Bowen Island kayaking, 23 May 2009

After getting up stupid early to watch sunrise what better way to spend a Saturday than paddling about on the water? Maria was down in Seattle at the FolkLife Festival, so I met up with Merewyn and Brenda and we headed over to Bowen Island.

We missed the 9 am ferry by moments and had to wait until the next one at 10 am. We wandered into Horseshoe Bay and picked up a snack. By 10.30 we were at the kayak rental place and signing the usual waivers. We got our gear together and were on the water a little after 10.45. Great… except we paid for 3 hours and now had a little over 2.5 on the water. Hmmm. Oh well, we had missed the ferry I suppose…

Bowen Island Kayak, 23 May 2009

I spent the next few minutes reminding myself how to paddle in a kayak since it was only the sixth time I’d been in one. I can’t remember when I did my sixth hike but it was a very long time ago now. Exiting Snug Cove harbour, we passed a rocky outcrop covered in purple sea stars. Since we had only just started I was reluctant to get the camera out, but of course later I wish I had because the tide had come in by the time we returned.

We paddled across the next bay and followed the shore north. The island was quite rocky here so there weren’t many docks to navigate around, just some steep rocks to avoid. I stayed well away, but Brenda and Merewyn got in closer to peer at the mussels and sea stars. The next thing I knew Brenda was on her cell phone. Actually she was just checking a message someone had sent her but it certainly made for a funny picture :-)

Paddling north, our view was filled with the peaks of the Howe Sound Crest Trail. The water was dead calm, save for a few bigger waves from the wakes of passing boats and the occasional ferry, and made for relaxed, enjoyable paddling. We saw more and more sea stars, more than I’ve ever seen before. The seagulls were out in force making the most of the seafood buffet on offer: barnacles, mussels and sea stars were all on the menu.

Bowen Island Kayak, 23 May 2009

We paddled on to the north-eastern tip of the island, enjoying more views and an eagle which flew directly overhead. We paused here for a while to rest and have a snack/water, before continuing on around the headland into a lovely refreshing breeze. We paddled into the next bay and decided this was our turnaround point. We’d actually left it a little late so our paddle back was somewhat of a sprint (and I can’t sprint paddle for 3 miles!), but it was good practice. Finally we rounded the small light at the entrance to Snug Cove and eased ourselves back into the harbour. We were only 10 minutes late.

Bowen Island Kayak, 23 May 2009

We hauled ourselves out, stowed our gear and went back up onto the pier to wait for the ferry. Brenda and I treated ourselves to some ice cream while we waited for the 3 pm ferry. Suddenly someone started talking excitedly about seeing a seal, on the dock no less! I turned and saw a river otter playing with some rope. So I said that it was an otter (and no, not a sea otter either), to which I received the reply `What’s the difference between and otter and a seal then?’ I was so dumbfounded by this question that all I could think of to say was that a seal is bigger… Not a very good answer really :-) Anyhow, it hung around long enough for me to get some nice photos and a great little video clip. That rounded off a perfect day perfectly.

Distance: about 12 km
Photos on Flickr

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