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The magazine of coastal adventure and recreation
Volume 21, Issue 3
FREE at select outlets and online or by subscription
Best of Bellingham
Coast&Kayak uncovers paddling gems off Washington’s northern coast
Can we co-exist?
Coast&Kayak examines the latest threat to nature’s predators: ourselves, as we increasingly explore their world
There’s extra content in our multimedia edition: www.coastandkayak.com
Featured in this issue: u Can we co-exist?
Two bears are shot and killed every day by conservation officers in British Columbia. This is the way we solve conflicts between predators and humans. Coast&Kayak Magazine examines the impact recreation is having on the odds of us learning to co-exist with predators.
First Word .........................................................................4 News ....................................................................................6 Skillset .............................................................................. 24 By Alex Matthews Plan Your Adventure ........................................ 26-29 Starting Out ................................................................. 34 How to buy a paddle Paddle Meals ...............................................................40 Gear & Kayaks.............................................................. 42 H2O, BorealDesign, Valley Kayaks, Kokatat Rainforest Chronicles .............................................44 By Dan Lewis Events...............................................................................46
Coast&Kayak Magazine dips south of the border to discover the best kayaking spots out of Bellingham.
20 Magdelans 30
These remote Quebec islands offer a surprisingly scenic getaway.
The recent rescue of a women who spent six days on a remote beach on Haida Gwaii before being rescued is a reminder that the skills we need aren’t limited to just inside the kayak. Tom Watson shares seven essential steps to wilderness survival.
The First Word
by John Kimantas
Shoot first, think later or not at all
Fall 2011 Volume 21, Number 3 PM No. 41687515 Cover Photo: Members of WAKE, the Washington Association of Kayak Enthusiasts, join Coast&Kayak on a circumnavigation of Lummi Island. Find the best of the region starting page 14.
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I have a vivid memory from my childhood of sirens blaring in downtown Oakville. Fire trucks were driving around over a wide range, sirens on all the while, an indication to any child that something huge was going on. As it turns out, a couple of deer had wandered into the downtown, and the fire trucks were called in to use their sirens to scare them back out. At the time it was a novelty for deer to be in a developed area. And apparently enough of a novelty to require emergency rescue intervention. I’m not sure about Oakville today, but any town in British Columbia will have deer on any given street on any given day. To chase them out by siren would be absurd. We’re not always level headed when it comes to dealing with wildlife. I think back to the machine gun placed in Discovery Channel near Campbell River to shoot killer whales, or the harpoon gun set up at East Point on Saturna Island. This was a time when orcas where considered pests, a dangerous animal, a threat to salmon and a simple novelty worth minimal consideration and certainly not protection. And this is not ancient history, but within our lifetimes. Our preconceptions about wildlife and the manner we choose to deal with it are often proven to be incorrect, indefensible and ultimately laughable, were it not for the sorry statement it makes about our nature and the carnage we leave behind. In some ways we’re no better today. Last month a bear was seen by a couple of kayakers walking the Gorge Waterway in Victoria. The bear ambled along peaceably enough till confronted by dogs and humans. It fled to shelter in the cover of a dense ravine where it was shot and killed. It was not an aggressive bear. It simply strolled in the wrong direction. Left alone it probably would have discovered its error then found the quickest way out, probably in the dark when no one was around to ensure its own safety. Instead it’s dead. And not as a rare occurrence. Over the last five years conservation officers have shot and killed about 3,000 bears in British Columbia – almost two every day – and about 380 cougars (please see the article starting page 14 for more on this). The kills do not represent the risk these animals pose. Attacks on humans are rare. That isn’t to say attacks don’t happen, and they are tragic when they do, but statistically our odds are vastly higher of being mangled by stepping into a car. But that risk we shrug off and except. Meanwhile, bears and cougars we kill with an absolute minimum of provocation. I have a strong hunch that many people will be as shocked as me at this treatment of wildlife. And since bears and cougars can’t speak for themselves, I fully intend to speak on their behalf. I hope you join me and together we can knock some sense into a system where the creative capacity is limited to killing. Nothing more. - John Kimantas
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© 2011. Copyright is retained on all material (text, photos and graphics) in this magazine. No reproduction is allowed of any material in any form, print or electronic, for any purpose, except with the permission of Wild Coast Publishing. Some elements in maps in this magazine are reproduced with the permission of Natural Resources Canada 2010, courtesy of the Atlas of Canada. Also, our thanks to Geobase for some elements that may appear on Coast&Kayak maps. Coast&Kayak Magazine is dedicated to making self-propelled coastal exploration fun and accessible. Safety and travel information is provided to augment pre-existing safety and knowledge. A safety course and proper equipment are advised before any exploration on water. See a list of paddling instruction locations at www.coastandkayak.com
A new camping beach is found! Any guesses on the location?
FALL 2011 2011 SUMMER
a NEW RECoRD u Vancouver Island The new speed record for circumnavigating Vancouver Island goes to Colin Angus. In July Colin shaved a day off the record set by Joe O’Blenis in 2010. He pulled into the shore near his Comox home just 15 days, 11 hours and 47 minutes after leaving from the same location. Colin managed the feat entirely backwards: in an 18’ rowboat. Plagued by tendonitis, he nearly had to call it quits in Tofino, but instead took a break for a day to recover from the worst. The record sets one for a new class – rowboat, while Joe’s record of 16 days, 12 hours and 14 minutes still stands for a kayaker. Colin and his wife Julie, who were 2006 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year for their self-propelled journey around the globe, won’t be sitting still for long. They will be setting off on a National Geographicsponsored ‘Olive Odyssey’ to travel 3,500 km by small boat from Spain to the Middle East to trace the history of one of the world’s most influential foods.
photo by Julie Angus
Colin Angus celebrates with his son Leif. Colin was featured in the Summer 2010 issue of Coast&Kayak Magazine. To see a map of Colin’s route as well as last record-setting trips around Vancouver Island see the Island race page at coastandkayak.com. u colinangus.com CELEBRatIoNs u orca milestones The southern Vancouver Island resident population of killer whales is getting a boost with two new calves born this year. While the tally is early – killer whales aren’t considered part of the population till after
Astrid van Ginneken, Center for Whale Research, All rights reserved
K-44 frolicks with mom. The youngster could bring the southern resident population up to 88 orcas. the first birthday due to the high mortality rate – all signs are good as K-44 joined the Juan de Fuca’s K Pod, boosting the numbers for the smallest of the three resident pods with just 20 orcas. Another baby was born earlier in the year to L Pod. It’s turned into a year of celebrations as J-2 celebrated her 100th birthday – a span that bridges the massive decline of killer whales numbers through the last century to their current slow but steady resurgence. The babies could bring the resident population up to 88. All five calves born to the three pods last year survived to the first year. The lowest ebb was in 1971 when the population was reduced to 67 orcas, in large part due to trapping reproductive-age females for aquariums. u whaleresearch.com.
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moRE RECoRDs u yukon River It helps when you have 24 hours of light for this type of trip. A full day of sun thanks to the Yukon summer was just one factor among many that helped Carter Johnson, 35, of San Francisco paddle 450.6 km (280 miles) in one day down the Yukon River to set a new world record for the most miles paddled in 24 hours. Meanwhile, another record was set as Robyn Benincasa paddled 371.8 km (231 miles) in 24 hours for the women’s record. Both left Lower Labege on the north end of Lake Laberge at the same time; Carter finished at Kirkman Creek while Robyn made it several hours beyond Minto. Both had already set the flatwater record, with Carter setting it in 2005 at 241.95 km (150 miles), and Robyn 195.3 km (121 miles) in 2010. Carter is also a record breaker for the River Quest with a solo speed of 42 hours 49 minutes. EXPEDItIoNs u Ellesmere Island Writer and explorer John Turk and fellow paddler and photographer Erik Boomer are in the process of circumnavigating Ellesmere Island by kayak. By press time they were working their way down the east coast of the remote Arctic Island, having weathered the best part of the total 2,250 km (1,400 miles) of ice, storms and wind. The pair departed early May, passed the mid-way point on June 22 and then slowed to a crawl navigating ice and slush, managing as little as two miles over six days due to a jumble of unnavigable ice at Robeson Channel. u jonturk.net. INCIDENts u Uk report released The Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the UK recently released its 2010 annual report of canoe and kayak incidents, providing a glimpse into what went wrong in 456 reported canoe and kayak related mishaps including nine fatalities. The report highlighted these themes: • Lack of identification on kayaks made it difficult for rescuers to confirm ownership and if in fact anyone was in trouble if a canoe or kayak was found in the water. • Vehicles were left without notification of where kayakers/canoeists went and when they expected to return, leading to reports of missing persons without knowing if the person was overdue or in trouble. • Many incidents involved canoeists and kayakers without lifejackets. • Three incidents involved kayak rentals at a time when conditions where unsafe, raising the issue of the lack of controls regarding whether hired boats can or should be allowed to go in the water. BoNE tHIEVEs u Park robbery Ancient bones were taken from a midden in a popular BC marine park and kayaking campsite in late July. Bones from a midden at Beaumont Park on Pender Island became exposed by erosion on the shoreline. The bones were taken after the area had been covered and cordoned off by park officials. Beaumont is part of the Gulf Islands National Park and a popular kayak camping area. Remains found when building the nearby Poets Cove Marina in 2003 were reinterred at another location. Stealing bones and artifacts from parks is a common problem, and is illegal. Treatment of historic and culturally significant sites has been a sore point with BC’s First Nations, and led to the closure of the Benson Island campground in the Broken Group.
