We are so blessed on Vancouver Island to enjoy a "Mediterannean" climate. The first week of January, and so much choice for outdoor pursuits - a paddle on the ocean, a trail run, a walk in the park, or a lap around the track. Even the intrepid "polar bears" amongst us could go for a quick dip! For times when you need a taste of real Canadian winter, well, we have that too. You just have to head up into the Island mountains - there's lots of snow, lots! And at the risk of sounding a little annoying to the rest of Canada, that's snow without the cold.
Logged the first paddle of 2010 a couple of days ago. We launched from Maple Bay and made a "beeline" for Saltspring Island. The water-saturated hills were releasing their liquid excesses in frequent waterfalls and streams that fell from the high rocky cliffs above us. The sound of water, both rushing and sprinkling, was a tonic. We came upon a baby "something", peeking shyly around a huge rock, and presumably under the watchful eyes of a parent who waited patiently for us to pass by. We honestly didn't know whether it was a young seal or an otter or a land-based mammal. Seals, in the water, however, played hide and seek with us and flashed their big, warm, golden-retriever eyes before slipping quietly under the water. Jellyfish, by the dozens, "chilled" just under the ocean's surface, their transparent parachute-like bodies gently pulsing and providing propulsion en route to who knows where. Multi-coloured Starfish appeared content to watch life go by from their static positions on the sea floor and along the submerged island coastline.