Only Ocean Kayaking - WaveLength Paddling Magazine

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Only Ocean Kayaking - WaveLength Paddling Magazine

Only Ocean Kayaking

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Since 1980

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Editor

Alan Wilson

Assistant Editor/Office Manager

Diane Coussens

Associate Editor

Laurie MacBride

Associate

Howard Stiff

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Ted Leather

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Marty Wanless, Herb Clark,

Rajé Harwood, Frank Murphy

Bookkeeper

Margaret Dyke

Advisor

Mercia Sixta

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Published by

Wave-Length Communications Inc.

© 2001. Copyright is retained on all material—text and

graphics—in this magazine. No reproduction is allowed

of any material in any form, print or electronic, for any

purpose, except with the expressed permission of

Wave-Length Communications Inc. Thank you.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government

of Canada, through the the Canada Magazine Fund,

toward our editorial costs, to promote Canadian writing.

Editorial

6 ‘Alternate Energy’

ALAN WILSON

8 NEW KAYAKS

10 How Fast is Your Kayak?

ROBERT WEDERICH

11 Preventing Theft

CONSTABLE LARRY BURDEN

12 For Fun and Fitness

13 Myth Come Alive

ELLE ANDRA-WARNER

16 Kayakers Having a Ball

TIM HARVEY

18 The Future is Unfolding

RALPH HOEHN

21 Living Off the Grid

JUGEN KOPPEN

22 The Paddling Photographer

DAVID ANDERSON

24 GREAT GEAR

29 BOOKS

The Future of Paddling

What does the Future of Paddling look like? Here’s what I see.

As those in the vast ‘baby boom’ generation are getting older, they (ok, ‘we’...)

are turning to lower impact activities like kayaking and canoeing. Men and women

equally. This suggests years of sustained growth ahead for paddling.

And it’s not just the boomers. People of all ages enjoy the experience of humanpowered

travel—feeling their own energy move them. They like the exercise, the

feeling of buoyancy and balance, the exposure to nature, the sense of freedom and

independence, access to wilderness, peace and quiet.

It’s a kind of moving meditation.

And where better than the ocean to find the ‘oceanic’ experience that poets and

mystics talk about?

By opening to the wild, we get back in touch with the great pulse of things.

...Orcas blowing just off shore, eagles swooping into salmon-rich seas....

And maybe, if enough people experience the wilderness, the ocean, and our fluid

natures, we will choose to preserve these generative places and restore the life they

can support.

But there’s more to paddling than that, of course. There’s plenty of excitement out

there too.

There are challenges of winds and waves, tidal rapids, and surf zones. There’s a

host of paddling skills to learn, and careers to explore in guiding, instruction, designing,

building. The whole Ecotourism economy is there, the leading edge of the world’s

largest industry—Tourism.

The first step is picking up a paddle.

Welcome to the future.

Alan Wilson

As we were busy preparing this issue of WaveLength, terrorists struck New York

and Washington, and optimism for the future was shaken. Our deepest sympathies

to all who suffered—and our fervent hope that no more innocent people get hurt.

Clearly we must re-dedicate ourselves to a less violent future.

WaveLength is a member of TAPS, the Trade Association of Paddlesports. Ph: 360-855-9434.

INSIDE

Volume 11

Number 3

32 NEWS

38 UNCLASSIFIEDS

40 Paddling a Pacific Paradise

KATHRYN GARDNER

42 WINTER GETAWAYS

44 REAL ESTATE/BUSINESS

26 Back to the Future

DAN LEWIS

27 Orca Pass Holiday

ALAN WILSON

29 Web Paddling

TED LEATHER

30 Mysteries Below

ALEXANDRA MORTON

34 Coastal Cooks

DEBORAH LEACH

COVER PHOTO

Anacapa Island, California

by Chuck Graham

COLUMNS

36 Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?

BRYAN NICHOLS


‘Alternate Energy’

When asked why I like

paddling, I always come

back to the simple act of dipping

my paddle in the water and propelling

myself forward by my

own power.

I love the balance of the double-bladed

paddle, the energy of the stroke, the control

and finesse of the blade. Breath by

breath by breath... stroke by stroke by

stroke... powered by a desire to explore distant

islands and experience the wonders of

the sea. What could be better?

But these days there’s a lot more to paddling

than this, and much of it has nothing

to do with a paddle. You can now sail kayaks,

pedal them, even add a propeller! And

every year there are ingenious new inventions

coming onto the market, expanding

the world of paddling.

Trying out my downwind Spirit Sail,

which flexes to spill gusts of wind.

Photo: Laurie MacBride

Easy Rider has a host of modular

multihull options and sail rigs

SAILING

To give a break to tired arms while paddling

a long distance, or for those with

mobility deficits, a sail can be a real boon.

And if you’ve got a sailboat background,

like I have, then you’ve no doubt pondered

how you could hoist a sail and tap into the

power of the wind.

In fact, kayak sailing has been around for

a long time. Dr. Lindemann helped to put

kayak sailing on the ‘map’ when he sailed

his Klepper across the Atlantic Ocean in

1956.

Alan Wilson

I have experimented with a variety of rigs,

from a primitive square sail/sponson combination,

to a jury-rigged tarp & paddle

square sail (which drove a raft of eight of

us along in gale force winds in Clayoquot

Sound), to a sloop-rigged double kayak with

a jib, and even a futuristic trimaran with

centerboard—capable of sailing to windward.

In the end I bought an inexpensive V-sail

from Primex which was good for

downwinding and didn’t require a hole in

my deck. More recently I bought a Spirit

Sail which has some good features, notably

a hands free, ‘no strings attached’ approach,

and I’ve enjoyed zooming across

the bay with it. Now Laurie and I can go

sailing together and I expect, on a long passage,

the sails will be a major assist when

the wind is right.

It seems like the idea is catching on. As

we were working on this issue, we noticed

sails popping up everywhere, from

Chesapeake Light Craft’s new SailRig, to the

multitude of sailing options available

through Easy Rider, including a variety of

ways to create multi-hulls.

Recently we stumbled upon a really

unique sailrig, a wingsail, which has both

downwind and upwind sailing capabilities

(and a driving force more than double the

power of a conventional sail rig, according

The improbable wingsail makes

upwind sailing possible.

6 WaveLength October/November 2001

Photo: Courtesy Easy Rider

Photo: Courtesy WingSails


to the designer). This clever creation is constructed

of two sailcloth panels sandwiching

a light internal structure which maintains

thickness, giving the wingsail its

asymmetical aeordynamic shape, without

destabilizing the boat. The patented rig is

quick to erect and easy to stow. The designer

welcomes enquiries from manufacturers.

Visit www.wingsails.com

From square rigs, to spinnakers, to V-sails,

to sloop rigs, wingsails, even parasail kites...

sailing is definitely firmly ensconced in the

present and the future of paddling. It’s easy

and inexpensive to convert your paddlecraft

into a sailboat and add a whole new dimension

to your paddling pleasure.

However, there are risks involved and we

strongly recommend you get proper instruction,

start in light airs and summer conditions,

proceeding only when experienced.

And be sure to wear your lifejacket!

PEDALLING

Wind isn’t the only ‘alternate energy’

source out there. Pedal power is another

way to go.

My first experience with pedal power was

many years ago trying a one-of-a-kind pedal

boat built by oceanographer Greg

Holloway. Seated in a recumbent posture,

legs pumping away, I was amazed at the

speed I attained. Greg, in fact, used his

pedalcraft to commute between islands to

work.

More recently I had a chance to try out a

new recreational pedal kayak marketed by

Hobie Kayaks (known for the famous Hobie

Cat sailing catamaran). I was at first surprised,

then impressed, by the unique drive

system, a pair of flexible rubber flippers or

fins, which move back and forth below your

October/November 2001 WaveLength

Sailing is for everyone

with Easy Rider’s

2 lb. spinnaker.

Hobie offers your arms a break and

a workout for your legs.

boat as you pedal, the trailing edges of the

fins pushing the water back and you forward.

For price, simplicity, and clever engineering,

it’s hard to beat.

The Hobie Mirage is an open cockpit

boat with a slot into which the drive system

fits. Because your feet are occupied,

you steer with a small lever on the side of

the boat. I found I was able to kick up quite

a bow wake as I pedaled along. This is definitely

the answer for paddlers who feel they

are neglecting their legs—and it might entice

even more cyclists onto the water!

I’ve also seen a variety of water-bike devices

employing various drive systems,

which I haven’t yet tried. Beyond these there

are other new and intriguing alternate propulsion

devices available, such as electricpowered

propeller systems like the LPW

system (see Great Gear, page 24-25). For

those with limited limb function, or perhaps

those who like to fish from a kayak, this is a

useful development. ❏

© Alan Wilson, Editor

Send $20 ppd. for 21/4 hr video

“The Wonderful World

of Easy Rider”including

112 page brochure package

on Sailing, Outrigger & Catamaran

options, Custom

Outfitting and Accessories.

This video makes you an

educated buyer. It shows

the various models in living

color and action, and gives a

complete overview for anyone

planning to purchase a

paddlecraft.

Photo: Alan Wilson

Deadline for our upcoming

HUMOUR issue—

‘Misadventures in Paddling

—is October 19th.

7


NEW KAYAKS

New kayaks are coming onto the market all

the time. Here are some of the latest crop. The Current Designs Andromeda, by Derek

Hutchinson, is in the tradition of British

boats: sleek and fast, yet stable, with a classic

‘Swede’ form hull, a round chine hull

and shallow ‘V’ keel. 17’3” and 20.5’ wide.

New for 2002—The Feathercraft Air Line

Folding Sit-on-Top kayaks. Introducing four

new models for the recreational travelling

paddler. A fabric skin with inflatable urethane

air chambers combines with an aluminum

framework to make the kayak rigid and light.

604-681-8437. www.feathercraft.com

John Lockwood of Pygmy Boats designed the

Arctic Tern 14 for Michael Powers of the Tsunami

Rangers who wanted a smaller,

maneuverable kayak he could take into the

rock gardens and sea caves. Although the

boat was designed with advanced paddlers

in mind, it’s also suitable for teens and smaller

adults. Lower wetted surface makes it easier

to keep pace with larger boats. And at thirty

pounds & 14 feet, she is easy to car top. 360-

385-6143. www.pygmyboats.com

Outfitted with a skeg.

The Sirocco is Current Designs first

rotomolded British style kayak. Based on

the popular composite kayak, Gulfstream,

this Hutchinson design will appeal to a

broad market who crave performance yet

want a boat that’s user friendly. Length: 16'

10". Hull Shape: Swede Form/Medium

Chine with a shallow V. Beam: 23.25".

Weight: 60 lbs. Skeg: Retractable.

The Current Designs Speedster is a racing

surf-ski, designed by American double-gold

medallist, Greg Barton. Vacuum bag laminated

using high quality resins along with

a laminate of kevlar, s-glass and core materials.

