Sunday, August 2, 2015

Double Day - James Island & Butchart Gardens Fireworks by Robyn Byrne

Earlier this year Mark and I committed the August 1st long weekend to helping our friend Gary lead a SISKA paddle to see the Butchart Gardens fireworks so it was a stay-at-home weekend for a change. We decided to kick it off by doing a bit of fishing and crabbing yesterday morning.

Getting ready to launch off Lochside Drive with the Anacortes ferry arriving into Sidney BC

We loaded up the Delta's (as we'd be using them that evening at the fireworks .  .  .  comfort being key) and we headed out to Sidney. Our plan was to put the crab trap down in a bay at James Island where we know there is crab. The tide was pretty low so we had a bit of a trek to the water's edge but the weather was perfect. Sunshine, calm waters, currents all in our favour!

Our first Dungeness catch .... and release :-)
After reaching James Island we paddled along the shoreline until we reached our destination. Mark put down the crab trap while I did a bit of buzz bombing. Before too long I had a flounder on my line!  A wee little one mind you but it was still fun. In the meantime Mark pulled up a beautiful Dungeness crab. Well over legal size and a male too. A keeper!  Unfortunately it was missing a claw and that's the best part of the crab so we took a photo and threw him back.  On the next haul Mark got a really nice Red Rock so we kept him.

Almost big enough for a single meal .... this one went back too.

Lunch stop below the high water line on James Island

By this time we were ready for lunch so we rounded the corner of James Island and headed back down towards the spot where the nice beaches are. Mark put down the crab trap and we found a nice spot to stretch out on the sand, have a bite to eat and enjoy the panoramic view of Sidney, Mt. Baker and the islands.

Now ... don't you fall down! 
Mark also practiced some of his rock balancing techniques while we were there. After lunch we got back in the kayaks, paddled over to the crab trap, pulled it up and .  .  .  nothing. Not a good crabbing spot I guess. We made a mental note.

Back at our put-in spot we pulled the Red Rock crab out of the kayak and he looked so sad. All alone. Not much meat for the two of us, lots of work to cook him. What to do?  We threw him back!

2015 Paddle #29 - James Island Deadliest (or not) Catch
Distance: 5.87 nm (10.87 km)
YTD: 248.06 nm (‪459.40 km)

At home we had time for some dinner before heading to Brentwood Bay to meet up with the SISKA group for the fireworks paddle. We were the first to arrive so we unloaded and carried our kayaks and gear down to the almost non-existent beach (the tide was up). As there were 16 kayakers on this paddle I tied our two boats onto a tree limb to make more room on the non-existent  beach. LOL Before long everyone arrived for our 7:45pm beach talk and we affixed a glow stick to the back of everyone's kayak for use when the sun set.

A gaggle of SISKA paddlers head out towards the fireworks show

We had 2 never-kayaked-before paddlers with the group so Mark put his Level 1 Instructor knowledge to good use and got the paddles turned the right way around and up before we all headed out of the marina. Mark took the lead and I was the sweep. We toured through the harbour and into the Butchart Gardens dinghy dock bay, then down to the end of the inlet for a group photo. We weaved our way through the dozens of anchored motor boats and yachts that had secured their spots for the night.

A group selfie of 15 plus me equals 16 accounted for and safe.

Time to find a place to view the show amongst all the powered pleasure craft.

Great fireworks selfie
Out group found the little strip of beach available for fireworks viewing. Although others were already there we managed to find room for the 16 of us and we munched on some snacks while we waited for the 9:45pm show. Right on time the fireworks started and it was a great performance as usual.

Lots of big booms and massive star bursts as ususal. Never a disappointment. 

Following the fireworks we all got into our kayaks, turned on our headlamps, navigation lights, whatever we had, and grouped up. It was really dark now!  Tough to see all 16 of us plus there were other kayakers around that made it confusing. Once we determined we were all there Mark lead us all over to the far side of the inlet (where the power boats couldn't go) and we slowly made our way back to our launch site.  We carefully dodged buoys, docks, anchor lines and dinghies motoring by.

Suddenly, closely behind us where we'd just been, there was a huge collision! A power boat had hit something!  It was too dark for us to see but it sounded like he hit either a dock or another boat. There was much commotion, yelling and lights. Although we were very concerned this was not a place for kayakers to be in the dark so we carried on and left the on site SAR and police boats to sort it out. When we reached our put- in spot there were ambulances arriving at the docks. Turns out two power boats collided and 7 people were taken to hospital. Be careful out there people!

Our little group had a great time and the newbies were very pleased.  The fireworks are a must see by kayak. We look forward to this paddle every year.

2015 Paddle #30 - SISKA Butchart Gardens Fireworks Paddles
Distance: 3.56 nm (6.59 km)
YTD: 251.62 nm (466.00 km)

No comments:

Post a Comment