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

Welcome to Our Newsletter! 

Dear <<First Name>>,

This is the first in what will hopefully be a monthly newsletter for the club with a goal of sharing upcoming events, useful tips (and trivia!), club news, and more. At the moment, our team includes myself and Ben van Drimmelen. We can be reached via the email address If you would like to join the team, or have ideas for articles, please let us know. We would also like to get feedback on the usefulness of the newsletter. It is also our plan to archive any general articles on the web site.
Happy New Year to you all!

Michael Jackson (SISKA president) and Ben van Drimmelen (Newsletter editor)

Membership Renewal

It is now 2016 and we need to renew our club membership. Please go to the membership renewal page to renew your club membership.

Table of Contents


Upcoming Events

You can see that we have a busy month ahead! 4 paddles (including Jan 1st!), 2 clinics and our General meeting!

For more details, go to the SISKA website

What’s in a Name?

This is the first in what will hopefully be a regular feature in our newsletter. We aim to feature a local place name and some interesting facts about it. If you have any names that you would like us to feature, send us an email! Most of our featured names will be drawn from “The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names” by Andrew Scott. We have a copy in the library!

Cadboro Bay

Cadboro Bay (and Cadboro Point, where the light is near the end of Ten Mile Point) is named after the Hudson Bay Company’s brigantine Cadboro which was the first regular trading and supply ship on the BC coast. The Cadboro was only 17m long. It was was built in England in 1824 and arrived on our coast three years later. With six guns and 35 crew, it was the first ship to enter the Fraser River and to explore Victoria Harbour  and Cadboro Bay. The name was given to the bay in 1842 by the officers of the HBC. (The Cadboro was wrecked near Port Angeles in a gale in 1862, while carrying lumber from Puget Sound to Victoria.)

The bay is known to the Songhees First Nation as Sungayka, meaning “snow patches”. It was an important early village site.
The Schooner Cadboro - from the BC archives

SISKA’S 2015 Christmas Lunch Party

With almost 100 members and guests getting in the holiday spirit and enjoying festive fun and great food together, our 8th annual Club Christmas party at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club (RVYC) Sat Dec 5th was another great success!
Santa Claus was in jolly good form, and the CFAX Santa Bear at his mischievous best, as we enjoyed a terrific Christmas luncheon together. The weather outside was so frightfully windy that the morning paddle in Cadboro Bay had to be cancelled, but it was truly delightful inside at RVYC.
Thanks to our many generous sponsors and supporters (see the list below), there were loads of prizes for this year’s lucky (and/or skilful!) winners! Mike Jackson, as Club President, helped by Jennie Sutton as Paddle Coordinator, recognized all the many volunteers whose work puts it all together for SISKA each year. On behalf of the Executive Committee, Mike then awarded lifetime memberships to Glynis Newman and Gary Allen, two of our club founders and longtime leaders in various roles over the years.
The entertainment was vintage SISKA: Debbie Leach stumped most of us again with her new “Heads or Tails” quiz; Heather Jones along with Ian and Beth Haysom worked through the hilarity to help us get the hang of singing our parts in their “12 Days of Kayak Christmas”; and a few brave members shared some funny paddling stories from the past year!
While having tons of fun themselves, members also contributed over $350 to Power to Be and CFAX Santa’s Anonymous to help with their good work with those who are less fortunate in the Greater Victoria area.
Many thanks to the hard-working SISKA Elves on putting together another memorable Christmas party! 
Royal Victoria Yacht Club
Blackline Marine
Ocean River Sports
Comfort Paddling Gear
Go Kayak
Blue Dog Kayaking
Wild coast Magazine
Pacifica Paddlesports
Pacific Paddling Symposium
Munro’s Books
Discovery Islands Lodge
Mountain Equipment Coop
All Things QajaQ

RavenWoods Paddles and Qajaqs
Silver Wave Jewellery

Monica Jackson
Deborah Etsten
Joanne Nicolson

by Alan Campbell

Some words from one of our founders...

It is with mixed feelings that I am stepping down from the Safety Coordinator’s role and passing it on to Sheila Porteous. It is probably the last in a series of steps to “wean” myself off of “motherhood” to SISKA.

In May of 2007, SISKA was an idea born by 2 (myself and Susan Duhamel – at that time, co-coordinators of the Sea kayaking programme of VCKC), and supported and nurtured by 3 other dedicated members of the sea kayaking community at that time (Gary Allen, Tony Copping, Michael Jackson); by February 2008 it had become a “gathering” known as the Victoria Sea Kayakers as we were joined by many others looking for a glue to hold sea kayakers together; and by April 2008 SISKA was officially established as a non-profit club for sea kayakers only. Our goals at the time were clear:
  • To target all skill levels and both sexes of active sea kayakers in the Greater Victoria area.
  • To focus on information, education and safe paddling for all levels of paddling skill from beginner to advanced - through Paddle Canada and other recognized national groups.
  • To provide opportunities for paddlers to get together on and off the water to share their passion for sea kayaking.
  • To be actively involved in “issues” pertinent to sea kayakers e.g. safety, environmental concerns, access and parking concerns, etc.
Now, 8 years later, it seems we have held true to those goals, and I for one am incredibly proud to be part of this amazing club.

As SISKA moves forward, with Michael Jackson at the helm, the keen Executive, Coordinators, and all the invaluable volunteers, SISKA surely has no direction to go but towards excellence in satisfying each of the stated goals. And so, though I am sad to say goodbye as Safety Coordinator, I am also excited and confident to hand over the role to Sheila Porteous, our past President of SISKA, and active member, and very importantly, a capable and safe paddler with a passion for sea kayaking.

