SISKA's April 2019 Newsletter. Upcoming events, reports and articles
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April 2019 SISKA Newsletter


Dear <<First Name>>,

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. If you would like to start a regular column, please let us know!

Michael Jackson (SISKA president) and Tony Playfair (editor)
PS: You can find SISKA on Facebook at this link.

PPS: SISKA has a Meetup site for "impromptu" and other paddles organized by club members. For more details, go to To join this, you have to be a club member.

PPPS: You can find the SISKA newsletter archive here:

Table of Contents


Upcoming AGM and executive positions

At our April 24th meeting we will be holding our Annual general Meeting. One of our tasks at that meeting will be to elect some new executive members. In particular, we are looking for a couple of directors at large. Directors at large are able to take on some special initiatives as well as providing input and decision-making into the Club's activities. If you are willing to volunteer (or be volunteered!), please contact our current president, Mike Jackson.

Upcoming SISKA Events

For more details, go to the SISKA website


April 13,2019

by Fred Pishalski

For those of you who have not yet signed up to attend the Spring Forum and are thinking about it, I would like to share a little information about our two major presenters: Justine Curgenven and Jean-Francois Marleau. They are putting a special presentation together just for the Spring Forum. Coming to the event just to hear them is well worth the price of admission of $12.50 especially when you consider lunch is thrown in as well.

Justine is an award winning adventure filmmaker and expedition sea kayaker. She has been on challenging expeditions around the globe, including circumnavigating the south island of New Zealand, Tasmania and the Haida Gwaii islands, a solo trip around Vancouver island, a 2500km traverse of the Aleutian islands and a wilderness journey in Kamchatka with a novice Russian kayaker. Justine runs Cackle TV and created the highly acclaimed “This is the Sea” series of sea kayaking DVDs. Her films have won over 20 prestigious prizes including best film at Graz Mountain Film Festival and best adventure film at Banff & Kendal Mountain Film Festivals. She’s been runner up in CKUK magazine’s “Paddler of the Year” & a finalist in Canoe & Kayak Magazine’s “Female Paddler of the Year” and “Expedition of the Year”. She was named as one of the UK’s top 20 living explorers by ‘The Telegraph’ and was invited to meet the Queen at a Buckingham Palace reception for adventurers. In 2016, she won “Media Professional of the Year” at the World Paddle Awards. Justine represented England in the surf kayaking World championships and honed her rough water paddling skills in the tidal races of North Wales. She now lives in Ucluelet on the west coast.

Jean-Francois is a certified Level 4 Guide & Guide Trainer and Examiner with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC (SKGABC). He was vice-president of the SKGABC for 14 years, He is a certified Level 4 Instructor and Level 3 Instructor Trainer with Paddle Canada. JF is a pioneer of kayak fishing in Canada. He holds many diplomas, including a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations and a Bachelor of Art degree in Political Science from Laval University. JF is the author of books and training manuals and wrote the kayak fishing chapter in John’s Dowd classic book Sea Kayaking: A Manual for Long-Distance Touring. To preview some of their earlier appearances please check out


WHEN: April 13, 2019  10 - 3 P.M.
WHERE: THE GYM at the Salvation Army Citadel, 2030 Douglas St, (North of McKenzie Blvd)
COST: JUST $12.50, which includes lunch!
Online pre-registration is required as we need to know how much food to prepare
Registration Link:
List of Upcoming SISKA Events
Tuesday, April 02nd, 2019 - 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM - Kayak Trip Food Preparation by Lynn Baier, Robyn Byrne and Debbie Leach
Saturday, April 06th, 2019 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Oak Bay Marina - Parking Lot to Trial Island Light Station Paddle
Saturday, April 13th, 2019 - 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM - SPRING FORUM - A CELIBRATION of OCEAN KAYAKING
Sunday, April 14th, 2019 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Spectacle Falls/Mackenzie Bight Paddle
Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 - 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM - Canadian Coast Guard Presentation by Nathan Webb, Deputy Superintendent of Maritime Search & Rescue, Western Region
Thursday, April 18th, 2019 - 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM - VHF Refresher Workshop by Edgar Hulatt
Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Month Meeting
Sunday, April 28th, 2019 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Telegraph Cove to Margaret Bay/Cormorant Point Paddle
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Monthly Meeting:
Saturday, May 25th, 2019 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Spirit Bay to Becher Bay Paddle
Sunday, May 26th, 2019 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Amherst to Rum Island Paddle

SISKA Spring Training 2019

All SISKA Members,

I know you agree that sea kayaking is a fantastic sport, and Vancouver Island is arguably the best place in the world to paddle!
But…in order to enjoy this amazing experience along our ocean shores, each one of us must be well prepared each season to get out there (and back again!) safely.

