SISKA's April 2016 Newsletter. Upcoming events, reports and articles
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April 2016 SISKA Newsletter


Dear <<First Name>>,

Here is the next edition of the SISKA newsletter. Sorry for the delay. Mike was away until this past weekend. We have now added an archive for previous Newsletters on the SISKA website -

We always need content to keep the Newsletter interesting, so we need you to contribute a couple of photos from our various paddles with a 100-150 word e-mail description; please contact one of us.

Want to label your kayak? SISKA has a labeling machine available at our general meetings.
- Michael Jackson (SISKA president) and Ben van Drimmelen (editor)

Table of Contents


Upcoming Events


Apr 03, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Amherst to Portland Island Paddle (RELAXED)

Apr 05, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Charts & Compass: Navigation Basics with John Abercrombie (2nd course offering due to demand.)

Apr 06, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. 

Apr 10, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm.  (RELAXED)

Apr 11, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. 

Apr 15, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm. 

Apr 16, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Spirit Bay to Becher Bay Paddle (RELAXED)

Apr 24, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Willows Beach Oak Bay Intertidal Paddle (RELAXED)

Apr 27 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. 

May 01, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Whiffin Spit to Cabin Point Paddle (ENERGIZER)

May 07, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Amherst to Sidney Island Birding Paddle (ENERGIZER)

May 11 and 12, 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm. ROC(M) Course. Restricted Operator Certificate Marine. 
(Required for VHF radio use on water. Given by Edgar Hulatt. This course is given in two parts on May 11th & 12th.)

May 14, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. 

May 15, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Oak Bay Chain Islets Birding Paddle (RELAXED)

May 25, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. 

May 29, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Moses Point to Musgrave Landing Paddle (ENERGIZER)

For more details, go to the SISKA website

What’s in a Name? Coves, points  and islets in Sooke Basin

This is another in our local name series. Most of our featured names are from “The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names” by Andrew Scott. We have a copy in the library!

Roche Cove was named after Richard Roche who served two commissions in the area; he was a midshipman under Captain Henry Kellet on HMS Herald (1846-47) and a 3rd Lieutenant under Captain James Prevost on HMS Resolute (1857-60). Kellet named the Cove after his midshipman in 1846. Roche Harbor on San Juan Island has the same origin, also named after Richard Roche in 1858.
Cooper Cove was also named by Captain Kellet, in this case after Edward Cooper, a 3rd Lieutenant aboard the Royal Navy survey vessel Herald. Cooper, like Roche, served under Kellet during a search for the missing Franklin expedition.

The origin of the names for Kellet Reef (in the middle of the basin) and Kellet Point will now be obvious to you. Yes, they were named after the good captain!

Anderson Cove is is a bit more complicated. We thought it might be named after a relative of SISKA members David Anderson and his niece Melissa Anderson, but David and Melissa firmly deny this rumour!.There are several Andersons mentioned in the Raincoast Place names book, in relation to various locations along the coast, but we could find no reference or connection to Anderson Cove! There is, however, a connection to David and Melissa since David's grandfather, Alex Gillespie, ran sheep on the adjacent pennisula. Also, the cove was previously known as Caffrey's Cove, after a prominent Beecher Bay Band family.

And then there are the Goodridge Islands in the middle of the basin. John Goodridge was the Royal Navy surgeon aboard HMS Herald under... yes... Captain Kellet. Goodridge also served with Kellet in the NW passage on one of the many futile searches for Sir John Franklin's expedition. The peninsula with the old log sort by Cooper Cove is also called the Goodridge Peninsula.

The Earlier Mariners - Cook's Precursors

Michael Layland is a retired map-maker and active cartographic historian. At our March 23 club meeting, he gave an excellent presentation about the earliest mariners' voyages to local waters. His research resulted in a recent book on that fascinating subject - “The Land of Heart’s Delight; Early Maps and Charts of Vancouver Island” (

Michael’s enthusiastic talk prompted many questions from a crowd eager to know more about voyages by Spanish and English master mariners in the 1700’s, those probably undertaken centuries earlier by the Chinese, and by original peoples on their ancient migrations across the Pacific Ocean. The Brooks Peninsula, never glaciated, may have provided refuge for the first migrants seeking shelter along our coast.

