February 2024



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, newsletter@siska.ca . 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

Tuesday, January 30th, 2024 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Injury Prevention for Sea Kayakers
Sunday, February 04th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Spectacle Falls/Mackenzie Bight Paddle
Saturday, February 10th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Albert Head to Witty’s Lagoon and Sitting Lady Falls Paddle
Saturday, February 24th, 2024 - 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM - Kayak Maintenance and Repair Workshop
Saturday, February 24th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Spirit Bay to Movie Set Beach Paddle
Sunday, February 25th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Cadboro Bay to Uplands and possibly Willows Paddle
Wednesday, February 28th, 2024 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Monthly Meeting
Saturday, March 09th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Discovery Island Paddle
Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Fleming Beach to Fisgard Lighthouse Paddle
Sunday, March 24th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Spirit Bay to Cabin Point Paddle

Upcoming NonSISKA Events

Siska February General Meeting Agenda

by Fred Pishalski

SISKA February 28,2024 Monthly Meeting

Our meetings start at 7:00pm however, folks that have gear they wish to sell/swap are invited to show up at 6:00pm to set up, doors open for everyone at 6:30pm.

“Other Side”- From Prince Rupert to Port Hardy by Yves Aquin and Patti Stevens

Please join us to hear Yves Aquin and Patti Stevens share the journey they took along with friend Etienne as they navigate the beauty of the outer coast, from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy. Paddling on the “Other Side” presentation shows the challenges, serenity, and their perspectives during this 42-day sea kayaking expedition, offering a glimpse into the wonders of this remarkable coastal stretch. If we are lucky, Yves will tell us the story of his lost Panasonic TS5 camera at Grief Point (apply named) and what happened to it.

Yves Aquin and Patti Stevens are the owners of Go Kayak Sea Kayak Instruction and are outdoor lovers. They moved to Victoria in 2006 and are embracing what Vancouver Island has to offer. They have extensively paddled West Coast Vancouver Island as well as exploring Haida Gwaii and BC North and Central Coast.

Go Kayak

Raft Ups 2024

by Debbie Leach

Save the Dates - for Paddling+Food+Folks+Fun!

We plan for 14 visiting paddlers from each club to Raft Up each time. With both Relaxed and Energizer paddles on 3 days. Each club will offer to billet or park RVs for travellers and host a potluck open to visiting and hometown paddlers.

Off Water Clinics - Radio Operators Certificate (ROC)

by Rod Stiebel

If anyone is interested in taking the ROC here in Victoria, there are a few options. I was chatting with the Alex Kerr of the Oak Bay chapter of the Power Squadron, and they offer the course over 3 nights May 1, 8 and 15. It is from 7 to 9PM each Wednesday, and the third night is the exam. The cost is $150.00 and is given at the Discovery room at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. The Brentwood Bay Chapter also has one starting April 16, same cost, but at Claremont Secondary High in Saanich.

If we get at least 10 members who want to take this course, Oak Bay would put on a course just for SISKA members. I assume it would also be at the RVYC, over 3 weeks or possibly a full 8 hour day on a weekend. We have not yet done this, as it is so easy to register for the already set up courses. Anyone preferring a SISKA only course, send me an email, if I get 10 plus members, we can enquire at arranging one.

The link to the Power Squadron web site is: https://www.cps-ecp.ca/ go to the top right for Courses and Seminars, then drill down to VHF Radio classroom, then drill down to location and register on line, or you could call them.

This is the FULL certification for VHF radios, a must if you paddle with one. It is all about being safe on the water.

SISKA’s Kayak Skills Course Partners

by Jane Jacek

In order to help promote safe sea kayaking, several commercial kayak companies provide training and trips at a discount for all paid-up SISKA members. Registration and payment for these opportunities will take place directly with the company involved and be subject to their normal customer policies.

Training Discount Offers - Detailed

A brief description of the discounts are listed below by provider in alphabetical order.

BestCoast Outfitters

Bestcoast Outfitters are happy to offer a 15% discount to SISKA members on select training courses.

