Monday, May 3, 2010

Row, row, row, your boat

Over the last week I had the pleasure of being out on the water quite a bit, in some wildly different conditions. Last week's Tuesday Night Race was really quite epic (or as epic as one hour can be in a kayak). Lina and I were paddling Ben's double surf-ski for the first time this year, a boat which always presents the possibility of falling out. I cheerfully ignored the weather forecast and we loaded up the twitchy boat and headed out. Waiting for the starting horn we were entertained by intermittent torrential rain, rainbows, and dramatic shafts of sunlight streaming through the clouds... pretty, but not so warm. Finally we were off and straight into a raging hailstorm. To our left was a spectacular rainbow and marble-sized hailstones were ricocheting off my paddle, stinging my ears, and exploding on the water all around us. The weather eased up as we rounded the island the was the turning point in our course and hung on (keeping the boat the right way up) all the way to the finish line. Success! Photos of that are here, and there was a video that I'm looking forward to seeing when it appears here.

This weekend we went over to Saltspring Island for the sea kayak "guide exchange" put on by SKGABC. I'm not a sea kayak guide, but Lina is... and I winged it. There was an eclectic group of fun people, who were pleased to see us turn up on our bikes and provide us with some paddling gear to get on the water to Samsun Narrows on Saturday. It was the maiden voyage (appropriate as it involved a ferry) for our new touring bikes. Mine is a mysterious Devinci of Our Community Bikes origins... and Lina has a spangly new Brodie Elan. Both bikes need a few things worked out... before we need them for a ambitious/foolish/fun trip we have planned later this year. To say we "have it planned" is a bit of an exaggeration, but it's coming along. More on that later.

Lina on the way out

The guide exchange was fantastically well organised, with food, a place to gather in the evening, demo boats, skills clinics, and classes. I am filling in the gaps between what I know from sailing, whitewater kayaking, and paddling surfskis... and will hopefully become a competent sea kayaker. I got a lot out of the weekend and it was great to catch up with our friend Jas who is off on a big solo adventure up the West Coast in his kayak this summer. Inspiring stuff!

Our lunch spot

A colourful bunch