Monday, March 28, 2011

Changing Plans

Sometimes the smart thing to do is to throw out the plan. Sunday we'd planned to do a one way paddle from Weirs Beach to Becher Bay. One way trips are unusual here in Victoria. Out and backs are easy to plan and execute. Out and backs also seem to fall into clock management. Even with it's high number of retirees people in Victoria like most others are covered by the clock.

For this trip we threw out the clock and planned to paddle the tides. We hoped to ride the ebb winds all the way. Unfortunately the wind conditions warranted a rethink and we tossed out the plan and launched from Becher Bay marina headed out to the DND property then retraced our path back to the marina.

Becher Bay is a wonderful destination and I'm surprised it's not on more peoples top list of sites to paddle around Victoria. Lots of rock gardens to play in,especially on the east shore. In fact I'll be repairing nice gel coat hole later today.
It was a great day to be on the water. We covered 6.64Nm out top speed was 5.9 Kt, we paddled 2hr 23 min, with a moving avg of 2.8 kt.s and stopped to 1hr 20 min. which reduced our overall avg spd to a breath taking 1.8 kts.  Stopped time and overall averages are essentially useless bits of information as the stop time includes everything from the time I turn the GPS on when loading until the time I remember to shut it off.  Usually one of the last things I do after returning home. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Race Rocks

It was a perfect day to visit Race Rocks and play in the current. We launched from Weir's Beach onto a 6.2 ebbing freight train. In very little time we made Race Rocks. This was one of those rare days of no wind. So when we raced the tidal over falls there were no standing wind waves - just lots of chaos.

Most of the action was happening at the South east corner of the islets.You can get a good sense of how we knocked about in the over falls from this second image.

Even without the wind there was lots of wave action to keep you focused. The odd low brace was required, my face got washed more then once, and I even got slammed sideways in the chest from a blind side that shifted the entire kayak about two feet. It felt like I'd been hip checked during a hockey game.

After knocking about we made our way around the main island where someone emerged to video tape our delinquent behaviour.
 We then slipped over to Bentinck Island for lunch then made our way back to the put in. Trip 10.1Nm Max Spd 7.8kt Mov Time 3hr 11 min. Mov Avg 3.1 kt Stopped time 1hr 42 min Overall avg 2 kt.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ides of March

Tuesday was a great day to be on the water. We started off with a nice bit of south east swell being pushed along by a dying SE wind. Maybe 15 knots. Earlier in the morning the wind was blowing 22 knots at the Discovery Island light house.

When we slipped out of Rat Bay into Enterprise channel we were met by some metre high waves. Both Dan and I were hoping things would build but for the most part conditions remained the same for most of the day. There was a minimal flood flowing for the first half of the trip and we'd hoped the sea might start to rock and roll as we came back down Baynes and through the Chain Islets but other then the current push not much happened.

That is until we turned west to re-enter Enterprise Channel. Here the swell caught us from the aft port quarter but for the most part was running too fast to catch any meaningful rides.

we travelled 9.25Nm with a max speed of 7.8kts. Our moving time was 3 hours, our moving Avg speed 3.1 kts, our stopped time 1hr and 34 min and our overall avg was a whopping 2kts.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tall Tales

Last week I mounted two cameras to the deck of the Romany and headed out. A WP10 Pentax facing forward mounted on the port quarter fired still shots every 10 second for a total of 250 pictures.

After a reset it fired another 250 and from those just over thirty were uploaded to the slide show that can be found in the right hand column of this blog. I'm going to try this experiment again only with the camera offset to shoot about thirty degrees to the left. Otherwise there's too much bow in the photos.

The second camera was a HD FLIP in a water proof case mounted on the right forward quarter deck and pointing aft. Both cameras were mounted with suction cups. A Ram held the larger Flip camera and a Fat Gecko held the Pentax. The Gecko cost about $50 at London Drugs. I highly recommend it. The FLIP shoots remarkable digital. Very clear. It's much larger then a GoPro but might be worth it if you want to become a video mogul. It comes with an extension arm and is more articulated.

With the Flip pointing aft it mostly captured the motor. In this case I hired a local actor to play the part of Victoria Kayaker. As you can see it wasn't a total success. The guy kept going out of character, isn't nearly as good looking as he thinks he is and simply refused to use a high angle paddle stroke.

He kept winning, "The paddle gets in front of my face." And when I did get him to raise his hands he kept smacking the cameras when he put the paddle in on the catch.

