|Livin' the Dream|
I bought an ocean kayak!
I am now the happy owner of a beautiful Seaward Costa Grande. She's named "Sunny Side Up."
|Sunny Side Up|
There it is, loaded into the back of Rob's pickup truck on the day we brought it home. It's
a fibreglass kayak, gently used: 16.2 feet long and 52 pounds. I was looking for
a kayak suitable for a smaller paddler, and lightweight enough that I
will be able to manage loading and unloading it.
|Heading out into the Bay|
Rob helped me launch at a favourite beach not far from where we live. I spent about an hour paddling along the shore and around some little islands. I cruised past a sea lion up on a rock, who watched me with a wary eye. Porpoises were swimming at a distance. It was really fun.
When I say that this purchase has been a along time in coming, I am not exaggerating. I first tried kayaking 35+ years ago in the early 1980s when I lived in Vancouver. I instantly fell in love with the sport. Two of my close friends bought themselves kayaks around that time and began going on expeditions to remote locations along the west coast of BC.
|My Friend W out for an Evening Paddle|
As much as I wanted to join them, I did not because year after year, there was always something that stopped me. I had no money. I moved to the prairies to accept my first career job. I moved back to the BC coast and had a baby, and then two more. I moved up north to the interior of the province. I became a single parent. I worked long hours at my job -- 60 or more hours a week. I became an empty-nester and almost immediately moved to the prairies again. Because of these various circumstances, it never seemed to be the right time to invest in a kayak.
|Bowron Trip: First Portage|
But whenever I had a chance, over the years, I rented or borrowed a kayak and went out on the water.
My friend W, one of the two friends that bought a kayak in the early '80s, has lent me her kayak many times over the years. I rented a kayak and went on a overnight expedition with W and some other friends in those early years.
In 2009, Rob, my son, and I paddled the eight-day Bowron Lakes loop with friends B & V and two other people. In fact, Rob and I were in an 18-foot freighter canoe set up with oarlocks, and we rowed the Bowron.
|Bowron Trip: Enjoying the Sunshine|
Three of our party were in kayaks and the two others were in a canoe as well. My son used a kayak borrowed from my friend B, the red kayak in the header photo for this blog post. Sometimes my son and I switched for a while and I kayaked while he rowed the canoe with Rob.
In the photos to the left, top to bottom, you see our group beginning the first portage. In the middle photo, we've stopped at a sandy beach for lunch and to bask in the sun. Our freighter canoe is in the foreground. In the bottom photo, my son is paddling down the Cariboo river.
|Bowron Trip: Son Paddling Down the River|
In 2015, Rob and I went on another fabulous trip -- an eight-day sailing trip on a 75-foot schooner in the ocean waters around Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). We travelled from Moresby Camp down the east side of Moresby Island through the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve to SGang Gwaay Llanagaay (Ninstints) and back. Ninstints is a Haida village site that is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
|Burnaby Narrows: Sea Life|
I had always intended to write about this amazing experience here on my blog, but still have not done so. The schooner had two kayaks on board, so I had several chances to paddle around.
I spent a lovely afternoon paddling through Burnaby Narrows on Haida Gwaii. It is an area with incredibly rich sea life. I took these photos with my phone looking down through the clear plastic viewing window on the kayak. The photo below is of a moon snail egg casing -- it looked like a rubber tire.
|Burnaby Narrows: Moon Snail|
While I was paddling around in Burnaby narrows, a group of kayakers came through. I chatted with them and found out they were members of the Nanaimo Paddlers. I said to them, some day I will move to Vancouver Island and join a paddling group!
In the photo to the right, I was out for an early morning paddle. I saw a commotion onshore and paddled in to see a raccoon in its natural habitat. Haida Gwaii is a very special part of the world and I feel very lucky to have spent time there.
Since retiring to Vancouver Island, I have made a couple of friends here who are kayakers. I have joined a small kayaking group.
This is a story of delayed gratification -- 35 years of waiting. And now I finally have my own kayak!