Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The New Arrival - Delphin 155

Remember honey when we said we only needed one kayak?? Well, I think we did good going 1 year, 4 months before buying this sweet ride.

I first tried a P&H Delphin 155 at last years MEC Paddlefest and at that time of my kayaking experience I found it to be quite a handful in terms of stability. Sure it turned on a dime compared to my Delta 15.5 Expedition but I just wasn't prepared for where the edge was on the Delphin. Still .... It was the kayak that I really wanted to try and get a hold of since it is being used by many of kayakers that I admire here on the west coast.

They say that patience is a virtue. Sure, we could have just bought a brand new Delphin but I was waiting for that perfect combination of great price and good condition for a used one. Well ... patience paid off big time as I found this Delphin on the WCP Buy & Sell forum at a great price. After a few emails with the owner (Ken Bueckert), Robyn and I headed to Campbell River on Saturday after our Penelakut Island paddle to check it out.

Ken had told me that the kayak had only been used 3 times only in the lake and so we were eager to see what it would look like in person. Sure enough it wasn't just in good condition but in excellent near new condition. It even had the unopened P&H instructions and warranty registration papers in the day hatch. SOLD!!!  We loaded our new ride (notice how I said "our") between our Delta's and headed back to Victoria to finish off a long day.

On Sunday afternoon we took the Delphin to Cadboro Bay christen her in the ocean for the first time. One of the local beach walking dogs tried to take a pee on her bow just before we put in too! We took that as being a good luck sign.

Ready to see what the P&H Delphin 155 would feel like.

Finding the edge. Man this kayak turns on a dime!

Robyn's turn to see what the Delphin feels like.

She loves it!! There goes "MY" Delphin ........ back to the forums to find another one.  LOL

We are both looking forward to playing with Delphin over the summer months. I think it will help us take those next steps in our kayaking adventure as we start crossing items off our kayak bucket list. Next up is an extended Easter long weekend out at Pedder Bay RV Resort and the weather forecast is looking pretty special! ;-)

2013 Paddle # 13 Cadboro Bay
Distance: 3 km  (1.62 nm)
YTD: 130.74 km (70.59 nm)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Coming Back Home - Through The Cut

Last Saturday, Robyn and I joined 9 other Nanaimo Paddlers for a trip from Chemainus to Penelakut Island. This paddle was a bit of a home coming for Robyn as her parents once had property on nearby Thetis Island located on the cut between the two islands. Both of us have fond memories of the islands but back then Penelakut was known as Kuper Island.

The weather and wind forecast was perfect for the 6 km (3.23 nm) crossing and we could sure feel and see Spring making its way onto the south coast.

Heading out from the Kinsmen  Park in Chemainus

As we approached Hudson Island the BC Ferry MV Kuper came into view. I don't know how many times we used this means of getting to Thetis Island in the past but today was our first by kayak. It seemed so long of a crossing way back then but now we realize how fast our kayaks can also make the crossing in about 40 minutes.

Robyn in her Delta Expedition 15.5 and Ross Turner in his Delta Expedition 17 with the MV Kuper in the background

Heading through Telegraph Harbour we made our way towards the cut. The cut actually is a very narrow and shallow channel with very little tidal influence. At low tide, a massive mud plain is exposed and during extreme low tides the cut sometimes cannot be navigated through.

The house with the white roof in the center of the picture used to belong to Robyn's dad. Lots of great memories!

Exiting the cut we headed over to Penelakut Spit for a rest stop and it was another one of the magical places to visit. Penelakut Island is a Hul'qumi'num-speaking First Nation of about 300 individuals and permission to visit the nearby Tent Island can be arranged by contacting the band office and sending a donation of kind all on the honor system.

Rest stop on Penelakut Spit

We made our way south along the eastern shoreline of Penelakut and landed near the tombolo on Tent Island for our lunch stop. Here the group was out of the increasing SE wind and in the full Spring sunshine.

Lunch at Tent Island tombolo. We have to come back here one day and spend the night.

After lunch the group split up into two as some of the paddlers wanted to circumnavigate Tent Island and some like Robyn and I chose to head back to Chemainus. For us we needed to watch our time as we had another scheduled stop that day in Campbell River so we paddled back with 3 others. The main core of paddlers arrived back at the put in location just as we were about to pull out of the parking lot.

Since we were almost half way to Campbell River, we made arrangements to pick up our new addition to our kayak fleet. We knew it was going to be a long day but since it was Saturday we thought let's Get 'Er Done!

For the past couple of months I have been keeping an eye out for a used Delphin 155 and one came up on WestCoastPaddler and it was such an amazing price that we had to take advantage of it. The best part is that the kayak had only been used in a lake 3 times and seeing it in person for the first time it simply was in near new mint condition. Sweet!!!!

