Thursday, December 31, 2020

December 31st - Discovery Island (#101) and Mike's 2020 year of Paddling

Dan and I went for our last paddle of the year around our favourite islands. Conditions were excellent, which was a pleasant surprise after yesterday's wind and waves. I saw the usual suite of birds ( I love to see ancient murrelets at this time of the year. they are so cute!

One of the pear cactus patches on "cactus islet"

We ran into a couple of other groups in "cactus islet inlet" on East Chatham and had a nice chat. You can see from the track that we had a pretty good boost from the current as we went across Baynes 

I took an old Canon S1IS camera that I found was still working and had a waterproof housing out with me today as i want to have a camera ready to take pictures of some of the birds I see. It has a 10x zoom (400mm 35mm film equivalent) which may help me get some good ID shots. Here are few that worked out. Shooting telephoto from a kayak is tricky!

Glaucous-winded gull - click to enlarge

a group of glaucous-winged gulls - click to enlarge

some of the Steller sea lions off Seabird Point - click to enlarge

click to embiggen!

17 km, YTD 905 km

Mike's 2020 year of paddling

Due to being home in Victoria from March onwards, I managed to get quite a bit of paddling in, easily exceeding my more recent goal of 50 paddles and 500 km. I am happy with 101 paddles and 905 km. This is the end of my 15th year of bloging every paddle and the totals are adding up! Over 1400 paddles and almost 15,000 km logged. I am sure that having the blog helps me get out on the water more often than I might otherwise.

Year #Year# paddleskm totalkm per paddle

I hope to get lots of paddling in during 2021 as I am not expecting to get out on ships for a few more months.

Monday, December 28, 2020

December 28th - Discovery Island (#100)

Dan and I went for a Monday morning paddle to clear out the weekend's cobwebs. Conditions were decent with not too much wind or current against us. We also managed to find a short section of lumpy water at the top end of west Chatham to enjoy. The tide was high so we paddled "over land" at the top end of east Chatham Island!

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Birding was pretty normal, except that I am sure I saw a ring-billed gull on Chatham Island. The distinct black ring on the bill and brown mottling on the back of the neck seem to be diagnostic... My bird list:

It felt pretty good to have completed 100 paddles in the year ( with time for a few more!). I won't make 1000 kms, but I might make 900. Not too bad since my goal was 50 paddles and 500 km! :)

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15 km, YTD 888 km

Saturday, December 26, 2020

December 26th - Caboro Bay (#99)

I went for a quick afternoon paddle to test out the CD expedition after I had some repairs (gelcoat and rudder cables) done to it. All good - I thinkit is ready for an expedition next year! The water was a bit lumpy and I had to work a bit against a southerly wind, but it was good to get out. I did a 5 km circuit of the "inner bay" instead of my usual 8 km circuit around the "outer bay". :)

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5 km, YTD 873 km

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

December 23rd - Discovery Island (#98)

I paddled out to Cadboro Point where I met up with Paulo, Dan and Leslie for a paddle around the islands. Conditions were excellent with good views of Mt Baker and glimpses of the peak of Mt Rainier. The winds were less than predicted and the current did not cause too much hard paddling! I had to ferry a bit to cross Baynes channel on the return. I saw a good number (25) of bird species on the trip including quite a few ancient murrelets (one of my favourites - they are so cute!) in the middle of Baynes (both ways): 

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16 km, YTD 868 km

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

December 22nd - Cadboro Bay (#97)

I paddled over to the yacht club to join David and Jennie for a lovely, relaxed paddle around the bay. We chatted and birded as we went, seeing greater yellowlegs, Canada geese and killdeer in addition to the usual bunch ( ). I can't believe how different today was from yesterday! Sunny and calm versus windy, rainy and snowy. According to my weather station ( we had 67 mm over 800 minutes, which explains why the crawl space got wet and Hobbs creek was almost overflowing!

