August 2023



Thanks to those members who contributed photos and materials. After enjoying a SISKA event or paddle, please consider sending 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!

Jane Jacek (SISKA president) and Tony Playfair (editor)

Convenient Links

PS: SISKA on Facebook

PPS: Siska’s Youtube Channel

PPPS: Siska’s Newsletter Archive - Mailchimp or Siska Newsletters Backup

PPPPS: Rocky Point Demolition Blasting Notices

Upcoming SISKA Events

Sunday, August 06th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Fleming Beach to Cole Island Paddle
Saturday, August 12th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Mackenzie Bight Paddle
Sunday, August 20th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Discovery Island Paddle
Thursday, August 24th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Light Paddle - Cadboro Bay to Cattle Point
Thursday, August 31st, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Light Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Senanus Island and area
Sunday, September 03rd, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Fleming Beach to Cole Island Paddle
Friday, September 08th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Hudson Point (Saltspring Island) to Hudson Point (Saltspring Island) Paddle
Saturday, September 09th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Swartz Bay/Barnacle Road Public Dock to Gulf Islands one-way return by ferry Paddle
Sunday, September 10th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Broken Islands Lodge to Broken Group Islands Paddle
Saturday, September 16th, 2023 - 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM - PICNIC- Cadboro Bay Gyro Park
Saturday, September 16th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Spirit Bay to Cabin Point Paddle
Sunday, September 17th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Pedder Bay to Whirl Bay Paddle
Thursday, September 21st, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Light Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Arbutus Cove
Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Monthly Meeting

Upcoming NonSISKA Events

Paddle for Health Fundraiser

September 9th - Willows Beach

Supporting the Island Kids Cancer Association

This will be the 10th annual Paddle for Health, details can be found at

Siska August General Meeting Agenda

by Fred Pishalski

No meetings until September! Enjoy the summer and see you on the water!


by Jane Jacek

Saturday September 16, 2023

Cadboro Bay/ Gyro Park 9am - 3pm (rain or shine)


Gear Swap: Looking to buy or sell kayak gear and/or a kayak? This is the event for you!

Kayak Chat: visit with your peers, share your summer kayak stories, ask seasoned paddlers your kayak questions.

Coffee, tea and goodies will be supplied


Bring your own Lunch


Light Paddle Cadboro Bay Tour

First Annual SISKA Clinics Rodeo

by Jane Jacek

September 30, 2023 Cadboro Bay Beach / Gyro Park

This year, we are mixing it up a bit! As we usually try and have a few clinics the day of the SISKA picnic, which is Sept 16th, we decided to keep the picnic more social, and offer a separate Clinics event on Sept. 30th.

Not all details are set yet, but it is imagined that we would offer both On Water and Off Water clinics through the day. A format of possibly 2 or 3 clinics in the morning at 2 hours each, and probably 1 or 2 On Water offerings. There would be a lunch break, so we hope to encourage folks to take a morning and then afternoon clinic, mix and match as you see fit, chatting and sharing over some chow. We hope to have offerings for all skill levels. Of course, there is no “social” aspect to this event, like the picnic, but it will give us all the chance to interact, learn and share experiences, making us all better kayakers.

Stay tuned for more information. We hope to announce more in the next SISKA Newsletter at the end of August.

If anyone has any ideas for clinics they would like to see offered, send an email to

Off Water Clinics:

On Water Clinics:

Upcoming Paddle Canada Course

by Jo Nicolson

Paddle Canada Level 2 Skills For SISKA Members

Coaches Jo Nicolson and Michael Egilson are offering PC Level 2 on two September weekends: September 9-10, and 16-17, 2023. This course includes one night of camping September 16.

Building on the skills developed in Level 1, Level 2 refines existing skills and adds new ones allowing the paddler to handle more challenging sea conditions with comfort and confidence.

If interested or for more information, email Jo at or Michael at

Christmas Party

by Jennie Sutton

Looking For:-

An organized and enthusiastic individual to take on the “Chief Elf” or Chairperson position of the December Annual Christmas Party. It is an amazingly fun job working with a committee of crazy, creative volunteers and liaising with the RVYC staff. There is some detail planning involved which usually starts in September. There will be a complete handover given.

Please contact Jennie Sutton if you have any questions about the position at


by Edmond Duggan

Plan C. That’s what happened for this year’s tastiest clinic. It took a lot of organization and negotiation back and forth to come to consensus on where & how to hold the clinic. It underlies in paddling that having several plans and coming to agreement that works for everyone’s safety is always the best. It does take some work to override one’s desires, adapt to the circumstances and come to a practical compromise.

Plan A was to be at the small CRD park at Albert’s Head. It has no real amenities, limited parking, but is close to town. It models what one would find “in the wild” in many ways, just with better parking. It offers excellent crabbing as Dungeness are large and plentiful and Red Rocks also inhabit the area. Commercial fishers tend to not harvest there either.

