April 2024



Thanks to those members who contributed photos and materials. After enjoying a SISKA event or paddle, please consider sending a short (100-150 words) summary article; for more information, contact one of us, newsletter@siska.ca . If you would like to start a regular column, please let us know!

Jane Jacek (SISKA president) and Tony Playfair (editor)

Convenient Links

PS: SISKA on Facebook

PPS: Siska’s Youtube Channel

PPPS: Siska’s Newsletter Archive - Mailchimp or Siska Newsletters Backup

PPPPS: Rocky Point Demolition Blasting Notices

Upcoming SISKA Events

Wednesday, March 27th, 2024 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Monthly Meeting
Saturday, April 06th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Fleming Beach to Victoria Harbour Loop Paddle
Sunday, April 07th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Spirit Bay to NEW MEMBERS Movie Set Beach Paddle
Tuesday, April 09th, 2024 - 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM - Group Dynamics & More, Planning a Multiday Trip
Saturday, April 13th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Spectacle Falls Paddle
Sunday, April 14th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Mackenzie Bight Paddle
Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 - 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM - VHF Radio for Kayakers
Saturday, April 20th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Discovery Island Paddle
Sunday, April 21st, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Island View Beach to DArcy Island Paddle
Wednesday, April 24th, 2024 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 AM - Monthly Meeting
Saturday, April 27th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Cadboro Bay to BIRDING Uplands Foreshore
Sunday, April 28th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Amherst to BIRDING Sidney Foreshore Paddle
Saturday, May 04th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Oak Bay Marina to Discovery Island Paddle
Sunday, May 05th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Island View Beach to DArcy Island Paddle
Thursday, May 16th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Light Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Gordon Point Paddle
Saturday, May 25th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Oak Bay Marina to NEW MEMBERS INTERTIDAL Oak Bay Foreshore
Sunday, May 26th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Amherst to INTERTIDAL Sidney Foreshore

Upcoming NonSISKA Events

Stars and Sea Stars – A One-of-a-Kind Snorkelling & Astronomy Experience
by Roger Botting

October 3 - 7, 2024

Outer Shores Lodge is thrilled to welcome Dr. Sara Ellison, an expert in astronomy and committed snorkeller and shallow freediver, and Dr. Jon Willis, an astronomer and astrobiologist. They will explore the fascinating connection between the celestial realm and the wonders of the ocean.

Snorkellers of all levels and abilities are invited to join us for an unforgettable four-day experience at Outer Shores Lodge as we embark on our ‘Stars & Sea Stars’ featured lodge stay from October 3rd to 7th, 2024.

Early October typically offers some of the best snorkelling conditions of the year with good visibility, fully established kelp forests, and calm conditions. The sun also sets early allowing for evening star gazing….More Info

Siska April 2024 Annual AGM and General Meeting Agenda

by Fred Pishalski

APRIL 24th - Presentation: A Complex Coast by David Norwell

David Norwell will be presenting photos and illustrations from his solo paddle (and kayak-sailing) from Vancouver Island to Gustavus, B.C. and his latest book: A Complex Coast. This interactive presentation will include creature ID quizzes, a dive into the world of sea otter (Enhydra lutris) surveys on the Central Coast, how to sail a kayak, and what it takes to publish a book in today’s media-saturated world. He will speak about the characters and communities that call the PNW home–including his experience working and living with the Heiltsuk First Nation. David will bring copies of his book which will be for sale.

David Norwell is an author, illustrator, and world traveler. He holds a BSc in Geography from the University of Victoria, and has worked for eight seasons conducting biological and geological surveys In BC, Alberta, and the Yukon. His passion is communicating science in a way that accesses the human heart. David has visited thirty-three countries, sailed across the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, and trekked over the Himalayas with a kitten. He is dedicated to understanding the human experience and sharing his findings. When not working on books and paddling, he is volunteering at schools, studying Buddhism, and practicing meditation.

