Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lookout For 2013

Wow!! What a week of kayak planning for 2013. We knew after our paddle last weekend that we would  start filling our paddling schedule for the rest of the year. 

It started off with Robyn and I joining the Nanaimo Paddlers early in the week and after our membership was accepted we started to check all the cool paddling opportunities that they have posted on their Meetup site. It didn't take long to sign up for a May trip to one of our kayak bucket list destinations ..... the Broken Islands Group. 

Our week of planning just kept on from there with us signing up for a couple of SISKA paddles and another Nanaimo paddle over the next couple of weekends. Add a pool session next weekend to work on our rolling and we are well on our way to another great year in our kayaks. Oh yeah .... throw in a few Ace Mascot gigs for when we are not on the water just to make things interesting.

As I mentioned in our last post, we scouted the Oak Bay shoreline for a paddle to Trial Island today. Talk about almost (no sun) absolute perfect conditions for exploring one of the few areas we haven't been around , the Victoria waterfront. High overcast with a peak of the sun every once and awhile, a balmy temperature of 8C, zero wind and less that 2 knots of current from the ebb to the flood. It really was the perfect day for what we planned.

Launching from the Oak Bay Marina we headed towards the new Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Our first thoughts were kinda mixed as we loved the old one but the new one is pretty nice too. We just might have to visit the "new" Snug Pub to check it out.

The new Oak Bay Beach Hotel ... I wonder if they have kayak docks??

Our next landmark to visit was the Victoria Golf Club and from the water it really was something to see. Many of the tee boxes and greens are located right next to the water and it gave us the opportunity to see and talk to the golfers up close. Where in Canada can you kayak or golf at this time of year??? I'm thinking that Victoria is one of the very few and fortunate locations that this can happen all within a pitching wedge of each other.

Being a golfer myself ...... I didn't yell "Fore!!!"

Trail Island Lighthouse and the greeting party of German Shepard and Black Lab on the top step

Just further along the next fairway we spotted our goal for the day which was Trial Island. The flood was just starting to flow as we made our way across Enterprise Channel and headed for the lighthouse. At the same time we noticed an empty container ship rounding Discovery Island and she was kicking up quite a bow wave. Arriving at the boat ramp of the lighthouse we heard a couple of dogs heading our way and not far behind was Meredith Dickman, the resident Trial Island Lighthouse Keeper. Meredith came right down to the foot of the boat launch and we had a great talk with her about what she does and possibly visiting the station in the future. Being so close to one of the kayaking mecca's, Meredith gets to see a lot of kayakers come by, (most experienced but some not so) and sure enough she knows Yves & Patti of Go Kayak who visit her fair bit. I think she was pleased to see us fully rigged with our immersion gear :-)

Trial Island Lighthouse Keeper Meredith Dickman and her dogs (Sky & ???) A great visit!

With the container ship now starting to pass the island it was time to say goodbye and seek shelter in one of the bays from the huge breakers starting to make their way towards the shoreline. 

The picture doesn't really show how close it is but if you look close you can see the bow wave.

At first I thought we could simply paddle away from the shoreline towards the wake and ride the oncoming waves however when I saw them starting to break about 1/4 mile away I thought twice as these were pretty big and the last thing we wanted was one of them breaking on top of us. We rode out the smaller swells a bit down from the lighthouse while we watched the huge breakers pound the area around the lighthouse. Boy am I glad we made that decision!!

After the swells passed we paddled up to the tip of the island and had a look at the flood currents really mixing it up at the point. While Robyn stayed in a back eddy I paddled a bit into the main current to check out the conditions on the west side of the island. Although the currents and rip were navigable we choose to be cautious and not paddle down the west side by ourselves. In a group environment we would have taken on the challenge but with just the two of us we let caution be our guide.

Me surfing in the rip. See the little seal's head just to the right of my bow?

With the increasing flood we decided it was time to head back across Enterprise Channel and stop for lunch at Kitty Islet but first I did a little surfing in the rip currents running between the islands. While I was having fun, Robyn stayed in the back eddy and watched a couple of small seals come up behind me and in her words ... "I could only see the back of their heads, so I snuck up behind them and when I was no more than about three feet away I said "HEY" and they did a 180 so shocked to see me right there. They disappeared beneath the surface so fast!  They obviously didn't hear me with the noise of the current."

After crossing the flood current in Enterprise Channel we landed on the tombolo at Kitty Islet. It was here that we visited last weekend by car to scout Trail Island and log a couple of Geocaching Earthcaches. This time we arrived by kayak and had a much needed lunch break.

Lunch on the tombolo at Kitty Islet

Riding the flood current back towards our put in location we played in the rock gardens below the golf course fairways. There are lots of little beaches along the golf course that we just might have to use a rest stops below the high water line in the future. We just will have to keep an eye out for errant golf balls!

Robyn comes through one of the rock garden gaps near the golf course.

It was such an amazing day that Robyn suggested we make our way over to the Great Chain Island since we had never been there before. It's not often that you get water conditions like we had today so we extended our paddle plan and circumnavigated around the island. We both thought the same thing .... next time we go to Discovery Island we'll go via the Chain Islands out of Oak Bay Marina.

What a day on the water and week of kayak planning!

2013 Paddle #3
Distance: 12.71 km
YTD: 39.25 km


  1. Looks like a wonderful day on the water. And may I add, it sounds like there was some good, solid decision making going on. Both before hand, during, and with the decision to extend the paddle. well done.


    1. Thanks PO, yes common sense .... our best friend. :-)

    2. and yet you would be surprised how rarely he shows up! (in general terms, not referring specifically to you!)