An adjustable footboard system allows

easy and positive adjustment for any

paddler from 5’5” to 6’4”. The Speedster is

19’ 11” in length, 18” wide and weighs

32lbs. Canada: 250-479-0106. USA: 507-

454-5430. www.cdkayak.com

Hobie’s new

Mirage Outback

(photo

unavailable)

was designed

for hands-free

operation, propelled

by

Hobie’s patented

Mirage

Drive, utilizing

underwater

flippers that operate like a penguin’s fins.

Molded-in rod holders, hatches, tackle box

tray. Storage compartments for dive tank,

cooler or bait tank. See MirageDrive in action

at www.hobiekayaks.com. For the

Hobie Mirage Outback dealer in your area,

call 1-800-HOBIE 49, or check out Hobie’s

Dealer Finder at the website.

Nimbus Kayaks has recently introduced the

Aria, a solo outrigger canoe. At 22'6" long

and 13.75" wide, it is sleek and fast, suitable

for club use and general paddling.

Work is currently in progress on a larger

volume ama more suitable for surfing and

racing. Available October 2001. 604-467-

9932. www.nimbuskayaks.com.

Chesapeake Light Craft’s Chesapeake 14 is

a hard-chine sea kayak which is stable and

sporty but designed for paddlers under 130

lbs. It’s easy to build, fun for day paddling

and has enough capacity for carrying gear

on longer trips. It provides big-boat performance

for small adults and is an excellent

boat for kids. 410-267-0137.

www.clcboats.com.

Boréal Designs of Quebec, Canada has two

new models, the Pakesso, a new light touring

composite sea kayak at 14’6" and 22-

1/2", designed for smaller paddler. The

Nanook, a new expedition seakayak at

17’8" x 24-1/4" has been designed for the

bigger paddler, who is looking for an efficient,

light weight and roomy kayak. 418-

878-3099. www.boreal.com.

8 WaveLength October/November 2001


Build your own heirloom wooden kayak

from a kit by new Canadian kit boat company,

West Coast Wooden Kits Ltd. Four

designs available fall 2001, including an 18’

sea kayak, a 14’ row boat, a 16’ canoe and

8’ dinghy. All designs from O’Hurley’s

Wooden Boats. Ph: 250-245-5199.

www.westcoastwoodenkits.com.

The AquaDynamic Sea Cadet is an ideal

touring kayak for a young person. The pod

cockpit provides the safety advantages of a

sit-on-top kayak, allowing the child to climb

back in after capsizing. These kayaks are

maneuverable, durable and so light, kids

carry their own boats. Roomy hatch compartments

store all their gear. $899 Cdn in

fiberglass. AquaDynamic Watercraft Inc.

blord@AquaDynamic.com.Ph: 1-866-278-

2396. www.aquadynamic.com

Sailing Simply—

No Strings Attached! ©

Weighs only 1.5 lbs.

Easy to raise, lower & stow.

October/November 2001 WaveLength

The Necky Elaho is a great low volume touring/play

boat with a multi-chined rockered

hull, so very maneuverable. A snug-fitting

kayak with day hatch, three bulkheads and

drop skeg. Available in polymer, fiberglass

or Kevlar construction. Length: 15’10”.

Width: 22”. Weight: 63 lbs. Price: Polymer

$1,899 Cdn. Fiberglass $3,299 Cdn. Kevlar:

$3,899.00 Cdn.

At 24.5" wide, the Necky Eskia multichined

hull offers plenty of initial stability

and good tracking, making it comfortable

for mid-sized to large paddlers. Innovative

flush hatches keep the deck clean and lend

the kayak a very integrated look. Length:

16’4”. Width: 24.5”. Weight: 64 lbs. Price:

$1,899 Cdn.

The Necky Sky II tandem’s compact size

makes it easy to “grab and go”. The open

cockpit makes jumping in and out a snap,

and keeps children or pets close at hand.

And ideal platform for bird watching, photography

and fishing. It also stores neatly

on the deck of larger boats or atop RVs.

Length: 12’7” Width: 28” Weight: 59lbs

Price:$949 Cdn. Necky: 604-850-1206.

www.necky.com.

NEW half-size

sail available soon!

For kayaks or canoes

Simple bolt or

suction cup

bracket

T 250-830-0405 • F 250-830-0415 • info@spiritsails.com • www.spiritsails.com

The new Chilco by Seaward Kayaks is an

18’-5’, performance touring kayak. Available

in fiberglass or Kevlar the shallow,

multi-chined, low-rocker hull enhances

speed, edging and tracking. Standard features

include two full-sized recessed

hatches, a 6" (low) backrest, solid brace

pivoting rudder control foot pedals and recessed

deck fittings.

Seaward’s 17-foot-5-inch Aurora is the first

light touring model of their new series

called “Discovery Kayaks” for beginner to

intermediate paddlers. Loaded or empty,

this kayak retains a great balance of initial

and secondary stability. Manufactured with

the same care and attention to detail as all

Seaward models, Discovery Kayaks are

ideal for paddlers who are on a limited

budget, but still want the performance of a

composite kayak. 1-800-595-9755.

www.SeawardKayaks.com. ❏

Dry Bag Systems and

Waterproof Outdoor Gear

AVAILABLE AT:

AG Outdoor Superstores

Backpackers Shop

Boundary Bay Water Sports

Ecomarine Kayak Centers

Ocean River Sports

Western Canoeing & Kayaking

Check our website for a complete

list of dealers and products

www.venturequest.net

Distributed By

Venture Quest Enterprises, Inc.

(604) 970-2890

9


How Fast is Your Kayak?

While shopping for a new kayak, or

just viewing new models which appear

from year to year, I often wonder about

the speed of various boats. Some kayaks look

very sleek and fast, but how fast are they?

In reading through kayak reviews, I occasionally

encounter reports of their cruising

and sprint speeds, in addition to their

physical dimensions. Assimilating and

analyzing this data has led me to a number

of conclusions. It would appear that with

few exceptions, just about all kayaks are

capable of cruising at a speed of about 3.5

to 4 knots. It is the sprint pace and to a

lesser extent, the exercise pace, which really

seem to differ based on the varying dimensions

of the boats.

Product information and historical

sources nearly always contain beam and

length metrics, but rarely enough additional

information to satisfy the requirements of

more sophisticated computer algorithms.

For example, Zimmerly (2000) in QAYAQ:

Kayaks of Alaska and Siberia, reports beam

and length metrics for many native Alaskan

and Siberian kayaks. But just how speedy

is the 19’ 1” one hole Aleut baidarka collected

on Akun Island in the Aleutians in

1845 with a 17.1” beam?

At such times I have often wondered if

there were some easier way to judge the

maximum speed of a given kayak, without

having to plug in a lot of numbers into a

computer program such as the KAPER or

Taylor standard series programs, which re-

quire scores of esoteric dimensions in order

to estimate foot pounds of force required

to propel a specific hull configuration. The

personal challenge I decided to accept was

to find a way to obtain a good estimate of

sprint speed using a simple method which

requires no more than a calculator or paper

and pencil.

Knowing that hull speed is related to the

width and length of a boat, and running a

regression line on this information to forecast

the maximum speeds for a number of

kayaks with empirical data, I’ve come up

with a simple method. It may not be as accurate

as the more sophisticated computer

programs, but it can be used by anyone to

get an estimate which is definitely in the

ball park, i.e., perhaps 90% accurate.

Divide the beam (width) of the kayak in

inches by the length in inches, and then

extrapolate using the table below.

W/L SPRINT SPEED

.153 5.0 kts.

.131 5.5 kts.

.110 6.0 kts.

.100 6.5 kts.

.078 7.0 kts.

For greater precision, the regression

model is: Maximum speed in kts = 9.15 -

27.71*(W/L).

Applying this formula to the Aleut kayak

of 1845, the W/L ratio is .074 which yields

a sprint speed above 7 kts. according to the

Whether you’re pushing the limits

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we have the gear that gets you there!

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meadow@island.net

Travel Sports Adventure

Robert Wederich

table, or about 7.1 kts. using the formula.

Clearly, this narrow 17” native craft was

much faster, and far less stable than the

average 22”-24” beam touring kayak of today.

(One might speculate that the extra

speed provided by such a craft was needed

to escape a charging Walrus or wounded

caribou, or to extend hunting area.)

Applying the regression formula to a few

modern kayaks for comparison purposes

yields an estimated speed of 7.1 knots for

the Blade surf ski. The Blade (w/l = .074)

has nearly identical dimensions to the Aleut

kayak of 1845, and is a tenth of an inch

narrower and one inch shorter than its ancient

Aleut cousin, whose design evolved

over thousands of years. The Nelo FW 2000

(w/l = .079) hails from a family of lightweight

composite racing kayaks with a 17. 4” beam

and 18.4’ length and compares favorably

with the Blade and Aleut, for speed at about

7 kts.

My own touring kayak, a Current Designs

Extreme high volume (w/l = .096), with a

21.75” beam and 18.75’ length, should top

out at about 6.5 kts, while the Valley

Anasecuda (w/l = .099) achieves a similar

speed of 6.4 kts by creating a narrower

20.5” beam to offset the shorter, more

maneuverable 17.2’ length.

Not so fast, but far more stable, is the

Cabo (w/l = .153) by Ocean Kayak, with a

30” beam and 16.3’ length. This craft tops

out at about 4.9 kts.

It is important to note that the regression

formula was based on limited empirical

data obtained for kayaks propelled with a

double bladed paddle. The model is not

intended to predict the speed of kayaks

which are powered in non-traditional manners

such as with electric motors, sails, or

such new innovations as the pedal driven

mechanical penguin wings which power

the new Hobie kayaks. The regression

model is best used to predict relative sprint

speeds of various kayaks, i.e., which boats

are faster or slower than others. As paddlers

vary in strength and technique, the maximum

speed you achieve in any given kayak

may be faster or slower than that predicted

by the model. ❏

Robert Wederich is employed by the Quantitative

Economics and Statistics Group of Ernst &

Young LLP, and enjoys kayaking, camping,

SCUBA diving and photography with his family

when time permits. (Disclaimer: The author

performed this study independent of his work

with E&Y, and he alone is responsible for the

report). Robert.Wederich@ey.com

10 WaveLength October/November 2001


Preventing Theft

Kayaking is one of the fastest growing

water sports in the world and when

something becomes popular, thieves become

interested.

Manufacturers are supposed to put a hull

identification number (HIN) on their craft

to identify one boat from another, and most

do. The HIN is a twelve character string

comprised of letters and numbers. The first

three characters are specific to your boat’s

manufacturer and is issued to that manufacturer

by the Coast Guard. The next five

characters are the production serial number

and the last four characters deal with the

date of manufacturer, e.g. ABC12345A001.