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11 km, YTD 852 km

Sunday, December 20, 2020

December 20th - Discovery Island (#96)

Dan and I went for a morning paddle as we thought we might avoid the forecast winds later. As it turned out the waters were quite lumpy and we had an exciting time crossing over to the islands. As you can se from the track, the current was a bit against us (ebbing) and that, combined with the wind, slowed us down considerably - especially between Cadboro Point and Flower Island. I saw many of the same birds today as I saw when doing the Christmas bird count yesterday from my boat, but I did not keep a count today! :) I just listed the species seen: 

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15 km, YTD 841 km

Thursday, December 17, 2020

December 17th - Cadboro Bay (#95)

I took advantage of a lull in the winds (mostly) to paddle around the bay. I was on the lookout for birds (preparing for the Christmas Bird Count) and had a pretty productive paddle:  The wind picked up a bit at the end but was not too bad. It was also good to take the F1 out for a spin!

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9 km, YTD 826 km

Monday, December 14, 2020

December 14th - Cadboro Bay (#94)

I went for an afternoon paddle and bird around the bay. Conditions were nice and I saw a good number of birds. 

birding while kayaking is a challenge as many birds seem to be spooked by kayakers and it is hard to get a good look at some birds...

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8 km, YTD 817 km

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

December 9th - Discovery island (#93)

 Dan and I went for a morning paddle around the islands. This was my third paddle around the islands in a week! It was a bit windier with a decent flood current, so we had to work hard around the south side of Discovery. Good birding again: black oystercatcher, black turnstone, long-tailed duck, harlequin duck, marbled murrelet, ancient murrelet, glaucous-winged gull, bald eagle, surf scoter and Pacific loon.

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15 km, YTD 809 km

Sunday, December 06, 2020

December 6th _ Discovery Island (#92)

Dan and I went for a morning paddle around the islands. There was a bit more wind and current than last time but not too bad. The wind was from the ESE, so we decided to head down between the Chathams instead of to the east side. I was almost caught against the rocks by a freighter wake but managed to stay upright and afloat! The birding highlight today was seeing several groups of ancient murrelets. One group was pushing a school of small fish to the surface and gulls were taking advantage from above.

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15 km, YTD 794 km

Friday, December 04, 2020

December 4th - Discovery island (#91)

Pete and I went for an afternoon paddle around the islands. We had great conditions, sunshine, no wind to speak of and little current! We ran into a couple of groups of paddlers out in the islands: Delcie and Edgar were there as was Paulo with his Friday group. The birding was good with pelagic, Brandt's and double-crested cormorants, long-tailed and harlequin ducks, buffleheads, black oystercatcher and black turnstone, bald eagle, glaucous winged gull, surf scoters and more. We also saw Steller's and California sea lions as well as harbour seals. We took a detour into the inlet in Chatham to look at the cactus patches on the islet as the tide was pretty high.

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16 km, YTD 779 km

Sunday, November 29, 2020

November 20th - Flower Islet (#90)

 Monica and I went for a short morning paddle around Flower Islet. Conditions were good with winds in the 5 knot range. We had nice views of common/red-breasted mergansers, hooded mergansers, buffleheads and Canada geese.

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4 km, YTD 763 km

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

November 19th - Cattle Point (#89)

I went for a late morning paddle out to the point and back. Still working on some bird ID, but I can confirm marbled murrelets, long-tailed duck, pelagic cormorant, bufflehead, hooded merganser and horned grebe.