However, with fifteen people wanting to come and a forecasted offshore wind exceeding SISKA’s guidelines the clinic needed to be moved. It wasn’t going to work there for this year.

Weather forecasts are really just educated guesses based on data. They are sometimes off; one can wish that the actual day’s weather is better than predicted. The closer it comes to the time of the prediction, the more likely it will come true. The trick is to balance when to make a decision on a forecast balancing against the time needed to communicate a plan.

Plan B was to relocate to Island View Beach, another CRD park. It offers great amenities, such as shelter with picnic tables, washrooms, and plenty of parking. The downside is that Dungeness crabs don’t hang out at this beach, the current can get fairly strong and it’s a major channel for recreational boating. Previous clinics have been successful there with plenty of Red Rock crabs, but none of the prized Dungeness.

However, the wind forecast for that location was within SISKA limits. Moving to that site would have allowed an on water portion, which is the major part of the clinic. Lectures and and discussion are passive learning, doing is active and get better results.

Everything looked good for plan B, until the CRD announced that ether was a sewer/sanitation issue and that everyone should avoid the water. This announcement was just a few days before the clinic. So onward to plan C

The clinic happened at Willow’s Beach. It has even nicer amenities including a canteen at the South end, plus it’s in town so easy get to. The wind forecast was more or less the same as Albert Head, so the clinic became a land based one rather than an on water event.

Edmond did drop two traps before the start of the lecture, paddling as an individual. He did it in his canoe, making this not an official part of the clinic since it wasn’t a SISKA kayaking event. :-)

It was a sunny fine day for the lecture portion. It was longer than expected, but since going on the water was not feasible due to the winds, it added value for those who attended.

Trap pickup was assisted by a paddler in the bow of the canoe and was witnessed by one participant who had paddled his all black kayak to the event. While there were a few female Dungeness crabs and a couple undersized Red Rocks, there was one keeper in the trap. That allowed the clinic to cover how to prepare and enjoy the catch.

Despite having the trusty Coleman stove go out in the wind a couple of times, or it being completely engulfed in flames at one point, eventually the crab was cooked and enjoyed by all with a side of corn, some other snacks and a wonderful dessert.

So that was plan C for 2023.

Special thanks to Vic Turkington for handling the administration side of this clinic. Also to all the participants being with the change in plans. I’ll end with the hope is for a “plan A” clinic next year.

Trip Reports

Gabriola Island Trip - June 2023
by Norm Smyth

On Monday 19 June, nine kayakers drove to Gabriola Island and most stayed six nights in The Haven resort while others camped, stayed in their RVs or with friends. Over four days we kayaked the entire area. Our first paddle was around the Flattop Islands in Silva Bay – 7 nm. The second was along the north coast from Silva Bay to Taylor Bay – 10 nm. Then we took a day off to explore the Island’s galleries, farms, cafés and petroglyphs. On the third paddle we went from Taylor Bay to Degnen Bay, transiting False Narrows (between Mudge and Gabriola) at the last of the ebb – 11 nm. And our fourth paddle was to admire the stunning tafoni rock formations on the west sides of Link, de Courcy and Valdez – 11 nm.

Click image to read full report -

Kyuquot to Friendly Cove Kayak Adventure Trip
by BJ Porter

June 2023

Our major kayak trip for 2023 was an adventure out on the west coast of Vancouver Island using the Uchuck III (a small coastal freighter) as our “launch” and “recovery” vehicle.

The Uchuck III would pick us and our fully loaded kayaks up in Gold River and then deposit us and our kayaks off the deck of the boat into the harbour at Kyuquot. The plan was for them to pick us up again in about two weeks in the harbour at Friendly Cove/Yuqout. In between the drop off and pick up we were to explore the mild and wild waters and coastline near and around Nootka Island.

Participants: Dave Chater, Heather Jones, Tony Playfair, BJ Porter

Trip details:

Things We Learned, in no particular order:

The launch and pick up by the Uchuck III which was one of the motivations for the expedition and was just as much fun as expected. We were late-ish getting to our Spring Island campsite after leaving Kyuquot Harbour and it was the only real rain we experienced all trip. Lucky us!

Electrical tape is a better material to fix a busted neck gasket than the expensive and ineffective ‘Tearaid’ tape. Electrical tape repairs lasted two or three days.

If you are frantically searching for your second paddling glove, even to the extent of returning to the beach, make sure you check your other hand for it!

If you are “Boomer” Dave, look out because the ocean is lookin’ for ya. On two separate occasions he got slammed by big ones out of nowhere. We will not soon forget him coming out from under a wall of water draped in kelp after a heroic brace. All good though as he kept the kayak “shiny side” up on both occasions!

Growing and tending sprouts is a slow process in the cold temperatures of northern Vancouver Island and may not be worth it. Consider starting them at home.