To cap it all off, he kept going off script and to relate these goofy stories.

I've fired him. Judge for yourself. But will attempt a re-shoot. Hopefully the next endeavour will result in a little more action.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tuesday Last

Got out for an afternoon paddle over to the Discovery Islands just off Oak Bay last Tuesday with my good friend Dan. After a few hours we were joined by Mike who had escaped the class room for a short recess.

I've no GPS track of the trip, my batteries died, but I did experiment with a couple of cameras mounted on my deck. I also field tested a temporary repair to a leaking skeg box. That effort failed as well. Still the results have put me on the right track - Gel-coat will be required.

As for the camera's I mounted a high definition Flip camera on the foredeck facing stern to capture pictures of the motor. Unfortunately the person playing the part of the engine was a complete bore and will be sent off to study some method acting techniques at the William Shatner school of drama.

I mounted a second still camera on a suction cup stock outbound on the starboard bow quarter side of the kayak. My intention was to capture pictures minus the bow of the kayak. I had mixed results here as well. I failed to consider the width of the camera lens and as you will see the bow figures prominently in many of the shots. I will retry in the future when I'll simply point the camera further off centre. I should get some dramatic images in rough water.

On Tuesday the camera was set to snap a picture every 10 seconds for a total of 225 shots. By the time I got onto the water the tide race in Baynes channel had run its course and we were surrounded by flat water. I reset the camera after Mike joined us and shot another 250 pictures.

When I got home I attacked the stack of photos and ruthlessly edited out about 475 pictures. Digital photography has a big advantage. The resulting pictures on on the adjoining slide show. I hope you find them interesting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Madness

The camera and mount was tucked away warm and dry in the day hatch because today was going to be a flat water paddle. Problem was someone forgot to tell the ocean. Dan and I launched from Rat Bay just at the tick of 10 AM.

Our plan was to paddle north east cross Mayor Channel, through the Chain Islets, cross Plumper Passage, then up between the Chatham Islands, then drop back to the south east round Discovery and head back to the put in.

We had a falling flood tide running at 1.2 knots (Race Rocks) against what was suppose to be a South East wind between 15 and 25 knots. The wind was more out of the east and maybe between 10 and 15 knots. Which was a good thing.

As soon as we poked out into Enterprise Channel from the shelter of Rat and MacNeill Bay it was clear the forecast and sea state was a little wobbly. We ploughed into some significant swell pushing against the constricted flood moving through Enterprise. The wind having pushed the swell all the way from Whidbey Island was greeting us with some significant waves.

Anyone who's paddled this area when the seas are running out of the south east knows the waves really start to stand on their heads as they wash over Mouat Reef. True to form we found some three and four metre waves between Mouat Reef and Gonzales Point.

After punching through we discussed our plan and decided maybe going around Discovery wasn't such a good idea. We held to our plan, but instead of swinging south east at the top of Chatham Island, we turned west and rounded Strongtide and raced south west with the now ebbing current and East wind pushing us along.

On the return I don't think our speed ever dropped below 4.5 knots and after breaking out past the Chain Islets on the return we never dipped below 6 knots.
Although the entire paddle was great fun this is where the madness really got it's hooks into us.

With the swell coming in straight out of the east on a bearing of about 290 the waves were breaking in toward the golf course between Gonzales Point and Turkey Head. Surfing straight down the fast moving waves would give us a short momentary ride but in the wrong direction.

Without communicating our intentions both of us instinctively started to side surf the waves. We lifted our right knee and let the starboard side of the kayaks just bite into the waves. We set up a long ferry glide by pointing our bows at the light house at the south end of Trial Island. Doing this allowed us to surf forward from one wave to the next. I think I only climbed the back of a wave a half dozen times between the Chain Islets and Gonzales. Speeds here were over a sustained 6 knots with a max speed of 7.6 knots off one wave by rocks just west of the point. Not bad for a slow NDK Explorer.

It's been my experience that a lot of boats are faster then the NDK Romany and Explorers on flat water. But when things get rough the confidence that NDK kayaks give the paddler enables them to power forward leaving a lot of those flat water flashers behind. One exception to this is the Tahe Marine. I've no doubt that Dan could sink me like a stone should he wish. Then again it might be the engine.

Stats: Trip 8.71Nm, Max Spd. 7.6kts, Moving time 2 hrs. 37 min. Moving Average 3.3kts. Stopped time 1 hr. 26 min. (Dan talks a lot)