Tuesday, January 05, 2010

First paddle...2010

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.

Winter paddling is very special. You rarely see anyone else which creates a heightened sense of aloneness and solitude. The rain soaked hills and mountains come alive with the sound of flowing water and the earthy smell of fertile woods and forest are a pungent treat to the olfactory system. The sun is low behind the overcast. There is a feeling of calmness as all of nature seems to be enjoying some kind of respite from "business as usual". All of creation seems to be taking a deep breath. Even the troubled world, for the moment, seems so distant, so far away...and I know that THIS is the moment to take a deep, deep, breath, drawing in the peacefulness and tranquility. It is a moment for thanksgiving, a moment for renewal, a moment for recommitment. It is a moment for gathering strength for the next moment in time and whatever it may bring.

In whatever way you can, in whatever space you can, I hope you will seek out and find such moments in this New Year...and draw them deeply within your being. Striving towards health and wholeness will bring peace within, and to those around us.

(Ocean) Pax,


Image: Duncan paddling his Current Designs Solstice GT with Saltspring Island to the starboard side and Maple Mountain, on Vancouver Island, to the port.


  1. Looks wonderful.Glad you got out on the water.
    Going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark each day doesn't allow one to enjoy the wonderful things that surround us.

  2. Hi Anon,thanks for dropping by. I understand very well what you're saying - very well. But at night, another world presents itself - so long as you're not too tired to take it in. Make sure you take care of yourself.


  3. "Snow WITHOUT the cold, hmm, that sounds like "virtual" snow! But then you do live on the "left coast"!

  4. Hey Gen,

    It's like your chinooks - virtual "left coast"!



  5. Hey Duncan.

    Another great entry. Can't say that I've Kayaked in the winter but the way you write, I almost feel like I have.

    "The water-saturated hills releasing their liquid excesses"; "the earthy smell of fertile woods and forest are a pungent treat to the olfactory system"; and my fave: "the sun is low behind the overcast".

    Not as good as actually being out on the water perhaps, but still a nice, deep, cleansing breath of fresh air.

  6. Really glad you were able to join us for the paddle, Rick! And for your very generous words AND being the fifth "caller", you've won an all-expense paid adventure on the water with the friendly folks from OCEANPAX! Of course, your spouse is included! Hey, and I'm serious!


  7. Oh oh. I just went from feeling all calm and serene to scared! What a wonderful offer! Thank you. I am definitely interested in taking you up on that (not one of those night time paddles though!). And I think I will need to do some more blog reading in preparation. Should have sufficient background by (when does it get nice and warm again?) say May.