Monday, June 24, 2013

Nanaimo's East Sooke

Yesterday I joined the Nanaimo Paddlers for an outing along East Sooke Park playing in the rock gardens.  Robyn unfortunately couldn't make the paddle due to attending a bridal shower but being a guy I wasn't required to attend. LOL Sorry Honey :-)

I was eager to get back on the water after sort of being "beached" by the doc for a couple of weeks. I can't remember when I (we) didn't take to the water for this long and it was refreshing to get back into the cockpit again to see if my "tingling" feet would resurface again.

I met the other 10 kayakers at Whiffen Spit for an 11:00am OTW time but due to various pieces of mandatory equipment "forgets" the paddle didn't get underway until around 11:30 when replacements were found at the local kayak shop for rent. Actually it was quite funny as not only were a few PFD's were missing but also shoes and a helmet too! Some familiar faces were in the group as it was great to see Patti and Yves of Go Kayak just out for a day of fun as well.

Of course with the "Super" full moon this weekend that meant for super tides and you guessed it right by the picture below ..... the tide was waaaaaaaay out there when we put in. Although the forecast was for 5 - 15 from the west (which it didn't) with cloudy conditions with a chance of showers (which it did) it was actually pretty humid when we got under way. Only for the fact that we were rock gardening I chose my dry suit just in case that I ended up in the water seeking the edge of my sense of humour challenge.

It's not often that I have launched from the second kelp bed at Whiffen Spit LOL

The group crossed the entrance to the Sooke Basin and we casually started to explore some of the nooks and crannies that the low tide had to offer. There were several really good challenges available but due to the low tide it would have meant portaging them and that's not we came out for. Still it was a good time working on some of the stroke skills that I learned during a busy period of training in May and June.

The one thing about East Sooke Park is the limited number of places with a beach that is easy to land upon especially with the number of kayaks we had on the  paddle. Since we launched a little bit late we decided to stop at Iron Mine Bay on the tombolo between the little island just off shore. Robyn and I have been here once before while hiking the park trail and located the geocache that is on top of the island. I took the opportunity this time to get a few pictures of the group from high above during the lunch break. 

From the top of the island there was a great view of Secretary Island which we decided to head towards on the way back to Whiffen Spit.

Secretary Island in the distance.

After lunch we headed east exploring some of the shutes and exposed islets that became our "fun zone" for the day. There wasn't much of a surge happening but every once and a while the waves from a passing boat created a bit more fun for the group.

On the way back to Whiffen Spit we decided to paddle out to Secretary Island as the flood was just starting to show itself in the form of tide rips on the east side of the island. As we got closer to the island we noticed a number of whale watching boats very close by and sure enough there were orca in the area. Having fished in this area, the flood tide rip on the SE side of Secretary can really churn up the sea and the orca looked to be hunting for salmon on the eddy line on the far side from us.

Yves and Michael decided that it was time to surf the tide race and they had a blast while I watched them and the orca in the distance. I had my GoPro recording during the whole time hoping the orca would cross the tide rip towards us but they stayed on the outside. I did however get some video with glimpses of dorsal fins and a few full breeches but nothing worth posting here. Still on the bucket list .... kayaking with orcas real close up!

Heading back around Secretary towards the Sooke Basin there was a smaller tide rip that allowed for a few minutes of challenging water and surf waves to ride on before heading to the shoreline. Yves just couldn't resist the urge to head back to the larger rip with Patti and Reale for a second run. I stayed back and waited for them while the rest of the group made the crossing to the put in location. By the time the surfers came back to me the flood was almost over which made for landing back at the beach much better at high tide. Oh yeah .... note to self. When beaching my kayak make sure it is level otherwise I'll end up in the water like I did. Good thing I had my dry suit on. Sense of humor failure! LOL

2013 Paddle #39 - Nanaimo Paddlers East Sooke
Distance:  7.45 nm (13.79 km)
YTD:  212.63 nm (393.79 km)

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