SISKA's July 2016 Newsletter. Upcoming events, reports and articles
View this email in your browser

July 2016 SISKA Newsletter


Dear <<First Name>>,

As we ease into summer, we wish you all the best for your paddling adventures and hopefully plenty of good stories to share in the fall. We plan to forego an August edition;the weather is too fine to sit at a keyboard.

Thanks to those members who contributed
photos and materials. To the rest, please put fingers to keyboards and cobble together a short (100-150 words) summary article; for more information, contact one of us.

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

Table of Contents


Upcoming Events


July 10, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm  (RELAXED PADDLE)

July 16/17, 8:30 pm Jul 16/16 - 12:00 am Jul 17/16,  (RELAXED PADDLE)

July 24, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER PADDLE)

August 6, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (RELAXED PADDLE) 

August 13, 7:45 pm - 11:00 pm,   (RELAXED PADDLE)

August 20, 6 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER PADDLE) 

For more details, go to the SISKA website

Paddling in the Hakai

At our June general meeting, Fred Pishalski and David Maxwell (at short notice) gave presentation on their 2008 trip to the amazing Hakai area of the central coast.

The Catfish Crew spent 15 days paddling BC’s central wild and rugged coast. They took the ferry at the end of Vancouver Island heading north and did a wet launch off the stern between Calvert and Hecate Islands. (Sadly this wet-launch opportunity, providing ideal mid-coast access for kayakers, was discontinued in 2013 - ed.) After paddling North for two weeks, the group loaded their boats on the same ferry at Clearwater and returned to Port Hardy. 
The Hakai-Luxvbalis Conservancy Area is the largest marine park on the coast, almost 130,000 hectares of land and sea. It offers an extremely diverse paradise for nature lovers. Mollusca, crabs, starfish, anemones, sea urchins and many others inhabit the tidal pools in the rocks. The surrounding waters are home to the orca, grey, minke and humpback whales, seals, sea lions, dolphins and porpoises. There are over 100 bird species, including herons, sandpipers, gulls, auklets, pelagic cormorants and sandhill cranes. With a bit of luck, deer, wolves and bears can be seen on the beaches or in the forests.
The Heiltsuk aboriginal people have lived along this coast for over 10,000 years. Remnants of their culture are evident from village sites, shell middens, fish traps and canoe haulouts. Native names such as Hakai (wide passage), Namu (whirlwind) and Koeye (sitting on water) are still in use today.
A glimpse of the amazing mid-coast.

Kayakable Birding

Birds are a fine feature of any kayak trip. But which is which? In each Newsletter, we’ll describe a couple of species that you are likely to see at this particular time of year.

This issue, a couple of the big soaring birds. The Bald Eagle is known to most of us, but usually only when it has reached around five years of age to earn that white head. Younger bald eagles look somewhat like golden eagles, but don't be fooled. Goldens are hunters that prefer mountains; balds prefer the fish and waterfowl found near water.
Bald Eagle (just a yearling)

The other big soarer is the Turkey Vulture. It cruises for carrion using its excellent sense of smell. It uses little energy to fly because it simply soars on updrafts. Note the distinctive black forewings and grey/silvery flight feathers.

The price to be light enough to soar is having little muscle for flapping. Being reliant on soaring means that Juan de Fuca Strait is a scary barrier to vultures in their fall migration, so they gather in packs of several hundred over Victoria and Sooke each October to try to find the big thermal lifts that will carry them up and over the water.
Turkey Vulture

Amherst to Coal Island Paddle

Dave Chater provided a summary of what was supposed to be his inaugural leading of this relaxed paddle on June 12.

The 6.5 mile trip from Amherst Beach (Sidney) and around Coal Island, Goudge Island, Kerr Island, Iroquois Passage and John’s Passage offers an interesting shoreline around the various islands and small islets in the area, a real taste of the south Gulf Islands, the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and the Salish Sea. Ten paddlers were registered with another ten on the wait list; a very popular SISKA paddle.

All systems seemed go for the paddle as the weather, tides and currents all looked great until.... (continued)
The common, elegant, Blood Star
... until Dave suffered a serious leg injury and had to pull out! Happily Morley Eldridge, a veteran Level 2 paddler, took over - many thanks!

The paddle itself went very well - light winds, part sun/cloud and minimal currents. The paddlers stayed close the shorelines around Coal and Goudge Islands - more interesting than crossing open water - and took a dog-leg trip to Ker Island (a small island off the south end of Coal Island) past Killer Whale Point and then through John’s Passage. 

As tradition demands, a few of the paddlers stopped at “The Roost” (farm bakery) on East Saanich Road for a debrief. All in all a good day for all.

Look forward to more happy paddling this summer!

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.

Portland Island

The island's Sencot'en name is Sxecoten ("dry mouth"), but in 1858 it was named after a rear admiral's flagship, the HMS Portland. That 52-gun sailing vessel was in service from 1822 to 1862, including a stint in the Mediterranean.

Along with nearby Moresby Island, Portland Island was settled by Hawaiians who had been working for the Hudsons Bay Company. For years Portland Island remained tranquil but in 1927, things got a bit crazy. It was owned by "One-Arm" Sutton, a soldier of fortune who had helped a Manchurian warlord to take control of half of China. He decided to turn the island into a luxurious resort that would provide "the best pheasant shooting in the British Empire". Fortunately for generations of pheasants, "One-Arm" went bankrupt before he could implement his scheme.

In 1958, BC gave the island to Princess Margaret as part of BC's Centennial celebrations. The donations was just for show; the Princess was supposed to donate it right back to BC as a park. However, for four long bureaucratic years, nothing happened. Local outdoors clubs became noticeably restless, sending cranky letters to the royal family. That worked; Princess Margaret Provincial Marine Park has become a recreational jewel in the Salish Sea.

Paddlefest 2016

SISKA again had a booth at Paddlefest on June 25 at Willows Beach. Rod Stiebel reported.

Paddlefest was another great success. The weather was near-perfect, with a mild breeze to cool those basking in the sun. The MEC gear swap was fast and furious, with all stock picked over within five minutes after the "Bargain Hoard" hit the Merchandise Tent.

Traffic at the SISKA booth was quite brisk, particularly in the morning. We will probably see at least a half dozen new members joining. (Interest was boosted by our draw to win a free 2017 membership.) Many non-paddlers were contemplating a kayak purchase and tapped our experience and expertise. A good number were younger and many were new to Victoria.
A couple of our more seasoned paddlers were on the water helping other paddlers to hone their skills. 
Other SISKA members dropped by to say hello, take in the sights, sample some demo boats and shop around. Enthusiasm was front and center; there was much to take in.
Many thanks to both our fine booth crew and our impressive water crew.
Paddlefest 2016
Copyright © 2016 South Island Sea Kayaking Association, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp