Posts Tagged day paddles

Paddle to a Pub

Living in the Gulf Islands we wait patiently through long wet winter months of seemingly endless grey skies crying down buckets of tears. We wait with anticipatory visions of gliding through the water in the summer heat. The reality is startlingly different when summer does arrive and all we can hope for is that the local islands will grow a mile or two higher to give some early shade as we paddle. Where is the relief from the humidity gathering in the cockpit under the spray skirt? Where can we refresh ourselves? How about on a patio overlooking the sea under the protection of an umbrella with a cold pint of amber ale in hand. What could be better than a paddle to the pub?

At low tide the cut between the two islands means getting out and pulling. Photo by Dave Barnes

At low tide the cut between the two islands means getting out and pulling.
Photo by Dave Barnes

The paddling day begins from Southey Point eccentrically placed at the northern tip of Salt Spring Island on a day the islands surrounding us would never grow high enough to cast any shade, we pointed to Penelakut Island. This island is native land and formerly named, Kuper Island. The spit near the village of Penelakut is visible from Southey Point and we chose to cruise the shallow sandbars of Penelakut. The water was still around our kayaks and in the clarity it was easy to view schools of frantic fish zigzagging to avoid our approach. Crabs nestled face down in the sand were no match for a tag-team effort between two paddle blades scooping them up at will. Dinner would be simple if it were crab, not the grog and burgers that was our prey that day.

Higher tide navigation of the shallow cut in the sandbars between Penelakut and Thetis Islands.

Higher tide navigation of the shallow cut in the sandbars between Penelakut and Thetis Islands.
Photo courtesy Peter Mede

In the heat haze on the water the white stick ahead was thought a marker of some sort, but only recognizable as a man when our group paddled closer. Walking waist-deep along the shore, but still far from shore a resident of the island was flicking up crab into a garbage bag with a garden rack with the handle cut short. We chatted and he offered some of his quarry to which we refused gracefully. Onwards around the jetty where the chop rose slightly in the confusion of water not knowing how to go, and into the cut.

We had planned out outing around the tides, something not entirely crucial in the Gulf Islands baring any needs to sneak out into the Strait of Georgia where the narrows between islands can get up to 10 knots of current. To get to the Thetis Island Marina Pub from this direction requires a higher tide to navigate ‘the cut’. This shallow groove meanders through high sandbars, once prime clamming beds in between Penelakut and Thetis Islands. At low tide be prepared to get out and push, pull or drag your kayak, and at higher water levels keep and eye out for small motor craft coming and going from the marina. The cut narrows and becomes shallow in a bottleneck forming a muddy land bridge at low tide before opening to deeper water at the marina.

Finding new friends along the way.

Finding new friends along the way.

Thetis Island Marine Pub is nothing fancy and the patio is a slender deck facing the docks but the food is great and the beer is cold, except on this day. A large pleasure boat had left the bay dragging its anchor and thus severing the underwater cable giving power to the island. The sandwiches and room temperature beer was delightful, and in the many return visits to the pub I have enjoyed much of the menu of good pub fare while sipping a cold pint. As I lazed on the patio watching eagles admiring boater life from high snags on Penelakut as though separated in time.

A rest stop on Tent Island in the sunshine. Photo by Dave Barnes

A rest stop on Tent Island in the sunshine.
Photo by Dave Barnes

The day ending with the return paddle in Stuart Channel, a belly scrapping slip in between Penelakut and Tent Island before crossing back to Southey Point. The beer refreshed us only if for a few moments as the late afternoon sun slowed our progress accompanied by digestion. We stop at Tent island for a brief stretch which resolves to be an afternoon nap. The only thing better than paddling to a pub is the kayak nap soon after on cool pebbles.

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Kayak Cuddle

Kayak cuddle north of Salt Spring Island, BC...a very romantic place. Photo by Dave Barnes

Kayak cuddle north of Salt Spring Island, BC…a very romantic place.
Photo by Dave Barnes

It’s Valentines Day, so to be in keeping with the lovefest here is a picture of my wife and I having a kayak cuddle moment one lovely paddling day north of the island heading towards the pub at Thetis (Penelakut) Island. This day trip from Salt Spring Island will be the subject of an upcoming post in my series about the world-class paddling in the Southern Gulf Islands. What could be better than a paddle to a pub?

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Around Salt Spring Island (photos)

Did you really think I would paddle all the way around the  72km  (44 3/4 miles) of my home of Salt Spring Island without my camera? Never! I completed the marathon day in 11 hours and 17 minutes though my buddy who came out to paddle the last few kilometers with me suggested my overall time would have been better if I didn’t keep stopping to take pictures. It was just and excuse to rest my arms.