When you look at the way some manufacturers

attach the HIN, it is obvious that

they are only doing so because it is a legal

requirement and not out of concern for their

customers. Don’t take my word for it—

check your own boat and see if it even has

a HIN. Depending on the manufacturer, you

will find the HIN scratched in with an engraving

pen, or on an attached plate. Some

do a pretty good job but in some cases you

will not find a HIN at all, even on some very

expensive craft.

The HIN is not some needless government

intrusion into the boat manufacturing

process. It is the serial number for your

boat and can tell tell which manufacturer

made the boat, when it was made and in

some cases the model of the craft. The HIN

is really important if your canoe or kayak is

stolen. Without a permanent identifier on

the craft there is very little the police can

do for you. They have to have a means of

identifying it as stolen and proving who is

the rightful owner. Telling the police your

yellow polyethylene sea kayak was stolen

and you would recognize it anywhere is of

little use to them, especially in a different

jurisdiction. They need the HIN and you

should know it.

Discover the beautiful Gulf Islands

from our singles and doubles...

Arluks, Teslas, Solstices, Kyooks, Amaruks, Lookshas

• Camping • Showers • Hot Tub • Sales • Instruction

BEGINNERS WELCOME

PO Box 40, Mayne Island

BC, Canada V0N 2J0

Tel/Fax: 250 539-2667

kayak@mayneisle.com

www.mayneisle.com/kayak

October/November 2001 WaveLength

How can you protect yourself from having

your kayak stolen? You can lock it to

the roof rack, you can carry it into the

house, or tie it to your guard dog. But I have

found the best way to keep someone from

stealing something is to make it less marketable.

You don’t have to drill holes in it

or spray graffiti all over it to make your

kayak or canoe less marketable to a thief.

All you have to do is add extra identification

to your gear, and advertise to the world

that your gear has been marked for identification

and to keep their hands off!

The HIN is not some

needless government

intrusion into the boating

manufacturing process. The

HIN is really important if

your canoe or kayak

is stolen.

We suggest you participate in the “Hands

Off Marine Identification” program, a simple

but effective crime prevention program

organized through your local paddling club

in conjunction with your local police. People

bring their boats to a Hands Off event

and volunteers place multiple identifiers on

the boats via engraving pens, permanent

markers and tiny microdots. A warning decal

is placed on the boat, all of the details

are recorded in triplicate and a photograph

is taken of the boat. The police keep a copy

of the form and the boat owner gets two

copies for insurance purposes. The program

is so effective that many insurance companies

are giving discounts on premiums for

participating in the program.

Cst. Larry Burden

The microdots included in the Hands Off

program, trade named “Data Dots”, all have

the same code number on them and are

specific to that Hands Off event. When

magnified with a portable 30x viewing

scope, the Data Dot code number can be

read and the code number traced to that

event. The glue used to place the Data Dots

on the boats has an ultraviolet tracer in it

and can be found when illuminated with a

black light. The glue is highly resistant to

common solvents so it can’t be easily wiped

away. Paddlers are also encouraged to place

extra identification on their accessories

such as paddles etc. You can purchase your

own bottle of Data Dots in many paddling

or marine supply stores.

So please do yourself a big favor and

mark your gear with your name and driver’s

license number (not your social insurance

number). Write down your HIN, along

with the make, model and colour of you

boat and keep it in a safe place, so if you

do become a victim of a theft, you can give

the police some useful information that may

lead to the recovery of your gear. In the

meantime, consider hosting a Hands Off

event, and encourage manufacturers to do

a better job placing HIN’s and other types

of identification on their products. Let’s

keep paddling for the honest folk and make

the sport less attractive to the thieves. ❏

© Constable Larry Burden is recognized as one

of the leading authorities in boat theft in North

America and was the recipient of the 2001

“Investigator Of The Year” award from the

International Association of Marine Investigators.

He is the creator of the Hands Off Marine

ID program, and a Constable with the

Chilliwack RCMP: 604-792-4611.


Coastal Kayak Leadership Training Course

(2 sessions, tentative dates) April 19-28 and May 3-12, 2002

Malaspina University-College offers an intensive 10-day ocean kayak course

providing participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead groups of

kayakers in coastal waters. The course takes place on the west coast of Vancouver

Island and includes basic training followed by an expedition into unprotected

coastal waters. Also offered: 6-day, Wilderness First Aid/Emergency Response

for Kayakers, Leaders. Tentative date: mid-April 2002

For more information contact Learning Connections

(250) 755-8775 or email: learning@mala.bc.ca

Nanaimo Campus

900 Fifth St.

Nanaimo, BC V9R 5S5

11


For Fun and

Fitness

Every Tuesday evening in the summer, upwards

of 100 paddlers gather in the protected

waters of North Vancouver’s Deep

Cove, to participate in the rapidly developing

ritual of communal water thrashing

which some call racing. Anything goes, so

long as it is paddle-powered. From the hottest

elite paddlers to Japanese tourists who

have got wind of something wild and weird

happening and rent a plastic boat, they all

flock to the waiting rows of kayaks, chattering

like birds preparing for the great migration.

Calm waters mean the race boats and

surf-skis usually carry the day. But for most

of those on the water, it’s not about winning

or even placing. It’s about having a

Tuesday evening is race night at Deep Cove. Photo and story courtesy of Necky Kayaks.

joyous thrash across the beautiful fiord with

friends, doing a personal best and feeling

good about one’s body. Later in the Raven

Pub, which serves as unofficial clubhouse,

a packed hall watches video of the race shot

from the safety boat. The course is seldom

the same two weeks in a row. Often it includes

a swim and a running section which

sometimes leaves people crashing around in

the forest of a small island long after the winners

are back at the clubhouse.

All across North America, from New York

to San Francisco and Hawaii, the gregarious

among us are now congregating on beaches

then charging en masse around a set course.

For the hardcore, special boats are built and

the events are milestones on a personal road

to physical fitness. For the rest of us, the

events are neat social happenings, a coming

together of otherwise solitary aquatic creatures

for a moment of group madness that is

eminently satisfying. ❏

Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre:

604-929-2268. info@deepcovekayaks.com

12 WaveLength October/November 2001


Myth Come

Alive

Elle Andra-Warner

Last summer I signed on as a paddler on

a dragon boat thinking it would be an

easy Saturday afternoon paddle. I came

away with a new respect for the sport.

Dragon boating evolved from an ancient

Chinese tradition dating back more than

2400 years to ensure bountiful crops. It was

enriched by the legend around Chinese

poet Qu Yuan, the popular political dissident,

who lived in central China 327-248

BC. He threw himself in the Mi Luo River

when his homeland was invaded. People

raced out with their boats to save him but

arrived too late.

Dragon boat racing is a re-enactment of

those vain rescue attempts and was traditionally

held on the fifth day of the fifth

month according to the Chinese lunar calendar

(which equates approximately to the

western world’s summer solstice).

Today, dragon boat race festivals are celebrated

globally in cities and towns spanning

over 40 countries. Almost every major

city in Canada has a dragon boat race

during the summer that welcomes paddlers,

whether beginners or veterans.

A dragon boat in motion is a stunning

sight. Propelled by twenty paddlers cutting

October/November 2001 WaveLength

Dragon boating requirs teamwork, as Elle discovered.

Build your own heirloom wooden kayak from a kit

by new Canadian kit boat company, West Coast Wooden Kits Ltd.

Ph: 250 245-5199

www.westcoastwoodenkits.com

All designs from

O’Hurley’s

Wooden Boats

Four designs for Fall 2001:

18’ sea kayak, 14’ row boat, 16’ canoe, 8’ dinghy

13


Sea Kayak Guides

Alliance of of BC BC

The Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC is

a non-profit society which upholds high

standards for professional sea kayak

guides and operators in BC. Through ongoing

professional development and

certification, the Alliance strives to ensure

safe practices on an industry-wide basis.

FALL 2001

GUIDES EXCHANGE

October 25-27: Pender Island

For info: Adventure@oceanriver.com

or contact Ocean River Sports, Victoria

LEAD GUIDE EXAM

October 16-18: Tofino

For dates of Assistant Guides

Exams, contact the Alliance.

WWW. SKGABC.COM

PRESIDENT:

Michael Pardy

VICE PRESIDENTS:

Brian Collen

Colin MacNeil

SECRETARY/TREASURER:

Tracy Morben

COORDINATING DIRECTOR

Liz Young

MEMBERS AT LARGE:

Liz Richards

Ian Ross

Piper Harris

SKGABC Membership

To become a member of the Alliance, mail

this form and a cheque to the address below.

___ Company Membership—$100/year

___ Individual Membership—$35/year

___ Associate Membership—$25/year

___ Alliance T-shirt—$20 each

___ Information and a copy of the

___ latest newsletter—FREE!

Name__________________________

Address________________________

______________________________

Phone_________________________

Email__________________________

P.O. Box 1005, Station A,

Nanaimo BC, V9R 5K4

250-245-3706

majestic@island.net

the water simultaneously

to the beat of a

drum, the boat glides

through the water at

speeds that can reach

over 4 metres (13 feet)

per second. As a

paddler, it is exhilarating. As a spectator, it

is mythical literature come alive.

The boats, similar to the great canoes of

First Nations peoples of North America’s

Northwest Coast, are multicoloured, slender

and range between 30 to 100 feet in

length. A spectacular carved dragon head

is at the bow and tail at the stern, with

dragon scales patterned all along the hull.

The mythical dragons of Asia are considered

to be good, and are venerated, unlike

the demonic and evil dragons portrayed in

Western folk culture that breathe fire, have

wings and are something to be slain.

Historically, dragon boats (which are not

war canoes) have been raced for thousands

of years in Southern China and throughout

the inland, island and coastal regions of

South East Asia.

In North America, most teams have 22

people: 20 paddlers sitting in pairs facing

forward, one steerperson astern (who guides

the boat from the steering station using a

sweep oar) and one bow-seated drummer

(who commands the crew while beating out

It’s a fast and exciting sport,

where style and rhythm is more

important than power. It can also

be a great team-building exercise.

the paddling stroke

rhythm). The first row

of paddlers (2

paddlers) are referred

to as ‘Strokers’ as they

are responsible for setting

the stroke rate for

the rest of the team; Rows 4 to 7 (8 paddlers)

are the ‘Engine Room’ (as they are generally

the bigger, stronger paddlers); and Rows

8-10 (6 paddlers) are called the ‘Back Six’.

Paddlers use single-ended paddles (similar

to canoe paddles). The object is to move

the slim dragon boat down a straight line

course in the best time.

The growth of dragon boating has been

extraordinary. It is a fast and exciting sport,

where style and rhythm is more important

than power. It can also be a great teambuilding

exercise, bringing together management

and staff of one business or agency

in friendly competition against others.

Paddlers work for team pride and charitable

causes with entry fees going towards

different charities.