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FALL 2011 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine 9
on Vancouver Island
Introduction by John Kimantas
The best of
wondering if they’d try and convert me that evening. They didn’t; that didn’t happen till our circumnavigation of Lummi Island.) So it was no surprise when most of the nine members of WAKE who joined me for the trip around Lummi Island spoke of their many kayak trips north of the border. Hearing all the stories it seemed almost odd that I left Vancouver Island in search of a good place to kayak down here where so many kayakers yearn to travel up north. I was kayaking against the stream, so to speak. But now, I’m a convert. We hit a perfect window: blue skies with just wisps of clouds and nary a breeze the entire day. Trip logistics were narrowed down to just currents and how to stuff more than 40 toilet paper rolls into the outhouse at the Lummi Island DNR campsite (it seems WAKE is a custodian of the campsite, and one of
had to cross a border and show my passport to get here, but otherwise I might not have left Canada at all. Oh, there were hints – miles per hour on the highways. Gas measured in gallons. Beer and wine in grocery stores (you have no idea how lucky you are). Drab dollar bills. You know, the usual trappings that distinguish the U.S. from us northern brethren. But Bellingham has a decidedly Canadian feel that goes quite a bit beyond sharing CBC reception. It’s particularly evident in the kayakers. I’m joined by nine members of the Whatcom Association of Kayaking Enthusiasts (the acronym being WAKE, which made me think this was a religious association with a high contingent of outdoor lovers when I first heard of it. “We’re with WAKE,” I was told when I first met a crew at a campsite in Sechelt Inlet, leaving me
Bellingham the duties is to restock the toilet paper, a function at which WAKE apparently excels). So it was a tame trip by any standard. Lummi Island isn’t normally a journey to take lightly. It is an 18-mile circumnavigation after all (that’s 30 km, you Canadians). Currents can run several knots in either channel, and wind, well, usually that’s a factor as well. The attraction for the effort is obvious. The DNR campsite on the south side is a highlight, of course, with a good beach for a break or overnight stay (feel free to leave your toilet paper at home; WAKE has that well under control). Then there’s the wonderful beach on Lummi Rocks, a perfect mid-way point on the island’s outer side, which is characterized by sheer cliffs and uninhabited mountainsides. Launching from Gooseberry Point adjacent to the Lummi Island ferry terminal means a quick crossing to the island. The north end is more inhabited, with a luxuriously long beach attracting picnickers and dog walkers out to enjoy the sun. As paddlers we had a brief but humbling adverse current that made our progress along West Shore agonizingly slow. A man walking the cobble outpaced us, a rare occasion when a beach hiker was faster than a paddler. Our final short run from the north end of the island to Gooseberry Point is aided by strong current and we almost get swept past our landing point to end the day. Overall it was a relatively lazy seven hours – not bad for one of the region’s longer day trips. And there are many others to choose from. What follows is the best of the options from those who should know – the veteran paddlers of u the area.
kayakers paddle toward Lummi Rocks for a lunch break; far left: starting out from Gooseberry Point; left: heading down the rugged and uninhabited inner south coast of Lummi Island. Photos by John kimantas FALL 2011 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine 11
by Roy Stevenson
u Exploring Bellingham: Locals share favorite routes
Hat makEs a great place for kayaking? Ask a dozen kayakers and you’ll get a dozen different answers. Many kayakers enjoy exploring the shoreline, coasting past white shell beaches or looking for mysterious hidden faces and shapes in the white sculptured sandstone cliffs or in the black, craggy granite slabs that descend steeply to the surf. Or the attraction might be heading to mist-shrouded islands with tall evergreens covering every inch of their rocky soil. We asked local paddlers to share their favorite trips, and the list is surprisingly varied. Nathan Brandow, owner/operator of outer Island Expeditions: “I love Sucia Island. It is by far the most interesting place to kayak in the region. It is home to beautiful sandstone formations, incredible park facilities, has plenty of wildlife, including seals, sea lions, orca, porpoise, eagles and marine birds. It has a very large protected bay and beautiful sandstone bluffs. So there are areas for both beginners and advanced paddlers.” sharmon Hill of moondance sea kayak adventures: “Our local ‘jewel of a trip’ launches from Larrabee State Park. It’s about a four-mile round trip paddle to Dot Island. On a half-day trip, we generally have enough time to ‘circumnavigate’ this little five-acre gem of an island that is protected by the nature conservancy. On full-day trips, it makes an awesome lunch stop with its tiny white shell beach. The shore along this route
is beautiful! The entire coastline is sculptured sandstone. It’s fun to let your imagination run wild with all the images you can see there. The locals have named a couple of the formations Gargoyle Rock and Lion Rock. I have named a few myself. Ariel’s Throne is one of my favorites. It’s a huge clamshell-like formation and inside there are perfectly placed pedestal rocks where one can just imagine seeing a couple of mermaids languishing. And then there’s the ‘Apple Core.’ And the ‘Two Masks.’ “The intertidal viewing around Bellingham is perfect when the tide is low and the water is clear. We see huge sunflower
stars, leather stars and anemones, to name the most common. And we see seals and their pups, river otter and mink. Many water birds, herons and eagles, of course, and sometimes porpoise. One summer we even had a couple of up-close encounters with grey whales. This season brought frilled nudibranchs and brittle stars, which I had not seen here before. You know, I’ve probably paddled this shoreline 700 times in 17 years and I am still learning and discovering. “Bellingham is an ideal destination because of the protected waters. They allow for up close and intimate coastal and
accessible paddling leisurely challenging
Call 800-487-2032 or visit bellingham.org
12 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine FALL 2011
outer Lummi Island.
If you go:
Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures www.moondancekayak.com (360) 738-7664 firstname.lastname@example.org ........ Outer Island Expeditions Semiahmoo Resort - Blaine, WA (360) 376-3711 www.outerislandx.com email@example.com ........ Bellingham Bay Community Boating Center. Tours, educational tourism. www.sailpaddlerow.org firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 714-8891 ........ uClubs: WAKE: Whatcom Association of Kayak Enthusiasts www.wakekayak.org contact Ted Wang President: email@example.com ........ uTourism information Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism: www.bellingham.org
intertidal exploration. A kayaker can poke around in places where larger boats are unable to approach. And there’s so much variety! One day the water will be flat and glassy and the next there’ll be exciting waves and a little surf to play with. And it’s fun to manage the currents and tide rips that the tidal exchanges create.” Sharmon Hill’s favorite overnight trip is to Cypress Island, a Washington State Natural Resources conservation area. “I love Cypress because it’s my backyard. I’ve been traveling there by sail and kayak since 1986. It’s the fifth largest island in the San Juans and since there are very few residences there and the state has classified much of it as conservation area, it’s close to being a wilderness experience with fairly safe and easy access. And there are no ferries here! This destination offers lots of exploration both by water and land: rugged shoreline interrupted by gravelly pocket beaches, interesting currents and tide rips, families of river otters. And there’s an awesome hike that gains 800 feet in 1 mile.” michael Callaizakis, Bellingham Community Boating Center: “We have
access to Larrabee State Park, the San Juan Islands, or the Gulf Islands for longer trips. Just a quick three-hour paddle is the Lummi Island camping spot for an easy overnight right out of Bellingham.”
ted Wang, President of Whatcom association of kayak Enthusiasts: “My favorite would be the area of Burrows and Allan Islands, near Anacortes. The scenery is tremendous, with picnics at the Burrows Lighthouse (overlooking Rosario Strait) very popular. There can be some challenging conditions in this area, so paddles there can vary from quite easy to difficult, depending on tides and winds.” His favorite trip: “The Chuckanut Run,” a round trip either from Bellingham or Wildcat Cove in Larrabee State Park, into and around Chuckanut Bay. “It’s generally an easy paddle, suitable for the less experienced because currents are typically mild and there are no significant tide rips. Coming up from Wildcat Cove, in particular, the scenery – particularly the geology and woodlands – is tremendous. This paddle has the advantage of being ‘right in our backyard’ and easily accessible.” Of course, it also helps to have a great base to start your kayaking trips from. Bellingham offers great restaurants, bars and hotels for the “après kayak.” Bellingham’s strong paddling culture, and its pleasant, laid-back ambience give it a welcoming atmosphere to visitors. This medium-sized town of 80,000 packs a great deal of punch for its weight with museums and shops for those days that you’re too sore to paddle.
< Roy Stevenson is a freelance travel writer based in Seattle, Washington.
photo by Luke Hyatt / Mothership Adventures
by John Kimantas
a black bear captures a salmon in the wilds of the British Columbia central coast. this is nature at its most raw, but continued encroachment by humans in these areas raises the question: will scenes like this continue to play out on our coasts? 14 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine FALL 2011
Can we co-exist?
Already beleaguered in their natural environment, our nature’s predators have a new problem: our expanding outdoor playground is encroaching on their homes. Coast&Kayak Magazine looks at the long-term ramifications of how human recreation is the next big hurdle for our coast’s wild mammals.
vErytHing in nature is about cause and effect. Change one thing, something else changes. We don’t always see it, but when we do, it’s amazing how this new information can change our understanding of how the world works. Consider the complex relationship of sub-tidal, intertidal and terrestrial species. that complexity kept a key relationship invisible until 1978, when biologist James Estes published Sea Otter Predation and Community Organization in the Western Aleutian Islands, and linked the very simple formula between sea otters, urchins and kelp beds. take sea otters out of the picture, James Estes discovered, and kelp beds, the forests of our oceans, will disappear. it’s a textbook cause-and-effect relationship for both its simplicity and convenience. For one, it’s a concept even a grade schooler can appreciate. Without sea otters, no predators eat urchins therefore urchins eat the kelp till the kelp disappears. For another, sea otters are cute and of no particular threat to humans, so repatriating sea otters to our Pacific coast to revitalize kelp forests was an easy task ecologically, politically and socially: a rare example when all three considerations mesh. For other predators, the relationships aren’t nearly as simple. We might be able to understand the role, for instance, that bears play through salmon in fertilizing forests, or that wolves play in leaving carrion to ensure the survival of a rich tapestry of species. the biological and environmental understanding is certainly there. But the jury is still out on whether we have the political will and – more importantly – the social will to ensure predators will get to keep their essential roles in our wild places. Unfortunately, there’s one cause and effect for which the outcome still remains unknown: what role outdoor enthusiasts – kayakers, hikers and campers – are having on the already thin resources that carnivores require for survival. But considering the number of dead animals already in our wake, the prognosis isn’t particularly good. u
Can we co-exist?
Once almost extinct, the sea otter has made a remarkable comeback, in part because it is adorable and not in the least aggressive towards humans – two valuable attributes for post-industrial Darwinism among predators. But its ravenous appetite has raised a new spectre: the prospect of a cull to benefit the interests of commercial marine harvesters. photo by Luke Hyatt / Mothership Adventures.