Our meetings start at 7:00pm however, folks that have gear they wish to sell/swap are invited to show up at 6:00pm to set up, doors open for everyone at 6:30pm. We meet at the Garth Homer Centre, 831 Darwin Avenue, off Saanich Road, near Saanich Municipal Hall.

SISKA AGM Volunteer Opportunities For 2024

by Jane Jacek

SISKA is a volunteer-run organization. We have no paid staff and our many activities continue due to the shared enthusiasm and skills of our membership. Thank you!

SISKA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is happening on Wednesday April 24, 2024 and we want to share with you some interesting volunteer opportunities. Please consider how you can contribute to the wealth of skills training, kayak paddling, and fun that we have together.

Executive positions available - Our bylaws state that no one can serve more than four consecutive years in any one position on our Executive, unless the membership agrees to extend the term of office at a SISKA general

Secretary - Our secretary Lisa Lasagna has completed her first 2 year term. She has kindly offered to continue in this position for another two years.

Treasurer - Our treasurer, Roger Botting, will be completing his extended 6th year as Treasurer. He had accepted a one-year extension from our membership at our 2023 AGM, but we are seeking someone to replace him this year. The treasurer is responsible for doing or making the necessary arrangements for: receiving and banking monies collected from the members or other sources; keeping accounting records in respect of SISKA’s financial transactions; preparing SISKA’s financial statements.

Member-at-large - We will also have at least one member-at-large position available. This is an excellent opportunity to work on projects and share in Executive decisions to advance SISKA’s mission and goals

How to Run For Office - Any SISKA member can run for one of these positions. You can be nominated or nominate yourself, up to and including at the AGM. Even if you cannot attend that night, you can run by having someone nominate you and indicating in advance (e.g. by email) that you are willing to stand.

Volunteer Coordinator Role: Off-Water - Many hands make light work and stimulate great ideas, so please also think about volunteering to help as another Off-Water Coordinator, joining Rod Stiebel and Julie Deans on that team. Please ask either of them about this volunteer opportunity. We’ll be happy to share our knowledge with you!

Finally, a gentle reminder to renew your SISKA membership for 2024 so that you can vote at the April AGM!

Cross Club Meeting - April 2nd

by Fred Pishalski

During the presentation, Nathan will cover highlights (and some lowlights) from the expedition as well as tips and tricks for planning your own sea kayak expedition. Check out their trip blog​ https://www.alittlepaddle.ca/blog/categories/to-alaska for a sneak peek at some of the stories that may be told!

Nathan spends most of his time playing in the waves on the West coast of Vancouver Island. He completed a Certificate of Wilderness Leadership in 2015, and has been working in the outdoor industry ever since. In 2019, he became a Level 3 Sea Kayak Guide through the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC and has now embarked on the journey to becoming a guide trainer. He loves being on the water and specializes in leading longer expeditions in remote stretches of the coast.

Check out their ​https://www.youtube.com/@alittlepaddle for a sneak peek at some of the stories that may be told!

Register Here

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 827 9876 9050

Passcode: 420443

Broken Islands Lodge

Women’s Weekends 2024
by Jane Jacek

Broken Islands Lodge is offering a deal for women to come for the weekend! May 10 - 12; May 24 - 26, 2024.

Book a room, which includes meals, and the kayak rental and water taxi service between the Lodge and Secret Beach Marina are free.

They will have staff leading a hike on Saturday and optional evening campfires, yard games and inside activities will be available.

You can email Tina at booking.brokenislands@gmail.com for further info and booking, or bookings can be made using the following links.

Booking links:

May 10 - 12, 2024

May 24 - 26, 2024

SISKA Spring Skills Training 2024 Is Happening Now!

by Jane Jacek

Spring has sprung, so it’s high time to get your kayaking gear in order and refresh your paddling skills! SISKA is continuing to promote a number of our excellent Island kayaking businesses who have agreed to provide discounts to our members.

Check out the full list of discounts here or click on 2024 Workshops under the Calendar tab on the website homepage to see an overview.

We’re delighted to feature the following companies and recommend you check out their individual websites for all their great workshops, courses, expeditions and more!