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6 km, YTD 759 km

Saturday, November 14, 2020

November 14th - Cadboro bay (#88)

 I went for a quick morning paddle to avoid the predicted winds. Conditions were glassy to begin with but began to get windier by the time I had finished. By the time I went back to the beach later the wind had gone from ~5 kph to ~20 kph. I decided to take my binoculars so that I could check out some of the birds I have been seeing more closely. I got a good look at a horned grebe (I was not sure before whether what I was seeing was horned or eared). I also got a good ID on both marbled and ancient murrelets. You can see on the track where I stopped to ID birds! :) 

Bird list for the morning:

Bufflehead, harlequin duck, horned grebe, hooded merganser, pelagic cormorant, black oystercatcher, surf scoter, pigeon guillemot (watched one come up with a shrimp!), ancient and marbled murrelet, Bonaparte's gull, belted kingfisher

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7 km, YTD 753 km

Thursday, November 12, 2020

November 12th - prospect Lake (#87)

I joined a group of other SKGABC guides for a session on adaptive paddling by Clay. Clay introduced us to several of the tools and techniques used to get less able people onto the water. In addition we went for a paddle around the lake and we all got to practice Covid-friendly rescues. The only birds we noticed were several American coots.

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4 km, YTD 746 km

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

November 11th - Cadboro Bay (#86)

I went for a brisk afternoon paddle (Av speed 7.8 kph) to take advantage of calm conditions and the rain having stopped. Birds today included horned grebe, mew gull (distinctive white spot on the primaries and they were feeding on small fish at the surface), ancient and marbled murrelets, glaucous-winged gull, black oystercatcher, great blue heron, bufflehead, harlequin and hooded merganser.

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8 km, YTD 742 km

Saturday, November 07, 2020

November 7th - Discovery island (#85)

Dan and I went for a morning paddle out of Caddy bay. The winds were light when we started out but started to build from the NW. Fortunately, the currents were not too strong. We managed to avoid the strongest winds by paddling up the east side of west Chatham and then crossing Baynes at the top. Ironically, Baynes, known for its rough water, was the calmest place as it was in the lee of Ten mile and Cadboro Points. We saw a couple of male California sea lions who swam beside us for a bit and I saw more long-tailed ducks (in addition to all the usual suspects! 😃 ) 

You can see by the colour of the track what a difference wind and current make to my speed.

I also returned home to great news from the US!

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16 km, YTD 734 km

Friday, November 06, 2020

November 6th - Chatham Island (#84)

I paddled out to Cadboro Point to join a Victoria sea kayakers meetup with Paulo, Lesley, Julia and Ellen for a paddle around Chatham Island. What a beautiful evening! Clear skies and a beautiful evening light. On my way to Cadboro Point I saw my first hooded mergansers in some time and then as we neared Chatham I saw my first long-tailed ducks of the season. We were also treated to great views of Mt Baker and also Mt Rainier in the distance.

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13 km, YTD 718 km

November 6th - Trial Island (#83)

I went to McNeill Bay to paddle with Pete around Trial Island and over to Gonzales Point. It was a beautiful day with sunshine and weak currents. the tide was high so it allowed us to explore "new water".

Lots of marbled murrelets, pigeon gullemots, surf scoters, double-crested and pelagic cormorants, harlequin ducks and Canada geese!

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7 km, YTD 712 km

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

November 4th - Discovery and Chatham Islands (#82)

I paddled out to Cadboro Point to meet Dan and Paulo for a morning paddle around the islands. We decided to go around counter-clockwise for a change and explored some of the lagoons since it was high tide. We were also able to take advantage of a strong ebb as we paddled southwards in Baynes! A colourful track! We saw a good number of the usual birds: surf scoter, harlequin duck, glaucous-winged gull, double-crested and pelagic cormorants, pacific loon, belted kingfisher, black turnstone, bald eagle, great blue heron, a western(?) grebe, common mergansers and Canada geese. Due to the explorations, I managed a few more km than usual. In the lagoon at the NE of Chatham, we ran into the Wednesday group and chatted a bit. I was able to return a paddle I was trying out! It was good to see the prickly pear cacti (Opuntia fragilis) are still around on the little island in the lagoon! Recent rains have washed off most of the gull droppings at Sea Bird point!