So, in addition to our great lineup of off-water kayaking courses already underway, SISKA has organized a terrific series of inexpensive on-water paddling workshops offered by several of our paddling skills partners and our own instructors - your chance to do some serious “Spring Training” for the warm weather paddling season just ahead!

Beginning in late April, SISKA is sponsoring 10 specially-designed workshops with Blue Dog Kayaking, Go Kayak, Pacifica Paddlesports and SKILS, as well as 4 Paddle Canada Basic and 2 Paddle Canada Level 1 courses with our own SISKA instructors. We are delighted that our professional partners are providing their workshops to our members at a discount over their regular prices, and we have reduced the cost of the Basic and Level 1 Paddle Canada courses offered through SISKA to make them even more attractive! Altogether there are 136 course/workshop spaces available over the next couple of months. Let’s use them all!

Take a look at the very reasonably-priced workshops and courses listed below, choose those that best meet your needs, and sign up online through SISKA right away to make sure you get what you want. These workshops and courses will fill up quickly!

The summary table has links to details following, and to our online sign-up and pay sites.


Happy Paddling!


Day Date Length Time Ratio # Title
(link to details)
Cost Sign Up Now!! Operator Lead
Thu April 25 6 hours 10am-4pm 1:6 12 Paddlers Workshop $30 SPW01 Blue Dog Dave Nichol
Fri April 26 6 hours 10am-4pm 1:6 12 Advanced Workshop $30 SPW02 Blue Dog Dave Nichol
Fri May 3 2 hours 10am-12pm 1:6 6 Advanced Paddling Strokes $20 SPW03 Go Kayak Yves Aquin
Fri May 3 2 Hours 1pm-3pm 1:6 6 Towing $20 SPW04 Go Kayak Yves Aquin
Sat May 4 2 hours 10am-12pm 1:6 6 Paddling Strokes $20 SPW05 Go Kayak Yves Aquin
Sat May 4 2 hours 1pm-3pm 1:6 6 Rescues $20 SPW06 Go Kayak Yves Aquin
Sun May 5 6 hours 10am-4pm 1:4 8 Paddle Canada Basic $30 SPW07 SISKA Jennie Sutton
Sun May 5 (1 of 2) 6 hours 10am-4pm 1:4 8 Paddle Canada Level 1 $60 SPW08 SISKA Michael Egilson
Sat May 11 (2 of 2) 6 hours 10am-4pm 1:4 8 Paddle Canada Level 1     SISKA Michael Egilson
Sat May 11 6 hours 10am-4pm 1:4 8 Paddle Canada Basic $30 SPW10 SISKA Edgar Hulatt
Sat May 25 3 hours 9am-12pm 1:6 6 Wet Exits and Rescues $65 SPW11 Pacifica EJ
Mon May 27 3 hours 9am-12pm 1:6 6 Forward Stroke Polishing $50 SPW12 SKILS Gordon Brown
Mon May 27 3 hours 1pm-4pm 1:6 6 Towing $50 SPW13 SKILS Gordon Brown
Thur May 30 6 hours 9am-4pm 1:6 6 Paddling in Currents $100 SPW14 SKILS Duncan Mack
Sat June 8 6 hours 10am-4pm 1:4 8 Paddle Canada Basic $30 SPW15 SISKA Edgar Hulatt
Sat June 8 (1 of 2) 6 hours 10am-4pm 1:4 8 Paddle Canada Level 1 $60 SPW16 SISKA Jo Nicholson
Sun June 9 (2 of 2) 6 hours 10am-4pm 1:4 8 Paddle Canada Level 1     SISKA Jo Nicholson
Sun June 9 6 hours 10am-4pm 1:4 8 Paddle Canada Basic $30 SPW18 SISKA TBD

