Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday!

I'm clearly doing something wrong. Here's a couple of photos of gifts my wife gave me for my Birthday.
Item 22057 as you can see comes from the distant and exotic middle kingdom more commonly called China. It appears to be a box stuffed with tissue paper and this.
I invite all to speculate on what this is.

My wife very thoughtfully bought me flowers. Yellow daisy's. I believe those are the flowers you give to acquiescences, invalid ladies, and to employees who are leaving but not soon enough. We opened a bottle of bubbly had a piece of fantastic cheese cake and curled up. Her on the couch with her iPad, which she got from another man for Christmas, and has not put down since, and me with item number 2 above in the seldom used love seat.

Later I was informed it's a spray skirt. Lovely.

Tuesday I'm hosting the, "My spouse has an iPad support group." I'll be serving left over cheese cake and everyone goes home with a daisy and one very lucky attendee will get a special door prize.

Sooke Inlet

Sooke Inlet is a fantastic place to kayak. Traditionally it has been a wild west coast style of paddling destination. It can be extreme, unforgiving and remote.

Alas the remote part is being encroached upon by the gradual development of homes in the Silver Spray real estate project at the end of East Sooke Road.
Luckily the building has not really affected the views. At the rate the houses are going up it will be years before the landscape is greatly altered. The two exceptions are the lame and future optimistic "marina," and the fictional fresh water treatment plant.

Yesterday I got in a short paddle with my sister in law Robin and her friend Joan from Prince Robert out along this coast. It was one of those maritime days where squalls would blow in, out, and then blow back in. We managed to squeeze our paddling into the gap between two of the squalls. Currents Race Rocks Turn 1008 Max 1519 -4.6 Just as we finished the predicted afternoon gale winds arrived. Trip 4.04 nm Max speed 7.9 kt in the standing waves off of Whiffen Spit, Moving time 1h 33 min. Temperature -3 to +6 Wind west 10 to 15 rising to 20 to 35 in afternoon. Tucked in tight by the fire when the winds started driving the rain straight into the windows. Nice to be warm with a cupa tea.

Check the adjoining slide show for more pics. Best viewed on a full screen.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

White Water Wednesday

As you can see there was a lot of white water around Victoria today. So much so that many simply stayed home. I had thoughts of getting in a quick hour or so before going in for work.

However, I pulled the kayak off the roof. Swept most of the snow away and headed off early so as not to be late for work. This is what the road looked like at the corner of Ash Road and Mount Doug.

Six of the crew called in to say they would not make it. It made for a busy day at the airport but all but a few plans got out on schedule. Tonight's low is -7 and the high for tomorrow will only be -1. So I think I'll just go for a walk in the snow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday out to Trial Island

Sunday saw us to Trial Island for a short paddle. My good friends Mike and Dennis met me at the Oak Bay Marina having paddled down from Mikes house up in Cadboro Bay. Launching at Oak Bay made for a short paddle but there where things to do at home.

Unfortunately my problems with GPS navigation continue. This time I'd forgotten to reset the unit from my last outing. I discovered my mistake when I looked at my maximum speed and it read 6.4 knots. Whoa! I wasn't even paddling and the max ebb was only 4.5 knots. Of course the reading was from my tide race excursion with Dan from earlier in the week.

Out at Trial we stopped to say hello to the Lighthouse keeper only to find a temporary keeper looking after things while the full time keeper gets some R&R. This was her first ever lighthouse posting. She was getting a little worried about running out of supplies. The tender was out of service so she was waiting for the Coast Guard helicopter to bring her resupplies.

Seems odd having groceries delivered by helicopter to an island that's less then a mile off shore from Victoria. I guess it would be to dangerous to deliver the groceries via boat. Or perhaps the Coast Guard has more flyers then sailors.

Back at Oak Bay we discovered a neat little hover craft floating on a raft anchored just off shore. Mike snapped a few photos. My camera was uselessly stored in the hatch. At the boat ramp where I'd put in a guy was pulling an old flat bottom wooden skiff up the ramp. It looked like hard work, so I waited until he appeared to be finished, then offered a hand. Timing is everything. I was afraid he might be pulling the thing down the side walk into Oak Bay Village. But luckily he had arranged to be met by a friend with a pick up truck.

I quickly looked the boat over and estimated it weighed about 500 pounds. I figured if I rushed I could be loaded and gone before the truck arrived and could avoid the effort of grunting and straining to get the thing in the back of the truck.

I hate being rushed but I got away clean.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shackleton's whisky

What fools we mortals be.Take a look at this bit of folly. Just click on the above headline and read. Can you believe the scientific community.

What sort of fools would leave perfectly good whisky on a frozen lump of rock. It must have broken Shackleton's heart to leave this stash behind but he was a man with visionary leadership and knew what had to be done.

And now his heart must be breaking all over again. Two, that's right "two", cases of whisky were left behind along with a case of fuel oil called brandy.

Surely to God there are some intrepid kayakers out there that are prepared to mount and expedition to correct this oversight.

The remaining cases should be recovered and used to toast Shackeleton on the anniversary of his crews safe return until the last drop is gone.

The celebrations could be held at the Royal Society in London. Those toasting could be chosen by an international lottery. That would be in keeping with Shackeleton's belief in a meritocracy. Well at least everyone could have a go at a wee dram.

Best of all the whisky would not go to some gob with a snoot full of money which is what those money grubbing New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust types seem to have in mind for the case they recovered.

Think about this. There's 624 rounds of one ounce each in two cases. A proper toast requires two drinkers so the event could be held for the next 312 years before the whisky runs out. Say lottery tickets cost $10 each and each year you sold 10,000 tickets around the world. That's a $100,000 a year for 312 years for a gross of $31,200,000. The two winners could be flown first class to London from anywhere in the world and put up in the Savoy each year and the earnings would still be insane.