And it was cold! Puffy jacket, rain pants and gloves inside our sleeping bags cold. BJ is grateful for Heather’s loan of a sleeping bag liner. It would have been a vastly different trip of cold and sleepless nights.

Consider taking a tent pole repair kit. Dave and BJ both broke poles within 5 minutes of each other. Weird. Tony to the rescue. (Tony comment - I now have a regular tent pole cut into 3 pieces as repair splices if needed along with duct tape.)

The BC Marine Trails (BCMT) campsite areas were loaded on Tony’s smartphone gps app, and the info gathered beforehand was invaluable in locating campsites and potable water. They are, however, often overgrown and difficult to find. (Bring a folding saw and clippers!) BCMT tends, we found, to be overly optimistic in terms of the number of sites, e.g., for 4, think 3 and for 5, think 4. Large groups (5 or more) might have trouble finding enough spaces at some campsite locations. We were joined by a large (10 person) commercial tour (Spirit of the West) at Benson Point, but they were respectful of our space and it is a large site anyway so there were no conflicts. They even gave us some very welcome fresh food!

Forecasted weather conditions persuaded us to go inside rather than outside of Nootka Island. As expected, this was the major decision point of the expedition. We found the inside passage weather to be quite predictable. In this area, expect morning fog, and for the fog to hover offshore. Inflow winds up these narrow channels and inlets became less than fun to paddle against by noon, however.

June was a good month for this trip, finding ourselves almost the only paddlers out there. July and August may have been problematic with more boat traffic, competition for campsites, and the presence of more commercial guided trips.

Our circumnavigation of Catala Island near the entrance to Esperanza Inlet was a real highlight. The exposed westward side was just active enough for fun and the east side has lots of caves and coastal features. Another highlight was the wall of rich sea life at low tide between Mary Basin and Inner Basin, near Benson Point.

Our last night was spent at Yuquot/Friendly Cove rather than Maquinna Point. Camping at Maquinna may have been problematic for getting to our pickup time slot by the Uchuck III on our last day. We all had a terrific time. While in Friendly Cove, check out the $20 burgers (beef, halibut or salmon that night) and beer (Budweiser only though) at Sugar’s Burger and Beer Shack. A tour of the light station with station keepers was a highlight. A freshwater lake, a 5–10-minute walk from the campsite was VERY refreshing and much needed after 13 days on the trip!! A crew of volunteers working on building composting toilets at the campsite were kind enough to invite us to a spirited early evening around their evening beach fire. Early because by that time in the trip we were going to bed at a time suitable only for toddlers! (Tony comment - Unfortunately one of the workers on the crew got a bruised swollen eye, not from a fight but from a nasty bee sting around her eye, see below).


Bald eagles abounded and one plunged repeatedly for fish quite near our boats.

We were treated to a splendid display of wolf tracks on the beach at Rugged Point Provincial Park. Four sizes of tracks and evidence of much activity, including (we assume) playing were evident on the beach. The beaches were rife with all kinds of animal tracks each morning.

One river otter, several live and one lifeless (we presume!) mink hanging from the talons of an eagle, and lots of bears on beaches, including a mother and cub.

BJ was meditating one morning on the beach and a casually foraging black bear approached her much more purposefully as soon as he/she saw her. Standing and flapping a sleeping mat caused him/her to retreat into the tree line but a few minutes later he/she re-emerged and approached even more determinedly to within 50 feet or so. A roar and energetic waving of the sleeping mat successfully drove the animal off. FYI, an unused Plan C would have been to run toward it.

An expanse of agitated water 100m or so away looked like feeding dolphins or porpoises but we couldn’t ascertain for sure. The captain of the Uchuck says they are rare in those parts. A mystery… maybe large fish? They didn’t move like sea otters… more frenzied… and gleaming silver undersides showed.


Hugs to Alan Campbell for sending us daily weather forecasts via Tony’s Garmin Inreach mini unit. Along with Garmin weather and Environment Canada predictions, we were able to make informed daily trip choices. The Garmin Inreach satellite communicator was an essential tool to receive weather information, contact loved ones or emergency services if required.

Huge kudos to Mike Teachman for his stellar forward and detailed planning, especially the custom photocopied marine charts on water resistant paper. In the end he was unfortunately unable to join us on the trip, but we were the beneficiaries of his prodigious and thoughtful efforts.


This expedition was very enjoyable, in part because of the preponderance of two-night stays and the day paddles in beautiful settings. The positive influence of TERRIFIC weather cannot be ignored, and the fact we were there in the ideal month. A more ambitious approach would have had us also exploring the Bunsby Islands in the south Brooks Peninsula area, but we will leave that for another season, possibly along with the Brooks Peninsula itself. The strategic decision to avoid the outside waters of Nootka Island was the right one and the pang of not achieving that goal was fleeting.