There is a unique dualism to the dragon

boat racing phenomena. On one side is the

sports aspect—demanding, challenging and

for some, highly competitive; the other is

its role as the cross-cultural symbol for camaraderie,

co-operation, friendship, goodwill

and good times.

kayakit@cgocable.ca

14 WaveLength October/November 2001


It was in the mid-1970s that dragon boat

racing began to evolve into a global competitive

watersport, with the first world competitions

held in 1976 in Hong Kong. A

world sport governing body, the International

Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF), now

develops racing rules that incorporate international

standards with the preservation

and promotion of the cultural tradition of

dragon boat racing. The first IDBF World

Dragon Boat Championships were held in

1995 in China; the recent 2001 Championships

were held this summer in Philadelphia,

USA.

Almost everyone can participate in

dragon boating, from a young person to

someone in their 70s or older. But, after last

summer on a dragon boat team, I have advice

to newcomers: Don’t miss those practices!

Let me explain.

No slouch in paddling, I was confident

of my abilities. The team practices were

scheduled for when I was on a six-day wilderness

sea kayaking holiday in British Columbia’s

Johnstone Strait/Inside Passage.

I did not place much importance on missing

the practices—after all, I would be paddling

a kayak five hours a day on my trip.

I was wrong.

On the day of the race, besides the general

bother to my teammates as I tried to

decipher the strange lingo of ‘engine

rooms’, ‘strokers’, and the like, I quickly

discovered that paddling as a team was very

different from solo kayaking.

Teamwork was key and the member roles

October/November 2001 WaveLength

of ‘manager’ and ‘staff’ melted with concentrated

paddling efforts. Paddlers became

peers working side by side to power our

40-foot dragon boat past the finish line.

I was surprised at how much collective

stamina, concentration and co-operation

was required—rather than brute athletic

strength—to power the dragon boat. The

intensity of the teamwork kept me totally

focused on thrusting that paddle in and out

of the water in synchronization with the

paddlers in front and beside me.

And in the last thirty seconds of the race,

the pounding rhythm of the drum accompanied

by shouting commands from the

drummer, fuelled that final adrenaline rush

that pushed me to expend every bit of my

energy to keep on paddling.

It was heart-throbbing raw adventure. ❏

© Elle Andra-Warner is a freelance writer/

photographer now living in Canada’s

North West Territories.

www.IslandOutdoorCentre.com

610 Oyster Bay Drive, Ladysmith, BC

250-245-7887

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AquaBound Blowout Oct. 6-7

White’s Weekend Oct. 15-16

To be announced Oct. 21-22

To be announced Oct. 29-30

15


Kayakers Having a Ball

How do you get adrenaline surging in a group of paddlers when

there isn’t a wave or rapid in sight? You throw them a ball,

hang a couple of mesh goals a paddle-length above the water, and

jump in the game as an exciting young sport unfolds.

A game of ‘Canoe Polo’ starts with each team against their goal

line, waiting for the referee to toss a water polo ball to the centre.

As he throws, each team’s chosen speedster sprints for the yellow,

floating ball. They meet with a kevlar-crunching collision to decide

the first possession of the 20-minute game.

One team falls into zone defense with a single ‘chaser’ trying to

knock the offense off the ball. As the offense closes in with hockeylike

positioning, a goalie raises a paddle to guard the 1.5 metre

net, and defending players bulldoze the offense from the six-metre

zone. Playing the ball by hand or paddle, the offense deftly passes

to an open player, who unleashes a blistering shot—unless, of

course, a defender capsizes him first.

Canoe Polo, called Kayak Polo in the USA, has gained a following

in BC since a wave of top international players recently settled

in the Vancouver area. Three years ago BC didn’t have a team to

enter in Canada’s annual championships in Edmonton, but in 2001,

BC won gold in both the men’s and women’s division. It was the

first time in the tournament’s eight-year history that top honours

weren’t taken by a team based in Edmonton.

The game’s Canadian debut came on a winter night in Edmonton,

when a group of whitewater kayakers brought a water polo

ball into a swimming pool. “It was like murder ball,” remembers

Rob Kerestes. “Anyone sane was out of the pool in under a minute.

But eventually we got a copy of the rules and a group of us, who

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Tim Harvey

Tristan Crees (center), an Aussi-born Vancouverite, plays

on Canada's national team and coaches for the Dragons.

had still never faced serious competition, travelled to England for

the first world championships.” The year was 1994, and Canada

finished a predictable last among 18 nations.

Since then, Canada’s game has dramatically improved, but not

enough to threaten the world’s elite teams. In top-ranked nations

like England, Australia and Germany, the sport has a longer history

of evolution and popularity. According to the British Canoe Union,

the earliest version of Canoe Polo was played in Hunter’s Quay,

Scotland in 1880, by men sitting on barrels, with double-bladed pad-

16 WaveLength October/November 2001


BC’s men’s team BC’s women’s team

dles. By the 1930s Germans were playing in

boats the length of sea kayaks and shooting

on soccer-sized nets. Well into the seventies

the Australian game was played in open, twoperson

canoes: the stern paddler steered

while ball-handling came from the bow. It’s

an image still conjured when Canadians first

hear of a sport called ‘Canoe’ Polo (a name

that stems from the British notion that kayaks

are a sub-class of canoes).

In the late eighties, polo gear was standardized.

Regulation kayaks are fast, quick

to turn, and easy to roll, echoing the design

of a diamond-shaped slalom boat. Polo

kayaks can’t exceed three metres and have

blunt, padded ends (a safety feature appreciated

by anyone who’s been speared by a

sharp-nosed river kayak). Paddles must be

of an adequate thickness (again, sharp paddles

can be taped for safety). PFDs and helmets

with face protection are essential.

Though Albertan clubs maintain a large

fleet, real polo boats have always been

scarce in BC. Vancouver’s club, the Dragons,

recently purchased six new polo kayaks,

“so we’ll have boats for anyone who

wants to play,” says Sam Mottram, a former

Team South Africa captain, now Canada’s

most formidable player. With coaching from

Mottram and expert players with Irish and

Australian origins, the Dragons have developed

an impressive pool of players. The

impact of weekly practices at Simon Fraser

University is “unbelievable,” says Mottram.

“In the last year things have picked up by

three hundred percent.” Several Dragons

brought home hardware from the 2001

Canadian Nationals.

October/November 2001 WaveLength

The Victoria Devils Canoe Polo Club

practices with the University of Victoria’s

whitewater kayak club on Friday nights in

the MacKinnon Pool. Practicing in

whitewater boats with nets made of plastic

piping, the Devils also produced medalwinners

from novice players, and welcome

newcomers.

This summer in Sooke, Scott Taylor of

Rush Adventures proved that “if you build

it, they will come.” In May he built two

floating goals, then advertised Friday-night

scrimmages. Upwards of fifteen players

were turning out by August. Sooke’s polo

players are a hardy, ocean-paddling variety,

who say they’ll wear drytops and play

outdoors all winter. “We’ll set up floodlights

and keep playing after dark,” said Taylor.

Another club comprised largely of junior

players practices in Chilliwack.

Whether playing in warm pools or the cold

ocean, in polo boats or plastic river runners,

west coast paddlers are gravitating to

kayaking’s latest incarnation. Total newcomers

are attending tournaments and forming

teams. Canoe Polo’s rising wave holds a future

of steady growth: league tounaments,

youth development teams, and a stronger

national squad can be expected. Few

paddlers can resist the appeal of a team sport

that fosters an arsenal of skills, from throwing

to stern-squirt turns and hand rolls. All

you need to start are two nets and a ball. ❏

© Tim Harvey—a native west coaster—is an

avid kayaker, kayak guide, polo player and

writing student at the University of Victoria.

North Island Kayak Rentals & Tours

Serving British Columbia’s

Northern Vancouver Island

and the Central Coast

For Information or Brochure:

Toll Free 877-949-7707

nikayak@island.net

www.island.net/~nikayak/

17


The Future is Unfolding

Folding kayak technology

began to develop over a

hundred years ago. The concept

of building boats which could be

disassembled easily was born

before the spread of the automobile.

Boats had to be light, pack

small, yet they had to be rugged

and provide excellent performance

on the water. And these requirements

have been met in

many different ways.

THE FRAME

The way the frame is laid out

and constructed affects how

light the boat is and, more significantly,

how small and easily

it will pack and reassemble.

Folding boat frame construction

The author playing in the new Triton “Ladoga-1” roundbilged

folding sea kayak.

challenges have provoked an astonishing wealth of ingenious engineering,

both in man-made materials and in wood.

Wood was the ideal frame material, although some folding canoes

built in Chicago in the late 19th century had iron frame components.

Ash wood quickly established itself as the best compromise

of weight, resilience and strength in most applications. Wood

is still the appropriate material to meet many folding boat design

challenges, especially when combined with modern adhesives and

Ralph Hoehn

coatings. Aesthetic considerations

alone would be sufficient

to guarantee wood a future even

in new boat models. Klepper,

Nautiraid, Pouch, Seavivor and

Whalecraft uphold a strong tradition

of construction in natural

materials while ever exploring

new methods and materials.

However, aluminium and

various plastics have truly come

into their own in the last 20 years

or so. The main advantage of

man-made materials is reduced

weight, but the user also benefits

from reduced boat prices, resulting

from improved manufacturing

efficiencies.

Feathercraft and Folbot have

used both molded and sawn

plastic transverse frame members, which are built with great, reproducible

accuracy. Both firms use aluminium tubing for longitudinal

frame members. Triton (of St. Petersburg, Russia) equips transverse

frame members of bent aluminium tubing with special plastic

fittings to join them rigidly to aluminium longitudinal frame

members. The Sigma line of boats by Kayak Labs (regrettably inactive

these days) introduced large diameter, relatively thin-walled

aluminium tubes to achieve rigidity, great strength and ease of assembly

without sacrificing low weight.

Longitudinal frame members of composite materials represent

another innovation, overcoming concerns of oxidation and galvanic

reactions between different metal alloys in folding boat frames.

Watch for the introduction to the American market of the Japanese

Fujita folding boats (www.foldingcraft.com). Developments with

man-made materials are ever ongoing.

THE SKIN

The skin must be of the lightest possible weight, while neither

contracting nor expanding as a result of changes in temperature

and humidity. Today’s skins have surpassed the mere function of

“keeping the water out of the frame”. According to traditional wisdom,

frames must not rely on the skin for strength and stiffness.

Modern fabrics and coating materials have made it possible to integrate

the skin fully into folding boat engineering. In a balanced

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18 WaveLength October/November 2001


system, the skin reliably provides the tension

that keeps the frame members in constant

compression.

Decks were traditionally built of canvas

(which, once the canvas is wetted, becomes

nearly watertight due to the consequent

swelling of the cotton fibers). While canvas

is still in wide use for decks, folding

boat manufacturers have been introducing

a variety of man-made fabrics and waterproofing

systems to deck construction. Reduced

weight results, but also an almost

complete elimination of rot and shrinkage

problems, which once dogged natural fabrics.

