May 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, . 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, April 30th, 2024 - 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM - Elk Lake Romps
Saturday, May 04th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Oak Bay Marina to Discovery Island Paddle
Sunday, May 05th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Island View Beach to DArcy Island Paddle
Wednesday, May 08th, 2024 - 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM - Romp - Re-entries
Sunday, May 12th, 2024 - 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM - Rolling Clinic
Sunday, May 12th, 2024 - 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM - Open Pool Session
Tuesday, May 14th, 2024 - 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM - Romp - General Practice
Thursday, May 16th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Light Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Gordon Head (Glencoe Cove) Paddle
Tuesday, May 21st, 2024 - 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM - Romp - General Practice
Saturday, May 25th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Oak Bay Marina to NEW MEMBERS INTERTIDAL Oak Bay Foreshore
Saturday, May 25th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Cedar to Valdez Island Cliffs & Blackberry Point Paddle
Sunday, May 26th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Amherst to INTERTIDAL Sidney Foreshore
Friday, May 31st, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Oak Bay Marina to RAFT UP Cadboro Gyro Park Paddle
Friday, May 31st, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Amherst to RAFT UP Portland Island Paddle
Saturday, June 01st, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Telegraph Cove to RAFT UP Cormorant Point Paddle
Saturday, June 01st, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Oak Bay Marina to RAFT UP Chatham/Discovery Islands Paddle
Sunday, June 02nd, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to RAFT UP Mackenzie Bight Paddle
Sunday, June 02nd, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Spirit Bay to RAFT UP Whirl Bay Paddle
Thursday, June 13th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Light Paddle - Fleming Beach to Esquimalt Foreshore toward Fisgard Paddle
Friday, June 14th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Esquimalt Lagoon to CRABBING
Saturday, June 15th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Amherst to Rum Island Paddle
Thursday, June 20th, 2024 - 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM - Romp - Balance Brace
Saturday, June 22nd, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Oak Bay Marina to INTERTIDAL Oak Bay Foreshore
Sunday, June 23rd, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Amherst to NEW MEMBERS INTERTIDAL Sidney Foreshore
Thursday, June 27th, 2024 - 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM - Romp - Forward Finishing Roll

Siska May 2024 General Meeting Agenda

by Fred Pishalski

Please check out Feathercraft’s website which is filled with interesting stories and descriptions of the crafts they offered.

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. We meet at the Garth Homer Centre, 831 Darwin Avenue, off Saanich Road, near Saanich Municipal Hall. This will be SISKA’s last meeting of the spring, we will hold our first fall meeting on Sept 25th.

Paddle Canada Instructor Recognition Award 2023

Retirement of Lynn Baier

by Gary Jacek

Lynn Baier, our long serving Standards and Safety Coordinator is taking a well earned break. She has turned over her role to a pair of new coordinators, Alison Keighan and Sybil Seitzinger.

In her time as the goddess of Standards and Safety, Lynn was a valued and always positive sounding board for our Trip Leaders and especially for our Paddles and Trips Coordinator.

Post-trip reports of unintended swims and other mishaps were documented, discussed, and all turned out well.

Not a bad track record when you consider our area, with its fog, wind, swell, high currents, jagged rocks, biting seals and those occasional explosions near Benthink Island.

Thanks for all you’ve done for SISKA, Lynn. And happy paddling.

Thanks to Debbie Leach

by Jane Jacek

Debbie Leach completed two terms as Director at Large in April. Starting during Covid, she used her creativity and energy to help SISKA pivot to survive and thrive. Thanks, Deb!

Debbie launched a Fall Refresher (free) day of clinics with help from BJ Porter in September, 2020. Many SISKA zoom meetings were incentivized by “emergency gear” which was Roger Botting’s idea, but Deb acquired the prizes and held draws to award the winners. For our virtual Christmas Party, Deb coordinated the story telling and photo contests, the judges and the prizes for the best entries. She made SISKA apparel available to purchase 4 times over the years. Her “What to Take Camping” zoom was attended by 80 members of SISKA and other clubs. After offering “Camp Cookery Clinics” in person and on zoom with Lynn Baier and Elizabeth Purdon, she is handing in the towel! Deb relaunched SISKA campouts by recruiting paddle leaders who offered relaxed and energizer versions of very successful sleepovers. She helped Alan Campbell with the Comox side of Raft-Up in 2023 and coordinated both Comox and Nanaimo Raft-Ups this year. Deb collaborated with paddle buddies and created the powerpoint roast for Alan as he retired from executive last April. For SISKA she developed resources including “Partners for Multi-day Trips” as well as “Planning a Multi-Day Kayak Camping Trip”. Deb hosted meetings for paddle leaders and instructors as well as executive. She faithfully attended meetings and helped out at picnics and various clinics. Attending Cross-Club meetings along with Fred Pishalski, both shared what SISKA was doing and could do. Regrettably her initiative to remove invasive species from Discovery Island went nowhere.

Although she is no longer on executive, she plans to continue leading SISKA and Wednesday paddles, featuring “Tips from the Trips” in the newsletter, showcasing “Heads or Tails” at SISKA Christmas parties, collaborating on presentations about past trips, being a Coastal Caretaker and helping the team with Kayak Friendly Lodging.