Blue Dog Kayaking

Blue Dog Kayaking is delighted to support SISKA during 2024 with the following: * 10% discount to ALL club members on Expeditions and courses * 10% discount to ALL club members on paddling gear, dry suits, PFDs, & Paddles

Crosscurrents Kayak

Crosscurrents Kayak is pleased to offer SISKA members a 10% discount on regular course fees for the following 2024 programs: * Paddle Canada Skills courses (Basic, Level 1, Level 2) * Women on Water (WoW) sessions * Spring Skill-Building Series

Dancing With The Sea

Paulo Ouellette at Dancing with the Sea has a few courses set up with a 33% discount for SISKA members

Go Kayak

Go Kayak has several courses at discount for SISKA members. Plus, if any advertised courses are booked at more than 75% of their max, Go Kayak will be able to offer a discount of 15% for members.

Ocean River Sports

Ocean River Sports is pleased to continue to offer a 10% discount to SISKA members on all courses and rentals in 2024. In addition, members are eligible for a 10% discount on many items for sale in the Ocean River store at Oak Bay Marina. (Does not apply to kayaks, electronics or paddles.)

Pacifica Paddle Sports

We offer a 10% discount for SISKA members on our regularly scheduled rescue lessons.


SKILS provides a 15% discount when a group of 3 SISKA paddlers book for a specific eligible program. This booking must be the same program with the same dates.

2023 Christmas Luncheon Prize Donations

by Jane Jacek

Thanks to the following companies for their generosity!

BestCoast Outfitters https://www.bestcoastoutfitters.com/

Blackline Marine Inc https://www.blacklinemarine.com/

Blue Dog Kayaking https://bluedogkayaking.com/

Blue Dog Outfitters https://www.bluedogretail.com/

Broken Islands Lodge https://www.brokenislandslodge.com/

Go Kayak https://gokayak.ca/index.html

Grove Outdoors https://grove-outdoors.com/

Latitude 49N https://www.latitude49n.com/

ORS: Ocean River Sports https://oceanriver.com/

SKILS https://skils.ca/

West Coast Publishing https://www.wildcoast.ca/

Pool Practice Sessions and Workshops

by Jane Jacek

Location: Crystal Pool, 2275 Quadra St, Victoria, BC

During the remainder of the 2024 winter season, pool practice sessions will be offered just once a month, due to fewer paddlers having registered in the fall of 2023. The pool is booked from 6:30pm-8:30pm on the following dates:

Save those dates, and if you haven’t signed up for a practice session yet, give it a try. It’s great fun!

Keep an eye on the following SISKA webpage for registration info: https://siska.ca/prod/calendar/events

Why Volunteer?

by BJ Porter

A Message from the Vice-President

Ahoy Friends of the Double Blade,

Every SISKA member, seasoned paddler or beginner dipping a paddle for the first time, is a valued part of our club but we LOVE our volunteers! Like the wind on a lucky day, they propel us forward. Volunteering is both our backbone and the backdrop of our shared adventures.

Why Volunteer? If you volunteer with SISKA, you will have a dewy complexion and never suffer aches and pains, and your descendants will thrive even unto the seventh generation, plus you will have a bomb proof roll. Nah, just kidding, but read on!

1. Fostering Community Volunteering is the glue that binds us. It transforms a group of individuals into a close-knit community, creating bonds that go beyond the water. Helping organize events, sharing your expertise with fellow paddlers, or serving refreshments, every act strengthens the fabric of our club.

2. Personal and Skill Development Taking on responsibilities within the club provides a platform to hone leadership skills, organizational abilities, problem-solving acumen, and confidence. It’s a journey of growth that extends beyond the paddling experience.

3. Nurturing the Environment Our love for kayaking comes with a responsibility to protect the environments we explore. Volunteer initiatives such as coastal cleanups and conservation efforts allow us to give back to the waters and coastlines we explore.

4. Strengthening Connections Volunteering forges connections within our club but also establishes links with the broader community. Collaborations with other clubs such as Raft Up or beach cleanups we reach beyond our kayaks and create a positive ripple effect.

5. Shaping the Future By volunteering, you play a vital role in shaping the future of our club. Your ideas, enthusiasm, and commitment contribute to our ongoing success, and you can shape the club to closer suit your own expectations and vision.

6. Leading by Example As a volunteer you are a role model for your own children but also friends, family and the wider community.

7. It’s Fun Taking on a role with the club is not all earnest endeavour; far from it. There is a social aspect as well, as we enjoy each other as well as the tasks at hand.