may 2008: It’s the start of the busy season on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. Politically, a feud is underway as outdoor activists of all stripes are fighting a developer whose eventual goal is to build several hundred cottages on the doorstep of this asof-now wilderness trail, meaning a portion of the hike would meander along backyards instead of secluded forest. Further along the trail, at Sombrio Beach, the regular weekend crowd of campers and surfers is congregating. It’s a young party atmosphere, with many surfers to be seen bobbing in the waves awaiting the chance to catch a ride. Most won’t, as the waves aren’t particularly great for surfing today, but no one is complaining too loudly. Empty liquor bottles along the waterfront are an indication surf isn’t the only reason to be here. Already there’s some drama. A bear has been causing problems, apparently because it has discovered that backpacks mean food. Conservation officers with shotguns have been patrolling the area on the lookout for it, a reminder that bears that equate humans with food are usually dead bears – another of nature’s many cause-and-effect relationships, with this one all too often ending with a shotgun. Not wishing to be part of the party atmosphere at Sombrio we pick a secluded beach difficult to access from land and well away from the main group of campers. Not long after arriving we sight a bear along
16 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine
the top end of the beach. It appears to be a juvenile male. Sure enough, it takes a trajectory straight towards our backpacks set up against the rocks behind us on the beach. It seems unconcerned with our presence, so I set off a bear banger (a device that shoots a charge towards a bear that explodes like a shotgun). The noise is deafening, but it only succeeds in stopping the bear in its tracks. Not prepared to give it time to consider its options I aim carefully with a second charge, and this time the bear has had enough. It turns and runs back into cover. Not long after, we hear rustling in the scrub in the forest above the backpacks. Sure enough, the bear pops its head out from the thick vegetation – probably to get his bearings, so to speak. It appears he’s picking another more direct route towards our backpacks that involves a supremely steep and overgrown area of shoreline. I fire off another bear banger (the third shortly after arriving here; we have six in our pack to last our trip), and the aim is almost perfect, within inches of the bear. We don’t see it again, but we can follow its movement through shaking bushes as it retreats back towards the deeper forest. Our best hope is the young male will learn from the bear bangers that humans are dangerous and best avoided. But the jury is out on whether his new-found fear will outweigh his desire for easy food. His odds aren’t great. The deciding factor is the conservation officer’s discretion, based
on his assessment of the bear’s risk to public safety. In making this judgment in 2010, conservation officers shot and killed 657 bears. The five-year average is 614 per year. In other words, in almost any given confrontation with humans, the bear will die. EaR IN WILD aNImaLs is an interesting phenomenon. If predators are truly scared, they will do their best to stay away from humans. But doing so means reducing the size of their range, which ultimately leads to a decline in population. Grizzly bears are a perfect example of a species that cannot co-exist with humans, reflected in the fact that wild grizzlies have been driven out from most of the U.S. Wolves haven’t fared much better, in large part due to a federal program of eradication earlier last century. The few surviving predators tend to lead lives of quiet seclusion, with cougars being the perfect example of an aloof species – rarely seen despite living on the doorstep of human civilization. In truth, it’s the key to their survival. A loss of fear among some mammals can seem superficially beneficial to the species. For instance, deer can now comfortably eat, sleep and live in residential neighbourhoods where their natural predators cannot. The result is inevitably a troubling population balloon, and as a consequence everyone from harried gardeners to roadside carcass removers will begin to see culls as a
Can we co-exist? necessary evil to keep the population in check. We know, of course, that wolves are part of the cycle that would otherwise keep deer populations in control. But the biological solution is unlikely to outweigh the social barrier: wolves roaming playgrounds simply won’t do. So repatriation of a wolf population bordering urban areas is unlikely to ever gain serious social appeal. It’s unfortunate, though, as the biological imperative goes beyond simply controlling the deer population. As an example, biologist Douglas Smith found after 70 years of absence in Yellowstone National Park, the spinoffs from a return of wolves was fantastic in unexpected ways. As the wolves returned so did the other scavenging species that relied on the carcasses left behind in the wolves’ wake. And so an entire ecosystem, right down to cottonwood and aspen, was revitalized simply because one species returned. When humans enter the picture, though, the balance changes, even in wilderness parkland. Consider the chain of events that led to the now-famous attack of a kayaker on the beach of Vargas Island in Vancouver Island’s Clayoquot Sound. In 2000, a group of 18 kayakers stopped to camp at Ahous Bay. Two slept outside. One woke to be dragged by a wolf along the beach in his sleeping bag, and then was viciously mauled. The kayaker received stitches; the two wolves involved were shot and killed. An examination after the attack found the wolves were habituated to humans, possibly to the extent of being hand-fed as pups. Nor was the problem isolated, as aggressive behavior by other wolves, including raiding campsites, was widely documented on Vargas after the attack. And as we know, habituated wild animals are dead wild animals. may 1963: Biologist Robert T. Paine conducts an experiment on a perfectly balanced ecosystem on a rock in Makah Bay on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Barnacles, shells, muscles and starfish have a seemingly perfect balance on this collection of rocks. On one of these rocks Paine decided to remove the starfish, the king of the rock in terms of being top predator. Superficially it would seem life would just be simpler for the remaining species, but it wasn’t so. The balance of the tiny ecosystem shifted once the key predator was ousted and of the 15 original species on the rock, at the end of the test only one remained: mussels. This experiment gave rise to the prominence of one of the greatest causeand-effect relationships of nature: the existence of a “keystone species,” a predator u
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The most grave scenario, of course, is that every top predator is a keystone species, and as we grind down their numbers we pave the way for a catastrophic biological upheaval. HE attaCk By a WoLF on the beach on Vargas Island prompted one significant benefit: the launch of a study by the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Trust Fund to study interactions between humans and large carnivores in three study areas – the West Coast Trail, the Broken Group Islands and Long Beach, all within the Pacific Rim National Park. One related study found the odds of seeing a cougar aren’t great: just 0.005 sightings per hiker in 2002, but better off-season, peaking at 0.03 sightings per hiker that same year. But as with bears, the prognosis is grim for a cougar once it is sighted. In 2010, conservation officers in British Columbia killed 47 cougars. That was a good year. The five-year average is 76 cougars a year – a remarkable number for such an elusive species where the odds of even seeing one in the summer on the coast’s
prime wilderness trail is just a half a percent. tHER FaCtoRs to CoNsIDER include what’s happening in the surrounding habitat: urban encroachment, logging and any number of other industrial uses could all be factors reflecting in higher numbers of carnivores entering recreational areas. By cordoning off wildlife into smaller parcels, it makes the impact of recreational use in the remaining wilderness havens all the more significant. One telling 1999 study in BC found that a spike in bear attacks against small groups of one to two people was more closely linked to an increase in previously unvisited backcountry areas than to food and garbage issues. And if more wilderness visitors means more adverse wildlife encounters, it’s a bad trend. We are, after all, seeking out new wilderness areas in initiatives such as the BC Marine Trail (the focus of the Spring and Summer 2011 issues of Coast&Kayak). And by encroaching we run the risk of essentially loving nature to death. Also discouraging is that one single solution seems to exist to deal with
The face of a cougar: but how wild is it now? If all predators showing aggression are slaughtered, consider the implications for Darwinism and what the gene pool is losing.
that provides balance for the other species. The lesson is simple: remove a keystone predator and the careful balance of nature will collapse. But the larger questions remain unanswered: how many keystone species are there? And which are the ones we are in danger of losing? Or have already lost?
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18 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine FALL 2011
Can we co-exist?
photo by Luke Hyatt / Mothership Adventures Passive, respectful and unobtrusive observation of wildlife is possibly the key for peace between humans and predators. By raising awareness, understanding and compassion we may gain the political and social will to draw a line between human interference and the natural world: the necessary ingredients for the survival of any predator in the modern world.
aggressive wildlife: a shotgun. Little credence is given to relocation, as territory is usually already claimed, and habituation to humans is a habit rarely undone just by moving the animal. July 2011: Kayakers spy a bear ambling along the Gorge Waterway in Victoria, BC. The bear is doing nothing aggressive. It is simply heading in the wrong direction – towards the city centre. Eventually it hides in a ravine. Dogs are used to try to tree it; rocks are thrown by humans to try to oust it. But the bear holds its ground. Lacking other options, it is shot and killed by a conservation officer. Four bullets are used. Relocation wasn’t considered viable; there was nowhere to place it not already filled with territorial bears, conservation officers said. 2003: A group of more than 20 hikers on the West Coast Trail watch a cougar enter their campsite. A report indicates the amount of time the cougar spent in the camp was “extended,” before one hiker decided to take action and scare the cougar away. In doing so he incurred the anger of his fellow hikers who apparently wanted to continue to view the cougar. The national park had distributed information on problems with cougar stalking and habituation to deter this type of encounter,
but the group of hikers either hadn’t read it or felt the information didn’t apply. The incident almost went unreported because the hiker who did report it felt the animal would be destroyed if she informed park staff. This particular one wasn’t. It was lucky. July 2003: Pacific Rim National Park staff close the popular Gibraltar Island campsite in the Broken Group Islands because a female wolf has moved onto the island and is acting aggressively, likely to protect two cubs. Two wolves at the Clarke Island campsite cause a second closure (the other campsites remained open). Wolf tracks on the various Broken Group Islands are an indication of the wolves’ wide hunting range and the incredible ability to swim from one end of the island group to the other and back in search of food. But reports of wolves being fed and moving through campsites in an unwary manner trickle in until the incidents culminate in May, 2004, when a park warden has to kill a wolf due to “a series of aggressive actions and habituation behaviour.” In other words, closing the campsites, while drastic from one perspective, wasn’t enough to help keep all the wolves alive. And if an aggressive policy of segregation doesn’t work, then what is the answer?
NE oBVIoUs soLUtIoN is better backwoods etiquette: cache your food and don’t feed the animals, even if they’re cute and curious. And more than that, scare them away so they appreciate that humans are to be feared, not stalked or befriended. And don’t leave food unattended, as animals can easily become backpack marauders thanks to one careless hiker. Another necessary ingredient is a complete social change in attitude: less hysteria and more common sense. A cougar or bear sighting does not equate an imminent bear or cougar attack. There is a risk, but in almost every circumstance it can be managed without killing an animal. If there is good news, it lies in initiatives like the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust Fund’s WildCoast Project. With better reporting and monitoring of encounters we can better understand the issues – a critical first step in finding a solution that doesn’t involve a shotgun.
< Information for this article was compiled from various sources. For more on the WildCoast project, visit clayoquotbiosphere. org. For information on the cause and effect of relationships in nature affecting predators, read Where The Wild Things Were by William Stolzenburg. Most other studies mentioned in this article can easily be found online. COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine 19
Safety and Planning
In June, a short journey to beachcomb in a remote cove off the west coast of Haida Gwaii went terribly wrong. A man drowned and his wife was left stranded for six days on a beach before being seen by a passing fishing boat. It’s pure luck that she was seen at all, but more so that she survived her time alone. It’s a reminder that survival skills shouldn’t be limited to just what to do on the water.
s kayakERs, we enjoy paddling on at a level of risk that broadens as we develop skills and confidence. The more we paddle, the more we expose ourselves to the chance that something might go wrong: A capsize during a failed surf landing. An incorrectly read tide chart that sucks our gear out with the tide. An injury that makes it impossible to return from a simple afternoon day trip. Whatever the reason, a situation may arise where you are stranded. You may also lack proper gear, adequate water and food. And the elements may be well beyond your level of preparedness. One concept to keep in mind is Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). You’ll hear it brought up by nearly all the professional survival instructors. Why? Because the best survival tool there is, bar none, is your brain. Children have survived overnight in freezing weather by imitating animals nestling themselves down inside a pile of leaves or at the base of an evergreen. Their attitude was one of innocence and youth, but yet they had the wherewithal to mimic the action of animals they’d seen on television. In a sense, it was their brain, used as a tool, that helped them survive. Many years ago, the Alaska Marine Safety Institute in Seward, Alaska, developed a seven-step survival program for the U.S. Coast Guard and members of the commercial fishing industry. The program Seven Steps To Survival was based on how to manage with the resources most likely to be available in the harsh, unforgiving environment of the North Pacific. These steps can be tailored to suit any particular region or activity – in this case, recreational kayak touring. Like a pilot’s pre-flight checklist, the seven steps are meant to be followed in order. The objective is to use the resources at hand to create a micro environment for yourself that will protect you from the elements and keep you alive until you are
rescued. Underlying all this, of course, is doing so while maintaining a positive mental attitude.
by Tom Watson
Beach refuse will be a treasure trove when needed. Rope, wood and plastic can provide the foundation for a complete ad hoc camp, providing everything from shelter to water containers. Don’t overlook any possibility when taking your inventory.
know you are in trouble. Accept the fact that a serious emergency situation has developed. An instructor of mine called this the “Oh Crap!” moment of acceptance. It’s a way to kick-start your PMA, as well as your mental list of these steps. Some have suggested this is a moot step since you obviously know you are in trouble if your emergency is a result of a serious capsize or other traumatic event. But the human brain is great at conjuring up a strong case of “denial” in some critical situations. Mentally accepting the fact that you are in serious trouble and dealing with it is the first critical step to surviving. (Editor’s note: it’s worth pointing out that in the aftermath of the Howe Sound incident in October, 2007 that involved the death of two adventure race kayakers, survivors indicated that they left in rough conditions but congratulated each other with high fives once they made Anvil Island, and so replaced risk assessment with bravado and a culture of athletic elitism that eventually led to two deaths.)