Thanks to Ellen Wood

by BJ Porter


Ellen Wood was appointed SISKA On Water Coordinator in November of 2020. She is now moving on, and deserves our heartfelt thanks for her efforts.

Ellen and her husband Danny live on a sailboat, she works for BC Ferries, and she kayaks for fun! She’s a floating phenom, coordinating her own on water life!

She is going to concentrate on studying for her Chief Mate ticket, expanding the scope of her current employment at BC Ferries. I remember her happening to be on a long voyage on the same ferry and taking time out to visit us in our cabin. The seas were pretty active and we were feeling the effects, but she clearly had her sea legs and was in her element.

During her tenure Ellen has contributed to making the on water sign up process more efficient and to improving the experience of participants. Director at large Ginny Flood is the new coordinator. Welcome, Ginny, to your new role.

Thanks to Roger Botting

by Alan Campbell

BCMT’s Site Condition Report Contest

by Fred Pishalski

Our annual site condition report (SCR) contest begins on the first of May! Every SCR submitted until the end of September is an entry into a draw to win one of three prizes, generously provided by Mustang Survival….

Read More…

Course Reports

by Elizabeth Purdon / Ali Morham

During the month of April, instructors Ali Morham and Elizabeth Purdon along with Sean Nixon conducted a series of four half day courses. These were aimed at preparing paddlers to take a Level 2 course, as well as being a review for those that have already taken Level 2. Four to six students attended each session to work on turning strokes, bracing, re-entries, and currents. The instructors had fun, so we hope that the students did too!

What is a “romp”?

by Ginny Flood

A group of otters is called a romp, being descriptive of their often playful nature. Neil Solomon started the practices originally over a decade ago and about 8 years ago Dorothea took them over and renamed them “romps”.

SISKA is continuing to embrace the “romps” by offering instructor-led sessions at Elk Lake starting April 30. If you are not familiar with romps, it is a chance to get on the water with a group of friends and practice skills or just have fun.

Check the SISKA calendar for the dates, details and registration for upcoming romps.

SISKA is fortunate to have a number of trained instructors who have volunteered to lead the romps. Thanks to Michael Egilson, Elizabeth Purdon, Edgar Hulatt and Raj Mataj for agreeing to host the romps. The romps will include general practice sessions to more specific skills such as bracing/edging, rescues, balance brace, forward finish rolls, etc.

Participation is limited, so register early!

Ginny Flood, On-Water Coordinator & Director-at-Large


by Jane Jacek

Saturday September 21, 2024

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

Skills Training 2024

by Jane Jacek

Looking to the spring and summer months, and wanting to attend kayak workshops, courses, expeditions and more!

SISKA is continuing to promote a number of excellent Island kayaking businesses who have agreed to provide discounts to our members.

Check out their individual websites:

Gerald Island Event Summary

by Fred Pishalski / Sam Cutcliffe

Hello clubs! We wrapped up an incredibly successful four day stint pulling invasive species on Gerald Island last weekend. If you would like to include information about the initiative in an upcoming newsletter, find a blurb and photos below. I will also include information on our 5050 draw which ends on April 30th if you would be interested in including this as well! Please let me know if you plan on including either, so we can roughly track reach.

Gerald Island

From April 11-14, a dedicated team of 24 BCMT volunteers spent 670 work-hours restoring the delicate ecosystem of Gerald Island, in Nanoose Bay. Their hard work ranged from removing English Ivy — and its prolific root systems — to invasive blackberry. Dozens and dozens of piles of invasives were burned over the course of the event.

Progress since the project’s inception in 2017 is striking — where ivy once towered high directly on the shoreline, the frontline has now extended an impressive 75 meters into the forest!

If you’d like to join in the next Gerald Island cleanup event with BCMT, stay tuned for fall 2024 dates!

Why do we care about English Ivy? This climbing vine overshadows and outcompetes our native vegetation, spreads rapidly, and creates monoculture landscapes, which overtime diminish habitat diversity and ecosystem function. In order to safeguard biodiversity, it is critical that we control its spread and proliferation!

Kayak Repair at Blackline to be Suspended

by Jane Jacek / Andrea Morrison

This is a message to let the paddlers of our community know that I will be going on maternity leave starting at the beginning of August this year, for approximately 1 year. This will mean that Blackline marine will be able to tackle structural repairs and gelcoat work on small vessels, but won’t be taking on any maintenance or repair outside these areas. This will include skeg and rudder cable replacement, deck lines and bulkhead work. Thanks for your understanding. Happy paddling!

Andrea Morrison
22-2300 Canoe Cove Road
Sidney, BC V8L 3X9

Let’s Go! The Results Are In

by BJ Porter

At the AGM on April 24th, members voted (by check marks, five per person) regarding where bathroom facilities would be most welcome, among nine launch sites: Albert Head Lagoon, Amherst Avenue, Barnacle Road, Esquimalt Lagoon (north end), Moses Point, Patricia Bay, Roberts Bay (Ardwell or Fifth Avenue) and Telegraph Cove.