There might even be enough to fund the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust for a couple of seasons. Perhaps some of the money might even fund some meaningful scientific work in the polar region. If the NZ types can't see the logic in this I hope the residents of King Edward Point go for a walk about, dig up the remaining cases, and start the lottery.

And as for sending bottles to Canterbury. Good lord, doesn't anyone remember the closing scene in Raiders of the Lost Arc. Kiss those bottles good bye. The best that can be hoped for is for some janitor to discover them, drink the contents, and refill the bottles with tea.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Early Morning in Baynes

Brrrrrrrrr! The east wind was blowing cold mountain air straight off the Cascades. Launching from Smuuglers Cove or Maynard Bay means you don't get a warm up in before you're right in the midst of the tide race.

Today Dan and I got down to the beach at 08:30 and were on the water just before 09:00 We moved faster then usual just to stay warm. As it was I quickly lost dexterity in my hands as I tried to tighten my hood and had to have Dan help out. Pogies saved my hands.

Out on the water I estimated the east wind was blowing between 20 and 25 knots. The current was ebbing at 4 knots. At the far side of the channel a fishing boat must of been practising rough water piloting as it kept pulling up through the race then would back down into it again. Much the same way as we normally do.

Today there were some very large standing waves just off the Cadboro Point light. We opted to surf the waves a little further to the north-east. Wish I'd had the Romany Surf as the HV Explorer cannot match the shorter boat in the surf zone. Dan got in some good rides but we were both cold and gave up on the surfing and opted to swing down below the light.

South of the light we were surprised to see the standing waves were only two or three sets deep. It may have been because the water was so low, or because the wind was primarily out of the east and not the normal southeaster.

From there we ferried over to the islands and climbed up through the diminishing ebb in the Sluice. By the time we poked out above Strongtide Island the current was dropping fast. Luckily for us the wind was holding and we quickly ferry glided back across to the light and into the cove. Dan finished with some rolls while I wimped out, my hood wasn't tight, and only did some braces. Man I was cold.

We had the boats back on the cars and were off. I even managed to make it to work on time. Total distance 3.46 Nm. Ma speed 6.4 knots. Moving time 1 hr 26 min. Moving avg 2.4knots. Over all average 2.3 knots.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I'd like to kill the person who invented GPS. A compass I can understand but apparently GPS is beyond me. First up on a "simple Etrex Legend Hcx", there are six buttons each of which is capable of 4,222 different operations. Yea like I'm going to remember all this crap. Here's a tip if a company uses more then 10 letters from the alphabet to name the product - it's a safe bet you don't want it.

MEN buy C A R S and T R U C K S. They don't buy, "Nissan 4Runners 4X4 V6 BS Extend Cab Hybrids XLC,TDI,SLR,SOBS. Those things are bought by focus group weenies.

So far I've saved possibly four different tracks from four different kayak trips I have recently made with this GPS. Or maybe not. Two of these I have successfully loaded onto Google Earth and published here. I think the other two have been up loaded to Google Mars. Being a potentially dry planet I'm rather proud of that achievement.

I have also down loaded two GPS mapping programs. One has a 13 page Tutorial written in an Ozie Greek dialect that is only spoken on Ratatunka. The others junk.

Don't be mistaken I'm not giving up on this.

Tomorrow morning after the sun has come up I'm climbing over the back fence and retrieving the GPS from my neighbours back yard. I'll strap it to the deck of the kayak, drive down to the ocean, go for a paddle, come home and attempt to upload some info and just like that my heart rate will go up and my blood pressure will peak.

But that's all good because I got the damn GPS to help be get my heart rate and exercise quotient up. Look at that speed 4.2 knots lets go for 4.3 So it's all good. Sort of. Oh by the way I paddled 9.78 nautical miles in 2hrs and 52 minutes, with a max speed of 5.5 Kts, an average speed of 3.4 kt and although it was a calm day with little current managed to gain 56 metres in elevation which is apparently how high my house is above sea level.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Back to Baynes Channel

Sunday I met up with Mike, Dan, Paulo, George and a new friend Gerhardt. We paddled out to Baynes Channel and then over to Discovery Island. On the way we came across a wonderful site. Two kayakers basking in the excitement of a great morning paddle.

When we arrived at Cadboro Point Yves and Patty where on the shore. Yves was jumping up and down like a little boy shouting in his French Canadian accent, "you should have seen it, the waves where huge". He and Patty had arrived and launched from the adjacent Smugglers Cove at 8:30. They got into the tide race at it's peak. If you ever meet Yves his enthusiasm and charm will win you over in a flash and you'll have made another friend.

It didn't take long for the old hands at Baynes tide race to get excited and soon Yves, Patty and all but, Mike and Gerhardt were back into the race to surf the waning waves. Gerhardt was trying out one of Mike's skin on frames so kept everything cautious as he sorted out the handling.

It was great fun to see all the kayaks out in the race. Wish more locals would push their skills and test themselves out here even if it does mean it'll get crowded. Eventually I came back in and hooked up the camera to take some shots. I missed most of the best of the action but click on the headline to view the entire photo set. I set the camera to take 160 pictures, one every 10 seconds.

East Sooke Park From Becher Bay

Last Tuesday found Dan, Heike, and myself surfing our way out to Juan De Fuca Strait, down along the East Sooke Park shoreline to the old Trap Shack. What a glorious day. We launched from the First Nations Marina and had a favouring wind and ebb to carry us out. Once passed Beechy Head the shoreline is truly amazing. On Tuesday we had just the right amount of swells to ensure we could have a lot of fun without a lot of worry or tension. Make no mistakes out here as there's only two possible pull outs between Becher Bay and Sooke Basin.

Click on the head line to see the entire photo file or click here.