Seven steps that may save your life
Home sweet emergency home: branches leaned against a cross limb make a simple, effective shelter when no other materials are available.
Conduct an inventory. The inventory should include two parts: yourself and others for injury, and the surrounding area for resources. If something traumatic is the cause of your survival situation, such as a capsize in a rock garden or a bad tumble through the surf zone, check everyone for injuries. Modern synthetics that cling tightly to the skin can conceal cuts, abrasions, bruises and other potentially serious injuries. If you paddle alone and need to check an injury on your backside, use two signal mirrors: hold one in front of you that is aimed at a second mirror which is then directed to reflect the image of the injury back to the first mirror. Once injuries have been assessed and dealt with, scout out your surroundings
for anything you can use to build a shelter, make a signal, or that could help you work your way through the seven steps. An important rule here is to never dismiss anything as being useless. Even a short, thick section of rope, almost too stiff to bend, can be unraveled into smaller, more flexible strands that can be re-spun into usable line for lashing a shelter or to make into fishing line.
in the warm sunshine and you are now forced to spend the night on a remote, shelterless beach where night temperatures will drop significantly, you will need to keep yourself warm. Some suggest building a fire. But suppose you find yourself in a survival situation late in the afternoon. A storm is approaching so you decide to light a fire first. You have trouble finding firewood that is dry or your flint won’t create a spark – whatever the problem, you can’t get a fire going. Now it starts to rain. No fire, no shelter. Now everyone is cold and wet. Had you built a shelter first, even a temporary one, you’d have that for protection until the storm passed. A shelter can be a pile of grass in which to crawl. It can be evergreen boughs and/or leafy branches leaned against a cross pole or paddle. It might even be a tarp or ground cloth draped over your kayak. Whatever you can improvise should be no bigger than the space needed for three adults to lie in. Extra space means extra air for your body heat to warm. When you sleep side-by-side, take turns being the one in the middle and use the body heat of the person on each side of you to stay warm.
make a shelter. One of the leading causes of death outdoors is from exposure and developing hypothermia. You can fall victim to hypothermia any time the air or water temperature drops below 70° F/21°C. Your most immediate shelter is clothing. If your intention was an afternoon paddle
Prepare signals. Cell phones and VHF radios can run out of battery power. You need to have signaling backup. Anything that draws attention or that contrasts against a background can be a signal. During the day smoke, flares or the flash from a signal mirror are probably the most effective means of being seen. By night, flares, a blazing fire, pulsing strobes or flashlights can be effective. Signal mirrors made of acrylic won’t u
COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine 21
Safety and Planning break if dropped; they are much lighter than glass and some even float. They are a very effective signaling device. Their main drawback is that they need sunlight to work. Buy several and place them strategically throughout your gear. Another crucial signaling device is a whistle. Its blast will carry over a longer distance and for a much longer time than the human voice. Every member of your group should have a whistle. There are several survival models on the market. Get one that does not rely on that rattling pea inside to make a sound. If it becomes stuck, the whistle will not work. “Pealess” whistles should be carried in a pocket, not on a lanyard around your neck where it can become hooked on your kayak during a capsize. Do not attach it to your zipper pull, either. If the whistle gets caught on something on your deck during a re-entry, it can cause your PFD to unzip. If you fall back in the water, you may lose your unsecured life jacket. An argument against signaling being a priority step is that no one will even be looking for you for the first 12 to 24 hours. However, if you are in an area where you know of a scheduled air charter flight or a ferry passing or other routine traffic, why wait? Get that signal going right away, especially if there are injuries that need attention. A very simple and direct means of getting a fresh drink of water is to wipe the morning dew from leaves. Wring the saturated cloth (use your t-shirt) into a cup. You may be surprised by how much water you can transfer from leaf to mug.
Get food. Although our bodies need food for fuel, most humans can go several weeks without eating. Those fortunate enough to live in coastal areas probably know the old maritime adage: “When the tide’s out, the table is set.” True enough, there are myriad beach and tidal critters that are edible. A word of advice, “edible” does not necessarily mean it tastes good! Also, if you don’t know what it is, do not eat it. Lastly, if you have ample food but little water, hold off on the food a bit. Our bodies need water to help metabolize what we eat. Berries and some plants are seasonally ripe and tasty. There are also ways to catch fish and even land critters without using a fishing line. Learning these techniques and practicing them beforehand is a smart way to become survival savvy.
Never overlook nature’s ability to provide. For instance, morning dew sponged up with a cloth then squeezed into a cup can provide a source of clean water.
Get water. Most humans can last about three days without water. Finding it is easy; purifying it may be a harder task. Boiling water assures that at least the biological nasties are killed off. Collecting rainwater run-off is a fast, safe way to maintain a supply. That broken plastic bucket you found might not hold water but part of it could be used like a shovel to either dig for fresh water or to help direct water off of a tarp and into a collecting basin. If you happen to have a water bottle and some form of water purification treatment, make sure you swash the treatment solution over the threads in the screw lid. Bad water can collect in those grooves and cause problems.
22 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine
Play. This is perhaps the least critical of the seven steps yet it serves a vital part in the psychological mood of a survivalist. Keeping that positive mental attitude going when you are frightened, cold and hungry demands a lot from a person. Playing can help one relax. Perhaps turning one of the seven steps into a game – who can bring back the most firewood? – will ease tension and help someone refocus. HEsE stEPs can be re-addressed as the situation changes. An inventory of your surroundings may lead you to find a better, safer site at which to build a shelter. You might “use up” an area and need to move closer to other resources. Whatever you need to do to survive, a positive attitude, using your number one tool – your brain – and incorporating a
regime of sequential survival tasks (these seven steps), and you will give yourself a better chance at being rescued rather than recovered. An easy way to remember these steps is the acronym: KISSWEP. (Know you are in trouble; Inventory; Shelter; Signal; Water; Eat; and Play). A good way to develop a survival sense is to practice techniques and skills before needing to call on them. When buying gear consider its dual function features. Is that stuff sack big enough to slip over your feet for use as an emergency, waterproof mukluk (when filled with insulating dry grass)? Is it a bright color so it can double as a high visibility signal flag? Common sense and basic skills will suit you better than fancy equipment. Don’t worry about not knowing how to trap a rabbit with a log and a boulder (or even where to find rabbits). Do learn about the flora and fauna of the environment you’ll be in. Make sure you fill out a float plan. Learn these seven steps and above all, learn how to use the best survival tool you can have – your brain.
< Tom Watson is an avid kayaker and former kayak tour guide. He lives in western Minnesota, is a freelance outdoor writer and the author of several guide books including How To Think Like a Survivor published by Creative Publishing International. His outdoor website has more survival information: www.wavetameradventures.com.
Clandestine warriors have more fun.
Ninjas ge The NR t to wear paja m S Ninja PFD m as all day, whic reason akes pa s. No o th ddlers h h makes them and you er life jacket is as co appy for the v happy. can we m e ar it ou tside w fortable or un ry same ithout u restricti ng, psetting your m om.
photos by rochelle relyea
by Alex Matthews
Begin the forward sweep. this very aggressive turning stroke combined with your reverse momentum should make for a dramatic getaway.
EmEmBER the old ‘70s TV show the Rockford Files? It starred James Garner as a private detective. In many episodes Rockford would escape a tricky situation with a favorite move performed in his boss Firebird. From a standstill, he would accelerate hard in reverse, pull a slick 180 degree turn, shift quickly into forward gear, and then race away leaving the bad guys in the dust. It worked pretty much every time. This same turn can be done in a sea kayak – a maneuver that some of us lovingly refer to as a “Rockford.” In a kayak, the Rockford depends on
Our very own
Here’s a getaway sure to garner some attention
a combination of reverse momentum, a powerful forward sweep stroke and boat edging. From a stationary position, accelerate hard backwards with several reverse strokes. Be sure to glance over your shoulder to see where you’re going, or you will be amazed at what you can run into. Initiate your turn by making your last reverse stroke more of a reverse sweep – this will start your stern moving in the direction that you want it to go. If you are turning to your right (as pictured) the final reverse sweep is planted on the opposite side to your
turn (left hand side). Next, roll your kayak up onto edge in the direction you are turning (right hand side) and plant a ruddering stroke (right hand) up at your feet. This will cause the kayak to carve into a tight turning arc. As the kayak slows, losing its momentum, sweep your ruddering blade out in a powerful forward sweep stroke, arcing the blade from your feet all the way round to the stern of the boat. In order to supply support throughout the sweep, ensure that your paddle blade retains a climbing angle throughout its arc. The blade’s leading edge
Accelerate in reverse. It will help both execution and appearance to build up a good burst of speed. COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine FALL 2011
Plant the active sweeping blade at your feet and put the kayak on edge.
The Rockford is angled up, keeping it skimming across the surface and providing lift. In essence, this is a combination of a forward sweep with a high brace. The sweeping paddle blade angle should be about 45 degrees to the water. Your forward sweep will now have turned the kayak and scrubbed all of its momentum. If necessary, perform a second forward sweep on the same side in order to complete the full 180 degree change of direction, and to start you traveling forward. Once the full spin is completed, level out the boat, and power away in forward gear. The Rockford is a fun and smooth method for spinning a kayak around. It’s a great way to show off and it’s a useful exercise for getting paddlers more comfortable with traveling and maneuvering in reverse. In fact, it does a pretty decent job of familiarizing a kayaker with the edging and bracing sequences required for surfing a kayak backwards – something that will pay dividends if you choose to venture into the surf zone.
< You can watch a short video of this turn in the online edition at www.coastandkayak.com. Alex Matthews is the author of “Sea Kayaking Rough Waters” available at www.helipress.com. For more of Alex’s Skillset articles visit www.coastandkayak.com/Articles_skills.html
A climbing angle on the sweeping blade provides support as the boat begins to swing to a forward-facing direction.
At the end of the sweep, reposition the active blade for another stroke.
Accelerate away in forward gear. Note that a boat that edges will help – long, straight touring kayaks may sputter.