Here is what took place where my last blog post left you. It was a truly tough, daunting day of sunshine, light winds and favourable currents and long hours of paddling. If you have not paddled here, you should. It is a world-class kayaker location for all levels. I could glow on and on…let the pics do the talking shall we.

Sorting out my gear for the marathon day around Salt Spring Island. Departure time 6:30 am.

Sorting out my gear for the marathon day around Salt Spring Island. Departure time 6:30 am.

It was not long after I set out heading north to the tip of the island that the sun rose behind me over Galiano Island. It was a very welcome sight.

It was not long after I set out heading north to the tip of the island that the sun rose behind me over Galiano Island. It was a very welcome sight.

At Southey Point ironically at the northern tip of the island the sunrise colours were amazing. Look snow on the mountains.

At Southey Point ironically at the northern tip of the island the sunrise colours were amazing. Look snow on the mountains.

With the ugly Crofton Mill pumping out effluent to my right I look down toward the view I will have most of the morning in Stuart Channel.

With the ugly Crofton Mill pumping out effluent to my right I look down toward the view I will have most of the morning in Stuart Channel.

Nearing Burgoyne Bay I paddle through orange seas. The aftermath of the Herring orgy of previous days, I ask no questions.

Nearing Burgoyne Bay I paddle through orange seas. The aftermath of the Herring orgy of previous days, I ask no questions.

I had planned at least 3 stops during the day to stretch and do what is needed doing. This was my first stop, a small shelter used by local fishers and partiers too I am sure.

I had planned at least 3 stops during the day to stretch and do what is needed doing. This was my first stop, a small shelter used by local fishers and partiers too I am sure.

I decided to take a cautious route at the end of Sansum Narrows. The current was about 4 knots and as I took this pic I suddenly shot to my right and was sent around the lighthouse at high speed entertaining 2 guys in a boat who hooted as I zipped by at about 12 knots. Stayed upright and had a great ride.

I decided to take a cautious route at the end of Sansum Narrows. The current was about 4 knots and as I took this pic I suddenly shot to my right and was sent around the lighthouse at high speed entertaining 2 guys in a boat who hooted as I zipped by at about 12 knots. Stayed upright and had a great ride.

Reaching my half-way point, or near enough. Cape Keppel and a nice view in the far distance of Mt. Baker.

Reaching my half-way point, or near enough. Cape Keppel and a nice view in the far distance of Mt. Baker.

At Isabella Point at the entrance to Fulford Harbour and a lovely quest cottage in the rocks with our local Arbutus Trees. Nice!

At Isabella Point at the entrance to Fulford Harbour and a lovely guest cottage in the rocks with our local Arbutus Trees. Nice!

Looking across Fulford Harbour, and watching for ferries. I would later have an encounter at Long Harbour. The winds are picking up...great...

Looking across Fulford Harbour, and watching for ferries. I would later have an encounter at Long Harbour. The winds are picking up…great…

After a short break on a rock with a low tide only beach I started my northern leg into the wind around Ruckle Provincial Park. A few campers and lots of sailers on the water.

After a short break on a rock with a low tide only beach I started my northern leg into the wind around Ruckle Provincial Park. A few campers and lots of sailers on the water.

This was a shorter distance between breaks. I stopped here for one last stretch before paddling the last leg to home.

This was a shorter distance between breaks. I stopped here for one last stretch before paddling the last leg to home.

As I sorted out my stuff at the last rest break of the day I was surrounded by dozens of nesting geese. It was a loud loud spot to be. I didn't want ot disturb them, but I really had to pee!

As I sorted out my stuff at the last rest break of the day I was surrounded by dozens of nesting geese. It was a loud loud spot to be. I didn’t want ot disturb them, but I really had to pee!

That is where the picture taking ended. I was all about paddling after that with about 25 kms to go, and knowing the last stretch would be long and hard. I was feeling good and to my surprise a buddy of mine came out in the channel to meet up with me and paddle the last of it. Thanks to his coaxing (a cold beer he had waiting for me in the creek) and some coaching I finished the day with a good time set and a great time had.

Here are a couple of screen shots from the SPOT tracker.

From Hudson Point to Burgoyne Bay and keeping a good pace I see.

From Hudson Point to Burgoyne Bay and keeping a good pace I see.

From Burgoyne Bay to the start/finish line. You can see the speed gain in the narrows. If only the whole day was so fast.

From Burgoyne Bay to the start/finish line. You can see the speed gain in the narrows. If only the whole day was so fast.

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