Sunday, May 27, 2012

Adventure 21- Canoeing the Salish Sea

Perfect day on the water
So the title may be a little deceiving. We did paddle in the Salish Sea, but try as I might, I could not convince my ship mates to cross the north end of the formerly named Strait of Georgia bound for Savory Island. Finally I got my canoe out to Merville where it will be close to the ocean and easy to pack down the rocks and launch. The chances of using it are much better than it sitting in Cumberland in the back yard of my house. The canoe isn't fancy, it weights a ton, but it floats and since it isn't fancy we can bump it along the rocks and driftwood to get it into the sea. I have been wanting to use the canoe for the last two years and never found the time to do so. This year I decided it better get used or it might as well be sold.
King of the castle
Saturday after lunch we brought the canoe to the water, zipped up life jackets and set off for a paddle. It was such a great day. Major sunshine, not a cloud to be seen anywhere. Natalie had not been in a canoe before, and Sheena hadn't for many years. We were a little rusty at first with our paddling. The feeling of a boat rocking left and right can be somewhat unsettling. Every time someone shifted and the canoe tilted, Natalie got nervous. She would gasp and grab the gunnel. It was pretty cute. She was sitting in her inner tube that we brought in case she wanted to get out of the canoe and float out in the deeper water. Marshall and Sunny swam along side of us as we worked towards the giant rock in front of Coho Drive. Willow was in the boat with us between Sheena's feet.
Pretty girls
We made it to the big rock and Sheena and Marshall got up on it. The biggest trick was for Sheena to slip out of the canoe and into the water, without tipping our craft. Successful, but got Natalie a bit worried. There was about four feet of the rock exposed above the surface, and it is a tricky spot of get up on. It is steep and barnacle covered. It is really neat at this rock. At high tide it is completely submerged and is next to impossible to find by paddling around and looking for it. Sheena and Marshall both jumped off the rock. Marshall is a real pro at "super man" jumping off of high things into the water. Once last summer I brought him to the rock and he got up on jumped off the rock about ten times in a row. He loves it!
Alley Op
After the excitement Sheena managed to get herself back into the canoe, without tipping us. This time it really made Natalie scared. She almost started crying, but soon was fine. She was in the bow and had a paddle in her hand, and a great view of all things underwater. She was thrilled by everything she saw. I remembered that she had not had the chance to spend very much time in her life in a boat. There are so many more interesting things to see riding above the water. We saw cool seaweeds that were like trees. We normally see them at low tide and they are laying down on the sand. Schools of various species of small fish were roaming up and down the shore. I assumed that some of the smaller ones were salmon fry, plus herring, needle fish and perch. The shimmering scaled skin could be seen from a distance as they darted to and fro. We witnessed hundreds of sea stars, sunflower stars and bat stars, red rock crabs, sculpins and one large fish that I couldn't be certain of what it was. I think it was a cabazon. This fish was probably about 18 inches long and just laid on the bottom in the sand, probably ambush hunting. Really cool.
We made our way back to the shallower water and we practiced standing up in the canoe and rocking it about. I decided to roll myself out of the canoe, to see if I could with out capsizing it. Success. I then convinced Natalie to make her way out of the boat to join me in the water. She made it and soon was in her inner tube playing around. I climbed back into the canoe and then stood up and jumped over the gunnel. We almost had a tip over, but the canoe has a wide beam and it settled itself down. We played in the water for a while longer. I helped Willow out of the canoe and placed her in the water. She swam herself to shore! A 12 week old puppy swimming. So cool.
Dinner time
We all retreated to the driftwood up the beach for a break for reading and a snack. Soon we hiked back up the hill to the house to prepare for dinner. A fire and dozen and a half sausages that I purchased from my favorite meat vendors at the Comox Valley farmers market. We had turkey, bison, pork and venison sausages, cut up veggies and chips. Oh and we were cooking on a fire back down on the beach. Mom, Mandy, Brian and us had a nice time eating and eating. Natalie went back in the water and the dogs chilled out. Willow and Sunny were exhausted from so much activity. Marshall never rests when he doesn't have a comfy bed to lay on so he kept going back to the water to swim and wade around "fishing".
Big day for the little girl
We had a great day. It was so neat to see Natalie excited about seeing all the creatures under the water. Spending 10 hours on the beach is something that doesn't happen everyday, but it is a really nice way to have some relaxation. Find Adventure.


  1. Thanks for sharing your adventures, Natalie and Blayne! What a beautiful day out on the water! The dogs are beautiful!

    1. Thanks for reading Pam. I hope that our adventures inspire others to get outside and have fun. But I am not lending out the dogs:)