Happy Kayakers in the Gulf Islands

An odd day in May, on Salt Spring Island, BC Photo by Dave Barnes

An odd day in May, on Salt Spring Island, BC
Photo by Dave Barnes

Kayaking is a year-round passion for those happy paddlers in the Gulf Islands.

It is a clear day in January, a Saturday and it is a day filled with things to do that will keep me off the water. Fingers are crossed that my Sunday will be without pesky chores and just as clear, windless, and chilled for a much-needed mid-winter outing in my kayak. The holidays interrupted my paddling but the weather was indeed frightfull. It has been, I must confess to be over a month since I sat in the cockpit and doodled around the backyard of my home in the Gulf Islands. It has been a mild winter thus far with the exception of some stormy December days and nights, and I fear that just by typing those words I may have jinxed myself and all those on the ‘wet coast’ to a sudden switch to real winter.

Picking my paddling days this time of year is the norm, but another thing altogether when we arrive in the welcoming arms of the warmer months. This photo to the right is a day in May. Though, bundled up for the chilly winds, and sideways rain that dogged us for the day paddle to Portland Island it may as well been November, December or even January.

For some reason, gearing up that day was not a hardship. I don’t mind a bit of cold wet roughness on the water. Been there, done that and know setting out into wind waves and face-numbing gusts will be more experience than recreation.

I admit, I do enjoy rough paddling more in warmer months. Something about how the tricks of the mind play out when you are paddling hard through some head winds and bouncy conditions when the sun is out as opposed to those days it is grey. Am I turning into a wimpy fair-weather paddler? Heavens forbid that from ever happening! I think I am just a wintertime comfort whore who  plays winter paddling by ear.

The question remains, is there a difference between a November day in May, and a May day in November. Why be inspired to go paddling in May and not in November? No reason at all. This is the Southern Gulf Islands and it is  a paddling day any day here. It is just a matter of comfort. Today, if I could get out it would be fine. Even tomorrow if the winds rise I am bundled up and happy all but a raw nose and cheeks by the time I get back.

Kayaking is my passion and that passion keeps me warm on the chilly days of January. I did manage November and December so far  with the weather gods being kindly I should escape the living room for a couple of hours on a clear crisp Sunday afternoon, just me, my wooden kayak and paddle, a few seals, eagles and otters watching me pass.


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