Saturday, August 16, 2014

SISKA James Island Energizer Paddle

It's been a busy couple of weeks since we came home from our west coast trip but I did manage to join the South Island Sea Kayak Association (SISKA) Energizer Paddle to James Island on August 2nd. Robyn was away for the long weekend so I offered to help paddle leader Gary Jacek who in turn allowed me to share the pace setter / sweep duties with Shannon Davis.

Photo courtesy AZCAF
Our group of 15 paddlers met at Island View Beach for the 10:00 am departure and while we were getting our kayaks and gear ready, a WWII B-25 bomber flew past us on a sightseeing flight. The B-25 named 'Maid In The Shade' was visiting Victoria as part of the Commemorative Air Force tour offering close viewing and flights in this classic 70 year old bomber.

What a beautiful morning. James Island in the distance and the WWII B-25 bomber 'Made In The Shade' on a fly past.

Paddle Leader Gary Jacek
Gary is an excellent paddle leader who prepares well in advance with safety being the number one priority of the paddlers who participate. For me it was a honor to help out in a minor leadership role for the first time as I am a future inspiring paddler leader.

Gary reviews the paddle plan with the participants.  "Let's see ..... great weather, CHECK" 

As the pace setter for the first part of the paddle I lead the group across Cordova Channel at a fairly quick energizer pace of 3.7 kts until we reached James Island. Just because it is called an "Energizer Paddle" it doesn't mean that the whole paddle should be done at a fast pace. SISKA's definition for an energizer paddle is for those that include open water crossings but after those segments have been completed then remainder of the paddle can be done at a more relaxed pace allowing the paddlers to explore the scenery.

James Island is privately owned by cell phone pioneer Craig McCaw and includes a 18 hole golf course, air strip, sea plane base and a small private marina. Although the island is privately owned and there are numerous signs posted indicating that there is no trespassing above the high water line, it is a great place to stop on one of  it's many sandy beaches for lunch.

Lunch break on the north side of the island below the high water line. 

The view north towards Sidney with Saltspring Island's Mt. Maxwell in the distance.

After lunch I assumed the role of sweep following the group to ensure that all participants were accounted for. In the case of separation of paddlers from the main group I would radio ahead to the pace setter (Shannon) to advise the group to stop allowing us to catch up. Our group was pretty good at keeping together which allowed me to explore a bit as well.

14 paddlers ahead of me ... all accounted for as we round the spit of James Island and head to our put in at Island View.

Heermann's Gulls (grey) with their distinctive orange beaks gather on the spit with other gulls 

We paddled back across Cordova Channel to Cordova Spit and followed the shoreline back to Island View Beach allowing the ebb current to pull us along. It was a great day for circumnavigating James Island and one of Robyn and my favorites to do in the early evenings too!

Island View Beach across Cordova Channel

2014 Paddle # 34 SISKA James Island Energizer
Distance: 9.14 nm ( 16.92 km)
YTD: 211.45 nm (391.59 km)

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