So last Friday, I wheeled aboard the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry with three friends. Despite the insanely heavy wind and rain the night before, we had a good window of sun and light airs for our paddle out to Rum Island. The weather kindly waited 'til we'd got our tents and tarp rigged before it blew in again. We feasted, warmed by good shelter, good food, good company and a fine port. I was experimenting with a new shelter, the MSR Twin Brothers (kind of a smaller cousin to Dan's MSR Pavilion we've all sheltered in at WCP get-togethers). My plan is to use it for winter and shoulder season paddling, when you're under cover from late afternoon/early evening on. It's big enough to stand up in - nice when you're spending so much of the day/night cycle in it. And you can change into/out of drysuits inside. I'd also spoiled myself with a folding chair, table, and a cot to go under my Downmat sleeping pad (I rationalized the latter as a second line of defense in case of leakage from the floor - which buttons in rather than being sewn it.) As I expected with a single wall shelter there was a bit of condensation on the inside when it rained, but it wasn't much of a problem since it was easy to avoid touching the walls. I was also really pleased at how well it stood up to wind, especially considering I couldn't peg it properly on the thinly moss covered rock, and had to anchor it instead with driftwood logs. [shortyoutube]http://youtu.be/9ZefyiEzbZo[/shortyoutube] Saturday became really blustery by the time we'd finished our huge breakfast, with fully developed seas battering the rocks. No paddling, just exploring the island, general sloth and a huge supper. We also encountered three other paddlers from Victoria who were as astonished as we were that another group was crazy enough to be out in these conditions -they'd made it to the island just before it got unpaddleable. The forecast called for unrelenting 20-30 knot winds, so we imagined there was a good chance we'd be stormbound. Fortunately, we had spare food and water, plus cellphone signals to let the folks back home know we were OK. In the event, we had a brief weather window on Sunday morning, so we packed up post haste, with only a quick bagel for breakfast, and bolted for Swartz Bay. We had to breast the current, but not the wind. As we left on the ferry a few hours later, the water was streaked with white, so we had got while the getting was good.