The hull must provide sufficient abrasion

resistance where it touches the longitudinal

frame members (oyster shells on the

outside, sand on the inside). It also has to

be puncture-resistant (that rusty reinforcing

bar sticking out of the muddy harbor bottom).

Hulls were originally laminated of two

or more layers of canvas, coated and interleaved

with layers of natural rubber. Single

layer polyester or nylon substrate fabrics

have since taken over as much more durable

and stronger hull materials. Manufacturers

coat and impregnate them with synthetic

rubber (Hypalon, for example), vinyl

(PVC) or, more recently, polyurethanes. As

well as being rot-proof, the newer skin

materials are also almost completely unaffected

by UV degradation and aging.

Commercially built folding boat skins

have tended to be relatively heavy. In fact,

manufacturers have little choice but to overbuild

to enable them to withstand inevitable

abuse without complaint. Feathercraft

has recently reduced skin weight through

the introduction of an excellent, highly

abrasion-resistant polyurethane coating on

a tough fabric substrate. Triton, in contrast,

uses a relatively light, low-cost PVC coated

skin, but applies narrow, tough PVC strips

to reinforce specifically the run of the longitudinal

frame members against external

abrasion. The substrate fabric is punctureresistant

enough, when combined with its

ability to flex between frame members, to

safeguard a very tough yet light skin by this

alternative approach. There’s more ways

than one to skin a boat!

Maintenance has been reduced to insignificance

with the introduction of modern

materials and methods. The challenge of

producing at low cost is also being met by

modern manufacturers. New folding boats

are available in a price range of about

$1,200 to $6,000 (US) depending on the

different refinements required.

Is there anything left to improve? We can

categorize the problems and directions of

development in solving them in modern

folding boats as follows:

October/November 2001 WaveLength

THREATENED!

THREATENED!

Only 78 southern resident Orca whales

remain in Georgia Strait and Puget Sound.

Pollution, the collapse of salmon

runs, and human disturbance are

all taking a toll. Canadian scientists

have already declared the whales

“threatened”—just one step away

from “endangered”. In the US,

citizen groups are petitioning to

have the Orcas listed under the

Endangered Species Act.

THE TIME IS SHORT

In a study earlier this year, scientists said there is an 81%

chance of total extinction within the next few generations.

Even one major oil spill would raise these odds to 94%.

Canadian and US citizens’ groups are working together

to urge our governments to establish the

ORCA PASS INTERNATIONAL STEWARDSHIP AREA

to protect marine life in the transboundary waters between

the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands.

The Orcas need our help.

ACT NOW!

www.GeorgiaStrait.org

Georgia Strait Alliance

250 753-3459

Gulf Islands

Photo by Alexandra Morton

San Juans

PROPOSED ORCA PASS

INTERNATIONAL STEWARDSHIP AREA

www.PugetSound.org

People for Puget Sound

206 382-7007

19


PERFORMANCE

Increasingly the expertise of marine engineers

and naval architects is finding its way

into the realm of folding boats. They reinterpret

the existing body of knowledge of building

big ships and other larger craft in its application

to paddle craft, including skin-onframe

construction—even including the exploration

of round-bilged hull shapes in contrast

to the traditional chine hulls.

Modern designers are analyzing traditional

hull shapes and degrees of flexibility

which have evolved over centuries for hunting

in an attempt to reach a better scientific

understanding of the various design

THANK YOU for your patronage!

See you next year.*

PORT HARDY

features and their intelligent application to

new (folding) skin-on-frame concepts.

RUGGEDNESS

Modern synthetic materials have dramatically

increased the ruggedness of folding

boats and will continue to do so. The ease

of repair and maintenance of individual

components is obvious. Combine these two

features and you have the potential for great

longevity, which translates into a worthwhile

investment for the buyer.

Some manufacturers have discovered the

trick of inserting strips of closed cell foam

between the longitudinal frame members

ODYSSEY KAYAKING LTD.

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or call 250-902-0565

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and the skin, thus reducing the necessary

skin weight by spreading and cushioning

impact loads and hence abrasion —

Pakboats goes so far as to laminate the entire

bottom panel of their hull skins with

such foam to make their boats fit for extremely

rugged expedition use. The Norwegian

Ally boats display a similar approach.

The use of different weights of skin fabrics

and coatings in different areas of the boat,

as well as the introduction of asymmetric

coating weights inside and out, leave plenty

of scope for further development.

PORTABILITY

Portability is still an important feature to

many users of folding boats. The need to

keep to a minimum the required storage

space for a boat plays an important role for

apartment dwellers—in fact many people

would be unable to keep a boat if it were

not for the fact that the folding variety allows

storage in closets, behind doors and

under beds!

There are some recent innovations worth

noting: Feathercraft first introduced the

back-packable K-Light and has now gone

on to replace it with the Kahuna—similar

weight (Feathercraft’s new skin made this

possible) and packed dimensions, but a

longer, more serious kayak. Klepper

launched the Alu-Lite in the same vein.

Folding canoe builder Pakboats presented

the Puffin a little while ago, a small decked

canoe also capable of relatively serious

paddling.

Increasingly, boats are required to live in

the trunks of cars, ready to be put together

and launched whenever opportunity

presents itself—and knocked down just as

quickly for the drive home, too. Innovative

frame compression systems (or, if you’d

rather: skin tensioning systems), the intelligent

use of inflatable sponsons, and the introduction

of reliable and water resistant

deck openings and closures have already

improved folding boat assembly and disassembly

processes greatly. Klepper, through

the use of highly refined frame fittings, has

always had a reputation for being easy on

the user in this respect. Nautiraid is exemplary

in the use of modular subassemblies,

which reduce the number of parts that the

paddler has to connect. There is surely further

scope for innovation on this front also.

Yes, there is plenty left to explore and

improve and I, for one, am looking forward

to an exciting future in the continued revival

of folding boats—not least driven forward

by a dedicated “underground” of

home builders. ❏

© You can reach Ralph Hoehn at

Ralph@PouchBoats.com.

Web: www.PouchBoats.com.

20 WaveLength October/November 2001


Living Off the Grid

It is morning at Okeover

Arm. Waking up at the head

of ‘my inlet’ is still like a miracle

to me.

I grew up in an industrial

town in Germany, and the

view outside my window at

dawn today is like the fantasy

German’s have about Canada’s

last frontier. The amazing

part is that the mist rising over

the water is not on some pamphlet

in a travel agency. It is a

reality, a setting complete with

osprey calls, smell of seaweed

and my ability to paddle into

it at any given moment.

As Cindy is grinding coffee in the old

handpowered grinder, I am at the computer,

answering email. The capacity to communicate

with the world, while living in

the forest two miles beyond the last power

and telephone pole, is part of the infrastructure

making it possible to ‘get away’ with

this lifestyle.

I remember last summer, at low tide, we

were digging the trench to replace our pre-

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October/November 2001 WaveLength

Jurgen in his backwoods workshop.

vious phone system—a ‘souped up’ version

of a cordless phone with the base a mile

away at the oyster plant—and make room

for a hardwired connection capable of carrying

computer data.

Planting the 1000 yards of ‘direct burial

cable’ was to be our ticket to live and work

at our shore, without having to ever cope

again with regular rush hours traffic. The

morning rush now consists of a stroll across

206-522-8249

foldingkayak.com

Seattle, Washington

“Put a boat in your baggage and paddle the world!”

ZIPPERED BOOTS

POGIES

PRECURVED GLOVES

Jurgen Koppen

Put Our

Accessories

Between

You

and the

Water

When you’re going

to take the plunge, remember

Brooks offers a wide selection

of paddling accessories to

meet every paddlers need.


Brooks Wetsuits Ltd.

Toll Free 1-888-986-3441

Fax: (604) 986-3443

e-mail: info@brookspaddlegear.com

www.brookspaddlegear.com

21


the yard, crossing over my hydro dam with its impressive three feet

of water in behind, and ascending into the workshop, where the

smell of cedar and flowing shapes await me.

The shop, an assembly of lightweight machinery from my days

as a finish carpenter, is my ever dusty domain. Given my ‘off the

grid’ situation, the roof has large clear plastic panels to provide

natural light. Even though the inverter, humming in its corner close

to the battery bank, is quite capable of converting enough power

from the stored DC energy in the batteries to light up the shop, I

am keeping my consumption down.

I have been blessed with a creek on my land. There is enough

runoff to supply my power needs for seven or eight months, before

it dries up in the summer. That is when the whole operation starts

to rely on solar and the occasional, yikes, gasoline generator backup.

The kayaks fortunately do not require much power tool activity,

once I have my old growth snags milled into boards and cut into

quarter inch strips. I attempt to do most of my pre-machining in the

rainy season, when the brook is causing the mini-hydro plant to

whirl, and the little tablesaw is munching through the cedar as if it

was butter. The two routers which shape each planklet into a cove

and bead strip, are also modest power consumers. After stockpiling

enough strips for a summer, the rest of the kayak is a result of

sharp handtools, fresh sheets of sandpaper, rolls and rolls of masking

tape (the secret weapon of the cabinet maker), as well as bungies,

glue, and elbow grease. Somewhere in there is a good helping of

patience, a commodity which I acquired only by sheer determination.


© Jurgen and Cindy Koppen run Toquenatch Creek Cedar Kayaks. Jurgen

immigrated to Canada in 1976 and came to BC 1993. He started to build

wood kayaks last year. Ph: 604-483-7762. Web: www.cedar-strip.com.

Join us for a paddle soon at...

Beautiful Maple Bay

website:

www.wilderness-kayaking.com

Great Rental Rates — Friendly Staff

Ph. 250 746-0151

ilderness Kayaking

Wilderness Kayaking is

located in beautiful Maple

Bay. We are in our 10th

year of business and we

continue to offer quality

courses, great rental rates,

sales, and tours to many

local Gulf Island and West

Coast padding destinations.

Join us for one of our

early evening paddles

or enrol in our next

"Discover Kayaking"

course and discover

the adventurer in you!

email:

info@wilderness-kayaking.com

The Paddling

Photographer

D.L.

Anderson

There have been many recent advancements in the world of

photography, many aimed at individuals with active lifestyles.

This directly benefits the paddling photographer. There are new

compact digital cameras with an output closing in on that of film.

High quality, compact, super-zooms eliminate the need to carry a

bag full of lenses and image-stabilized lenses allow you to leave

the tripod at home.

DIGITAL CAMERAS

Digital imaging technology has been by

far the greatest change to photography

since the introduction of the 35mm SLR.

Digital cameras free the photographer

from film, are typically smaller, and give

immediate feedback. If you don’t like the composition

or if the exposure is wrong, just erase the image and try

again. For the paddler, this translates to extra space in the boat. A

memory card used in many of the new digitals will most likely

survive a quick dip in the drink—film most certainly will not.

