Fall and winter can be the best time to be in a sea kayak - shorter days means more opportunity to enjoy a special part of the day - the night. There are also a lot of cool ways to enjoy a Saturday night, and this has to be right up there! It's one of our favourite circuits - perfect if you don't have a lot of time, two and half hours including an on-the-water stop for a high energy home-made Logan Bar!
We launch at Maple Bay and paddle over to Saltspring Island which is a pretty quick three kilometres. There was a little breeze and some fun residual waves from the late afternoon. As we made the crossing, the line of sunshine on Saltspring's slopes quickly descended and then disappeared as we continued along the rocky shore to Erkskine Point and then back across the narrows to Grave Point on Vancouver Island.
Looking south into Sansum Narrows, the moon's waxing crescent, was rising in the sky and traversing the heavens in a westerly track - its moonbeams making the water sparkle and dance. Jupiter, just a neighbourly "stones throw" at 519.6 million miles away (as of tonight) was blazingly bright, high and to the left of the moon.
Paddling from Grave Point to Arbutus Point and back into Maple Bay was quite mystical with the "music of the spheres" blending with the breathing of the seals whose presence was heard but not seen in the darkness. Looking up into the night sky over our right shoulders, we saw the Big Dipper rising slowly behind Maple Mountain. - what a gorgeous and clear night to be out under the stars! By the time we touched the sandy shore of our launch site, the night air had chilled but our bodies were warm from the meditative rhythm of the double bladed paddles over the 13 kilometre circuit.
The best time of the day...can, indeed, be the night - especially on the water, under the stars!
Moonstruck, Jupiter-struck and starstruck all in one night. Thanks Cathy, for taking on the larger responsibilities tomorrow, and providing us a rare Saturday night...to just paddle.
D & J.
Important note: Paddling at night admittedly incurs greater risk than during the day. We take that fact very seriously and ensure both situation awareness and necessary equipment. We paddle in cold water immersion clothing and routinely have with us a marine VHF transceiver, two cell phones, a SPOT satellite messenger, and various signalling devices including an aqua strobe and several aerial flares. Night paddling is an awesome experience, BUT, it requires special care and attention.