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18 km, YTD 705 km

Sunday, November 01, 2020

November 1st - Discovery Island (#81)

I paddled out to Cadboro Point where I met Dan and Paulo for a paddle around the islands. It was a beautiful sunny morning with a strong ebb running when we started. By the time we were finished, it had weakened a lot. Nice view of Mt. Baker but a big cloud bank to the south blocking Mt. Rainier. You can see from the track plot that our speed crossing Baynes channel was much higher on the outward journey than the return. I also tested out a couple of Gearlab paddles. One was a shoulderless 215 cm one and the other a shouldered 220 cm. The result of the test: I much prefer the shouldered 220cm one.

We saw 6 Steller seal lions on the rock by Sea Bird point as well as hundreds of gulls. Most were glaucous-winged, but there were a handful of Heerman's gulls in the group. We also saw surf scoter, black turnstone, pelagic and double-crested cormorants, harlequin duck and Canada goose.

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16 km, YTD 687 km

Monday, October 26, 2020

October 26th - Discovery island (#80)

 I went for a nice paddle with my friend and also retired colleague Pete around the Islands. Conditions were pretty much ideal! Virtually no wind or current and you can see from the track we kept up a good pace. It was great to catch up with each other and share our joy in retirement! Freedom to fish and paddle! 😀 We saw lots of birds today: marbled murrelet, surf scoter, pelagic cormorant, bald eagles, black turnstone, surfbird?/rock sandpiper?, harlequin duck, black oystercatcher, pigeon guillemot, great blue heron and more. We also may have seen either long-tailed ducks or northern pintails, but I did not get a good enough look.

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15 km, YTD 671 km

Sunday, October 25, 2020

October 25th - Cadboro and Oak Bays (#79)

I spent a nice day instructing a group of five SISKA paddlers in the rest of a Paddle Canada level 1 course. Conditions were good. calm in the morning, a little afternoon head wind to test peoples' forward stroke! Everyone seemed to pick up extra skills and we had a great day on the water. There were some nice birds seen: a bald eagle eating while being pestered by crows, a grebe, a black oystercatcher, some killdeer, some black turnstones, pelagic and double-crested cormorants, harlequin duck, mew and glaucous-winged gulls.

Click to enlarge
10 km, YTD 656 km

Saturday, October 24, 2020

October 24th - Cadboro Bay (#78)

I taught part of the Paddle Canada Level 1 class this afternoon in the corner of the bay. It was a tad windy today and we were lucky to find a bit of a lee in the corner! We did some strokes (sweep and draw) as well  as stopping and assisted and self rescues. Everyone did well! It was pretty chilly! Winter is coming! :)

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3 km, YTD 646 km

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October 21st - Cadboro Bay (#77)

 I took the surfski out for an afternoon paddle around the bay. Conditions were nice and there was a decent ebb building in Baynes combined with a northerly wind. I saw a few nice birds: pelagic cormorant, mew gull, glaucous-winged gull, great blue heron, harlequin duck and bald eagle to name the ones I noticed!

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8 km, YTD 643 km

Sunday, October 18, 2020

October 19th - Oak bay (#76)

I led a SISKA relaxed paddle to Oak Bay. There were 13 of us including two assistants (Tony and Dorothea). Winds were gentle as we wended our way over to Oak Bay, around the marina and then to Willows Park for a lunch break. Some of us made use of the tea house for hot drinks! The visibility was not great in the drizzle but good enough to see Chatham and Discovery Islands and the Oak bay Beach Hotel. We saw a nice selection of birds including black oystercatcher. mew and glaucous-winged gull, harlequin duck, and black turnstone.

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10 km, YTD 635 km

Saturday, October 17, 2020

October 17th - Cadboro bay (#75)

 Jennie and I led two two-hour clinics, organized by Debbie, on edging and bracing for SISKA. We had good conditions though not so warm as it used to be! All participants made great progress in both edging and bracing. I saw some killdeer on the beach as well as flying over. It was nice to have been out paddling four times in seven days!

