October 2022



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!

Alan Campbell (SISKA president) and Tony Playfair (editor)

PS: You can find SISKA on Facebook at this link.

PPS: Siska has it’s own Youtube Channel HERE

PPPS: You can find the SISKA newsletter archive HERE

Upcoming SISKA Events

Saturday, October 01st, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Spirit Bay to Movie Set Beach (NEW MEMBERS PADDLE) Paddle
Thursday, October 13th, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Light Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Todd Inlet Paddle
Saturday, October 15th, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Discovery Island (NEW MEMBERS PADDLE) Paddle
Sunday, October 16th, 2022 - 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM - Pool Session Oct 16 2022
Saturday, October 22nd, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Genoa Bay to Maple Bay one way Paddle
Wednesday, October 26th, 2022 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Monthly Meeting
Thursday, October 27th, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Light Paddle - Deep Cove to Deep Cove and Moses Point tour Paddle
Saturday, October 29th, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Whiffin Spit to Cabin Point Paddle
Saturday, October 29th, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Mackenzie Bight Paddle
Saturday, November 12th, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Cooper Cove to Sooke Basin (NEW MEMBERS PADDLE) Paddle
Sunday, November 13th, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Cadboro Bay to Discovery Island (NEW MEMBERS PADDLE) Paddle
Sunday, November 20th, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Amherst to Portland Island Paddle
Saturday, November 26th, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Cadboro Bay to Gonzales Bay Paddle
Sunday, November 27th, 2022 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Spirit Bay to Becher Bay Tour Paddle

Upcoming NonSISKA Events

For more details, go to the SISKA website

Community Events of Interest

These events are not formally supported by SISKA, but considered to be of interest to a significant number of our members.

Any member may request an event to be included in this section by sending a note to chairperson@siska.ca

Siska October 26th General Meeting Agenda

by Fred Pishalski

Paddling in Iceland

SISKA’s October 26th Monthly Meeting presents Michael Egilson’s paddling adventure in Iceland.

The land of fire and ice (Iceland) is an amazing place to paddle. SISKA member Michael Egilson will be presenting a week-long adventure he had with friends in 2010 in the Westfjords. It’s a place he wants to return to and he will share his thoughts, stories and pictures, and hopes to inspire others to paddle there.

Michael is a SISKA member and Paddle Canada Level 2 instructor who has paddled different sections of the west coast of Vancouver Island numerous times, the Central Coast and countries that begin with I – Iceland, Ireland, Israel (somehow Denmark was an exception) and he still is debating whether he likes the camping part or paddling part of adventures best. One thing he is sure of is that he likes the shared experience of paddling with other people.

The meeting will start at 7:00pm at the Garth Homer Centre, 813 Darwin Ave, and will be a live in-person gathering that will not be available on Zoom. The meeting will be recorded and posted on SISKA’s webpage.

Christmas Party - SAVE THE DATE!

by Jennie Sutton

The legendary annual SISKA Christmas Party lunch will be held on Saturday, December 10, 2022 at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. Registration will be announced once we finalize the pricing and menu details.

Socialize with friends, eat good food, drink fine wines, listen to kayaking stories, sing Christmas songs, win great prizes….!!!

2022 Paddling Film Festival

by Fred Pishalski

SISKA is putting on the 2022 Paddling Film Festival on November 16th at the Garth Homer Centre, 813 Darwin, staring at 7:00pm. Free for SISKA members.

Since 2006, the Paddling Film Festival (PFF) and World Tour has been showcasing the very best paddling films. The World Tour plays in cities around the world. So far, it’s screened over 1,000 times to more than 296,864 audience members. SISKA has previously co-sponsored the festival here in Victoria with Ocean River Sports but during the Covid lock down, this event was put on hold.

This year SISKA is sponsoring the festival on its own but with a bit of a twist. The board has decided that this will be an event for SISKA members and their guests only, we will not be selling tickets to the general public. There will be no admission charge for this event for SISKA members and their guests. Please feel free to bring a guest or two. No need to sign up ahead of time, simply show up and enjoy the documentaries.