And our newest partner company:


by Jane Jacek


Our Spring practice pool sessions are now booked for the Crystal Pool. These sessions are for you to come and work, on your own or with a friend, on whatever skills you wish.

If you haven’t signed up for a practice session yet, give it a try. It’s a great fun!

Registration will be out soon for May 12th, our last pool session until October 2024. Our April session filled up quickly, so register as soon as you can for our May session.

POOL CLINIC : keep an eye out for upcoming registration

Maximum 8 members

When: Sunday, May 12th; 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

What: Rolling Clinic with Michael Egilson. We will work on the fundamentals of rolling and have lots of opportunity for practice. Rolling is the first line of defense in self rescue after an effective brace and besides it’s a lot of fun.

Where: Crystal Pool

Who: Any SISKA member with edging and bracing experience. Must be comfortable with wet exits and being under water. Paddle Canada Level 1 recommended but not required.

Equipment: Kayak, PFD, spray skirt, a paddle. Nose clips and goggles are optional. Bring a paddle float. If you are prone to getting cold, you may want to wear a wet suit, paddle top, or long sleeve shirt, etc.

The Plan: You must wash your kayak inside and out before bringing it into the pool at 6:15. OTW 6:30 PM.

Please do not park on the road at the back of the pool although it’s fine to drop off and pick up kayaks from there. Please wash your kayak at home or outside the building. Form a human chain with others: people outside pass kayaks to barefooted people inside. Everyone out of the pool by 2030 and everything out of the building & compound by 2045.

Raft Up 2024 Info

by Debbie Leach

May 7-9 RAFT UP in Nanaimo

Note - You could Raft Up for 1, 2 or 3 days.

Interested in joining Nanaimo Paddlers for Raft Up from May 7-9?

1. Contact Debbie Leach to secure your spot and e-transfer $20 which will be returned when you Raft Up in Nanaimo. Email: debbieleach52@gmail.com

2. Contact Dave Peters, President of Nanaimo Paddlers, to choose your Relaxed/Energizer Paddles. Email: petersd208@gmail.com

If you would like a place to stay - likely Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday nights -

3. Contact Anita Stewart who can arrange “Bed and Breakfast” billets.
Email: Adk46stewart@fmail.com

Nanaimo Paddlers will host a potluck for us one evening. You can coordinate other dinner plans with your host. Most likely you will bring your own lunches and snacks.

May31-June 2 RAFT UP in Victoria

We expect ~10 Nanaimo Paddlers to come down to kayak with us.

If you could billet a paddler or two from Nanaimo (Thursday May 30, Friday May 31 and Saturday June 1) please contact Lesley McCallum
Email: canadianlesley@gmail.com

(Note - you can choose if and how many meals you provide along with lodging. We expect paddlers will provide their own lunches and snacks.)

SISKA will host a potluck on Friday May 31 which all members are welcome to attend.

Cheers, Debbie


by Jane Jacek

Mer Society

Celebrate Our Planet Earth III Experience With Us!

Hurrah! Planet Earth III is finally available in Canada!

We’re thrilled that after months of talking about it, we can finally share Episode 7 (the episode MERS was involved in) with our supporters! The episode will air on April 21st and we’re inviting you to celebrate this major moment for MERS!

Join us online on April 21st at 7:30pm to learn about the filming process and dive deeper into the concepts explored in our segment including trap-feeding, the “Whale Pump”, and the Humpback Comeback. Along with two of our Humpback Researchers, Jackie Hildering and Christie McMillan, we’ll be joined by special guests, including two of the videographers we worked with: Bertie Gregory and Hayes Baxter. While the event is online, there will be opportunities to ask questions and interactive elements. The event will be held on Zoom and attendance is free but a donation to MERS’ work is greatly appreciated. Learn more and register here

Trip Reports

Fleming Beach to Fisgard Lighthouse
by Trina Cushner

On March 23rd eight paddlers gathered on Fleming Beach in Esquimalt in the gentle rain for a relaxed paddle to Fisgard Lighthouse, a round trip of some 4.0 nm. A calm sea state allowed us to explore the nooks and crannies of the Esquimalt coastline and admire the grazing deer. We stopped for lunch beside the historic lighthouse. Fort Rodd Hill is a pastoral spot well- appointed with washrooms, picnic tables and a great view. Our return trip had us meandering around the tiny islets offshore, where we spotted seals, eagles and otters. Upon our return to shore, we met for warming coffee and cinnamon buns. The leadership of experienced members and plentiful parking at Fleming Beach made for a truly relaxing paddle close to the heart of Victoria.