Canon offers one of the most portable digital cameras available

with the PowerShot S300 ELPH. It’s the smallest camera in its class,

at 8.5 ounces, and about the same size as a deck of cards. Although

small, the S300 offers a 3X optical zoom, 2.1 mega-pixel

resolution, and stores images on an 8MG compact flash memory

card. Once downloaded the images can be enlarged 8 x 10 in.

with qualities rivaling film. In addition, Canon offers the optional

WP-DC100 waterproof housing which allows the S300 to operate

to a depth of 100 feet. www.usa.canon.com (S300 list $699, WP-

DC100 list $240—all prices US$).

The Canon CP-10 Printer is a nice accessory to have after the

trip. Fully compatible with the S300 the CP-10 connects directly to

it. All print modes are controlled through the LCD screen on the

S300 camera. Just connect the camera to the printer with a dedicated

cable and in less than 60 seconds you have a sharp clear

credit card size photo. The CP-10 is a dye sublimation printer so

the images are sharper and the tones smoother than the typical ink

jet (CP-10 list $399).

FILM CAMERAS

While digital technology is making tremendous strides, film still

has the edge on image quality. Film is capable of recording more

information than the chips currently used in today’s digitals. This is

SALES • RENTALS • INSTRUCTION

TOURING KAYAKS: • Formula • Perception • Necky

GEAR: Aquabound, Harmony paddles. Extrasport & Serratus

PFDs. Brooks & Whites’ wet wear. North Water safety gear.

MIDDLETONS’ 2095 Flynn Place, SPECIALTY N. Vancouver, BOATS B.C.

david@middletonsboats.com

(604) 240-0503 www.middletonsboats.com

Clearance prices on Formula & Perception Kayaks!

22 WaveLength October/November 2001


particularly noticeable

if you are shooting

in harsh, high

contrast light or if you

intend to have your

images enlarged. So,

for those of us still using film, Pentax has

introduced two new cameras to their water-resistant

IQZoom series, the 95WR and

105WR. These cameras build on the 90WR

platform that was one of Pentax’s best selling

cameras. These cameras have the highest

weatherproof rating available. The

95WR is equipped with a 38-95mm, f4.5-

10.5 zoom and built-in flash. The 105WR

has a 38-105mm,

f5.6-12.8 zoom,

built-in flash with

red-eye reduction,

and a switchable

panorama mode.

While they won’t

take pictures underwater, they can take rain,

mud, sand, and the inevitable dunk.

www.pentax.com (95WR list $292, 120SW

list $367).

PROTECTION

Since we’re back to carrying film, we

need to protect it. One of the more innovative

new products is the Sima Sports Pouch.

This bright yellow, inflatable, waterproof

pouch will float if it goes overboard. In addition

to keeping the pouch afloat, the internal

air chambers protect film and sensitive

gear from small drops and bumps. The

Sima Sports Pouch is available in a photo

kit and a digital kit. The photo pouch contains

a 6-pack of Fuji Film and a cleaning

kit while the digital pouch contains a set of

4 rechargeable NiMH AA batteries and a

cleaning kit (photo pouch list $50, digital

pouch list $60).

LENSES

For the space-conscious kayaker carrying

an SLR, the newly introduced superzooms

can reduce the need for carrying

three or four lenses down to two or even

just one. Sigma’s 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX is one

of my favorite lenses and one of three new

EX Series lenses introduced last year. It combines

a fast F2.8-4.0 aperture with an ultra

wide-angle zoom range of 17-35mm. The

front and rear lens groups incorporate

spherical elements to correct spherical aberration.

The lens also utilizes an internal

focusing mechanism to maintain optical

quality and eliminate rotation of the front

barrel, a very useful feature when using a

polarizing filter. The materials used in this

new lens are also lead and arsenic-free.

www.sigmaphoto.com (list $843).

In the all-in-one category is the new

Tamron AF28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 Aspherical

October/November 2001 WaveLength

Pigeon Guillemot, Newport, Oregon.

Fuji Provia 100, Sigma 50-500mm EX, F6 @ 1/125.

XR (IF) This macro zoom is billed as the

world’s most compact, lightweight lens in

its class. With an overall length of 3.0", a

maximum diameter of 2.8", and a weight

of 12.5 oz. it’s difficult to make an argument

against it. With a

new optical configuration

and the use of the

extra refractive index

glass (XR), image quality

is maintained throughout

the entire zoom range:

www.tamron.comframe.

htm (list $544).

The Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 I.S.

USM is one of the newest lenses in the IS

line-up. Canon first pioneered the use of

image stabilization for use in their

camcorders. That same technology has

been transferred to still photography in their

IS lenses. While the new Image Stabilized

lenses will not totally eliminate the need

for a tripod, it does make shooting from an

unstable platform, such as a kayak, much

more achievable. With image stabilization,

auto focus, auto aperture, full aperture metering,

and Canon’s unparalleled optical

Always ask.

Netcage salmon farming pollutes

the environment and threatens

the survival of wild salmon.

Georgia Strait Alliance: 250-753-3459

www.GeorgiaStrait.org

Photo: Wild BC spring salmon by Alexandra Morton ©

Alert Bay, BC

the friendliest little island in Johnstone Strait

See tall totems, visit world famous

First Nations U’Mista museum, enjoy

historic landmarks, browse gift shops,

stroll boardwalks and nature trails.

Ph: 250-974-5024

www.village.alertbay.bc.ca

Is Is it it wild or farmed?

Eat Wild

Photo: D.L. Anderson

quality, the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 I.S.

USM is on the leading edge of 35mm lens

design (list $1200).

TRIPODS

Serious photographers use tripods. Fast

film and image-stabilized lenses can help

compensate for camera motion but there

still is no substitute for a good sturdy tripod.

One of the best compact models,

Bogen/Manfrotto 3001, has recently been

reengineered. The Bogen/Manfrotto

3001PRO is lightweight, compact, and

sturdy. It weighs 3.8lbs, has a closed length

of just 21" and is capable of holding 11lbs.

The new three-faced center column and

built in low angle adapter makes this a very

versatile tripod, one that can be used for

the boat, as well as your primary tripod,

www.bogenphoto.com (list $183).

© David L. Anderson is a freelance photographer

living in Scappoose, Oregon, who says

he’s learned by trial and error what works and

what doesn’t in taking pictutes from a kayak.

Email: dlaphotography.cs.com.

23


GREAT GEAR

The “Partial Eclipse”

Half-Skirt from

Brooks covers the

front of the cockpit

opening, protecting

you against spray,

splash and sun. Implosion bar directs water away

from you. Perfect for hot sunny summer paddling.

Black. Two sizes, one of which will fit your boat.

$40 suggested retail. Check out the all new

Brooks Paddle Gear: ww.brookspaddlegear.com.

1067 Churchill Cr. North Vancouver, BC V7P 1P9

and PMB 49-1160 Yew Avenue, Blaine, WA

98231.

The Skymaster Weather

Meter is a pocket-sized

weather station that

meaures windspeed,

altitude, temperature,

humidity and air pressure,

has an audio

storm alarm, and is

powered by a replaceable

Lithium battery.

The unit is water resistant,

floats and is

threaded for a tripod

mounting. Suggested

retail: $160 US. Contact

Speedtech Instruments:

800-760-0004.

info@speedtech.com.

www.speedtech.

Aqua Quest Aqua Roo & Mini Roo Waterproof

Waistbags. Store your passport, money, ID and

keys in these 100% waterproof waist pouches

while kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling, cycling,

jogging, at the beach or pool, etc. Lightweight

nylon coated material with cambrelle mesh back

for comfort is fully submersible without leakage.

Incorporates patented double fold & ziplock closure

system. Ph: 604-970-2890. Fax: 604-275-

5272. Email: info@venturequest.net Web:

www.venturequest.net

The SailRig

MK2 from

Chesapeake

Light Craft

consists of a

mast and

leeboard, two

outrigger hulls

and two crossbeams.

Simple fastenings combine the kayak and

SailRig into a stiff, fast sailing craft, with potential

speed above 8 knots, and good windward ability.

Easily adapted to wood, glass, or poly boats.

$775US. Sail only $299. Plans only: $69. Ph: 410-

267-0137 fax: 301-858-6335. Email: info@

clcboats.com. Web: www.clcboats.com

“Dear North

Water:

In the last 20

years of kayaking,

I have seen at

least 20 different

deck bags. There

was something

wrong with

each one of them from design to construction.

At last—a perfect deck bag—perfect in shape,

material, construction and especially over all

design. Good show!! Thanks!” (From a satisfied

Northwater customer.) Ph: 604-264-0827. Web:

www.north water.com (Ed.—Win one! p.35)

O’Neill Thermo

(8oz) and

Thermo X (13oz)

Shirts. Available

in short or long

sleeves, made

from P2

Polyolefin. A

great first layer

under dry tops,

paddling jackets

and wetsuits.

Some of the

many benefits include moisture management, insulation,

durability, odor resistance and sun protection

when worn on its own. Specially designed

paddle zones under the arms eliminate chafing.

For more information and a complete dealer listing

check out www.oneill.com.

24 WaveLength October/November 2001


JetBLADE is a portable, collapsible paddle wheel

device that transforms your canoe into a paddle

boat in minutes. Fits any canoe. Approximately

seven pounds. Operated with either feet or

hands. Attaches with no tools or modifications.

Parts assemble easily with spring buttons. 10

Harvard Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M6R 1C6. 416-

JET-9399 or 1-866-JET-4445.

AquaDynamic Retractable Thigh Braces. Experienced

paddlers know the value of a tightly

outfitted kayak for control, however this must be

weighed against comfort and ease of entry/exit.

AquaDynamic retractable thigh braces add the

security needed to improve performance in rough

water and in execution of the eskimo roll, yet

move aside to allow the paddler to enter or exit

the boat easily. AquaDynamic Watercraft Inc.

blord@AquaDynamic.com. Ph: 1-866-278-

2396. www.aquadynamic.com

Go a little further. Sneak a little closer. Troll for

trout. Rescue a friend. Retractable from the cockpit.

Retains functional rudder. Call for more details

today. LPW Kayak & Power Systems. Guy &

Rocky Light. 8000 E. Clearview Dr., Carson City,

NV 89701. Ph: 775-882-2535 Fax: 775-882-

2760. Email: lpwrockguy@aol.com

Native offers the first true Sports Sunglass to exclusively

feature polarized lens technology.

Lenses are impact resistant, block 100% harmful

UV light. Lifetime warranty. Total comfort in

less than an ounce. Suggested retail $119 Cdn.

Call 1-888-925-8686 for a dealer near you or

check out www.nativeyewear.com

October/November 2001 WaveLength

The Roleez Sports Caddy can carry your gear

through sand, mud or snow, over rocks, curbs,

stairs, bumps, grass or turf. Patented balloon

wheels are tough yet pliable, and don’t sink or

plow in tough terrain. The Caddy can carry up to

200 lbs with ease. 1-800-369-1390.

www.roleez.com

NRS SeaTour Jacket. Waterproof

and breathable at an incredible

price. You won’t find a better

value in an anorak style

touring jacket. Utilizes

waterproof, breathable

WaveTex fabric for the

perfect combination of

comfort and durability.

