I spent the weekend at the VCKC on the Sea Kayak Level One course, and this past Saturday (May 5, 2007) I paddled with the club from Agate Beach to Glencoe Cove.
The course was a certified Paddle Canada course at the VCKC clubhouse. (This picture was taken from Kinsmen Park, directly across the Gorge. The clubhouse is in Saanich, on Gorge Road, the park is in Esquimalt):
I had taken some courses when I first bought kayaks in 1999 and 2000, and more last year and I had been on some club paddles, so I was able to take the Level One without first going through the more basic kayak course. Level One was useful in identifying the areas in which information from reading had not translated to practical knowledge. The course information and several wet exits and rescues in the Gorge underlined the fact that all the salt water around Victoria comes from the bottom of the North Pacific, and is cold all year. I had bought some immersion gear last fall but I did not use it well. I went out after the course and got a neoprene farmer john – cheap, prone to getting damp and sticky, probably smelly, but effective.
The instructor, Dave Giuliani was a great teacher – enthusiastic about the sport, knowledgeable, experienced as a a guide, a paddler and an instructor. He also did a talk and slide show at the club last Tuesday on the subject of the wildlife visible along the shoreline and in the water around Victoria. He doesn’t seem to Google up except in Club’s newsletter and a paddling magazine site.
The club paddle was a blast. We went into the wind on the way out and pulled out in a little cove just north of Glencoe cove. We had lunch on a beach surrounded by cliffs with cliff-top houses.
The first part of the club paddle was a moderate effort into a wind. Conditions seemed to get better just north of Glencoe Park, but it was starting to get rough when we came around the point. The winds were supposed to diminish in the afternoon, but they just got stronger.
The wind was behind us all the way back to Agate Beach – we basically surfed back. The waves and wind quartering from behind, had me corkscrewing. I landed with my rudder down – I had to fix that on Sunday- but I stayed out of the chuck. A couple of guys stayed in the water and played while others loaded our boats onto our cars.
Mike Jackson, the group leader put up some notes and photos, and the GPS track on his blog. (In his entry he thanks Tony and Neil for help. I am not that Tony. I stayed afloat and saved the other paddlers from the thrill of having to rescue me in the waves).