Friday, December 31, 2010

The last paddle of 2010, and it was sweet...

High tide at the Maple Bay Rowing Club launch
Despite the "frigid", bone-chilling temperatures...

(I'll pause here until paddlers in most other parts of the country stop laughing...come on guys, it was minus 1 degree C when we launched - and this is Vancouver Island. Remember, our cold is a damp cold not the cushy dry cold that you have at minus 30 C! And hey, we don't all have dry suits - Joan says that I shouldn't be so overtly covetous about such things. I can't help it.)

...anyway, we paddled out of Maple Bay, just glad to be on the water on this second last day of the year. It was great to meet a couple of fellow paddlers on the shore, David and Richard, but they elected to head up to Ladysmith. Hey guys, I hope it wasn't something I said? ;-)

Joan out in front, Saltspring Island, Mt Maxwell, and Bourgoyne Bay (right)
Leaving Maple Bay we look out over Saltspring Island, the largest and most populated of our Southern Gulf Islands. Mt Maxwell is the second highest point on the Island, rising to around 595 metres - great panoramic views from the top!

Vancouver Island Arbutus tree dipping into the sea
Turning the corner, we head up Sansum Narrows towards Crofton, a nearby mill town. The arbutus trees reach down to the water, their full , green, leaves mocking winter (and, of course, the "frigid" conditions!). The Arbutus is the only broadleaved evergreen tree in Canada - it's pretty cool. Happy in the "Mediterranean" climate, they lose their leaves and red, flaky bark in the middle of summer. We have lots of them around our place, so yeah, we rake a bunch of leaves in late June.

Eagle...and "breakfast", on the fly
Paddling along, we spotted an eagle on the shore, chowing down (and that's putting it mildly) on "breakfast". Clearly, he decided there wasn't room for all of us in his seaside dining venue. He opened his bone-crunching talons, picked up the left-overs, spread his massive wings and lifted off - a rather "nasty" looking breakfast flowing in his slipstream!

There were a few folks out fishing (maybe crabbing?), and just enjoying this rare sunny December day.

The solar-powered  light at Grave Point
The crossing back home to Maple Bay
At Grave Point, we crossed the channel over to Erkskine Point, on Saltspring. The sun was low in the sky but the warmth felt wonderful! We paddled south to Maxwell Point and then back across the channel and into Maple Bay. A relatively brief, three hours on the water, but all in all, a great way to wind up the year - despite the "frigid, bone-chilling temperatures"!

Best wishes to all in this New Year to come!


PS The anticipated night paddle planned for yesterday came and went - with us warm and snug at home. The clear, starlit skies looked wonderful but the wind came up and it just didn't seem like a good idea. Ah, but there's always another day (or night).


  1. Totally jealous...looks like it was a great day to be out on the water. What happened to the night paddle?

  2. Gee Duncan, I don't have to go on the water to find it is bone chilling! It was -4 in my back courtyard this morning and my car was frozen shut. Raw, it is. -35 is much more comfortable, 'cause by then it is dry and invigorating :>)

    Wondering about your 2010km for this year?? I am watching, you know... Kind of cold to run the last couple of hundred??

  3. Hi L, yeah it got really windy and it was a lot safer to watch the trees swaying from home than trying to get on the water. Wind is always the really big factor to watch in these "little boats".

    Hi Sheila, Gosh, you're going to make the folks on the mainland think we're REALLY "soft" when it comes to the "cold". :) We certainly spent a lot of years in "real" winter but it doesn't take long on the Island to get used to the mild weather. Yeah, we won't make our running goal this this year but there's always next year. I find that just tracking such things is a huge motivator. Temperature is never an issue, even in minimalist footwear like VFFs.

    Thanks to both for dropping by...and happy New Year!

  4. PS To my last comment: Temperature isn't an issue in minimalist footwear at OUR temps here and so long as feet are not wet I find minus five or so fine - so long as feet are dry and it isn't icy (slippery).