the island could be turned over to the public for recreational use. Rumour has it that the island might be sold and if so maybe the new owners could give the land back to the province in some way. I know if I had the ability to purchase the island I would. 

Sidney Spit on the north end of Sidney Island  behind Robyn. Another paddle "bucket list" destination

Paddling across the northern end of the island we followed the long sandy beach that would make the perfect spot for day picnic use but the no trespassing signs are a stark reminder that no foot should go beyond the high tide water line. Even so at low tide there are many places that kayakers could easily stretch their legs without intruding on the owners property.

Rounding the north east tip of the island we entered the waters of Sidney Channel and the topography of James Island really came into view.  The island is know from a geology standpoint as being formed during glacial times into a Drumlin and erosion went to work to carve its current shape. Drumlins have the distinct shape of an inverted spoon. The Stoss end is the steeper slope where the private championship golf course is located and the Lee end is the more gradual slope ending up at the spit.

It wasn't long before we spotted the golf course flag sticks and one could only imagine how little the course is used. It does however get used for other purposes which we found out as a remote controlled (R/C) E-Flite Dehavilland Beaver was soon flying above us and performing touch and goes on the perfectly manicured golf course fairways.  

You know, if I lived or worked on the island I would probably do the same thing but I don't so I have to just stick to kayaking. Not a bad trade-off I think.  :-) LOL

Another thing that we have seen from the shores of the "big island" is our Canadian Navy patrolling the waters around the south coast. The HMCS Edmonton (MM 703) is a Kingston-class coastal defence vessel that is based in CFB Esquimalt and we got to see her up close as she passed between Sidney and James Island. The best part is that the flying of the R/C aircraft suddenly stopped as the Edmonton came into view of the pilots.  LOL

Making our way along the southern end of the island we were in the shadow of the sand bluffs or the "stoss" end of the island. This geological formation can be seen from almost every view point in Victoria and it is even more impressive as it looms high above you.

Rounding the last corner of the island we emerged into the full setting sun and just like when we headed out a few hours earlier the water was "Like Glass". It is during times like this it is hard to see where the bow of your paddling partner's kayak breaks the water. Most of the time around the south coast we have either wind, tides or both influencing the water we ride on. Tonight was a special occasion that we both embraced.

Robyn gliding on glass across Cordova Channel back to Island View Beach

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