The top five are:

1. Telegraph Cove 29

2. Amherst Avenue 27

3. Roberts Bay (Ardwell and Fifth Avenue combined; the launch sites are very close together) 18

4. Albert Head Lagoon 17

5. Patricia Bay 9

Casual inquiries so far suggest that SISKA members would get behind more bathroom facilities supplied at launch sites.

It may be cheeky to think that we will be successful, and it is very early in the process. There is no way of predicting how successful we will be.

Options are petitions, letter writing campaigns, communicating with other beach users and enlisting their involvement or the feelings of nearby homeowners, direct communication with municipalities and the CRD, liaison with other clubs…. Research and thought is needed before decisions can be made. A major choice to be made is to 1) focus on a single site such as Telegraph Cove as a test case to see what works, or 2) try to get a movement going to get better facilities at all five launch sites.

If you have salient knowledge or experience regarding public washrooms and/or outhouses in Victoria, or working with the municipalities or the CRD, please contact Vice-President BJ Porter ( Also let me know if you want to be on a task force or perform research. I would be happy to entertain any of your thoughts on this matter.

BJ Porter, SISKA Vice-President

Bestcoast Outfitters looking for Store Manager

by Jane Jacek / Ali Torabidavan

BestCoast Outfitters is hiring a qualified candidate for the Store Manager position. Our ideal candidate comes from the paddling community with previous experience in sales and retail. If you have a background in watersports (sea kayaking/ whitewater kayaking/stand-up paddle boarding/ etc) and can communicate effectively and clearly with clients to maintain a top-notch customer experience, this can be your dream job. Additionally, instructor certification is considered a huge asset!

Send your resume today or apply online:

Thank you very much,

Tips From The Trips

by Debbie Leach

Pushing your buttons? A piece of tape on your VHF’s transmit button will help make it more visible to press when you want to send a message.

Camp Cookery

by Lynn Baier

We have two items for you this month. Here’s a link sent to me by Jane on how to make an insulated pouch for rehydrating.

And I tried this idea given to me by Ginny for dehydrating orange slices. These are mandarins that have simply been peeled, broken into segments and butterflied, with larger bits of pith pulled off. They make a lovely treat.

Safety Item

by Sybil Seitzinger

Spring maintenance - be prepared for the unexpected

Whether you’ve been paddling regularly all winter, or just getting back on the water, now is a great time to put some loving care into your gear. Here are a few reminders:

Clean and lubricate skeg/rudder cables – be ready for strong winds and currents. Here’s a fairly detailed video from P&H for skeg maintenance:

Check that towing rope - I imagine many of us have not used our towing rope in some time. Check that your towing rope is easily deployed (not a tangled mess) and that carabiners are still in good shape. While you’re at it, refresh your memory about how to correctly attach the carabiner to the kayak you’re towing:

Emergency clothes – Our BC coastal water are cold – even in summer. Check that you still have a set of dry warm clothes in a dry bag that you take with you on every paddle – just in case you or your buddy does a wet exit or the weather turns colder than expected.

Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

BC Marine Trails News

April Newsletter

Coastal Clean-Up Event - BC Marine Trails
by Jane Jacek / Sam Cutcliffe

If any SISKA member is interested in coordinating a coastal clean-up event, please read the information below throughly. And then once registered please let me know the details of your clean-up event, and I will share it with our members.

From BCMT:

In anticipation of World Ocean Week (WOW) this June (1-9), we at BC Marine Trails are reaching out to you to unite for a cause close to our hearts – the preservation and cleanliness of our coastal environments. We are inviting you to host a coastal cleanup event, an opportunity to lead by example and demonstrate your commitment to environmental stewardship.

Your participation could range from hosting a community-wide cleanup, to internal events specifically for your members (like cleaning up your frequented sites at the start of the season!). Events do not need to take place during June 1-9 — just in the general range.

Hosting a WOW event is a powerful way to contribute to a global movement, inspiring positive change and promoting sustainable practices. It’s also an excellent opportunity for team building and enhancing your organization’s environmental image.

What We Provide:

* Support and guidance in organizing and executing your cleanup event.
* Educational materials and resources to share with your participants.
* Promotion of your event on our website and social media platforms to boost visibility.

How You Can Participate:

1. Choose a coastal area near you that would benefit from a cleanup.

2. Decide on a date and time during (or close to!) World Ocean Week (June 1-9) for your event.

3. Register your event with us here to receive support and resources.

4. Provide BCMT with content during your event to share on our platforms. (For example, outfitters that do yearly cleanups with guides — we would love to see it!)

5. SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! BCMT’s map is an invaluable resource — but did you know that it runs on user data? Share photos and conditions of sites that you visit during your event — find out more on site condition reporting here. If members are interested in helping out further, point them towards our Coastal Caretaker Program!

Your leadership can make a significant impact on preserving the beauty and health of the coast. Let’s join forces to make this World Ocean Week a monumental success through everyone’s efforts to reduce marine pollution!

Warm regards,

Sam Cutcliffe

Communications & Stewardship Coordinator

BC Marine Trails

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:

Related Posts

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