A weekend trip around Saltspring island

CPS

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I had two consecutive days off without anything else booked, a genuine rarity. So I figured I'd go paddle around Saltspring; an idea which has been rattling around my head for a while. Getting up early I loaded up the kayak and gear and headed out from my home in Maple Ridge to Tsawwassen. Managed to get the kayak unloaded, up on the cart, and full of gear with just enough time to buy a ticket. Next time I'll try to give myself a bit more margin. The cart I used for this is an older model of C-Tug with pneumatic tires. I was quite pleased with how well it performed.
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The ramp down to Welbury Bay from the ferry terminal at Long Harbour is short, but quite steep. If I was wearing shoes with better grip I would have felt a bit more secure, but my sneakers are pretty threadbare. The sharp corner and transition to stairs was just manageable with the position of the cart. Without pneumatic tires I think the stairs would have been too rough.

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With the cart stowed I headed out on my counterclockwise circumnavigation. My timing was not perfectly aligned with currents at this point, but given the short timeline I had to make do.
The long stretch the northeast side of Saltspring was pretty smooth paddling. A few waves kicked up by the occasional yacht, but nothing too bad.
I saw a dead seal pup floating along. No visible injuries but perhaps trampled. There seemed to be quite a population of seals up the current on Atkins reef.
It was very warm paddling. But otherwise fairly uneventful.

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Here's a shot of Southey Point, which I found to be curiously named for a point at the north end of the island.

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Along the way to Sansum narrows I found a tiny little cave. Just big enough to park it for a bit of shade.
Carrying on it was more fairly mellow paddling. I had one section of headwind after Vesuvius, which really made me realize how tired I was.

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I pulled into camp just before 6 in the evening. Given the lack of rainfall we've had lately I opted for no tarp, no tent, just a sleeping pad on the ground.
After a filling meal of dehydrated shepherds pie (homemade) I hit the hay. I dozed intermittently for a few hours, finally getting asleep proper around 9.

The next day I woke up around 4:30 to get myself all packed up and fed. Breakfast was a huge homemade granola bar full of all the good stuff. Cashews, pumpkin seeds, oats, dried strawberries and other bits and pieces cemented together with almond butter and maple syrup. As I slipped into Sansum narrows it was nice and calm. Quite bright out as well, given it was a hair past 5.

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Though I had timed it to be near slack, I could feel the current picking up as I made my way past Burial Islet. The waters was just starting to whirl about.

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Rounding the corner I out the moon behind me and got to stare directly into the sun for a while.
Good thing I remember my sunglasses. I briefly thought I'd forgotten then in my car when I had first boarded the ferry the day before. (They were on my head).

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I carried on paddling until about 9, when I stopped to stretch my legs at Russell island. I was still feeling fairly full from breakfast so just had a quick nibble and started soaking a little packet of dried noodles I'd put together at home. I figured with the warmth a nice, cool lunch would be a good fit for the day.

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The current was generally mild, though I could see by the bull kelp that it was against me. The toughest part of the trip was actually rounding Beaver Point. Lots of boats kicking up some fairly confused wake. Oh well, a bit of a diversion.

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I ended up back at the launch site in Welbury Bay just before 12:30. Just time to shuttle gear to the top of the stairs, eat my noodles, ( I was right, they were great cold ) stretch out in the sun for a bit before riding the ferry back to the mainland.

Overall a very good trip, but it would certainly have benefited from a more leisurely pace.
 

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AM

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Jan 30, 2006
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Nice trip report - thanks!

Tangent: how do you like that Blackwater paddle?

Cheers,
Andrew
 
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CPS

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Tangent: how do you like that Blackwater paddle?

Full disclosure, I work at WCK, so Blackwater is our 'in-house' brand. That being said....


I have used it a bit previously, but used it for my second day exclusively to really put it through its paces.
Compared to my Cyprus any difference in weight isn't really discernable. I feel like the blade doesn't 'pop' out of the water as much as the Cyprus does, but it's still a nicely buoyant blade.
The flip lock ferrule is adjustable to give another 10cm, which still feels nice and solid, although I didn't use it extended very much.
The price is about the same as Werner fiberglass paddle, so pretty compelling for full carbon.
This one is called the Stave, and there is a low angle version called the Vedder.
Overall it's a pretty darn nice paddle, particularly at the price.
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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The flip lock ferrule is adjustable to give another 10cm, which still feels nice and solid, although I didn't use it extended very much.
Is that length variable (+1,+2,+3 etc) to a maximum of +10cm (like a wing paddle or ORKA 'Euro'), or just a choice of two lengths - standard and + 10?
Adjustable length is a feature I've really come to appreciate after using wing paddles.
 

AM

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Jan 30, 2006
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Vancouver
That trip is pushing 40 nautical miles. No mean feat to pull off in 2 days, including a slow ferry ride there and back. You got down to business!
 
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CPS

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That trip is pushing 40 nautical miles. No mean feat to pull off in 2 days, including a slow ferry ride there and back. You got down to business!
I think it is about as much as I could jam into two days off while still being functional at work the next day. Thinking about going for another little Gulf Island weekender at some point soon. I think I have a weekend off in September.
 
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