Instruction Gulf Islands Marine Trail: Tours and Services
Hooksum Outdoor School
West Coast Outdoor Leadership training. Quality skills training and Hesquiaht traditional knowledge for those pursuing a career or employment in the outdoors. Certification courses include: Paddle Canada Sea Kayaking Levels I & II, Introduction to KayakingInstructors Course, Advanced Wilderness First Aid, Lifesaving, BOAT & ROC(M). Visiting Kayak & Hiking Groups: Base your Hesquiaht Harbour adventures from our Longhouse. Meals and overnight stays available. Phone: 250.670.1120 Web: www.hooksumschool.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured in our Summer 2011 issue, the Gulf Islands feature serene paddling. Look to these tour, transportation and service options to add carefree magic to your Gulf Islands adventure.
Kayak Tours & Expeditions in the Spectacular Gulf Islands
Wilderness Youth Camps & Eco-Retreats for Schools/Groups SKGABC approved Guides Certification Courses
Kayak Academy (Seattle)
Experience IS Necessary! Since 1991, the Kayak Academy has been providing the best sea kayak experience you can get. Count on us for all your paddling gear. Phone: 206.527.1825 or toll-free 866.306.1825 Web: www.kayakacademy.com Email: email@example.com
Adventures & Education since1991
1 888 529-2567 • 250 537 2553 • www.islandescapades.com
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@ Saratoga Beach, Black Creek All inclusive Kayak Tours Morning, afternoon and sunset Paddles Ask us about our overnight kayak-camping special Lessons and Rentals phone 1.877.337.5717 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes it’s a fine line between work & play.
North Island College offers certificate and diploma programs in Adventure Tourism that can start you on the path to a job doing what you really love. Call 1-800-715-0914 to speak with a Student Advisor or visit www.nic.bc.ca
Gabriola Sea Kayaking
Kayaking adventures in the Broken Group, Clayoquot Sound , Broughton Archipelago, Kyuquot Sound , Nootka Island and the Gulf Islands. Unforgettable paddling and great people since 1995. See you on the water! Phone: 250-247-0189 Web: www.kayaktoursbc.com
Wilderness Adventures for Women
Kayak beautiful Vancouver Island, spectacular mountain vistas, old growth rainforests, amazing wildlife, rentals, lessons and tours, open year round. Women’s Transformative Journey by Kayak. All Women - All Fun!! Phone: 250.755.6702, toll free 1.866.955.6702 Web: www.adventuress.ca Email: Jan@adventuress.ca
Plan Your Adventure
Vancouver Island North and West: Tours and Services Alaska: Tours and Services
Featured in the Spring 2011 issue, this vast region covers protected archipelagos and the most adventurous waters anywhere. • North Vancouver Island • Quatsino Sound • Brooks Peninsula • Kyuquot Sound • Nootka Sound • Clayoquot Sound • Broken Group
Kayak Transport Co.
A Mothership Serving SE Alaska. Kayaking from the comforts of a mothership for a week. Paddling our boats and exploring fantastic scenery and wildlife. Eating fresh caught Alaskan seafood. How good does it get?! Email: email@example.com Web: www.kayaktransport.com Phone: (206) 719-0976
Queen Charlottes: Tours/Services
Paddle with sea otters Nootka transport and rentals
Experience the best kayaking in the Pacific Northwest from Tahsis, B.C. in the heart of Nootka Sound. Kayak rentals and transport to Nuchatlitz Park, Yuquot (Friendly Cove), Bligh Island Marine Park and beyond. Phone: 1-866-934-6365 Website: www.tahtsadivecharters.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Kayak transport between Zeballos and Nootka Island, Nuchatlitz Park and Friendly Cove. Kayak rentals. CEDArS inn rooms and restaurant in a historic Zeballos lodge. Good food, friendly service. Phone: 1-866-222-2235 Web: www. zeballosexpeditions.com Email: email@example.com
Tofino’s Kayak Centre Odyssey Kayaking
BC Ferries port; Gateway to Northern and Central BC Coast destinations. Sales, Rentals, Lessons, Trip planning. 8625 Shipley Street (across from the Post Office) Port Hardy. Phone: 250-949-7392 or cell 250-230-8318 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.odysseykayaking.com Tofino’s kayaking centre providing daily sea kayak tours and kayak rentals since 1988. Pick up books and supplies for the West Coast lifestyle. Enjoy espresso on our waterfront deck. Phone: 1-800-TOFINO-4 (1-800-863-4664) Web: www.tofinoseakayaking.com Email: email@example.com
Kayak Haida Gwaii Wilderness Sea Kayaking
Vancouver Island Kayaking Tours and Wilderness Retreat. Guided ecotourism adventures in remote Kyuquot, the Bunsby Islands, and Brooks Peninsula. Unmatched base camp, spectacular kayaking, diverse wildlife, and First Nations cultural interactions. Phone: 1.800.665.3040 or 250.338.2511 Web: www.westcoastexpeditions.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Among the world's top paddling destinations, Gwaii Haanas is an awe-inspiring oasis of wilderness at the southern tip of Haida Gwaii. Local outfitter providing guided multi-day kayak adventures since 2000. Web: www.gckayaking.com Email: email@example.com Phone: 250-559-4682
Find more services online at coastandkayak.com
Desolation Sound / Discovery Islands: Tours and Services Tours and Services: East Canada
Next in line for a marine trail, discover remote and adventurous paddling in the straits of Discovery. Explore worry-free in the hands of these experts.
MADAWASKA KANU CENTRE
Located near Algonquin Park, Ontario. O ers personal instruction from beginner to expert levels. Weekend and 5-day courses.
Tours and Services: Tropical
Kayak Desolation Sound
Rent kayaks from waterfront locations in Lund or Okeover Inlet. Try the Famous Aquarium Kayak Tour or snorkel at Urchin Alley. All-inclusive multi-day trips into Desolation & Mountains. Phone: Toll free 1-866-617-4444 Web: www.bcseakayak.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lund Kayak Tours & Rentals
Kayak tours, lessons, rentals & marine delivery. Desolation Sound, Mitlenatch Island, Copeland Islands marine parks. Personalized service, stunning scenery, fascinating history, delicious organic lunches. Family / child friendly programs. Phone: 1.888.552.5558 OR 604.483.7900 Web: www.terracentricadventures.com Email: email@example.com
Tours and Services: Europe
Natura Viva: Sea kayak Finland
Enjoy the unique Finnish coastline and the Baltic Sea archipelago, or the lake country labyrinth of waterways. Day trips, multi-day guided tours, selfguided tours and kayak rentals are all available. All our guides are trained professionals and our equipment is top of the line. Web: www.seakayakfinland.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +358 50 376 8585
Property for Sale
Tours and Services: Yukon
SOUTHERN GULF ISLANDS
***LIVE WHERE YOU PADDLE-COMMUTE TO WORK*** TURN KEY HOME ON MAYNE ISLAND CRAFTSMAN CONTEMPORARY REBUILD $396,000 Web: http://members.shaw.ca/mayneislandhome/ Email: email@example.com Phone: 250-539-5011
Mayne Island Waterview Cabin
Kayakers paradise! Steps to Bennett Bay Beach and popular Kayak launch; 650 Sq.Ft. Cottage, year round useage with wood/electric heat, tile/laminate flooring, full bathroom. Between Vancouver/Victoria. Web: mayneislandcanada.com/cottageforsale.htm Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 250-539-0711
Kanoe People Ltd.
Explore Yukon's great rivers and lakes! Rentals, sales, guided tours and logistic services. Cabin rentals summer and winter on the scenic Lake Laberge. Outfitting on the Yukon for over 35 years. Web: www.kanoepeople.com Email: email@example.com Phone: 867-668-4899
Plan Your Adventure
Private one-of-a-kind Island... Wondrous Lodge in Kyuquot West Coast of Vancouver Island Unforgettable Retreat... On the Edge of the Pacific A very Unique Holiday... Best Fishing & Adventures on the Wild Pacific Coast.
Travel in comfort, and create your own personal marine trail with these B&Bs and resorts, from BC to Baja. Put the tent aside for a luxurious and pampered exploration.
1.888.920.6075 firstname.lastname@example.org www.seaotterlodgebc.com
An elegant yet casual inn with six individuallyappointed ocean- or garden-view rooms. Cozy common room and lovely grounds. Full breakfast included in rates. Visit our website for details. Web: www.saturna.ca Email: email@example.com Phone: 250-539-2254 or 1-866-539-2254
Paddle in and paddle out
Deluxe beachfront house by the wharf. Two-bedroom luxury cottage, floor-to-ceiling windows, living room with gas fireplace, full kitchen, two bathrooms including jetted tub, wrap-around deck, bbq. Phone: 250-285-2042 Web: www.capemudgeresort.bc.ca Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baja Villa Getaways
Private eco-villa is “off-thegrid”, modern and elegant in a remote bay north of Loreto, Baja. Getaways include kayaking, ﬁshing, hiking, snorkeling, and SUPing. www.bajakayakadventures.com
FALL 2011 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine 29
by Keith and Heather Nicol
The Magdelan islands
Exploring the Maggies
F yoU tRaVEL the Magdalen Islands you’ll actually be in Quebec. It’s a geographic oddity, as their place in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is actually much closer to Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton than mainland Quebec. The result is a distinct blend of Francophone and Maritime geography and culture. We have sea kayaked in many places in Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, and so we thought that a trip to the Magdalen Islands was long overdue. What we found was a uniqueness perfect for exploring from the seat of a kayak. The islands have a fascinating shoreline that varies from long sandy beaches to sea caves and sea stacks that have been carved into the rapidly eroding red sandstone. Add houses in a palette of colors and the Quebecois flair for food and you have an exotic holiday destination awaiting. But be warned, the Maggies are also known for their wind. They don’t hold world-class kite boarding and wind surfing competitions here for nothing. So although beginners can paddle in a variety of places you need to have a Plan B for the day. Perhaps the best place for novices in light winds is the area around Gros Cap on Île du Cap-aux-Meules. This area features many sea caves and stacks and is accessible from the nearby campground, where sea kayak tours are also available. In addition, just north of Gros Cap are some protected launches that are good for beginners and are especially good on days when the wind blows from the southwest (the prevailing summer wind). u
kayaks line the beach at Dune du sud on Havre-aux-maisons Island; left: sea stacks on the west side of Cap aux meules Island; below: colorful houses are a trademark of Havre aux maisons Island. FALL 2011 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine 31
Havre de la Grande Entrée Grosse-Île Île de l‘Ést Île de Pointeaux-Loups Île de la GrandeEntrée Lagune du Havre aux maisons Fatima Etang du Nord Île du Havre-aux-maisons Île du Cap-aux-meules
Dune du sud
Gros Cap Baie de Plaisance Île du Havre-aubert
The free water trail maps discussed below provide GPS details on these launch points. For intermediate paddlers a highly recommended trip is the paddle from Etang du Nord to Fatima along the west side of Île du Cap-aux-Meules. We did this paddle one evening with Vert and Mer, a local sea kayak outfitter, and it was a real highlight. We put
in at around 4 pm and paddled past lobster fishing boats in Etang du Nord harbour and then we made our way north, being gently pushed along by a warm southwest wind. We passed by countless sea caves and the setting sun lit up the red sandstone bluffs. Along the way we stopped for a crab leg dinner served on a grassy meadow by a lighthouse. Who
could ask for a better setting! Other intermediate paddling trips could run from Gros Cap to various points like Dune du Sud on the adjacent island, Havreaux-Maisons. This would involve a car drop at the other end, but both local outfitting company Vert and Mer and Parc de Gros Cap, the organization managing Gros Cap, can assist paddlers with car shuttles and paddling advice. For advanced paddlers and the trip we want to try when we return to the Magdalen Islands is the paddle to L’Île-d’Entrée (Entry Island). This was the favorite trip of both Sabastian Cote, the owner of Vert and Mer, and Fredricke Lemay-Borduas, manager of Gros Cap campground, but they both said that you need a good weather forecast to do this trip safely. Entry Island is the first island you see as you approach the Magdalen Islands by ferry from PEI. It has fewer than 100 fulltime residents and is also the only island that is not connected to the others by a sand spit or causeway. The island is small and treeless and its rolling green hills are ready-made for hiking. It also includes the highest point in the archipelago at 174 meters. The Magdalen Islands are an undiscovered gem and we were taken with its colorful houses, good food and interesting history. For paddlers with an interest in other activities it is a fine place to also go cycling, hiking, windsurfing or kite boarding. Obviously wind is a big safety issue so getting an updated weather forecast is a must. As well Quebec has produced
The Magdelan islands
Above: Eroding cliffs and sea caves line the Magdelan shore; top right: a colorful home and garden in L’Etang du Nord; below right: a statue symbolizes residents pulling together.
