SISKA's  January 2017 Newsletter. Upcoming events, reports and articles
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January 2017 SISKA Newsletter


Dear <<First Name>>

And another year begins, with both new and familiar paddle routes to enjoy!

Thanks again to those members who contributed photos and materials. After enjoying a SISKA event or paddle, please consider putting fingers to keyboards and cobbling together 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!

If anyone would be interested in taking over the monthly place names article, please let Mike Jackson know. Ideally the article editor would have a copy of Raincoast Place Names.

And, by the way, you can find archived versions of past SISKA newsletters on our website in the members' section.

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

It's Membership Renewal time!

We hope you've had a great year of paddling in 2016.  With the coming of the new year, it's time to renew you're SISKA membership. Just point your browser to

This year we are asking members to specify whether their paddle experience is Paddle Canada certification or Self Assessed.

Table of Contents


Upcoming Events

January 7, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (RELAXED PADDLE)

January 9, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm,  

January 15, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER PADDLE)

January 17, 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm, 

January 25, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, 

January 28, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER PADDLE)

January 31, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, 

February 7, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm, 

February 9, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm, 

February 12, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,   (RELAXED PADDLE)

February 14, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm, 

February 16, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm, 

February 22, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, 

February 25, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER PADDLE)

For more details, go to the SISKA website

What’s in a Name?

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

One of our paddles this month went from the lagoon at the south end of Royal Roads to Witty's Lagoon in Parry Bay via Albert head and the Haystock Islets.

Witty's Lagoon

Witty's Lagoon is named after John Witty who purchased the farm adjacent to the lagoon in the mid 1860s. John and his wife Charlotte became influential members of the Metchosin community.

Albert Head

Albert Head was named after Prince Albert (of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha), Queen Victoria's husband, by Capt Henry Kellett of HMS Herald. The First Nation name for the point was Tleepet. Spanish explorer Manuel Quimper landed at the head while making the first European exploration of Juan de Fuca Strait. and "claimed" Vancouver Island for Spain in 1790.

Royal Roads

Royal Bay, as it was originally known, was named in 1846 by Henry Kellett becauses the bay separated the new settlement of Fort Victoria from Albert Head.

Parry Bay

Parry Bay, between William and Albert Heads, was also named by Kellet .Rear Admiral  William Parry was a noted Royal Navy officer, hydrographer and explorer. William Head is also named after him.

Haystock Islets

Haystock Islets is most likely a misspelling of the established local name: Haystack Islets . This would have been based on their profile.

Gordon Brown Clinics 

We are very excited to announce that SISKA has organized at least two clinics with Gordon Brown from the Isle of Skye (see his short bio below). There is also information online and the club library has all of Gordon’s excellent instructional DVD’s.

The first clinic will be Sunday, January 22nd at Cowichan Bay and will take a maximum of only 10 participants. Being a member of SISKA and having Level 1 or equivalent experience is required. This is a unique opportunity to learn from an internationally renowned kayak instructor.

A second clinic will be on Wednesday, February 8th. This one is aimed at intermediate to advanced paddlers. Level 2 skills are expected for this clinic.

The cost for either of these sessions will be $120 which can be paid via PayPal after registering.  Please contact Jennie Sutton at to register. 

We are also holding an "instructor" clinic on Saturday January 21st, where Gordon will be focusing on instructional technique. If you are interested in this session, please contact Michael Egilson at

Gordon Brown:

Gordon is highly qualified, holding the British Canoe Union (BCU) Level 5 Sea Kayak award. In addition, he holds Level 5 Inland Kayak, Level 3 Surf, American Canoe Association (ACA) Advanced Open Water Instructor and WEMSI wilderness first aid certification. He is on the first cohort of the BCU/UKCC Level 4 award, the academic side, delivered by the University of Stirling. He is currently studying for an MSc in Performance Coaching.

Gordon has a lifetime’s experience on the sea and on rivers throughout the world and has trained, tutored and assessed many of the kayaking staff at outdoor centres around the UK.He produced his own sea kayak rescue video Over… and Out way back in 1993 and, far more recently, the DVD’s Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown – Volumes 1, 2 & 3 with Simon Willis.  As an author, he has written Sea Kayak – A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Kayakers and also the chapter on sea kayaking in the latest edition of the BCU handbook. As ever, he is working on other projects in the background, including another book.

He is the organizer of the Scottish Sea Kayak Symposium and is always in demand as a guest coach at sea kayak symposia throughout the world. During the past 12 months, Gordon has provided inspirational coaching at events in Israel, Nova Scotia, Chile, Seattle and San Francisco.

Names for SISKA paddles?

We want to tweak how we name our club paddles, so we would like suggestions from the membership.

At the moment we categorize our regular paddles as “Relaxed” or “Energizer". We also have 3 or 4 “Special Interest” paddles such as those focused on birding and intertidal.

Can you think of more descriptive or evocative names? Submit your suggestions to Jennie Sutton and you'll be eligible to win a coveted prize!

Pool and clinic costs

Effective January 2017 the Drop-In Pool fee will increase from $15 to $20 and the On and Off Water Clinic fee will increase from $10 to $15. The rationale for this is to cover operating costs of the pool rental and room rentals for clinics. (repeated notice from December newsletter)

Tips from Trips

Keep your fuel canister warm.

When temperatures drop, coddle your canisters by warming them with your hands or over a steaming cuppa. Or even just wrap the canister in a down jacket or sleeping bag. A bit of heat will nicely extend the life of each unit.
More BTUs (OK, British Thermal Units) for your buck!

Camp-Suited Cookery

(Here we share recipes that can be made deep into a multi-day kayak trip, or any recipe that makes the cooking part of a trip more enjoyable.  Please submit your contributions to Lynn Baier at 

In December, it was pizza. This month, Lynn continues the international theme with an exotic twist - Coq au Vin

At home, dehydrate thinly sliced onion, sliced mushrooms, garlic and thinly sliced fresh or frozen carrots. Pack those vegetables with ready-pack bacon, canned chicken breast meat (cheapest at Costco - one can should do two people), a cube of chicken stock and a flask of red wine.

In camp, slice the bacon into one-inch pieces and fry until cooked. Add the vegetables, some chicken stock,  and red wine. (Do save enough wine to accompany the meal. :-)  Bring it all to a boil and then add the chicken breast. Remove from the heat and let sit for about an hour (preferably in a cozy). Re-heat, thicken the gravy, and serve with instant mashed potatoes (in camp, they taste way better than they ought to). 
Et ...   voila!

SISKA Christmas Paddle

10 hardy paddlers took up the challenge of a paddle before our annual party. We set out from Gyro Park and made our way along the shore past Flower Island and then out to Jemmy Jones Island. After that, we made our way over to Cattle Point and along the shore back to Gyro Park via the Yacht Club. It was a nice way to start the day of the party!