The personalities, politics and economics of later maritime exploration in this area have combined to create an intriguing historical mystery, one that Michael admitted still defies our full understanding and continues to give rise to a great deal of tantalizing speculation.

Spectacle Falls Paddle Report

Michael Egilson reported on the March Spectacle Falls paddle. This one got off to an irregular start as washroom-seeking paddlers inadvertently set off an alarm at the boat launch. With that event sorted and a bit of a late start, the twelve paddlers set off. 

The day was sunny and calm as we crossed the inlet and hand-railed the shore towards Spectacle Falls, pausing to ponder about cool stairs leading up to nowhere - they are from an old movie set! 
Stairs to Nowhere
The tide was very high, allowing the kayakers to paddle very close to the falls. A leisurely lunch in the sun by the falls, followed by paddling across to McKenzie Bight. A few paddlers demonstrated some sculling and rolling. A slight wind kicked up on the return towards Todd Inlet but those conditions were well within the abilities of all paddlers. As our tradition suggests, several paddlers reconvened in Brentwood for a drink and snack.

Great to live where we can access the water all year long!
The Falls

Sooke Basin Paddle Report

Rod Steibel reported on this relaxed paddle. A warmish March day, spiced with a couple of very minor showers, happily better weather than predicted. The water was pretty well dead calm, with just a small breeze on the way back in to Cooper Cove in the afternoon. The paddlers covered nine miles launching at just after 10:00 and returning just before 3:00.
Weather on this Relaxed Paddle was..... peaceful
The paddle included a very informative narrative from David Anderson and his niece Melissa on Anderson Cove and it's family history in relation to David's grandfather. David also pointed out an ancient fish weir just west of the point heading towards Anderson Cove, though it was tough to see fully with the high tide.

Lunch was on a midden watching local wildlife, including a seal and osprey as well as the regulars - gulls, geese and eagles. As is pretty well traditional on SISKA paddles, they ended with coffees and hot chocolates at Stickleback's Restaurant. A fine trip all round!

Baking at Camp

Eating is one of the delights on a kayak camping trip, and bannock is an ideal kayak camping staple - flour, with just a few additions, which makes it compact and versatile. Lynn Beak shared the following recipe. (It refers to her Outback Oven, but much can be accomplished on a skillet.)
Beak's Bannock - Not your basic bannock.
At home, mix and pack:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat
  • 3 tbsp soy flour (optional)
  • 1/3 cup powdered milk
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
At camp, add:
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 tbsp oil (vegetable or olive)
  • Up to a cup of dried apples, cranberries, blueberries, pineapple, sunflower seeds or whatever you can glean from the bush (huckleberries? salmonberries? wild strawberries or raspberries?). 
Mix and add more water if necessary. Line the oven with parchment paper; you can add a bit of oil on the paper for additional flavour and calories. Spread ingredients evenly over the paper, cover and place on stove. Bake at high until cooked, check at 25 minutes.

There's a fine pamphlet on bannock’s history and more recipes at:

Kayakable Birding

On May 7 and 15, we are planning two club paddles that will focus on birds; see Upcoming Events. In this Newsletter, we’ll again describe a couple of species that you are likely to see at this particular time of year.

Loons are fairly large, bulky waterbirds, tending to stay a bit offshore. We'll see them in their vivid summer plumage. Winter colours are dull and similar among the loon species - even serious birders have arguments about winter loon identification.

The Common Loon is probably the most familiar, with a white partial collar, black head and body and extensive checkering on the back. It will nest well inland, lending a wilderness tone to interior woodland lakes with its low, melancholy yodeling.