Flying in our Kayaks in Nutchatlitz
by Tamara Plush

Five paddlers adventure into the Nutchatlitz Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada: Julie, Johanna, Lesley & Tamara (in Siska) and Darrell. This film shares their reflections on the week together, including how to fly in a kayak. https://youtu.be/KlLXGbb2LOM

Tips From The Trips

by Debbie Leach

CARRY ON! Use a non-climbing biner to keep the handles of your gear bag together for easy grab and go.

Paddle Bag Hack
by Rod Stiebel

So, here is my humble contribution, it is something that has been bothering me for a while. How do you, efficiently, carry 2 or more paddles, (read 4 longish pieces) down to the water? A paddle bag is how. Where do you find one? Heck if I know! I’ve looked. Let us never overlook frugality/repurposing here. We purchased a patio umbrella, that came with a sleeve to transport it home. It even has a shoulder sling for carrying. So, it now has a new life, as a paddle bag. No buying fabric or mesh, no sewing, no cost! It was a bit long, so I tied the bottom in a knot, also providing a bit of padding for the bottom of the blades. There is a Greenland and a Euro paddle in there, with room for another easily. It is a cotton type fabric, which may not be ideal, but it dries fast, if it gets wet. I was out for a paddle in a pretty steady rain, and it got a bit wet at the launch and return, but dried fast. There is also a window where the product details were…maybe good for a wiping cloth or? Have a great tip or hack? Send it to newsletter@siska.ca

Camp Cookery

by Lynn Baier

Backcountry Cabbage Rolls Three Ways

Use your favourite recipe for cabbage rolls. Here’s how to enjoy them on a trip.

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls- cook your cabbage rolls, then cut them up into small pieces and dehydrate them. Pour boiling water over them in camp and let them sit for about 15 minutes.

Cabbage Rolls an alternate version- cook all ingredients individually and dehydrate in small pieces. Mix them together afterwards, pour boiling water over them in camp and wait 15 minutes to enjoy.

Almost fresh Cabbage Rolls- cabbage keeps exceptionally well, so if you have room in your kayak, take a head of cabbage along and cook it up in camp. Take the rest of your ingredients that have been dehydrated and similarly rehydrate in camp. Reserve a bit of sauce to put over the cabbage rolls after they have been rolled up, and simmer until tender.

Safety Item

by Alison Keighan

Emergency Hatch Covers

What happens if you lose a hatch cover during a trip? This can happen in a number of scenarios, but I’ve seen covers pop off on several occasions while people were performing a Cowboy Scramble re-entry. Needless to say, to minimize the risk of this occurring, you always want to ensure that the cover is somehow tethered to your boat.

You can purchase emergency hatch covers for this purpose, such as those made by Reed Chillcheater: https://www.chillcheater.com/products/hatch-cover-8-black

It is also possible to make DIY repairs. A heavy plastic bag or piece of tarp can be placed over the hatch opening and secured by gorilla tape, duct tape, paracord or a bungie. (Carrying a plastic bag is also useful for picking up garbage, storing wet gear, etc.). For more tips and examples check out this YouTube video by Kayak Hipster: https://youtu.be/ZeFox6vyESc?si=Xt3YKqwBAZ4GcDoF

BC Marine Trails News

March Newsletter

Important Excerpt from above newsletter (Image capture - links don’t work below) Click March Newsletter for working links.

SISKA’s Kayak Skills Course Partners

There are some fine discounts available from our kayak skills course partners for SISKA members who sign up for their skills training programs.

Our partners are:

Related Posts

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