Kayak Instructor Ken Bueckert of Campbell River made the deal possible for us and the rest is history as we loaded her on the modified Yakima rack with the new "J" rack. It was along day as we pulled into our driveway just after 10:30pm

The next day was Sunday ..... yes we played in the Delphin. But that's another blog post :-)

2013 Paddle # 12 Penelakut Island
Distance: 22.89 km  (12.36 nm)
YTD: 127.74 km (68.97 nm)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Arrrrgh! Roll, Roll, Roll The Other Way!

Robyn and I spent Sunday evening in the Crystal Pool with other SISKA paddlers working on our rolls. Since my strong side roll is feeling pretty good and reliable most of the time, I decided to focus on the opposite side during this training session. 

With the help of Robyn and Gary Jacek, I got myself into the set up position. After that, it was all downhill from there as I soon realized that the left side of my body is nowhere near as powerful as my dominant right side. Now, most of you are probably saying that rolls are not supposed to be all muscle power but more pure flow technique and I couldn't agree more. But ..... if you are going to miss the technique portion then the muscle power can help big time. Well in my case ... my opposite side was lacking in both departments tonight. After a several more attempts (same result) I simply ran out of steam and decided that was enough of that for my first attempt to master the OFF SIDE!  LOL 

My left hand  paddle blade is supposed to be on the surface of the water not scraping the pool bottom.

We spent the rest of the session working on Robyn's rolls and she is starting to make progress to the point that she can complete a roll without the assistance of a paddle float. For her it is just about putting all the pieces together to make the roll technically fluid. As I explained to her, there will come a time that the little "light bulb" will come on all by itself and the rolls will become natural.

But it all takes time and I'm back to square one on the opposite side. :-)

2013 Paddle # 11 - Crystal Pool Rolling Session
Distance: Zippo
YTD: 104.85 km

Monday, March 11, 2013

Going The Distance

This past Sunday Robyn and I joined up with 6 other Nanaimo Paddlers for a little (LOL) paddle around Satellite Channel that runs between Saltspring Island and the Saanich Peninsula. 

The freighter with Saltspring Island in the background, Portland Island
above the 3 kayaks on the left and Saanich Peninsula just above me.

Launching from Cherry Point we headed towards Saltspring Island passing one of the freighters at anchor waiting to head to Vancouver. Seeing these mighty ships from a distance really doesn't give you a true perspective to the size of them but once you are at an arms length away their size is staggering.

Making our way across to Saltspring Island

The water height marking on the freighter will give you an idea just how big it is. The top mark is 15.6 meters and the water line reads just over the 5 meter mark. So that's over 10 meters alone or almost 33 feet by the markings and then add another 30 feet or so above that. In simpler terms, almost as high as a 6 story building. Using my Marine Traffic App on my iPhone, this ship (Rapallo) is a bulk carrier under Malta registry and is listed as being 220 meters long by 30 meters wide coming in at mere 75,123 tons. Can you imagine seeing this bow coming at you doing 17.6 knots through the fog???  Holy Doodles!!

Arriving at Saltspring's Cape Keppel, we made our way with the ebb flow along to Isabella Islet which is a no access ecological preserve. Although it was enticing to have a break on the exposed tombolo at Isabella we chose to head across to a beach nearby on Saltspring. Our next stop on was Russell Island which is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (GINPR). During the "official" lunch break Robyn and I put our latest "gear head" items to use.

Made by a Australian company called Helinox, we spotted these chairs at MEC Victoria and Capital Island a couple of months back. The one thing we really missed last year while kayak camping was a chair that was awesome to sit in while reading or snoozing. At a mere 29 oz and all collapsible into the bag that I am displaying these are by far the best thing we have seen on the market. Set up time .... less than 1 minute!! They aren't cheap though coming in at around $95 but it sure beats sitting on a wobbly stump.

Reale, Joanne, me, Sheldon and Deb check out the
information sign at the old pioneer buildings
After lunch a few of us went for a little hike in our drysuits to visit the pioneer buildings on the other side of the island. Home to the summer care takers now, this was once the home of Hawaiian, or Kanaka settlers to the area. In 1997 the last private owners of the island sold it to the Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy which now has become part of the GINPR.

Beverley and Joan worked the beach for clams while we were on our hike.

Our little picnic area and shell beach on Russell Island was the perfect place to fuel up our bodies for the remainder of the paddle. And Boy .... what a paddle we had to left to do!

Leaving Russell Island the weather and water conditions were absolutely perfect for a high speed 3.5 km run across to Portland Island. Crossing one of the busiest ferry routes to and from Swartz Bay, Joanne monitored the marine traffic channel on her VHF so that we could hear which ferries were coming our way. The last thing we wanted was to get caught out in the middle of the crossing with a Spirit or Coastal class ferry bearing down on us. I managed to check my watch before we started the crossing and we reached the navigational marker on Portland Island in 26 minutes for about a 7 km per hour run or around 3.77 knots.

Robyn and I camped on Portland Island twice last year and it would have been so easy to just head to Arbutus Point and set up camp, but we didn't have our camping gear with us except our new chairs. :-) We paddled past Shell Beach and then started our final push towards our Cherry Point put in location 14 km away.