The folks who manage the PFF provide us with access to 30 documentaries from which we select the films we wish to show. These are festival edited docs that run from a 10 to 50 minutes and showcase ocean kayaking, stand up paddle boardings, white water paddling and related stories. Because this is a private showing for ocean paddlers, we can select films of special interest to SISKA members without having to include the usual amount of SUP and whitewater films needed to attract a wider audience.

We are currently in the process of review and selecting the docs to be shown and it is a difficult process as there are so many outstanding films. So, please come join us for an evening of paddling culture, adventure and visual delights. Don’t forget to bring a date….paddling attire is not mandatory.

Be Safe Around Cold Water This Year!

by Edmond Duggan

The Canadian Safe Boating Council hosts both in person and virtual workshops facilitated by Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht (aka Professor Popsicle) of the University of Manitoba and world-renowned expert in hypothermia.


SISKA is Looking for New Trip Leaders

by Gary Jacek

If you hold Paddle Canada Level 2 Sea Kayak certification and your VHF Radio certification, we a™re looking for you.

Only just completed your PC2? There is never a better time to sign up to lead SISKA paddles and continue your skills development.

In early October we will soon be holding another briefing to onboard new SISKA trip leaders.

At the briefing you will learn how to use the Trip Leader functions of the SISKA web site to select a trip from our calendar, prepare information and communicate with members/participants, build a manifest and successfully lead your first of many SISKA paddling trips.

We have a number of experienced trip leaders to mentor you as you take on this new role with SISKA.

If you have ever wished there was a better way to ensure you are on a SISKA paddle, this is it. Lead the trip!

To sign up for the October briefing, contact paddlesandtrips@siska.ca

Canadian Coast Guard to the Rescue!

by Fred Pishalski

A group of six (Alan Campbell, Rob Zacharis, Dave Maxwell and two others) left on Sept 7th heading to the Nuchatlitz area off the West coast of Vancouver Island for a kayak trip. On the evening of the 9th while in my tent getting ready for bed, I noticed that a large portion of my right eye was bright red. As I wear contacts and this sometimes happens, I went to be bed waiting to see if it cleared up in the morning. It looked worse the next day and I figured it was an eye bleed because of a broken blood vessel, which I learned is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. They look scary, but are common and harmless most of the time. Last year about this time I developed a bleed in my left eye known as a hyphema which can be very serious and can result in complete vision loss. I still have some permanent eye damage as a result of that.

The Nuchatlitz Marine Park is very isolated and the only other paddlers we saw were a couple who camped near us on the beach at Chuish Island (Island 40). One of them was a physician from Vancouver whose assessment that morning, after learning of my eye history, was to seek medical attention.

We had arrived in Nuchatlitz Sound by getting a ride on the Uchuck III who would not be back to pick us up for a week. I got on my VHF radio and called the Canadian Coast Guard and asked if they could arrange a water taxi for me back to Gold River where my vehicle was parked. The Coast Guard learning that it was a medical issue sent the Cape Dauphin based in Tahsis, a recently opened Vancouver Island Coast Guard station, and provided medical evac transportation from the Nuchatlitz Marine Park to Gold River. I drove home, as my vision was not yet impaired. Upon arriving back home, I saw my ophthalmologist and by week’s end my right eye had returned to normal.

I want to give a big shout out and thanks to the Canadian Coast Guard crew of the Cape Dauphin based in Tahsis. CCGS Cape Dauphin is one of the Canadian Coast Guard’s 36 Cape-class motor lifeboats. Cape Dauphin was built at the Victoria Shipyards, in Vancouver. She was officially named and dedicated at her home port, Prince Rupert, in July 2011.