So, why volunteer? For all the above reasons but mostly because you are sorely needed. Any organization needs an infusion of new blood every once in a while. As SISKA moves into a new chapter, ask not what your club can do for you…

Mini Volunteer Fair

by BJ Porter

A club such as ours lives and dies by the quality and enthusiasm of its members and their willingness to step up and make things happen. We really need you!

The Executive is initiating a new model, with a Volunteer Coordinator (position not yet filled, but BJ Porter is Acting Volunteer Coordinator) and a Volunteer Team of people who have agreed to be called on occasionally.

There will be an opportunity to meet club coordinators, especially those who are looking for successors or assistance, at our Mini Volunteer Fair before the February general meeting.

Looking or a way to give back on an occasional basis? You will be able to add your name to the general Volunteer List at that time. And there will be candy!

The job fair will start at 6 p.m. The Gear Swap and Library will be open as usual. We can do it all!

If by any chance you can’t be there but still want to get involved, contact me, BJ Porter at vicepresident@siska.ca

Roles that are currently in need of volunteers –

Beach CleanUp Schedule 2024: Surfrider Foundation SVI

by Jane Jacek

Surfrider Foundation Beach CleanUp Schedule

The waiting game is over - our 2024 beach cleanup schedule is here! Get out your gloves and buckets, cause we are stoked for this year’s schedule and all of the amazing collaborations it will bring!

We will once again be dedicating some of our cleanups to help support our Hold on to Your Butt program, as well as partnering with oceanweek victoria for our June cleanup!

Paddling Close to Sea Lions

by Jacques Sirois / Jennie Sutton

Jennie asked Jacques (senior warden for Trial Islands Ecological reserve) about the distance to paddle from sea lions and here is his response -

Jen - to my knowledge there are no particular regs for distance.

For sea lions, I suggest at least 30-50 m for a single, careful, silent paddler, possibly more when they are agitated. They are big and move fast.

100 m is better for groups of active, talking paddlers having fun. I like to give the islands and its wildlife some room. I often stay 75-100 m away.

Lots of kayak and paddle board traffic lately…few birds.

Up to 60 sea lions (50+ Californias + 2-3 Stellers) in the Trial Gap lately. Up to 150 in early 2023.

Possibly because of more Pacific Herring coming back. This may signal some recovery of our overfished herring in our area.

Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Tour

by Fred Pishalski / Rod Steibel

On January 18,2024, Off the Water Coordinator, Ron Stiebel took a group of SISKA members to the navy base in Esquimalt to visit the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. Sgt Eric Dinn showed us the centre and explained their role.

Mission: “The national search and rescue (SAR) objective is to prevent loss of life and injury through search and rescue alerting, responding and aiding activities using public and private resources.”

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria (JRCC Victoria) is a rescue coordination centre operated by the 1 Canadian Air Division (Canadian Armed Forces) and staffed by personnel of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG).

JRCC Victoria is responsible for coordinating the Search and Rescue (SAR) response to air and marine incidents within the Victoria Search and Rescue Region (SRR). This region includes the land masses of British Columbia and Yukon, as well as the adjacent marine waters of British Columbia. As a secondary role, JRCC Victoria coordinates requests by other levels of government for federal SAR resources. These secondary requests are commonly made for humanitarian reasons that fall within provincial or municipal jurisdiction (e.g., searching for missing hunters, hoisting injured hikers and medical evacuation when civilian agencies are unable due to weather or location).

Camp Cookery

by Lynn Baier

Fortune Fruit Roll-ups

Here’s another one from the Backpacking Chef Glen, for those of you who want to celebrate Chinese New Year and kayak cookery in one.

Make up some funny fortunes and slide them into fruit roll-ups. Or wrap up a whole sheet of fruit leather and put a ribbon around it.

For recipes, explore: Fruit Leather Recipes

Safety Item

by Lynn Baier

Strobe Light

At a recent trip to the SAR Centre, it was stressed how important being seen is, in the event of a required rescue. A strobe light is highly recommended. They are inexpensive and can easily remain on your pfd until you need it.

Tips From The Trips

by Debbie Leach

Remove Excess Moisture

A chemical dehumidifier could protect your RV/Vehicle from damage caused by moisture.

BC Marine Trails News

January Newsletter

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.

Our partners are:

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