Blue Dog Kayaking

Paddlers Workshop – Thursday April 25th

Start 9:00am – Meet and Greet at Gyro Beach, Cadboro Bay
o who you are
o why you’re here
o what are your goals for today
Participant Exercise – Beach Talk/Safety Briefing
Instructor Led Stroke Clinic – The Core Paddling Strokes
o Low Brace – 10 mins
o Sweep Strokes (forward and reverse)- 20 mins
o Pivot Turns with Edge – 10 mins
o Stopping – 5 mins
o Draw Stroke – 15 mins
o Forward Stroke – 30 mins
o Reverse Stroke – 5 mins
Video Assessments – 30 mins
Risk Assessment presentation and group discussion –
o Me, we, the weather & the sea
o “The Lemon Theory”
o Assisted Rescues – all three, T, UPSIDEDOWN T, PILLION
o Bow Rescue to be demonstrated by instructor team
Finish approx. 4pm

Blue Dog Kayaking

Advanced Workshop - Friday April 26th

Start 9:00am – Meet and Greet at Gyro Beach
o who you are
o why you’re here
o what are your goals for today
Participant Exercise – Beach Talk/Safety Briefing
Instructor Led Advanced Stroke Clinic – kayak maneuverability under momentum
o Forward Stroke
o Bow Rudder
o Sweep (forward and reverse under momentum)
o Stern Rudder
o Low Brace Turn
o Stroke Blending Participant Exercise
The 4 Corners
Risk Assessment presentation and group discussion –
o Me, we, the weather & the sea
o “The Lemon Theory”
Advanced Rescues
o Assisted Rescues – choice of rescue and technique for conditions
o Self-Rescues – choice of rescue pros and cons
o Advanced Towing scenario (all participants) dealing with an injured paddler on the
Finish approx. 4pm

Go Kayak

Workshops for intermediate paddlers

Advanced paddling strokes – Friday May 3, 10 am - 12 noon
This workshop will focus on blending and using a variety of advanced paddling strokes in preparation for paddling in more active and challenging waters. It will also help you to save energy when conditions get tough.

Towing – Friday May 3, 1 pm – 3 pm
Learn about different sea kayak towing techniques and how to safely tow an injured or fatigued paddler back to safety.

Workshops for beginners

Paddling Strokes – Saturday May 4, 10 am – 12 noon
Learn the benefits that paddling has to offer, including paddling more efficiently, building strength and fitness.

Rescues – Saturday May 4, 1 pm – 3 pm
Learn how to deal with a possible capsize by performing rescue skills such as wet exit, self and assisted rescues; essential skills to master if you are planning to get into sea kayaking.


SISKA - Basic Sea Kayak Skills

Saturday May 5, Sunday May 11, Saturday June 8, Sunday June 9 – 10 am – 4 pm

This is the primary starting point of the Paddle Canada Sea Kayak skills progression. With a focus on foundation skills and knowledge, Basic Kayak Skills inspires students to go out on short paddling excursions in calm and sheltered waters.
Prerequisites: None
Course Length: 1 day
Re-entry Skills
  • Wet Exit
  • Assisted Re-entries
Paddling Skills
  • Lifting and Carrying a Kayak
  • Launching and Landing
  • Emptying the Kayak
  • Forward Stroke
  • Stopping
  • Reverse Stroke
  • Forward & Reverse Sweep Strokes
  • Pivots
  • Draw Stroke
  • Low Brace
  • Edging
General Knowledge
  • Kayak Part Names and Outfitting
  • Paddling and Safety Equipment
  • Injury Prevention
  • Sunsense
  • Collision Regulations
  • Navigation
  • Risk Assessment and Mitigation
  • Impact of Kayakers on the Environment

SISKA - Sea Kayak Level 1 Skills

May 5 and 11, June 8 and 9; 10 am – 4 pm each day
Building on the information covered in Basic Skills, Level-1 is a two-day course that moves participants beyond flatwater kayaking and into the sport of sea kayaking. The course is conducted in slightly rougher water than Basic Kayak, aiming to develop the paddler’s comfort in class-1 waters. There is a strong focus on re-entry techniques as well as the skills required to safely plan and execute a day trip with friends (for example, navigation & route planning, weather interpretation, proper clothing/gear.)
Certification: Paddle Canada Basic Kayak skills certification or equivalent skill and knowledge at the discretion of the course director.
Paddling experience: Five kayaking excursions (2 or 3 hours) in class-0; Can execute a controlled wet exit in class-0 conditions; Can perform a simple assisted re-entry in class-0 conditions.
Course Length: 2 days
Re-entry Skills
  • Unassisted Re-entry
  • Assisted Re-entry
  • Towing
Paddling Skills
  • Launching and Landing
  • Forward Stroke
  • Stopping
  • Reverse Stroke
  • Sweep Strokes
  • Draw Stroke
  • Low Brace
  • Stern Rudder
  • Edge Control
General Knowledge
  • Equipment and Equipment Care
  • Communication
  • Route Planning and Basic Navigation Techniques
  • Half-day Kayak Journey
  • Weather
  • Sea State
  • Risk Assessment and Mitigation
  • Cold Issues and Sun Safety
  • Impact of Kayakers on the Environment
  • History and Heritage
  • Kayaking Community and Resources
  • Vehicle Boat Tie Down