Trip Reports

Todd Inlet Paddle (Sort of)
by Ben van Drimmelen

September 1 was a great paddle day. Warm, even hot, but with cooling light winds and a high tide for the launch beside the Brentwood Bay ferry dock. This was a light and leisurely paddle, a fine way to welcome a couple of new paddlers to SISKA. The planned was a short paddle to Todd Inlet, lunch and lazing about and a short paddle back – just over three NM. However, the lead paddler, enraptured by the day and the diverse (from sad to sleek) vessels at their mooring buoys, continued on past the Inlet. The paddlers quietly followed; in effect, there was a psychic consensual diversion to an unplanned Plan B. Paddling along McKenzie Bight, the team realized that Todd Inlet was not ahead after all. No problem! Lunch at the beach at Pease Creek (McKenzie Bight) and another leisurely paddle back. By this point, we had doubled our paddling distance and had enough sun, so we decided to leave Todd Inlet for another time. Thanks to Mark Collins for leading the trip (from the sweep position – he was not the distracted lead paddler).

Broken Island Pilgrimage 2022
by Rod Stiebel

This year we had 22 souls make their way out to the Broken Island Lodge (BIL) from 3 different points. Half came on Fred’s water taxi from Port Alberni, another motley crew of 9 came from Ucluelet via the BIL water taxi, with Bob, the GM of the lodge, as our chauffeur. Two went for the full experience, and paddled out from Secret Beach. Bravo to Jenny S. and BJ P., and luckily they had fair weather to paddle in. So far as weather goes, it was close to perfect, with some mist or fog in the AM, always clearing up by noon or so most days, making time in the new wood fired cedar hot tub that much more enjoyable after kayaking.

There were 3 paddles a day, with most being energizer, or energizer+, as it seemed most folks were more than keen to squeeze as much in as they could in four days. We actually had 4 paddles on the last day, all went off without a hitch. We were lucky enough this year to have Jordan Z. along, who was our anthropological source for the 5000 plus years of First Nations history of the Islands. He gave a great talk the first night, and then was the history guide on a number of paddles, which were all quite popular. I will try and convince him to do a monthly meeting presentation.

We also had a great fireside chat with Phil, the new owner of the lodge, as he explained about his family’s plans for the lodge. His first hope is to keep the lodge as it is in spirit, keeping the low key, grass roots kayakers as the main source of guests. No plans to attract the yachting crowd, just keep it simple. We all liked that. The plans are for more and newer washroom facilities, and to get a better and cleaner source of power. As some may know, the BIL is totally off grid, has limited hydro power from a small dam, and uses diesel generators to fill the difference. So, nightly at 10PM, the lights go out, until 6AM. Of course, most nights this was moot, as many of us were already fast asleep by then! Solar power, and even battery powered water taxis are being looked at. Very exciting future, all going in the right direction for this gem on the Wild West Coast. We were also promised a newer and better drying room, as they had a tent with a heater. It was not really doing the job, but fortunately, the sun did most of the work most days, with wet gear hanging on any available space. We were also treated to a talk from Bob, on the whaling history of the lodge, and how it was eventually transformed into what it is today, with the main part of the lodge being barged here from Port Alberni in 1990. Lots of history and mystique, quite interesting.

The thrust of most of the paddles this trip seemed to be about 2 main things. The First Nations history of the area, and all the evidence that we could see. There were fish traps, middens, clam gardens and other archaeological features that made these paddles very informative, and at times, some groups almost late for dinner! Then there were the nature paddles, exploring the intertidal zones, which the timing of low tide in the mornings made this quite rewarding. Bears were spotted everyday, usually close to the lodge rummaging for breakfast under rocks. Humpback whales were also spotted on an occasion or two, with the author having one cross my bow about 30 feet away. This was as we were waiting for another to surface, that was travelling off our port side. I was told I exclaimed something along the lines of “oh sh!t”, oh well, I’ve said worse. The Ukee crowd did get a real show on the way back in the water taxi Thursday, as a humpback started breaching in the distance. Bob was, of course, only too happy to cut the engines and let us float, while we all made good use of our cameras. It was a great 15 minutes of a show, with too many pectoral fin slaps to count, and just as many tail slaps. Even at a few hundred meters away, you could feel and hear the wallop of that tail, and see the ensuing splash. We had a great show, a “goodbye, until next year” performance. Of course birds were omnipresent on every paddle, too many species to name, but you can ask Ben van D, our resident bird expert, he will tell you. There was also a good serving of the usual caves, arches and surge channels, as the swell was pretty good on the outside of the park, as well as in the outer islands. As all of the outer island paddles were quite distant, the water taxi would drop off paddlers, so they could head back on their own power. It was determined that possibly next year the taxi will drop off and also pick up, letting these outer island paddles be less hectic, to try and get back to the lodge in a timely fashion, a great idea.