If you are considering a trip along these lines, we will do our best to answer your questions.

Dave Chater /

Heather Jones /

Tony Playfair /

BJ Porter /

Happy paddling, all.

Photos from Klemtu-Aristazabal Trip
by Alan Campbell

Paddling Friends,

As usual, Rob, David, Michael and I have a number of stories we will tell in due course, but you’ll get the general idea from these photos/videos.

Paddle Report Newcastle Island to Dinghy Dock
by Rod Stiebel

The second annual Dinghy Dock paddle took place Thursday July 27. There were only 4 of us, but that did not stop any fun! The weather was picture perfect, with winds WNW at about 8 or so knots on the east side of Newcastle, making that part of the paddle a bit sporty, but nothing too concerning. We ended up doing a figure 8 around Newcastle, then Protection Island, with our lunch stop at the Dinghy Dock. Fish and chips and some brew was the order of the day. We also saw, but did not get, any pics (as the water was a bit bumpy at that point), of the new Hullo foot passenger ferries doing sea trials, we assumed. The main attraction here is Newcastle Island, or Saysutshun as it is now known, is a well set up regional park, foot passenger ferry service from downtown Nanaimo, lots of camping with hot water showers, flush toilets and a snack bar for burgers and ice cream, if you are too lazy to paddle over to the Dinghy Dock. There are probably over 20 or so kilometers of trails, with many beaches to swim at. There looked like there may also have been some paddle in camping on the north side of the island. Saysutshun is also the only known home to the Champagne Racoon, not found anywhere else. A very blonde critter, with lots of folk lore to go with it. See the news article via this link. All in all, I hope we can continue this as an annual event. It is easily paddled, very relaxed, and could be shortened to your liking. I hope to do it again next year…

Tombolo at East side of Saysutshun, facing the strait, and freighters

Tide taking it all back, in about 15 minutes

President Jane, and the Flamingo! (directly above her head, just below the brush)

Lots of parking!

The “Gnome Wake”, so woke!

SISKA and Comox Raft Up
by Beth Haysom

Hands up who knows all about the Royston Wrecks? Nor me. How about the Gaol House in Heritage Row at Union Bay where the Flying Dutchman pirate was captured in 1913? Or the K’omoks First Nation who “buried” their dead aloft in the tops of the trees beside Comox Harbour?

We discovered these and other fascinating things thanks to the inaugural “Raft Up” – a kayaking exchange between SISKA and Comox Kayak clubs. For three days in June SISKA hosted Comox paddlers, showing them our favourite paddles: Becher Bay, the Gorge and, well, it would have been Discovery Island, but it was blowing too hard that day. In July it was our turn for a group of us to head north to explore all the great paddling places around the Comox area: the Harbour, Goose Spit, Comox Lake, the Puntledge and Tsolum Rivers and Tree Island at the northern end of Denman Island. We were lucky enough to have the perfect day for that paddle – basking on a beach break, it felt like being on a tropical island.

After their adventures with us, our Comox hosts had wondered whether we might find their area a tad tame, so on day one they also laid on some rambunctious winds that had us bobbing about in their Harbour when we went to see the Wrecks.

So, somewhat embarrassed that we’ve driven past Royston many times without noticing these rusting hulks protruding from the water, some of us paddled back for another look on day two. What are they? (Pay attention now, as there’s a strong possibility they’ll come up in Debbie’s heads and tails game at Christmas.) The Royston Wrecks are 14 ships deliberately sunk in the 1930s to create a breakwater calming the sea for boats shipping logs in and out of the harbour. Ghostly remains, it’s eerie paddling above looking down and around at what’s left of these ships that are steadily being eaten away by the sea. No wonder we got the shivers. The story goes that the Melanope, one of the sunken ships, was cursed by an old woman stowaway who was forced to walk the plank after she was discovered on board.

And the pirate and the K’omoks burial practices?? Well, everyone agreed creating super pods of southern and northern resident paddlers (canoeists as well as kayakers) was such a huge success and so much fun getting to know each other that we should do it again. So, you’ll just have to join next year’s Raft Up and hear those stories for yourself.

More Photos

Tips From The Trips

by Debbie Leach

SUNSCREEN IN A PINCH. You can use the gel from inside rock weed if you don’t have sunscreen. Tip from Barbara M who read the SPF is 30.

Camp Cookery

by Lynn Baier

Cheese Fondue

Here’s a tasty looking recipe from the Times Colonist. Thanks to Jane Jacek for the screen capture.

BC Marine Trails News

Coastal Caretakers Newsletter- Season for SCRs!

To Buy or Sell

For Sale:

Wanted To Buy:

SISKA’s Kayak Skills Course Partners

There are some fine discounts available from our kayak skills course partners for SISKA members who sign up for their skills training programs. Have a look HERE

Our partners are:

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