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


Dear <<First Name>>,

Thanks again to the members who contributed photos and materials. After enjoying a SISKA event or paddle, please consider providing a short (100-150 words) summary article; for more information, contact one of us. And if you would like to start a regular column, please let us know!

You can find SISKA on Facebook at this link. SISKA also has a Meetup site for "impromptu" and other paddles organized by club members. (To join this, you have to be a club member.) For more details, go to

Please also note that you can find archived newsletter articles in the SISKA newsletter archive page. These can be also be found via the members area of the website.

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

Some time sensitive items...

No June meeting

Since many of our members may already be out on trips and otherwise busy, we won't have a June meeting this moth. Next meeting will be September 27th!

SISKA Picnic June 10th  

There is still time to register for the picnic on June 10th at Gyro Beach. Please go to the paypal link and register, as we need to know numbers!

Symphony Splash Volunteers

The Victoria Symphony Splash is still looking for volunteers for their annual Splash event on August 6th. Please contact the volunteer coordinator Della Preston.

MEC Paddlefest volunteers

SISKA is having a booth set up at the Paddlefest on June 18th and we would like to have a couple of members help staff the booth for a couple of hours in the morning or afternoon. If you are available, please contact our coordinator, Rod Steibel.

Regional Parking Committee

SISKA would like to pursue parking options more actively in the CRD, as many local municipalities seem to have quite restrictive parking regulations for people wishing to paddle. If you would be willing to help out in discussing the issue and/or contacting your municipality's council, please contact Tony Copping.

Table of Contents


Upcoming Events

June 04, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (RELAXED)

June 10, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm,  (includes a lesson in crabbing, with two hands-on sessions to be scheduled later) Gyro Park

June 11, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (RELAXED)

July 01, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (RELAXED)

July 08, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER)

July 08, 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER)

July 09, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER)

July 22, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER)

For more details, go to the SISKA website

What’s in a Name? Piers Island

- Vic Turkington

Piers Island is one of our favourite paddling destinations after launching from Amherst beach in Sidney. The island is just off Swartz Bay and is named after Henry Piers (1818-1901), who was the naval surgeon aboard HMS Satellite under Captain Prevost.

Piers Island was expropriated in 1932 and served as a federal prison camp until 1935 for 600 Doukhobors who had been convicted of public nudity. The one-square-mile island is now home to 131 private properties. While electricity and water services exist, there is no store, school or medical clinic. Residents must travel to and from the island by private boat.There is an emergency helicopter landing site and the fire hall is manned by volunteers.

Paddling under the many boat piers along the shoreline is always interesting and provides a close-up view of  waterfront properties. A gravel beach with a private gazebo lies at the north end of the island, near Harry Point (see chart image) and provides a very convenient lunch spot. Clive Island, off the SE corner of Piers Island, makes a safe holding spot to dodge BC ferries on the return crossing of Gosse Passage to Knapp Island.

Some years ago while we were lunching at the gazebo, a large cougar suddenly appeared about 100 meters away, causing much anxiety (and indigestion). However, the cougar just eyed us for awhile; probably decided we were not tasty enough and finally wandered off into the bush.  That cougar was later trapped and deported to the mainland.

Piers Island therefore makes a very interesting energizer paddle destination, even without the cougar.
Cougar on Piers Island -Photo by Tony PLayfair

Tips for Trips

- Debbie Leach


Use cup hooks (and, of course, remove them afterwards) to secure your tent/tarp guy lines instead of trying to wrap them around a beach log.

Oak Bay Birding Paddle

 - Ben van Drimmelen
Sometimes, prudence and patience are fully rewarded. So it was on the recent birding paddle off of Oak Bay. Originally set for a Sunday, predicted high winds resulted in rescheduling to midweek. This had two effects. Sadly, it eliminated many paddlers from this popular paddle. On the other hand, Thursday May 4 turned out to be as close to perfect as a paddle can get – sunny, rippled seas, 18 degrees and friendly tidal currents.
Six of us first paddled among the Chain Islets. As usual, birder Daniel Donnecke identified many more species (50!) than the rest of us recognized (~30), but the group was able to stop, watch and discuss the more subtle differences between white-winged and surf scoters; among pelagic, double-crested and Brandt’s cormorants; and between least and western sandpipers. It was startling how a bantam-sized whimbrel could blend so well in a cobbled beach!