As most paddles were in the 12-15 mile range, all of us had great appetites. The lodge did not disappoint, with Chef Luke leading the charge. Some meals were almost gourmet, but all were hearty, tasty and plentiful, for both breakfasts and dinners. The one possible drawback is they still need to work on the packed lunches for our paddles, I admit no easy feat, but no one went hungry!

On the last night, as we did a full group debrief, we were also led by Yvonne C in a Territorial Acknowledgement of the Indigenous peoples, and their territory. A sign of respect. “On behalf of all of us, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional territories of the Tseshaht people including all of the groups they represent. We have played on, lived on, laughed on these traditional territories over the past few days. We recognize the people and territories and thank the Tseshaht for sharing their beautiful land. Hych’ka” (thank you) Of course, we must again not forget Norm Smyth for all his hard work to make this trip go so smoothly. I counted well over 100 emails to and fro to make sure we all had transport set, including updates on expected, and unexpected road closures, changes in water taxi pick up locations, and everything in between. The daily organizing of pre and post paddle meetings for the whole group, as well as nightly paddle leader meetings. I was only late for 3 out of the 4 meetings, really! It seems being in a wood fired hot tub does somehow speed up time. We also cheered Norm, as this is his last year as trip coordinator, as Konrad Sechley has now stepped up to take over. We all applauded his courage, especially Norm!

In closing, the trip out here is a treat in so many ways. Whether it is visually, or in the diversity of conditions, wildlife, and areas to paddle in. Kayaking in this park and staying at the BIL is a trip that hits that sweet spot of pure wilderness, but with a warm bed, home cooked meals-with no dishes to wash, great camaraderie and a hot tub to boot. Time seemed to stand still, yet raced ahead, as it was all over much too soon. I expect I will have my name on the list again to go back next year. Indeed a pilgrimage.

The “finger” Passage

“Three Leg” the bear

Sea Arch

Lady Face in rock

Sea Arch

Breaching Humpback

by Jane Jacek
August 29th to September 1st, 2022

We (Ginny , BJ , Cheryl , Sandy and Peter ) left Swartz Bay on the 11 a.m. ferry to Fulford Harbour. We then drove to Hudson Point, where we met up with Jane. The beach lends itself to unloading vehicles on the sand which we did and then parked up on the street. We ate our packed lunches, then crossed directly to Conover Cove, where we found there were no other campers (much to our surprise). In fact, it was not until our lastnight that we had company… a large group of young kayakers who were more civilized than we feared; perhaps just tired. Some of them slept under the stars in a huddle like puppies.

We chose to land on the east side of the island as the approach is more kayak friendly (though a little narrow for a large group).

Our first supper was potluck style and in fact there was some spontaneous food sharing throughout the trip.

The trip was originally devised as one for beginner campers and paddlers who prefer Relaxed Paddle criteria. However all were fit, strong and eager so the first full day outing took us around the north tip of Norway Island. The next day we travelled up the west side of Galiano Island to the entrance to Porlier Pass and then lunched at a very nice beach on the southwest shore of Reid Island.

The highlight of this trip, whether single or multi-day, is the large private collection of totems and sculptures on Jackscrew Island.

On the last evening the idea of watching the sunset from Chivers Point (the campsite at the north end of Wallace) took us on a forced march in darkness about two-thirds up the length of the island before we turned back.

Due in part to the inexorable momentum of taking down tents and packing up, we left earlier than planned on the last morning and kayaked back north to the south shore of Secretary and Jackscrew and explored the two large sandy beaches on the north end of Saltspring Island before encountering a brisk wind in our faces to make it back to the launch site. A little cardio to end a very enjoyable trip.