Underarm zippers offer

ventilation, while neoprene

on neck and wrists

seals out spray. Reflective tape on shoulders improves

safety in low visibility. Innovative rolldown

hood with visor stows in its own pocket.

Shock-cord waist and taped seams keep you dry

and comfortable. S-XXL, yellow. $129.95US. ❏

25


From the Rainforest

Back To the Future

Sea kayaking is, as paddler John Deakins

wrote, “a culture in the making”. But

what sort of culture are we creating?

Kayaking tends to attract individualists,

and we see ourselves as unique, the only

ones having these experiences. But there

are lots of kayakers, boaters, and others out

there. And we need to develop a sense of

etiquette with respect to both the people

and the land.

This spring I had a spooky experience. I

time-travelled twenty years into the past,

to the time when I had just begun ocean

kayaking. Our group was visiting a section

of the coast not often paddled. There were

few other paddlers around. No whale

watchers, no water taxis, no fish farm

barges. Very little traffic at all, except a few

locals.

As we camped on the beaches, debates

began which sounded familiar to me.

“What is the possible harm of leaving just

one apple core?” “Why not have a bigger

fire—look at all this wood!” Why do we

have to be so fussy about where we take a

crap—no one’s around!”

I clearly remember having these debates

with friends back in the eighties. People

then could not imagine a world which

would be crowded with kayakers. Today,

as I hike up and down beaches scoured

clean of any burnable scraps of firewood, I

think back to those debates. As legions of

mice scurry over my bivvy bag each night,

I ponder the sheer number of visitors to wild

areas, and the inevitable crumbs of food as

well as the thoughtless ditching of leftovers

which have resulted in a multiplying mouse

population.

Five years ago I swore that if I couldn’t

drink the water out of local creeks, I

wouldn’t paddle anymore. I scoffed at people

who insisted on boiling or treating the

water before drinking. Now I’ve witnessed

enough questionable, even shoddy, practices

disposing of human waste that I’m

leery of sipping water from pristine-looking

waterways.

Is there a solution to all these woes? There

certainly is. When you find a little cove that

looks as if no one else has ever been there,

assume that someone has, and try to leave

it looking the same way for the next group

to enjoy. We need to perfect a Leave No

Trace (LNT) ethic for visiting wild places.

The big three: shit, fires, and garbage.

We need to get much better at disposing

of human waste in ways that don’t harm

the environment. The big issue is keeping

it away from sources of fresh water. Your

best bet is to use an outhouse, if one is provided.

I fear we will be seeing more of these

appear in formerly wild places, yet I can

see the need at certain high-use campsites.

Where no outhouse exists, I think it’s best

to bury the waste down near the low tide

line, where it will spend as much time as

possible underwater. Others suggest packing

everything out. And when you pee, do

so directly into the salt water—especially

during dry summers, to avoid odours.

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LOW COST, SELF-CATERED, 14 YEARS IN BUSINESS

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Also 2-9 day summer trips to:

• Johnstone Strait/Knight Inlet

• Queen Charlottes

• Clayoquot Sound

• Nootka Island

• Broken Group

• or Gulf Islands Weekends

info@gck.ca www.gck.ca

RR1 Site 1 C-23 Gabriola Island, BC CANADA V0R 1X0

PH: 250-247-8277 FAX: 250-247-9788

As for fires, they are no longer considered

essential to the camping experience.

You’ll cook more quickly and cleanly over

most any portable stove these days. As night

falls, try gathering around a candle lantern

to watch the sunset fade and the stars come

out one by one. If you must have a fire,

keep it small. The idea is to burn it right

down to white ash.

There are two reasons people are failing

to do this: 1) they start with wet wood (dry

cedar may look wet on the outside, but if

it’s light, it’s dry inside!), and 2) they try to

burn pieces that are too big.

If you create a fire pit on the beach, don’t

ring it with rocks—they just get charred and

ugly (Ed. some rocks explode when they

get hot). Leave no trace of your fire-pit when

you leave. But don’t just bury a fire in beach

sand! If someone before you has already

left a fire pit, then use it. Don’t build another

nearby to suit your particular needs.

Garbage is pretty simple. You pack it in,

you pack it out. Try to leave as much packaging

as possible at home. You can burn

paper and compost in the field, but don’t

burn plastic, as it releases toxic chemicals.

One of the attributes we seek while voyaging

in Nature is solitude, to escape from

the madding crowd. We tend to seek out

privacy when camping, and I’ve seen people

get quite annoyed when others arrive

at “their” camp-spot for the night. Better to

set up your camp so that late arrivals can

easily find a place to settle in for the night.

My hope for the future is that people will

use kayaking as a platform for reflection,

as a tool for exploration. I hope that people

have life-changing experiences, that

they come to re-assess their place in the

world, and their relationship with Nature.

One of the main strengths of paddling is

its ability to connect us with the past. This

will only become more important in the

future. By leaving behind the conveniences

and distractions of post-industrial society,

we have an opportunity to value the truly

important things in life, such as food,

warmth, shelter, companionship, peace,

and beauty. We are then empowered to

distinguish between these vital “needs”,

and manufactured consumer “wants”. ❏

© Dan Lewis and Bonny

Glambeck operate

Rainforest Kayak

Adventures in Clayoquot

Sound. 1-877-422-WILD

mail@rainforestkayak.com

www.rainforestkayak.com

Dan Lewis

26 WaveLength October/November 2001

Photo Mark Hobson


Mothership Meanderings

Orca Pass Holiday

This year we didn’t travel north to the

Broughton Archipelago for our summer

holiday as we have done the past three summers.

Having just moved to a new home,

we wanted to spend time in the garden, so

our usual month-long expedition was out

of the question.

We ended up spending ten days on the

water in August, cruising in our little kayakladen

mothership around the Gulf Islands.

What a pleasant rediscovery it was of the

many beauties to be found close to home.

In that time we were able to visit some

favourite spots and a couple of new places.

Laurie also had the chance to take some

photos for her work on the ‘Orca Pass’

transboundary initiative (see right).

James Bay



Chatham

Island


Winter

Cove

Sidney Spit


‘Orca Pass’ (so-named because orca

whales are resident in these waters) is a

cooperative project of some twenty Canadian

and US non-profit organizations. It was

inspired by the special ecological values

of the area and the need to preserve them.

We toured much of the Orca Pass area

on the Canadian side this year and hope to

visit the San Juans in the near future. The

island groups are really one contiguous

chain of islands in a shared inland sea—

home to the Coast Salish peoples for 10,000

years—commonly called the Salish Sea.

Our first stop was James Bay on Prevost

Island, where we spent two nights recovering

from the inevitable crush of last minute

work before leaving for holiday.

Located near Saltspring, James Bay was

acquired by the government a few years ago

as part of a future national park. Facing

northwest, it’s a good spot in a south easterly,

and a big bay with room for a couple

of dozen boats (although we only saw four

at anchor). There’s also a spacious camping

area for paddlers in the long grass of an

abandoned apple orchard and great shore

walks in the 90 acre park.

Our first day there, we launched our kayaks

and paddled out around the tip of

October/November 2001 WaveLength

Cabbage Island


...... Boundary of ‘Orca Pass’

The waters between the Canadian Gulf

Islands and the US San Juan Islands are

a beautiful area of rich marine life, sensitive

habitat, and cultural significance. But as the

human population grows, the marine environment

faces threats from over-development,

pollution, fishing pressures and heavy marine

traffic.

As a result, populations of groundfish have

plummeted in the region along with many

birds. Orca whales are officially at risk, faced

with fewer salmon stocks and relentless

exposure to toxic

chemicals from land runoff

and outfalls.

Parks Canada has called

southern Georgia Strait ‘the most

at-risk natural environment in

Canada’, and the situation is no better on

the US side of the border.

Seven years ago a panel of marine scientists

appointed by BC and Washington called

for the immediate establishment of marine

protected areas (MPAs) in the region. MPAs

are a proven tool to restore depleted species

and protect biodiversity. But subsequent government

efforts to establish MPAs here have

gone nowhere despite the fact that the loss of

marine biodiversity continues unabated.

Recognizing that decisive action is urgently

needed, a dozen environmental groups from

both sides of the border joined forces two

years ago in a campaign to create MPAs in

the region. The effort, led by the Georgia Strait

Alliance and People for Puget Sound, has

grown to include whale researchers, kayak

Prevost, making our way to Hawkins Islet.

Hawkins is a recreation reserve with a

pocket shell beach on a picturesque setting,

situated directly across from Active

Pass, the main route into Georgia Strait. The

only downside was finding an active shellfish

farm anchored in the shallows off

Hawkins’ neighbouring islet. The whole

paddle was 3-4 miles in total, during which

we saw eagles, cormorants, and seals.

Next we headed south to Sidney Spit, on

Sidney Island, an amazingly long sand spit

serving as a natural breakwater behind

which BC Parks has situated numerous

mooring buoys. But watch the shallow

depths and pick your tides if your boat

draws much water. Paddlers, of course, have

none of these worries and will find lots of

room to camp in a large, level, grassy area

by the old dock, part way into the lagoon.

On a previous trip Laurie and I had

walked out to the end of the spit, and back

around the lagoon, but this time we paddled

into the lagoon at high tide, finding its

Alan Wilson

operators, community groups and even the

two local governments—the Islands Trust and

San Juan County.

The groups have mapped out what they

are calling the ‘Orca Pass International Stewardship

Area’, a name given in recognition

of the region’s true ‘transboundary citizens’—

the Orca whales that transit the area.

Within Orca Pass, they’re using GIS mapping,

scientific data and other information to

identify resources and habitats at risk

and areas that require special protection.

They want to see Orca

Pass become a ‘stewardship

area’, in which a strong ethic of

coastal stewardship prevails and

forms a common theme for human

activities. Over the coming

months they will be proposing a

number of ‘no-take’ MPAs and other special

protection zones within Orca Pass, to

serve as sanctuaries for restoration of declining

species.

For Orca Pass to become a reality, it’s going

to require a groundswell of public support

that governments will be unable to ignore.

If the groups are successful, Orca Pass

could become the first transboundary MPA

in North America, perhaps the world—and

the jewel in the crown for paddlers and lowimpact

eco-tourism operators in the region.

To find out more or to get involved: Georgia

Strait Alliance, 250-381-8321

(www.georgiastrait.org) or People for Puget

Sound, 206-382-7007 (www.puget

sound.org).

PAGE’S RESORT MARINA

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27


Hawkins Islet and its large midden

semi-enclosed, shallow waters still and

peaceful, its fine sandy shores fringed with

reeds, and populated by great blue herons

and kingfishers.