a series of water trail maps that include launch points with GPS references and other safety considerations dealing with specific areas. These seven maps are free and would be the best way to help plan a trip in advance. They are available from tourismilesdelasmadelaeine. com. Other useful contacts are Vert et Mer (vertetmer.com) and Parc de Gros Cap (parcdegroscap.ca).
< Keith and Heather Nicol are avid sea kayakers from Corner Brook, NL. Visit www2.swgc.mun.ca/~knicol/hikingandseakayaking.htm.
F yoU’RE REsEaRCHING which new paddle to buy, the choices may seem overwhelming – so much so that for beginners, the decision is often made for them. It may be a store sales clerk or it may be a husband. But chances are quite high that someone started things off by saying, “here, this paddle should work for you.” Did it? Quite often the initial advice isn’t the best. “One of the biggest problems we see is incorrect length,” says Dave Bain of Nimbus Paddles. “Quite often it’s a lady whose hubby might have decided he needs a new paddle and she needs one too, so he decides to give her his old one and the thing is miles too long for her.” Correct sizing is just one aspect to a long list of considerations involved in buying a new paddle. Here are some key points to keep in mind the next time you shop for that perfect paddle. matching your paddling style A good safe place to begin is by asking yourself what you’re using your paddle for. “That affects everything going forward – for weight, price and durability and whether a bent shaft or a straight shaft,” says Shillion Mongru of H2O Paddles. Another of the first things to consider is whether your style of paddling is low or high angle – that is, the degree of angle away from the water. If the paddle is relatively horizontal as you move through your paddle stroke, you’re a low angle paddler. If the angle is more vertical, or held up higher against your body, you are a high angle paddler.
34 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine
Pick a paddle...
but not just any paddle. Here are some points to consider when searching out that perfect one.
“We know approximately 80 per cent are low angle paddlers, probably more than that,” says Jim Miller of Werner Paddles. “Lots of those paddlers are recreational oriented. That’s the more common paddling style for relaxed paddling.” A higher angle stroke is considered better for performance-oriented excursions, braces and manoeuvring, but that doesn’t mean a performance kayaker needs to develop a high angle stroke and use a high angle blade. If it doesn’t fit your most natural and comfortable stroke style, it’s not for you. Plus not everyone is a performance paddler in need of the most aggressive style. Most users are casual recreational paddlers. And that means you can go simple. “If you’re just going out putzing along the beach for an hour you don’t need a fancy paddle. Higher end ones are for when you are going out quite regularly and putting your body through quite a lot of different stresses and things you might not otherwise do. You’ve got to have something that helps you that you’re not fighting all the time,” Dave says. That means extra consideration for weight, construction type, blade flexibility, shaft style (bent or straight) and even feathering options. More on those as we
work through the options. Paddle length This isn’t as complicated as it may sound. Charts are available that match your height and width of your kayak to the necessary length. However, be warned that what works on a chart may not necessarily work for you. One aspect true under almost any circumstance is, if fitted properly for a paddler, a high angle paddle will be shorter than a low angle paddle – usually 10 cm shorter, give or take. Most paddle lengths fall into the range of 220 cm for low angle paddlers and 210 for a high angle paddler, with variations being usually no more than 5 to 10 cm either way – not much, considering 10 cm is less than five percent of the total length. However, in some exceptional circumstances, such as an extremely wide recreational kayak or sit-ontops with raised seats, a longer paddle, maybe up to 250 cm in some cases, is appropriate. An alternative to a chart to figure out your paddle length is the Dave Bain method, with the caveat it’s a rough starting point only. “A good starting point is to put the paddle centre joint over the top of your head and put your arms out to the side at right angles. Your hands should be about six inches away from the throat of the blade. And that’s only
How to Buy a Paddle a starting point and nowhere near the paddle I use at all, but this will get you going,” Dave says. There’s also the water test: how high or low your blade ends up in the water during your paddle stroke. “If your lower hand is going in the water your hands are either too far apart or your paddle is too short,” Dave says. “You want just the blade in the water.” Picking a blade Assuming you know your paddling style – high stroke or low stroke – the next step is simpler. Low angle blades are generally longer, narrower and symmetrical while high angle blades are stubbier, wider and probably asymmetrical. “What you’re doing now is matching your body size and your strength to the amount of power you want in a blade,” Jim says. “If you’re a smaller paddler the amount of power you need is less.” Less power means more strokes to keep the same pace, but less effort per stroke. That is, if you want to keep the same speed. “A big question people often ask is if you’ve got a bigger blade that gives you that much more power, how am I going to keep up with you? Well, the way you’re going to keep up is by taking more strokes. That smaller blade requires that you have a little bit more cadence to cruise at the same speed. But I always tell people kayaking for the most part is not a race. It’s an activity you’re out doing together to enjoy being together. When I was leading a lot of trips you’d get that person that was always just wanting to drive off the front of the group. You’d have to say, okay, you can go up there for a hundred yards, but then I want you to turn around and go a hundred
This is the sizing chart used by Werner Paddles for touring paddles. But like all recommendations, variations are possible and it comes down to personal preference.
yards behind us. I’d make them circle around us.” (Wives, if you can convince your husband to happily do circles around you as you paddle, you have a very healthy marriage indeed!) Here are a few basic design types to consider: mid-size blade: The mid size Euro style is the best all-round blade, Dave says. “Most people do not need anything bigger than this.” Most mid-size blades are in the range of 100 square inches u
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FALL 2011 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine 35
Starting Out of surface area, or about 650 sq. cm., and generally about 6 to 8 inches wide and 16 to 20 inches long (15-20 cm by 40-50 cm). Large blade: For high angle paddlers, these are generally asymmetric in shape. There’s a reason for this, and it should match your paddling style. When you put the blade in the water, watch that the lower angle is parallel to the water. That’s the way the blade is designed, Dave says. “That determines a lot of how the blade will react in the water. Along the spline you want an equal amount in the water above and below the spline. That will stop any torquing. Torquing is one of the major causes of people with wrist injuries. They’re having to white-knuckle the paddle – they’re holding on way too tight. You should only have to use your fingertips on the paddle. Any more than that and you’re wasting energy.” small blade: This is best for a lower angle paddler. “The upper arm should be coming out where the rib cage is and pushing out. For a higher angle you want your arm between shoulder and eye level to get the most power from it,” Dave says. Wing: This is a high-end, expensive style meant for pushing the boat forward through an aggressive curve on the blade. “It grips the water incredibly well. It’s not something the average paddler needs or wants, as it’s very hard to scull or brace,” Dave says. The same is true of most other curves, which can run along the blade length (that is, curved in the manner you would bend your hand) or along the blade cross-section (either curved or dihedral – angled – to essentially trap water behind the blade). If curved along both the length and crosssection the blade will be spoon-shaped. While offering more power, shaped blades are harder to use for bracing and some strokes, so beginners will benefit from a more flat style. Construction type When considering what type of construction to buy, you’ll want to set your budget first. Different construction types are essentially a function of how to make the blade lighter. And the lighter the blade, the more it is likely to cost. The low end of the spectrum is injection molded plastic paddles. Generally bombproof, they are cheaper but heavier.
36 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine
From there you can get an injection molded fibreglass reinforced blade, but a fibreglass laminate is a good starting point if quality is a key consideration. “Now I tell people you’ve got a blade that’s going to last you a lifetime,” Jim says. “There’s no reason that blade should wear out.” From there you can move up to carbon laminates and even foam core carbon laminates with the advantage that the foam core adds buoyancy. “It’s almost like you have power steering at the end of your paddle stroke because of that kind of lift,” Jim says. But Dave adds a warning: it’s not as strong. “Step on it on the beach and say goodbye to your paddle. That’s it,” he says. Because of that, Shillion of H2O Paddles says, lighter isn’t always better. “If you’re going to be paddling the Georgian Bay here there’s lots of rocks and the beach is rocky. You need something more durable.” additional features Once you know your paddling style, the length you want, the blade type that’s appropriate for your style of paddling and your budget for buying the appropriate construction type, you’re just about done, right? Of course not! There are the various features of paddle designs to consider. Here are some considerations that should help seal the deal. Centre ferrule: The ferrule is the connector used to join the two pieces of your paddle – assuming you want a twopiece paddle. A one-piece paddle – that is, one that can’t be dismantled – is lighter, stronger and potentially cheaper, but becomes a storage and transport issue. Two and even three-piece paddles solve most transportation woes, and usually have the additional option of feathering the blade. Feathering is a term for the offset from parallel of the two blades. Most ferrules now offer the option of a feather, but some can be restrictive – for instance, offering only 90 and 45 degrees. Some ferrules offer considerably more options while some have a universal joint that can be set to any degree. This is a consideration because even if you haven’t tried a feathered paddling style, or haven’t
taken to it after some early tries, don’t discount the possibility that as you become more experienced you will experiment and probably find a feather that works for you. Without the flexibility to try new angles you may never discover the better paddling style that awaits. Bent or straight shaft: A relatively new innovation is so-called ergonomic designs for the shaft to allow a more natural grip. People suffering repetitive stress injuries to wrists or elbows may want to try a bent shaft, Jim says. However, straight shafts are lighter and less expensive, offer more potential locations for gripping and offer a more predictable slide along the shaft for braces and other variations in strokes. Jim points out a relaxed paddling style often isn’t enough on its own to prevent injuries. “No matter how much we say to adopt the loose-grip style of paddling, that’s all well and good until the surf picks up and you’re starting to get bounced around. You’re going to grip that paddle. And that’s where our bent shaft shows its advantages. At the end of that long day of paddling where your form has broken down or in rough water conditions, that’s where a bent shaft really shines,” Jim says. Some paddle manufacturers, like Gullwing Paddles, specialize in fairly radical designs of bent shafts. But as with most things, trying before deciding will help determine if it is indeed a solution or a complication. And don’t take someone’s word for it: what feels right to others won’t necessarily work for you. shaft diameter: Some manufacturers offer a choice in shaft width. This is handy if you find one size doesn’t fit all. “What we’re seeing a lot of times is a paddler uses the standard diameter shaft then in winter paddle with gloves and might choose a second paddle to be a small diameter shaft so when he’s using gloves the diameter feels proper,” Jim says. Beyond these basics all that remains is color, options such as reflective tape (a fine idea!) and the reputation of the manufacturer.