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4 km, YTD 625 km

Thursday, October 15, 2020

October 15th -Discovery Island (#74)

I paddled out to Chatham by my self to join the "Thursday Group" for a paddle around the islands. They set out from Oak Bay Marina. It was great to catch up with several friends and share updates. On my way out, I could just make out Mt. Rainier in the distant SE. It looks as if there is still a bit of smoky haze in the air down there. Later in the day, after lunch, it was barely visible. I saw Cheryl on one of the Islets between Chatham and Discovery and we had a nice lunch break at Rudlin Bay. This was my third trip around the islands in a week! So different from yesterday due to the lack of wind. You can see from the track that I got a good boost from the flood current on my way back into the bay. I parted ways with the group at the western tip of Discovery as they were headed back to OBM. There were a good number of birds around today: marbled murrelet, pigeon guillemot (both in winter plumage), black oystercatcher, harlequin duck, great blue heron, bald eagle Canada goose and I heard a common loon as I was paddling over, lost in my thoughts! Another great day on the water!

click to embiggen!
17 km, YTD 621 km

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

October 14th - Discovery Island (#73)

 Dan and I went for a morning paddle around the islands. It seemed as if there was going to be a bit of an ebb to start followed by a flood to finish, but it seemed like it was flooding all the time! also the wind was supposed to lessen over the morning but it built. all in all hard work heading around the south and west sides! You can see my speed was low on the south side!

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15 km, YTD 604 km

Sunday, October 11, 2020

October 11th - Discovery island (#72)

 I paddled out to Cadboro Point where I met Dan and Paulo (with his new to him, Greenlander Pro!). The flood had started and was going to max around 0930 and the winds were predicted to rise by noon or so. We fortunately avoided having to paddle into much wind and current and got a pretty good assist on the way back. The track plot shows this pretty nicely. There was a nice big Steller sea lion on the rock by Seabird point. Definitely fall conditions and no longer summer! :(

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15 km, YTD 589 km

Monday, October 05, 2020

October 5th - Cadboro bay (#71)

 I went for a quick afternoon paddle to drop off some freezer burnt crab bait into the ocean! It was nice to see how quick it was to decide to go for a paddle on the board, go and come back! 

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1 km, YTD 574 km

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

September 30th - Discovery Island (#70)

 I joined the "Wednesday group" for their paddle out and around the islands. Conditions were great, we saw a nice number of local shore and sea birds. Thanks Lynn for organizing! A bit longer than my usual due to some nice meanderings! The chain Islets were a tad smelly due to the guano! It was great to get out for a longer paddle after several weeks away on debris cleanup.

19 km, YTD 573 km

September 18th - Kitasu Bay (#68&69)

 I was able to get out for a couple of paddles in Kitasu bay as we were waiting for the helicopter to start our lifting operations as part of the #BCCoastalCleanup. The first paddle was a series of errands, checking in with other boats in the fleet and sharing data. I also went out to the tugboat to share data with them. The second one was a pleasure paddle, which started off well since I saw a Mola Mola almost as soon as I started paddling!

My second, pleasure paddle (3 km)

The first "work" paddle (5 km)
8 km, YTD 554 KM

Friday, August 14, 2020

August 14th - Discovery island (#67)

Dan and I went for an early morning paddle around the islands. Conditions were superb with no wind and glassy seas. The currents were basically with us the whole time so we were able to maintian a good pace throughout the paddle. 2hrs 15mins only, beach to beach. We saw murrlets, oystercatchers, guillemots and auklets to name a few.

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15 km, YTD 546 km

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

August 11th - Oak Bay (#66)

 I led a SISKA "light" paddle from Caddy Bay to Oak bay and back. There were four of us which made for a nice tight group and we noodled our way along the shore. fog came down around Cattle Point and stayed with us until after lunch. We saw black oystercatchers, greater yelowlegs, black turnstones, glaucous gulls, mew gulls, rhinoceros auklets as well as several harbour seals and a river otter. After the group paddle I did a quick run over to RVYC to check on my dinghy. There is a Hallmark movie being filmed at the club today!

