Sunshine and Blue Water

On Sunday, I joined the Sunday Paddle, a tour run out of Pacifica Paddlesports. I had a wonderful day. I should have done this weeks ago. The conditions were great. On Saturday, we had gale force winds down in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It was windy again this morning, and we hit a day in between, with relatively light winds, and a clear sky. Unfortunately, I left the camera at home. Next time I will take it in a Pelican box.

We put in at Island View Park and paddled out to D’Arcy Island. There was tour leader, Peter, and Mary Ann who seemed to be with Peter, and Jason, Brent, Linda and I. Linda and I had our own boats. Jason and Brent were in rentals or demos. The trip was about 6 k as the crow flies, crossing an ebbing tide, and then around the island into a sheltered bay where we put in for lunch and short hike. The island is a marine park within the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. It was the site of a quarantined leper colony. There are some camp sites with a pay on trust box for camp site fees, a privy and a few picnic tables. At that point we were within a couple of clicks of the border which is in the strait east of Sidney and D’Arcy on the map. The big island on the right of Sidney and D’Arcy on the linked map is San Juan on the US side. We came back by heading through the channel between D’Arcy and little D’Arcy, which had a mild tidal current, and across to Sidney Island, running into a little tidal turbulence in the strait. Then it was across to James Island and back to Island View. The return was longer than he trip out. We started around 10:30 or 11:00 and back around 3:30. There were kelp beds, seals, dolphins, cormorants, assorted sea birds, a blacktailed deer fawn on D’Arcy, some yachts and big power boats, and one jet ski near the beach. Most of this was good.
High point of the day came from Linda. She had arrived a little early, and then we had to wait for Peter, who was a little late. We talked a little between getting our boats down and our gear unpacked. She had the idea of getting a kayak for years, and things came together for her this spring. She has a kevlar Nimbus Cygnet. She wanted something light so she could manage on her own. She is a short fit woman. She takes the tours to learn about areas she can safely paddle and places to put in, which makes sense. She was anxious to get in the water and she launched as soon as Peter arrived. About one or 2 k out she was paddling on the edge or our group, just laughing and enjoying the day.
Peter was genial and knowledgeble. He was a pilot and seems to have a good sense of the weather. It turns out that he flew in the north. When I said I had last paddled around Minaki, he asked by about this writer with a houseboat. I said I had met Jack and used to paddle around the island where he tied up his houseboat.
I have paddled a few more time since my last post on this topic. Sooke Basin from Anderson Cove to Roche Cove, the Gorge again at low tide on a Sunday afternoon, which means shallow weedy water. The last couple times I paddled, I was finding a cramp or catch in my right hip (that’s the side that was sore until I figured out the problems with my bike saddle last summer). I have tried to deal with that by changing the footpegs/rudder pedals, and by resuming my Tai Chi Qijong routine. It seems to help. I had a bit of soreness before lunch, walked it out, and no other problems on the return paddle. I was a little sore in my shoulders and upper arms in the evening, but that went away. I was little stiff in my thighs this morning. The work in paddling is done by the thighs, the butt and the back, like rowing (that’s why there are foot braces duh), and the arms hold and control the paddle. I thought I was in good shape but the work brings different muscles and ligaments into play. It was probably the longest paddle I have done. At Minaki I had probably never paddled more than 3 hours or 10 k.
I will be doing this again. It’s a good way to watch and learn from more experienced paddlers, and to get out under moderately challenging conditions with advice and support. It’s a way to connect with other paddlers at the same level of skill and experience. Peter talked about going out in the waves and rain in the winter. That could be fun.