< Our thanks to the industry reps who helped provide information for this article. For more on their paddles, visit the company websites.
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1c) You found us: q Online q In a store q At a club q Other Please specify: __________________ 1d) You are located in: q BC q WA q ON q AB q OR q CA q Other: ______________________ 1e) City: _______________________ 1f) Your paddling skills are: q None q Novice q Intermediate q Advanced 1g) In the next year you plan to buy: q A kayak (new or used) q Kayaking gear (PFD, etc.) q Camping gear (tent, etc.) q A kayaking tour (guided) q Hiking equipment q Cycling equipment q Boating equipment 1h) In the next year you plan to kayak: q BC q WA q ON q AB q OR q CA q Other: _________________ 1i) You are interested in (check all that apply): q Whitewater kayaking q Canoeing q Sea kayaking q SUPs q Marine ecology q Wildlife q Marine conservation
38 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine
2c) In this issue, you have made purchases from advertisers: q Never q Sometimes q Often q Very often 2d) Your attention to advertising in this issue is best summarized as: q Not interested q Somewhat interested q Very interested 2e) You search for kayaking destination information: On the Internet: q Never q Sometimes q Often q Always From magazines: q Never q Sometimes q Often q Always 2f) You search for kayaks and kayaking gear information: On the Internet: q Never q Sometimes q Often q Always From magazines: q Never q Sometimes q Often q Always 2g) You prefer to receive your kayaking information by: q Print q Internet q Both equally q No opinion 2g) Rate your interest in the following topics: Kayak skills q None q Some interest q Highly interested Hiking q None q Some interest q Highly interested Touring/travel q None q Some interest q Highly interested Boats/boating q None q Some interest q Highly interested Gear reviews/info q None q Some interest q Highly interested Cycling q None q Some interest q Highly interested BC kayak destinations q None q Some interest q Highly interested Other kayak destinations q None q Some interest q Highly interested
Please fax to 1-866-654-1937 or mail to PO Box 24 Stn A, Nanaimo, BC, CAN, V9R 5K4
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Extra comfort from the padded gel cushioning from Skwoosh. COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine 39
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Full details in the multimedia version of this magazine online at www.coastandkayak.com
by Hilary Masson
UmmER Is a sEasoN for celebration. When you’re thinking of what to cook for a warm evening’s potluck, or a backyard barbeque, the best option is always fresh produce from your own garden or favorite farmer’s market. So when planning for your summer kayak trip, it makes sense to provision with the same meal ideas you would use at home. Key summer classics are burgers, coleslaw and watermelon. Yes, pack a watermelon in your kayak! This may seem outrageous, but every time I’ve pulled out a watermelon on a hot afternoon on day five or six of an expedition, it turns into a celebration. You don’t have to take the biggest watermelon from the market; it’s actually ideal to have a small one to pack into your kayak hatch. The great part about the hard green rind is that you don’t have to pack it in a bag – it can just roll around your bilge. My summer paddle meals tip is to never pack any fruit or veggies in dry bags. Always pack in mesh bags. This way the fresh produce can sweat and will not go mushy or rotten.
The spin on summer classics s
200g vermicelli rice noodles 3 carrots grated 1 large Jicama (pronounced HEEkah-mah) grated ½ savoy cabbage (the curly wrinkled Asian cabbage, but a regular green cabbage works the same) finely chopped ½ red cabbage finely chopped 1 red onion finely chopped 2 cucumbers diced 2 red or yellow peppers ¼ cup chopped parsley, basil or chives (feel free to add whatever other veggies like sweet peas or tomatoes from your garden etc.) Salad dressing: ½ cup Thai peanut sauce ¼ cup Thai sweet red chili sauce 2 tbsps rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar works too!) 2 tsps ponzu (lemon flavored soy sauce) Directions: Boil rice noodles in small pot for three to five minutes until tender, and drain then rinse with cold water and drain again. Slice, dice, chop and grate all the veggies. Toss the rice noodles with all the veggie slaw and mix in the dressing. I find the rice noodles and grated jicama both absorb a lot of the dressing, so that is why my recipe calls for lots of peanut and sweet chili sauces.
The longevity of fresh ingredients all depends on how you pack them, so feel free to bring a bunch of tomatoes from your garden, or copious amounts of fresh cucumbers. Tomatoes pack best wrapped in a paper towel inside a mesh bag or cardboard box. Wrap mint, parsley, basil or any herbs from your garden in a moist paper towel and pack them in a mesh bag. Why eat dehydrated packaged foods when your garden is prolific in the summer? Next trip, feast on fresh food with friends while on a remote beach and it will easily become a summer celebration to remember!
Watermelon Pico de Gallo Fruit Salad:
Cut the watermelon in half. Carve out the watermelon using the rind as a bowl; feel free to scallop the edges for a festive flair. Dice up the watermelon into long slices, slice 1 jicama, 1 cucumber, 2 oranges, and add fruit such as mangos, pineapple, apple, or pear – basically whatever fruit you have in your kayak. Place all the long strips of fruit and veggies into your watermelon rind bowl. Squeeze lime juice and sprinkle with tajin pico de gallo spice. This is a simple spice found at most Mexican markets consisting of salt, lime and chili powders, so feel free to improvise on your own using those three ingredients. Place toothpicks in the strips of fruit and veggies and enjoy as a refreshing appetizer perfect for a picnic lunch on a hot beach.
Spicy veggie burger:
1 can black beans rinsed and drained ¾ cup Japanese bread crumbs (Panko) 1 egg 1 red onion finely chopped 2 cloves of garlic 3 tbsps salsa 1 tsp Tabasco or any favorite hot sauce 1 tsp cumin powder salt to taste 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion,
pickles, and mushrooms; anything goes on a burger, plus cheese or any other topping or condiment you like. My favorite is chipotle sour cream (sour cream lasts in your kayak without refrigeration as long as it is unopened. Once opened use within 24 hours) with slices of avocado, lettuce and salsa. Directions: Drain the can of black beans then rinse with fresh water. Try to get all the liquid out of the beans and mash with a fork in a big bowl. Then mix in the egg and FALL 2011
breadcrumbs; start adding about half a cup of breadcrumbs then the chopped onion and garlic, salsa, hot sauce and cumin. Then add the rest of the breadcrumbs as needed. The ideal consistency is not too moist, but stuck together. Divide into four or six patties depending on your preference, and let sit for 10 minutes. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, or griddle then cook the black bean burgers until outside is crisp – five minutes each side. Top with your favorite array of fresh veggies and condiments. Place on a bun.
You Out There” “Getting
Tours • Courses • Rentals
gear and Kayaks
er Wat es tur Ven
C Rec oast rea Ma tion ps
original outdoor maps specialized for sea kayaking
over 30 titles
NE W DVD video guides NE (available later in 2011) W
Baffin series by BorealDesign
line (observant readers will note the chine in the side view above is not straight), but at a 15º edge the chine forms a new waterline (shown at point A on the illustration). This B a coincidentally creates a point of maximum surface area, aiding stability and maneuverability on a lean. Billed as a performance boat, the Baffin will also serve as a playful tourer. The dropdown skeg has an added feature that will take the guesswork out of where your skeg is sitting: Boreal has a dial system for dropping the skeg from positions 0 to 5. Check the number, know how far your skeg is dropped. 4 borealdesign.com
A few years back Quebec manufacturer BorealDesign launched its Epsilon as a series, making it available in three sizes and three construction types for a fleet of options for just the one boat. Buoyed by that success, in 2011 Boreal has expanded its Baffin line by offering three sizes to cater to all kayakers, from about 90 pounds to 280 pounds. The three lengths are 16’6”, 17’ and 17’6”, with corresponding widths of 21½”, 22¼” and 23”. Coupled with construction options in polyethylene, fiberglass and kevlar, the result is nine distinct possibilities for one boat. The Baffin is a Greenlander, with a Shallow-V hull but also what Boreal is calling a reverse hard chine, first introduced on Boreal’s Ellesmere. The reverse hard chine appears curved against the natural water
OutFit and MsFit Tour PFDs by Kokatat
Discover our maps and books.
We’re taking the guesswork out of your trips throughout the British Columbia coast – no matter how remote the destination. 42 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine FALL 2011 Recreational maps are available for the following regions: Clayoquot, Gulf Islands, Broughton/Johnstone Strait, Broken Group/Barkley Sound, Desolation Sound/Discovery Islands, North Coast Trail (hike oriented). $9.95 at fine retailers in BC/AB/WA or online.