13 km, YTD 544 km

Saturday, August 08, 2020

August 8th - SISKA paddle around Discovery (#65)

 Today I led a SISKA paddle out and around the Islands. There were 22 of us in four separate groups each with their own leader (thanks to Tony, Edgar and Roger). Conditions were fabulous for this paddle as there was virtually no wind. There was a bit of an ebb running but not so much as to make it difficult. We saw lots of seals (many making funny noises!) as well as quite a few bald eagles. We had a nice lunch in Rudlin Bay on Discovery Island and were all back by 2:15.

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16 km, YTD 531 km

Monday, August 03, 2020

August 3rd - Cadboro Bay (#64)

I went out for a quick spin around the bay before lunch. The surfski is definitely a fast kayak! Lots of people out on the water for this holiday Monday! Looking back from Cadboro Point it is nice to see Oak and Cadboro bays out in front of me all the way down to the Oak bay Beach Hotel and Gonzales Point.
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8 km, YTD 515 km

Saturday, August 01, 2020

August 1st - Cadboro bay (#63)

I went for an after dinner SUP paddle along the south shore of Caddy bay. This was to avoid the SW wind. It was very peaceful with few other boaters out. I saw several great blue herons feeding, belted kingfishers, river otters, a ruddy turnstone, Canada geese, and some unidentified shorebirds... I also checked out a few boats at the yacht club!
my track 
4 km, YTD 507 km

Monday, July 27, 2020

July 27th - Cadboro Bay (#62)

I went for a nice short evening paddle. Sunny and calm with good views of Mt. Baker but not Mt. Rainier. A few other paddlers out - mostly SUPers. made it to 500 km! :)
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6 km, YTD 503 km

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

July 21st - Flower Island (#61)

I went for an evening paddle around the bay on the surfski. It was a bit windy and I wanted to check if the seal pup was around. I chatted with my friends who had seen it on their beach, but it was gone this morning... who knows where. You can see that the SW wind slowed me down a lot crossing the bay from Flower ti "Island 7". I saw a few pigeon guillemots feeding in the bay.
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6 km, YTD 497 km

Monday, July 20, 2020

July 20th - Cadboro Bay (#60)

I went for a mid-afternoon paddle since it was so warm in the house. It was noticeably cooler out on the water. I could see Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker nicely and I also saw several great blue herons and a black oystercatcher. Stopped along the Ten Mile Point shoreline to chat with a few friends and encountered the cutest baby seal (still had its umbilical visible) - which may have lost it mother... :(
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8 km, YTD 491 km - should make 500 on the next paddle...

Sunday, July 19, 2020

July 19th - Gordon river/Port Renfrew (#59)

I went for a morning paddle in the inflatable Scamper to check out the channel at low tide. There was less than six inches of water in the main channel, so no heading out at that time in the C-dory! Lots of bald eagles about as well as one turkey vulture. It was nice to be out in the quiet misty morning. I also paddled around the marina to check out all the other boats! My track is shown aout 20 ft to the east of where it should be on the image - I did not padle through docks!
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4 km, YTD 483 km

Friday, July 10, 2020

July 10th - Cadboro Bay SUP (#58)

I went out a second time today, this time for a lesson from Sam at Gyro Beach Board Shop on paddling a SUP. She gave me a bunch of good pointers and I was definitely paddling more efficiently and straighter by the end. SUPing is growing on me!
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5 km, YTD 470 km

July 10th - Cadboro Bay (#57)

I went for a nice morning paddle around the bay on the surfski. There was a bit of wind from the S but not too much - overcast sky. Tide was medium-high and not too much current. I saw several black oystercatchers calling and flying around between Cattle Point and Jemmy Jones.
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8km, YTD 474 km