The group was very compatible and fun, and had the best stories! I think we would all happily paddle together again. You can’t hope for better than that. There was even some talk of making a Saltspring/Wallace outing a yearly event. Very accessible for beginners but fun for all levels of paddler.

NEW (and OLD) MEMBERS Paddle
by Debbie Leach

On Saturday, September 3rd, nine paddlers (including John Levey) followed the shoreline from Oak Bay Marina to Cadboro-Gyro Park. Thanks to Mark Collins for leading our 6.5 NM trip which had a few surprises.

by Lynn Baier

For those of you who were interested in more pics of our Central Coast kayak trip, here’s a link to all our pics.


Siska Picnic Report

Sunday September 18,2022
Gyro Park, Cadboro Bay
by Jane Jacek

We were blessed with sunshine and warm weather for this year’s picnic, Approximately 85 people attended.

The gear swap was once again busy, with a wide range of gear exchanging hands as well as a few kayaks. Socializing was also a key focus.

Members appreciated all of the clinics, and the afternoon paddle. One new member even took the time to give us kudos in writing… “As a newbie (newcomer) I honestly didn’t expect the turnout, the sharing of expertise and it was nice to see those who have such knowledge and expertise willing and wanting to share.”

Thanks to those who organized and lead the on and off water clinics Ali Morham, Jennifer Sutton, Edgar Hulatt, Dorothea Hoffman and Elizabeth Purdon, Debbie Leach, Alan Campbell, Andrew Cusack and Norm Smyth.

Thanks to Delcie McLellan for leading the afternoon paddle.

And thanks to all members who came out and made this the enjoyable event it was.

Tips from the Trips

by Debbie Leach


Prevent corrosion and salt damage by brushing zippers with vinegar. Open and close zip to make sure you are cleaning every surface. Do tents, bags clothing, etc. (Michael Egilson)

Camp Cookery

by Lynn Baier

Meal in a Muffin

Here’s a recipe I’ve been working on for quick getaways. It’s a muffin but I prefer to bake it in a Bundt pan as I think it’s easier and stays moister. The recipe will make 12 muffins or cut the Bundt into twelve pieces.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg, oil, and sour milk. Stir until it is just mixed. Mix in the shredded carrots, then the rest of the ingredients. Pour into the muffin cups or Bundt pan. The muffins will take about 17 minutes. The Bundt pan will take about 35 minutes. These muffins have a lot of nutrition and taste. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Safety Tip

by Lynn Baier

Do you know how many paddlers you are paddling with? Make a point of knowing this before you head out. It’s easy to miss someone if they have been held up.

Hello from the Instructors

by Ali Morham

Pool Sessions have begun and our instructors have created several different sessions for some of that pool time. Please look at the calendar to see if there’s space for you to join in.

In keeping with the SISKA goal, “To focus on information, education and safe paddling for all levels of paddling skill from beginner to advanced - through Paddle Canada and other recognized national groups”, I am sending out a message to members who are Level 2 or higher Paddle Canada assessed paddlers to see if there is interest in building on your knowledge and sharing it by becoming a Paddle Canada Level 1 Instructor.

Certifying, along with experience, ensures that paddlers are responding with competence, knowledge, and safety in the complex ocean environment. With our growing membership we could use more instructors. Personally, I have found I learn more and get deeper understanding when I teach and coach others.

Please contact me if you are interested. alimorham@gmail.com

See you on the Water, Ali

BC Marine Trails News

September Newsletter

Wanting to Connect with Other Paddlers

Karin is wanting to connect in particular with other vegan paddlers. If interested email - knelson3@outlook.com

To Buy or Sell

For Sale:

Brand new quality drysuit for sale. The size is medium/small and asking for $620.00. Please see the two attached pictures.

Name: Minbiao Shi
Cell: 778-922-0008
Email: mbbshi@yahoo.ca

Wanted To Buy:

Norm Smyth 250-383-9077


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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