The group talking about the ferry crossings ahead of us. Our put in location is straight ahead 14 km in the distance.

Once again we had two more major ferry crossing ahead of us and we carefully listened and monitored our watches for departing and arriving ferries. The one thing about Swartz Bay is that there is no real published routes of ships as it all depends on schedules, weather etc. As a kayaker you really need to be aware in these areas but using common sense and your VHF radio it really shouldn't be an issue.

Crossing over to Piers Island we were getting close to the 4pm departure heading towards Tsawwassen and sure enough from the berth that the Spirit class was occupying it would be heading our direction. The group put it into high gear again and we made the crossing over to the Saanich Peninsula with lots of time to spare as I turned around and watched the ferry  lean through the turn at Arbutus Island.

I have to admit that the next 8 km of paddling was a test of our endurance and the ability to keep focus on paddle strokes to conserve energy but maintain a good pace. Being out in the middle of a long crossing gives you no reference points of speed and it felt like the put in location wasn't getting any closer at times. But sure enough I soon picked out the parking lot and our cars gradually went from just a line of something on the beach to individual vehicles. We sure are lucky that we didn't have to battle any head winds on the way back!

We landed at the put in 17:50 which meant that it was almost a full 8 hour day of paddling with a few rest stops. Another distance covered milestone for us at 30.71 km not including the hike around Russell Island.
Yes, I think the whole group felt pretty exhausted but rewarding to each of us. Thanks Nanaimo Paddlers for a great day on the water!

2013 Paddle # 10 - Cherry Point
Distance: 30.71 km
YTD: 104.85 km

Monday, March 4, 2013

Greenland Progression

We know Spring is really close when the Pedder Bay RV Resort opens for the year. We spent the weekend there with the Reaville's and did a little Geocaching in the hills around the area on Friday morning.

The "Geocachers" from the lookout over Matheson Lake and the Olympic mountains in the distance  across the Juan De Fuca Straight . From this viewpoint we could see both ends of this valley that runs between Pedder Bay and the Sooke Basin. On Saturday we experienced how the gale force winds would funnel through this valley towards our campsite.

It also meant Robyn and I got to head out into the bay a couple of times and play a bit with some loaner Greenland paddles (GP). For Robyn, it was her first experience with a GP so she used a Joe O Paddles cedar and I used a Northern Light carbon version. 

I really had no idea how Robyn would respond to using GP but it sure didn't take long before she was commenting how easy it was to be paddling with a "twig" compared to her euro paddle. That is probably the same thought that many paddlers experience when they first try a GP because from a visual standpoint they just don't look like they are designed to provide effective propulsion for a kayak. In fact after using one now for a couple of short paddles they are very effective and noticeably easier to maintain a constant paddling speed. Of course there are some subtle differences when using a GP for things like bracing, turning and sculling but it doesn't take long to adapt to using the full length of the paddle blades.

Robyn tries the Northern Light during a few brace turns.

We headed out to the crabbing grounds to drop our little kayak crab trap in hope that we would be having fresh Dungeness with our steak on Saturday night. After our deployment we crossed the bay and practiced a bit with the GP's in a little cove that has a narrow gap between a couple of islets. Here we practiced aggressive edge turns while we shot through the gap at almost full speed.

On our way back to camp we paddled by the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific which is home to the 2013 Pacific Paddling Symposium at the end of May. The college is an amazing facility and being so close to such diverse sea conditions it should serve the attending kayakers very well. We have booked our usual RV site at Pedder Bay RV Resort so we will be making the 5 minute commute by water. :-)

The boathouse at the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific.

Back at camp the Reaville's fired up their Margaritaville machine and the rest of the evening soon became a blur ..... for everyone! That is one bad machine ;-)

On Saturday morning I checked the weather forecast and it didn't look good. Predicted gale force winds around noon meant Robyn and I had to get out to our crab trap early to see what bounty might be. We used the Greenland paddles again and headed out with cobwebs floating in between our ears (BAD Margaritaville machine). Checking the trap we found only a single under size Red Rock crab that didn't want to let go of the crab trap. Remember the thought about fresh Dungeness crab for dinner? Well it did happen but we bought it from Jock's Dock instead!

Right on schedule at high noon the westerly gale force winds came ripping trough the valley between the Sooke Basin and Pedder Bay. Robyn and I were just coming past the college back to camp when the winds hit us head on. The water in the bay quickly rose to white caps with sea spray soaking us pretty good but we both commented how well the Greenland paddles performed in those condition.

Gale force winds (black line) from the Sooke Basin through the valley to Pedder Bay made for an interesting Saturday.

Back at camp I was surprised when Robyn said that she would like to get a Greenland. Talk about a quick convert over to the dark side or is that right side?? Time to get sized for a couple I say!  :-)

Friday Track

Saturday Track

2013 Paddle # 8 & 9 - Pedder Bay

Distance: 12.16 km 
YTD: 74.14 km