Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nice And Easy from Telegraph Cove

By Mark Byrne

March 30th and it's hard to believe that this was only our 4th paddle for 2014. I for one am extremely grateful that we were finally able to get back onto the water after several months of health issues having kept me off the water recently. So after a whirlwind week of medical procedures and with the blessing from my doctor I felt good enough to put together a paddle plan for us and head out of a very relaxed paddle from Telegraph Cove today.

Photo by Robyn Byrne: Geared up and ready to start the sea trials.

Although the weather conditions were not absolutely perfect, we settled for the predicted possibility of showers and 15-20 knot SW winds that were arriving on the south coast around noon. Putting in at Telegraph Cove on the turn from ebb to flood we decided to hug the shoreline in the protection of the land from the wind and just explore a bit. The first thing that I noticed was that I wasn't getting short of breath like I had experienced on our last paddle. It was another "night and day" comparison that I have been having all week. Nice!

Photo by Mark Byrne: In flight playtime for a mature and juvenile bald eagle

Just before Finnerty Cove we came across two mature and three juvenile bald eagles that were busy chasing each other in the air or feeding at the waterline of the rocky islets nearby. Keeping our distance we managed to get some pictures of these majestic birds with our Fuji XP cameras and it also reconfirmed that we must invest in a good digital SLR for touring in the near future.

Photo by Mark Byrne: One of three juvenile bald eagles that we came across on our paddle today. 

Photo by Mark Byrne: Robyn with the Southern Gulf Islands in the distance ..... our camping home away from home.

Robyn and I discussed how I felt at this point and we decided to continue on course for Glencoe Cove which would be our lunch stop. As you can see by the photographs the showery weather turned to warm sunshine and the winds were no more than a breeze at this point. We landed at Glencoe Cove and settled down for a relaxing lunch and the first thing that came to both our minds was that it sure would be nice to be camping right now. With a bit of luck, that opportunity will come in the near future but for now it was great just being here.

Photo by Mark Byrne: Robyn arriving at Glencoe Cove

Just as we headed back onto the water after lunch the wind started to kick up pretty good and swung around directly from the south. This with the flood against us meant we would have a little bit of a work out paddling back to Telegraph Cove. It wasn't long before we paddling head on into +15 knot winds and I figured what better time to focus on my forward paddle stroke by using core rotation to get the most efficiency possible. Arriving back at Telegraph Cove I felt remarkable well and had no signs of being short of breath or being exhausted.

So it wasn't really a very relaxed paddle but it did provide us with some confidence that we are on course again to further adventures by kayak. Heck ... after last week I figured it would be another month before we would be paddling again. Yes ... I will take it easy and we will gradually build up our endurance and conditions /distances that we have done in the past. Robyn will make sure of that!

It feels great to be alive again!

2014 Paddle #4 Telegraph Cove To Glencoe Cove
Distance: 3.83 nm (7.09 km)
YTD: 20.15 nm (37.32 km)

Orca Harassment?

On the west coast of  Canada we have laws that simply state that orca are not to be chased or harassed in any way. The video below was taken couple of hundred meters off the coast of Auckland's North Shore. What do you think? Would you consider the actions of the SUP to be harassment?

Here in Canada the Canada the Be Whale Wise - Marine Wildlife Guidelines for Boaters, Paddlers and Viewers regulations require a minimum separation distance of 100 meters by watercraft and this applies to human powered craft like kayaks and SUP's. Sure there may be times when the orca approach a watercraft but at no time is the operator to navigate closer than the regulations allow.

Image by Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Funny .... New Zealand has similar rules and regulations noted by the  Department of Conservation. In fact their minimum closure distance is 150 meters for aircraft(?) but for boaters "common sense rules and regulations exist so as disturbance and danger are minimized."    So I ask you again .... Would you consider the actions of the SUP in the video to be harassment? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oil And Water. What Would Happen Here?

I have to admit that when it happened 25 years ago I was totally oblivious to devastation that the grounding of the Exxon Valdez had on the environment in Alaska. I was young(er), big business seemed to be the rulers of all things including irreplaceable habitats. Sure there were outspoken opponents to oil tankers but then again there had never been an oil spill like the Exxon Valdez before so close to home. It could happen again in our back yard. Can you imagine the irreparable damage if this was to happen on the BC Coast?

Check out the recent article by James Gerken of The Huffington Post for a stark reality of what we could expect if another tanker spill occurred.   

Image by John Gaps III/AP

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Gearing Up With Ocean River Sports

You know that spring is just around the corner when Brian Henry's Ocean River Sports Gear Up Sale is on. For over 30 years this popular event has been a great opportunity for paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts to take advantage of discounted pricing on their equipment needs for the spring and summer.

One of our favorite places to visit while downtown. Great staff make it fun to just stop by and say Hi.

The rain as predicted started to fall just as I arrived to get in line with all of the other "keeners" looking to score a bargain. Did I need anything to add to our personal "Gearhead" inventory? Heck no, but ya just never know when one might need another kayak to add to the fleet at home. 

Normally the doors to the sale open up right at 10:00am but Brian, always thinking about the customer decided to open the doors early to get the shoppers out of the elements. When was the last time you experienced something like this? 

Like always, there was lots of regular staff in red t-shirts on hand to assist the shoppers as well as a number of volunteers helping out in non retail areas. There were some great deals on products from Kokatat, Icebreaker Merino, Werner Paddles, NRS, North Water and Astral to name a few.

Even ensuring that crossing a sometimes busy Store Street to the parking lot was looked after with a crossing guard. Every year the parking lot transforms into the showroom for kayaks, surf skis, stand up paddle-boards, canoes and any products that need larger display areas. 

Just about every human powered watercraft was on display just across the street.

This year some of the manufacturers represented were Stellar Kayaks, Kayak (Boréal Design) Distribution, Delta Kayaks, Sterling Kayaks, Necky Kayaks, Current Designs Hobie Kayaks and Starboard SUP's. Whether you are a seasoned paddler or just wanting to get into the pastime, there was a good assortment of fiberglass / Kevlar, thermoform and rotomold products to check out. 

Those who know me including Robyn who was out of town, probably want to know what I bought right? Well let me tell you this ...... I think it might be a first for me to have walked out of Ocean River Sports without buying anything. Oh yeah, I was tempted. Besides .... the sale continues tomorrow and Robyn might want to go back with me. ;-)