Pacifica Paddlesports – Wet Exits and Rescues

Saturday May 25 – 9 am – 12 noon

Learn how to exit and reenter a kayak after capsizing. Practicing these techniques will increase your confidence during any paddling trip.

Our approach is simple and effective:
  • Lessons are delivered in a manner that allows for step by step progression so the learning of new skills isn’t overwhelming.
  • Our experienced instructors break down the lessons into skill sets that are easy to understand, remember and apply.
  • We ensure that you gain a practical sense of each skill, which will allow you to understand when and how to best use your new skills to improve your paddling experience.



Forward Stroke Polishing – Monday May 27, 9 am – 12 noon
All levels welcome
Description: This is the most important stroke and the most neglected one.

Towing – Monday May 27, 1 pm – 4 pm
All levels welcome
Description: Test out a variety of towing-gear and towing techniques for towing, and rescues that involve towing.

Paddling in the Currents – Thursday May 30, 9 am – 4 pm
All levels welcome
Description: Maneuvering and boat control in moving water. We will also use specific navigation techniques like vectors and ranges while navigating currents.

Gear Swap + Clinics - Sat. June 15

Cadboro Bay Beach - Gyro Park
by Jane Jacek
9am-12pm: Gear Swap
10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm: On water and off water clinics 
12pm-1pm Lunch break (Bring your own lunch)
Coffee/Tea and goodies supplied
More info on clinics to come.... 
Cost: $5 for the day (keep eye out for future email with PayPal link)

Community Events of Interest

If you are aware of an event  that should be included in the next Newsletter, please email Alan Campbell at

List of Upcoming NonSISKA Events
Tuesday, April 09th, 2019 - 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM - In Search of the Real Wolf - VNHS
Saturday, April 13th, 2019 - 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM - Massive Marine Garage Sale - MMBC
Friday, April 19th, 2019 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - SUP Touring in the Great Bear Rainforest - ORS
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - West Coast Trail - Robinsons
Monday, April 29th, 2019 - 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM - How Storms Impact the Coasts - VNHS

SKGABC Exchange Invitation Extended to SISKA Members

Daye Cooper, Executive Director, Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC, has invited interested SISKA members to join them for their Spring Exchange in Haida Gwaii May 9 to 13, 2019.

You can view the Itinerary here.

Although normally reserved for SKGABC members and associate members, SISKA members registering and paying to attend will be granted associate membership status at no extra cost.

Daye reports that they have a pretty phenomenal weekend planned, with coaching by the renowned Kate Hives, a tour of the island, options for zodiac village tours and an introduction to Parks, a tour of the Haida Heritage museum, etc. A fantastic opportunity for folks who would like the opportunity to visit and be oriented to do so, and very low cost as everything is donated and or not for profit. They would be happy to have SISKA members join them, and have extended the earlybird price to April 1st.

What’s in a Name?



by Vic Turkington
Named in 1846 by Capt Kellett of HMS Herald after Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, as the settlement further north was named Fort Victoria, in honour of the Queen.
Prince Albert of Saxe-Cobourg and Gotha (1819-61) married Queen Victoria in 1840. The Spanish explorer Capt.Quimper landed at Albert Head in 1790, while exploring Juan de Fuca Strait  and claimed Vancouver Island for Spain. The headland was the site of BC's first saw mill (1853-59); it was subsequently destroyed by fire. A quarantine station operated at Albert Head (1883-93), before it was relocated to William Head.  The promontory was fortified during WW II to guard Esquimalt Harbour.
Nowadays, the lagoon is a quiet refuge for ducks, geese and other wild life. Depending on the log jams, paddlers can exit or enter the lagoon to or from the ocean.  Albert Head also provides a convenient pebble beach for kayakers to launch while on SISKA paddles to Witty's Lagoon and elsewhere.

Tips from the trips

by Debbie Leach