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


Dear <<First Name>>,

Here is the next edition of the SISKA newsletter. We hope you enjoy it. We also hope that members will send in a couple of photos from our various paddles or maybe the odd 100-150 word article; if you can, please contact one of us.

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

Table of Contents


Upcoming Events


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

June 22, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, 

June 24, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER)

June 26, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER)

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

July 16, 8:30 pm - 12:00 am,  (RELAXED)

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

For more details, go to the SISKA website

What’s in a Name?

Hard to imagine, but our usual article editor actually allowed kayaking to interfere with his editorial responsibilities for this issue - doing field research, perhaps? We'll have another place name in the July issue.

SISKA's Beach BBQ and Kayak Fun Day

Well, it was a blast! This year’s SISKA BBQ and Kayak Fun Day at Gyro Park/Cadboro Bay had something for everyone - food, discussions, gear sales, stories, prizes!
It all starts here
It takes an extended community to pull this sort of event off. Recognition and special thanks to:
  • David Maxwell for claiming the tables at 0600 – seriously early…and the rest of the early setup crew: Don Tunstall, John Minkley, Fred Pishalski and Alan Campbell
  • Debbie Leach and Barbara McDougall for braving Costco to do the shopping… Debbie also chopped and pre-cooked the onions at home!
  • Mary Sutton for bringing her garage-full of SISKA supplies and keeping track of us all….
  • Jennie Sutton, Dorothea Hoffman, Jo Nicolson, Gary Allen, Mark Byrne, Sheila Porteous, Gary Jacek and Mike Jackson for helping people improve their paddling skills… Gary also took some photos to share!
  • Fred Pishalski, Gail Miller,  Edgar Hulatt, Roger Botting and Vic Turkington for handling the BBQ chef duties
  • All those who helped take boats on and off vehicles, down and back from the beach – we had 15-20 hardy paddlers out there!
  • Our multiple prize-winners for their afternoon on-water heroics in the legendary Fun Day Race! Congrats!
SISKA’s Fun Collective (aka Alan Campbell)
Stories and information, information and stories....

The Moses to Musgrave Paddle

Debbie Leach put her newly minted Level II skills to the test on Sunday May 29th  by leading this energizer paddle across Satellite Channel to Salt Spring Island. She and eight other women outnumbered the men three to one, as twelve of us set off from Moses Point on the north side of Deep Cove.

The last of the flood tide and a 5 knot southerly sped us across to Cape Keppel. We noodled the southwest shore of Salt Spring to Musgrave Landing before looping back for lunch on the sunny beach at a recently designated Marine Trails campsite.
Energized paddlers!
The return trip had the ebb in our favour but a light wind in our faces. This made for a bit of chop and somewhat of a challenge for some, but still enjoyable; that's why this trip was rated as an Energizer. Sunshine, seals, eagles and a variety of underwater critters made the extra work seem easy.

Coffee and treats at “The Roost” capped off a great day.  Thanks Deb!

Best Practices for Kayak Camping

The Sea Kayaking Association of BC has just put out a brochure on kayak camping. Here is a summary.

On camp layout:
  • avoid those tempting mossy areas; they take years to grow.
  • avoid berry patches and water courses; in some seasons, they attract bears.
  • hang food 30 metres from your tent, at least 3 metres up and with at least 2 metres clearance on all sides.
  • no food, drink or even toothpaste in the tent.
Not good! Food and drink seem a bit close to the tent.
On dealing with human waste:
  • use the inter-tidal area if you are in a very remote area.
  • In semi-remote areas, bury the waste in forest loam 200 metres from camp, in a 15 cm hole 20 cm deep.
  • pack out the toilet paper or burn it in the campfire.
On using fire:
  • use a stove whenever possible, open fires only when necessary.
  • use an existing fire ring if you find one.
  • dismantle other old fire rings.
  • keep fires small - dinner plate size, and never leave them unattended.
  • use only wood that you can break by hand.
  • scatter the ashes over a wide area when cleaning up.
On packing it out:
  • carry a large garbage bag per kayak.
  • use separate bags for garbage, compostables and recycling.
  • don't burn plastic or cans - flatten the cans and pack it all out.
The underlying message is minimize the disruption of your camping sites and try to leave them as they were, or even better than they were.
Disrupt the site as little as possible

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.

The Rhinoceros Auklet is a stubby seabird. Note the longish bill with the rhino bump (only there in summer) and the elegant moustache. These stay a bit offshore, usually fishing singly but sometimes bunching up along tidelines where two currents meet.
Rhinoceros Auklet

Like the Auklet, the Pigeon Guillemot feeds on small fish captured underwater. That gaudy black and white plumage is unique and obvious - but only in summer; Guillemots turn a dull grey and white in winter. They nest on ledges, including under ferry docks, and make high piping whistles around their nest sites.
Pigeon Guillemot

Sidney Island Birding Paddle

Sunny - very sunny - and calm, but with a strong wind warning for late afternoon. Eleven sweaty paddlers set off  with birding guru Daniel Donneke for Sidney Spit. Well, sort of to Sidney Spit. A strong ebb tide produced some interesting currents, with waves and boils and conflicting flows. Interesting enough to tip one paddler; a rescue was smoothly effected.

The Spit shoreline was alive with shorebirds - "peeps", in the jargon - mainly 300 western sandpipers, but with a smattering of sanderlings and dunlin. The bird of the day was a pair of whimbrel who made a gracious and graceful appearance.
Western Sandpipers and Dunlin (w/ black bellies)
Lunch, and we were off to Mandarte Island to cruise quietly past 300 double crested cormorants, 200 pelagic cormorants, even 40 Brant's cormorants plus some 300 glaucous-winged gulls. Almost 30 species spotted during our 6-hour paddle (although Daniel is probably the only one who saw and recognized them all....).

The breeze picked up a bit as we made our way back to the launch site, but we were off the water by mid afternoon, before the blow began. Just as planned!
The Cormorants of Mandarte Island
Copyright © 2016 South Island Sea Kayaking Association, All rights reserved.

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