Kokatat has refined two of its most popular touring PFDs with some useful style changes – notably, places to put things. The PFDs (the MsFit is for women, of course) feature identical top-loading zipper pockets on either outer front side along with a third pocket closer to the center perfect for a GPS or radio. For extra gear storage there’s a “knife garage” under the shoulder strap. This serves to keep the knife handy but out of the way so it won’t catch and pull off if you’re performing a wet re-entry (no doubt after diving in to stab that troublesome great white, of course). 4 kokatat.com
gear and Kayaks
Etain by Valley Kayaks
speed. Tracking is improved while a drop in maneuverability is countered by the ability to carve an edge using the harder chine. The Etain is available in two sizes: 17’5” and 17’7”, both truly scaled to one another, making for two different paddling experiences suiting two sizes of paddlers. Also different for the Etain is the cockpit, which is altered for the sake for ergonomics through its thigh bracing and knee position. Retained is the bombproof Valley hatch covers, large ovals for easy stashing of gear for the main hatches plus a day hatch behind the cockpit and a unique center pod on the front deck. The pod is removable; it won’t make a particularly elegant purse, but certainly it is an added security feature to keep in mind when you need to leave the kayak. Accessories include options for a compass to fit in front of the front hatch and a keel strip running the length of the boat. As for the name, the Etain refers to a Celtic goddess, a sun goddess but one with a connection to water (she was transformed into a swan, after all). Here’s a problem for Valley: the true Celtic pronunciation is Ay-deen. So ask for an Ay-deen at your local Valley dealer and check out the looks you get! So is the new Etain the composite equivalent of a swan goddess? Valley traditionalists may see it as an ugly duckling instead, but for anyone who admires the Valley brand but hasn’t been drawn to Valley’s current lineup, there’s now a new reason to eyeball the brand again. 4 valleyseakayaks.com
Valley Kayaks, considered a premier manufacturer of Brit boats (and why not – it’s a British company) has taken a different tack by launching the new Etain, a boat that departs from Valley’s tried-and-tested Valley style on several key features. Notably, gone is Valley’s hallmark fishform shape in exchange for the Etain’s Swede style. Where fishform has the widest point to the front, the Swede form pushes it more to the back end, making it wider by the hips. The Etain’s Swede form is meshed with a shallow-V hull with a harder chine tapering off towards the bow and stern. Better or worse than fishform? Well, get used to a different feel. The Swede form requires paddling at a narrower portion of the boat, which changes the perception of
u Nanotechnology SuperTour by H2O
If you’re looking for a paddle with a striking new look and features to match, the new H2O Supertour might just take your breath away. Gear junkies will love this: it feature a “nano-nickel” composite exo-skeleton over a polymer core blade. For a reminder on what nanotechnology is, flash back to science fiction. 8:57:03 AM 11sp_lasso_01.pdf 1 2/4/2011 It’s the technology of working with matter the scale of one-billionth of a meter or 1/75,000 the size of a human hair. Nanometals have mechanical properties beyond the possibility of conventional alloys, giving what H2O claims is a strength twice that of titanium and stainless steel. This makes it lighter and tougher than conventional carbon paddles – sort of the feel of carbon with the toughness of steel. The finish is a chrome or black
chrome with bent or straight carbon shafts, 210 to 240 cm in 10 cm increments, and two blade styles: high or low angle. It weighs 32 oz, and it retails at $425. 4 h2opaddles.com
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“Paddle to your heart’s content”
by Dan Lewis
Secrets of Clayoquot Sound m
aNy sEa kayakERs have paddled in Clayoquot Sound, and many more have heard of it and long to visit. There are good reasons for this – from the amazing wildlife to the breathtaking vistas of mountains cloaked in rainforest sweeping down to miles of white sand beaches. Many of the valleys in Clayoquot are intact (that is undeveloped) from headwaters to estuary, providing habitat for a multitude of species including wild salmon, black bears, wolves and cougars. The near-shore waters host sea otters, orcas, humpbacks, and grey whales. The temperate rainforests of Clayoquot are home to some of the biggest and oldest trees in Canada. To stand amongst these ancient giants is to truly understand the meaning of awesome. Clayoquot’s rainforests also happen to be one of the best carbon storehouses on the planet, absorbing carbon on an epic level. Despite these natural wonders,
Kayaking in Clayoquot, with the distinctive Catface range in the background – the proposed site of an open-pit mining operation. Photo by Bonny glambeck
New Portable Boat Stands
For Kayaks, Canoes, SUP’s
Now 2 sizes
44 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine FALL 2011
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reduce your carbon footprint
Rainforest Chronicles Clayoquot Sound is under industrial attack on several fronts at once. Although the area was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve way back in 2001, that designation merely recognizes the global significance of this ecosystem. It does not provide any additional protection. Many people assume a biosphere reserve is a kind of park. This is not the case. A biosphere reserve must include not only protected areas, but also some form of ‘sustainable’ development. Although there is a thriving local economy based on tourism and shellfish aquaculture, there are several other industries at work here that are not sustainable. To begin with, the sound hosts the highest concentration of fish farms on the BC coast, with 22 sites. The risks posed by salmon farming are well documented. It is time to get these farms out of the ocean, eliminating the risk of escapes, sea lice, salmon sewage and disease transference to wild fish. Logging is an on-going issue here, despite the huge peaceful protest of 1993 that saw nearly a thousand people arrested in an attempt to end clearcutting. After 1993, the amount of trees cut annually dropped considerably, although now the number of trees being cut has climbed back up to its highest level since 1995. In addition, logging these forests results in huge carbon releases, which are not accounted for when Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are tallied up. In 1999 several major environmental groups reached a Memorandum of Understanding with Iisaak Forest Resources, the local First Nations-owned forestry company, claiming they had ‘saved’ Clayoquot Sound. However, Iisaak is now poised to break that agreement and begin logging on Flores Island, one of the areas that both environmentalists and First Nations agreed were too precious for logging. If the BC government allows this to happen, it is hard to say what will happen next. There has been peace in the woods here since the MOU was signed, despite continued pecking away at ancient forests. On the good side, local First Nations now control 75% of the logging tenures in Clayoquot Sound. On the down side, they had to take out large loans to purchase the tenures from the multinationals, and are forced to log more than they want to in order to service these debts. Under provincial regulations, Iisaak is still falling massive ancient cedars and shipping out raw logs with no value added. And now a third threat has appeared – Imperial Metals of Vancouver wants to remove the top third of Catface Mountain and put in a huge open-pit copper mine! This proposed mine would be only 10 kilometres from Tofino, with toxic dust, lights and blasting visible (and audible) 24/7 from nearby provincial parks such as Vargas Island. Copper mines are highly toxic and the negative impacts on communities and marine life could last for centuries after the mine closes in 20 short years. Another secret of Clayoquot Sound is that the entire region is unceded Nuuchah-nulth traditional territory. What this means is that the government has never bought the land, won it in battle or signed any treaties with the indigenous inhabitants. No doubt there is a legacy of injustice in the way Canada and British Columbia have treated indigenous peoples. We have taken some steps to make amends, but current government policies continue to perpetuate many problems. Unemployment rates in the villages remain high, and the negative impacts of colonization continue to manifest in the form of abuse, addiction and suicide. First Nations have few options other than to partner with corporations who want access to their resources. It is time for the Canadian and British Columbian governments to step up to the plate, to support and fund conservation solutions which will protect this global ecological heritage while empowering First Nations to achieve their economic and cultural goals at the same time. To learn more about these issues check out www.focs.ca.
< Dan Lewis operates Rainforest Kayak Adventures in Clayoquot Sound.
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u Fall Events: BC and Pacific Northwest
PaDDLE oREGoN u aug. 15-19 Five days and 105 miles down the Willamette River, from Corvallis’s Crystal Lake boat ramp to Willamette Falls. Each night enjoy meals, wine, beer, speakers and entertainment. www.paddleoregon.org CLUBLoCaRNo oPEN WatER REGatta Jericho sailing Centre u aug. 20 Five and 10 km races open to rowing, kayaking, surf ski and SUP. Registration at 9 a.m. a 1300 Discovery St., Vancouver. Barbeque to follow races. clublocarno.com FIsHING DERBy u aug. 20 A pink salmon kayak fishing derby takes place in Nanaimo at Maffeo Sutton Park downtown from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., with prizes and workshops for fishing, rigging kayaks, fly fishing and more. albernioutpost.com GaBRIoLa 360 u aug. 21 Silva Bay Kayak Adventures is hosting the second annual race around Gabriola Island. The 21-mile race is designed for both serious and not-so-serious paddlers, but does require a healthy skill level. Three categories: open paddling; any kind of human-powered open boat, (kayaks/outriggers, dragon boats, row boats, etc); and a ‘Raider’ class combining paddling, rowing and sailing in open boats; plus relay teams. The race starts and ends at the Silva Bay Inn with registration at 8 a.m. silvabaykayakadventures.com. PaDDLE FoR a CURE u Various Hope floats! This large fundraising event by paddle takes place in various cities, with the Vancouver event set for Aug. 28 at Ecomarine on Jericho Beach. Registration is at 8 a.m. The Victoria, BC, Paddle For a Cure event takes place Aug. 21 at Verdier Park in Brentwood Bay. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. A Comox Valley event is Saturday, Sept. 17 at 9 a.m. starting from Comox Valley Kayaks on Cliffe Street. Other events are held in Columbus, Toronto and the Yukon. kayakforacure.org. LoWER CoLUmBIa kayak RoUNDUP Longview, Wa u sept. 9-18 The LoCo Roundup is held about 40 minutes west of Longview, WA on the Columbia River. Classes launch from Skamokawa Center, Cathlamet’s Elochoman Marina and Slow Boat Farm on Puget Island. Dynamic Water courses may travel 1-2 hours for spectacular coastal venues. Daily venue of meals, yoga, classes, demos, games and an evening program. locoroundup.com BaNtam, NoVICE mastERs CHamPIoNsHIPs u sept. 10-11 CanoeKayakBC Sprint category sanctioned event at Louden Park, Long Lake, Nanaimo. canoekayakbc.com momaR 2012 u sept. 24 The Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race continues its 12th year on Sept. 24 in the Comox Lake area of Cumberland, BC. The race features kayaking, mountain biking, trail running and mystery events, and is suitable for hardened pros and the curious amateur alike. Visit mindovermountain.com BC WoRLD RIVERs Day u sept. 25 Established in 1980 and coordinated by the Outdoor Recreation Council (ORC), this attracts over 75,000 people to more than 100 events each year. River cleanups, exhibitions, walks, festivals. commons.bcit.ca/riversday u oNtaRIo: GREat CaNaDIaN kayak CHaLLENGE timmins u aug 27-28 The Great Canadian Kayak Challenge & Festival will take place on Aug. 27-28 at the Mountjoy Historical Conservation Area. Paddling competitions, kayak clinics, leisure paddles and shore lunch at the Mattagami and Mountjoy Rivers. thegreatcanadiankayakchallenge.ca
u Advertising directory
accommodation: Kayak Friendly Accommodation ................ 29 associations: Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC.................25 Destinations: Bellingham.org .......................................................12 Directories: Instruction/Education ...................................... 26 Kayak Friendly Accommodation ................ 29 Tours and Services .............................................. 26 kayak manufacturers: Advanced Elements ............................................17 Atlantis ...........................................................................8 Delta ............................................................................ 37 Klepper ........................................................................13 Nimbus ....................................................................... 32 Peregrine Kayaks .....................................................3 Pygmy ......................................................................... 35 Seaward ........................................................................6 Valley ........................................................................... 33 Waters Dancing Boat Kit Company .......... 18 Gear manufacturers: Cascade Creek ....................................................... 42 Coastal Waters ....................................................... 42 Danuu Canoe & Kayak Covers ..................... 42 H20 Paddles ............................................................44 KayakPro .................................................................... 43 Lasso Security Cables........................................ 43 Natural West Coast Adventure Gear ........ 42 Nimbus Paddles....................................................48 NRS ...............................................................................23 Solo Rescue Assist ...............................................44 Suspenz Storage Racks ....................................44 Instruction: Instruction/Education Directory ................ 26 North Island College .......................................... 26 Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC.................25 other: KRU Vodka ...................................................................5 Property for sale ................................................... 28 Repairs: Blackline Marine ................................................... 18 Retail outlets/Dealers: Alberni Outpost .................................................... 47 Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe ............................17 Comox Valley Kayaks ............................................9 Deep Cove Outdoors ...........................................2 Ecomarine ...................................................................7 OceanRiver Sports................................................41 Ottawa Paddle Shack ........................................ 35 Western Canoeing & Kayaking .......................2 tours: Coast Mountain Expeditions ........................ 18 Gulf Islands Kayaking..........................................17 Tours and Services Directory........................ 26
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46 COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine FALL 2011