My last words (of safety wisdom) to everyone are these:
  • BE SAFE, but put yourself out there – always have a reliable safety net
  • Experience is a great teacher, but accredited instruction/coaching (Paddle Canada) is critical to safe and efficient paddling
  • Continue to learn and hone your skills – Never become complacent – PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and then PRACTICE some more!
  • Rolling is great, but staying upright is better - learn balance and edging skills before you devote your life to learning how to roll!
  • Take care of your equipment – make sure your PFD fits correctly and that your deck lines are “healthy” and functional
  • Always be humble to the sea - Know your limitations and when in doubt, err on the side of safety
  • Remember to HAVE FUN – sea kayaking doesn’t have to be about further or faster or more technical if that isn’t your thing – whatever your “thing” is… should be FUN!!
Hope to see you all out there on the water! Happy paddling!

by Glynis Newman

Musings from our Past President

Shortly after joining SISKA, I stood for election on the executive team. I wanted to contribute to a club that was offering a wealth of resources to sea kayakers. It is now my time to sit back, relax, and support the emerging executive contingent. When I joined SISKA the core goals were evident: targeting all skill levels with a focus on information, education, and safety – and more. These ideals remain an integral part of the vision of SISKA. Going through several executive positions, I realised that I had personal hopes for the club as well. With inclusion, diversity, and a welcoming presence in mind, I stood for election as president. Four years later, it is my time to step down from the position and allow the dreams and visions of others to influence the club as it continues to evolve as a uniting club for kayakers.

A number of questions were sent to me for this short reflective piece. I was asked about certifications, kayak choices, favorite trips, and many other interesting things. Yet, being rebellious, I wanted to take the opportunity to refocus on my original vision of inclusion and diversity. Over the years I have repeatedly wondered how to foster such values in a large club of kayakers. During my time as president, I think I have come up with a few ideas and since I have a chance to put them in writing, I would like to share my thoughts here:

Listen more. Celebrate differences. Create your own unique goals.

In the sport of kayaking, we often like to share our own hopes and dreams for skill achievement, gear acquisition, and paddling desires. From the listener’s side, this conversation may feel like a sales pitch to acquire something newer or better than the gear and/or skills one has already gathered. Yet, when I take the time to genuinely listen to other paddlers, especially the individuals that have been paddling the Salish Sea for decades before me, I learn more than I ever could by speaking. I hear about journeys and activities that I might not have considered before. With this knowledge, I can create my own dreams that are enhanced by the stories of others. And in the meantime, I may have witnessed the precious memories of another paddler.

Personally, I worry that the stories that are plastered on social media and in the magazines celebrate the goals of the most adrenaline seeking individuals. I wonder if sometimes those tales overshadow the dreams and desires of different and diverse individuals. With my involvement in SISKA, I hoped to celebrate the myriad possibilities that are offered to the community through the sport of kayaking. From photography, fishing, dulcet evening paddles, camping adventures, and solo journeys, I hope that members take the time to share and to listen to all the stories without thoughts of convincing others to join the ranks of ‘bigger and better’ water seekers.

Which brings me to a final thought for all of us. In 2016, I wish that all paddlers have the opportunity to define and move toward their own unique visions and goals in the realm of paddling. Whether you are trying to physically move past body limitations, or striving to push through mental barriers, it is my hope that all of us take the time to define what the sport means to us and to fulfill our own dreams. And beyond that, I hope that we all take the time to hear the aspirations of others. Perhaps at the next club function, we can all take a moment to seek out someone new and hear their unique vision, for it is my belief that this is how a club welcomes members and fosters diversity.

by Sheila Porteous
Sheila Porteous on a SISKA Christmas paddle

Club Paddles for 2016

There are already 33 paddles planned for 2016, generally every second weekend, and usually alternating a Saturday and Sunday date. Relaxed and Energizer paddles are on alternate weekends, with some extra “special interest” paddles interspersed.

So far we have two Intertidal paddles planned and two night paddles to see the fireworks at Butchart Gardens from Todd Inlet. Two birding paddles are yet to be scheduled. We are hoping for more summer mid-week paddles, which are shorter notice paddles.

If you have any suggestions for different paddles or ways to improve the paddles, please email Jennie Sutton at

Here are a some statistics for the past few years:
Total nm for 2015 = 268.00 Number of paddlers = 428
Total nm for 2014 = 267.26 Number of paddlers = 501
Total nm for 2013 = 239.48 Number of paddlers = 500
Total nm for 2012 = 183.23 Number of paddlers = 377
Total nm for 2011 = 187.40 Number of paddlers = 322

You can see the upcoming paddles here
Jennie Sutton, Paddle Coordinator, SISKA

SISKA's First Paddle of the Year

Eight paddlers braved cool conditions on New Year's Day to join the first paddle of the year, led by Jennie Sutton, our paddle coordinator. We "noodled" our way along the south shore of Cadboro Bay, passing by many beached boats, through the yacht club, and then into every bay along the shore between Gyro Park and Cattle Point. We stopped on Willows Beach by the teahouse for lunch and then made our way back against a brisk breeze.
SISKA paddlers on the Jan 1st 2016 paddle
The January 1st paddle track
Copyright © 2016 South Island Sea Kayaking Association, All rights reserved.

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