At the far end of the lagoon we landed

on a low rocky islet covered with gnarled

Garry oaks, twisting, red-bodied arbutus,

and open grassy spaces.

We spent a couple of nights at the Spit

before crossing to the town of Sidney on

southern Vancouver Island. We tied up at

Port Sidney Marina which has lots of dock

space, including customs for US boaters arriving

in Canada, plus showers for us!

While at Port Sidney, we visited the Marine

Ecology Station run by our friend and

former Georgia Strait Alliance board member,

Dr. Bill Austin, who demonstrated the

Station’s remote controlled submersible vehicle,

Seymour. The Station is well worth a visit.

Paddle Sports Professionals

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Photo: Alan Wilson

(Marine Ecology Station: 250-655-1555.

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Despite bleak weather and foreboding

forecasts, we set off next for Chatham Island

which lies in a group with Discovery

Island, just off Oak Bay. Although there is

limited anchorage and the islands are

plagued with winds and turbulent currents,

we dropped anchor and spent a night here.

The environment reminded me of the

Queen Charlottes for its wild beauty, even

though it’s situated close to Victoria. We had

a delightful private paddle in the intricate

shallow waterways, encountering numerous

seals, including a baby flopping about

Boat Passage at Winter Cove.

in the kelp and bleating for its mom.

Chatham is First Nations territory, but

nearby Discovery Island Marine Park has

excellent camping for paddlers.

The final highlight of our trip was our

favourite one: Cabbage Island. A long-time

Marine Park, Cabbage lies just off Saturna

Island, cradled in the arms of Tumbo Island.

We left our boat anchored at Winter Cove

on Saturna and paddled to Cabbage, carefully

timing the current in Boat Passage, a

narrow channel into Georgia Strait which

can run up to 7 knots. It was breathlessly

since 1981

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28 WaveLength October/November 2001

Photo: Alan Wilson

calm as we paddled the 4.5 miles there,

past reefs covered in harbour seals, and

through a sea boiling with thousands of little

fish we couldn’t identify.

Cabbage has fine sand, and warm waters

on a hot day, which makes it popular.

Strangely, although all the mooring buoys

were in use by boaters, there wasn’t a single

kayak camper despite several nice

campsites.

A vast intertidal plain stretches between

Cabbage and Tumbo Islands and we

practiced our marine life identification as

we drifted in the shallows, staring down at

all manner of shellfish and marine creatures...

including my first sighting of a giant

moonsnail on the move, riding along

on its enormous foot, looking for all the

world like an immense garden snail, complete

with horns outstretched.

It’s good to know that citizens on both

sides of the border are working hard to protect

life in Orca Pass, and that if we all work

together, it will remain very much as it is

today for future generations to come. ❏

© Alan Wilson, Editor

Photo: Laurie MacBride


Books Order at WaveLengthMagazine.com

Amazon Extreme by Colin Angus, Stoddart Publishing, 2001.

ISBN 0-7737-3301-9, hardcover, B&W, 204 pp. $29.95 Cdn.

$19.95 US.

This is the awe inspiring tale of Colin Angus, Ben Kozel and

Scott Borthwick, who traveled the Amazon River by raft in

1999. They are the first people to locate the source of the

Amazon and then travel its entire length to the Atlantic.

During their 5 month expedition they covered 7000 kilometers of dangerous

waters and rugged terrain. Colin Angus is currently paddling down the

Yenisey River in Mongolia and Siberia.

The Last River: the Tragic Race for Shangra-La by Todd Balf,

Three Rivers Press, 2000. ISBN 0-609-80801-X, paperback,

B&W, 281 pp. $13 US, $20 Cdn.

This is the fascinating account of the ill-fated Walker-McEwan

1998 whitewater kayaking expedition into Tibet to run the

Yarlung Tsangpo—”the Everest of Rivers”. For Walker and

McEwan, the journey through the 140 mile Tsangpo Gorge,

with its 2000 foot cliffs 60 feet apart, was the culmination of a 25-year

dream. For the others, it was a chance at the greatest adventure and

challenge of their lives, until tragedy struck.

A Paddlers’ Guide to Everglades National Park by Johnny

Molloy, University Press of Florida, 2000. ISBN 0-8130-

1787-4, softcover, B&W, 202 pp. $16.95 US.

Johnny Molloy presents detailed information about 53 paddling

routes in Everglades National Park, including mileage,

paddling time, hazards, campsites and physical & cultural

landmarks. He also includes tips for trip planning, average

temperature & rainfall and 22 maps.

Spirited Waters by Jennifer Hahn, Mountaineers Books 2001.

ISBN 0-89996-744-4, hardcover, B&W, 211pp. $24.95 US

This is the inspiring narrative of Jennifer Hahn’s solo kayaking

adventure from Ketchican, Alaska to Bellingham, Washington.

It took her seventy days during two springs and two

summers to complete the 750 mile journey. She paddled

through tide rips and gale force winds, encountered wolves

and bears, faced her fears, and lived by her wits and abilities. This

fascinating story is punctuated by hand-drawn charts, botanical drawings

and even recipes.

Marine Mammals of the Pacific Northwest, Harbour Publishing,

2001. ISBN 1-55017-254-9, waterproof paper, color.

This handy, one-page folded, waterproof guide depicts all the

marine mammals from the waters off Oregon, Washington, BC

and the southern coast of Alaska. It includes photos and

drawing as well as common visible behaviors, habitat, identification

tips and marine mammal watching guidelines.

Wood and Canvas Kayak Building by George Putz, International

Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 1990. ISBN 0-

07-155939-6, softcover, B&W, 124 pp. $18.95 US.

This concise, well-illustrated book offers all the information

and plans to build two elegant open-water kayaks—

simply, easily and economically. George Putz guides even

the most inexperienced woodworker through the process

of building a 17 or 18 1/2 foot Inuit-inspired sea kayak using no more than

$250 of readily available tools and materials. He incorporates modern

adhesives to reduce the number of fasteners and the degree of precision

required to build the frame. He also includes information on modifications,

maintenance and paddle building.

Savvy Paddler by Doug Alderson, Ragged Mountain Press,

2001. ISBN 0-07-136203-7, softcover, 126 pp. $15.95 US

$25.95 Cdn.

This entertaining book consists of more than 500 excellent

tips for better kayaking from veteran kayaker, Doug Alderson.

Doug includes information on everything from learning to

paddle to planning a multi-day trip. These tips will make

your paddling easier, safer, cheaper and more enjoyable. ❏

October/November 2001 WaveLength

Web Paddling

Ted Leather

A

year ago I wrote my first article for WaveLength introducing

the “Paddling Partners Page”.

I want to thank the almost 300 paddlers who have made submissions

either looking for, or offering to be, a paddling partner.

WaveLength has had submissions from around the world—from

Australia and New Zealand, from the Northwest Territories to Prince

Edward Island, from Florida to Alaska, from Wales, Scotland and

England to continental Europe, to Argentina, Turkey, Israel, Hong

Kong and Indonesia.

Due to this very positive response and the number of partners

involved, we have upgraded this page to make it more friendly for

the user.

New submissions are now posted immediately. We have also

created more room for you to describe your paddling area, and

have added two new categories, one for province or state, and one

for country. Until now, users had to scroll the list of 300 names to

try and find a partner in their paddling area of choice. These two

new categories will allow users of this page to request only those

names that are in the country or state/province of their choice.

You can get to the Paddling Partners page from a link on the

Home Page at www.WaveLengthMagazine.com

Here at WaveLength we are continuing to look to the future,

providing a website that is both informative and entertaining for

the global paddling community. If you have ideas for new features

for the site, we would be more than happy to hear about them. You

can email your thoughts to me at webmaster@wavelengthmagazine.

com. ❏

© Ted Leather is the WaveLength Webmaster and operates

Clayrose Internet Creations, an internet services company

specializing in website design and management.

www.klepper.com

amscgyca@cadvision.com

Now available in Victoria

250-978-9978

29


From the Archipelago

Mysteries Below

The early morning was serenely awash

in damp shades of summer gray. My

hydrophone dangled over the side of my

boat out of sight in the cold dark water,

ready to carry underwater sounds into my

world. Dark roast coffee steamed from the

mug held close to my chest for warmth.

This has not been a warm summer. The

sun has made only rare and brief appearances,

but I have grown to love the soft

touch of fog droplets. Similarly, I have decided

green tomatoes are delicious, no

longer waiting for them to go red, because

more often than not they simply mold before

ripening.

Like last summer, this year has been good

for toads, slugs and salmon, and as I waited

for any hint of whales over the hydrophone,

salmon were jumping everywhere around

me—the spirited free-form leaps of the little

pink salmon, the smooth arcs of coho,

the bronzy explosions of chinook salmon,

the sliding skips of chum and sockeye

salmon.

This was supposed to be an “off” year for

pink salmon. The big runs of pink salmon

in the mainland between Kingcome and

Knight Inlets are on the even years, but there

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newsletters, paddling contacts

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was a surprise showing this year. “Must be

from the Glendale River,” remarked neighbour,

DFO patrolman Glen Niedrauer. The

pinks were fat and bright, indicating a good

two years of feeding out in the open ocean.

I canned up several loads of pink salmon,

because they are the healthiest species of

salmon to eat. Their short life span and habit

of feeding low on the food chain, on larval

organisms floating among the plankton, reduces

the chance of bio-accumulation of

the toxins so prevalent in farm salmon. The

abundant pink salmon also benefit the fishing

communities of this coast. In addition,

they are simply delicious.

Lost in the spectacle of the returning

salmon, I missed the first few “tink, tink,

tink” of orca echolocation, but as they penetrated

my reverie, my heart leapt. It took

twenty minutes of dedicated scanning to

spot the distinctive rise, pause and sink of

the whales’ fins. Three big males. I looked

around, but no others appeared. “Must be

the A36 brothers”, I thought. This small pod

of whales has only three males left and so

is doomed to extinction. However, the three

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The activity we see is only the ‘surface’ of whale behaviour.

Broughton

Archipelago

Alexandra Morton

brothers seemed to be enjoying the summer.

Most often seen in the company of

large groups of As and Is, they were taking

the day for themselves.

When they entered Fife Sound they split.

Two went up along the Broughton Island

shoreline and the third took the Eden Island

side. Interspersed with the crisp sonar

clicks came the lovely sweeping

Weeoooup, so characteristic to the A36’s

and all their kin. For a long time I took this

call to mean “I’m over here and doing fine,”

an acoustic reaching-out to each other,

keeping the family together. But a paper I

read recently by Dr. Peter Tyak of the highly

respected Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute,

has given me a new perspective on

this and other calls made by the orca.

Dr. Tyak hypothesizes that if whale “A”

knows in intimate detail what whale “B”

has said, whale “A” can examine the sound

she receives and in doing so “see” schools

of fish that might lie between the two

whales. This set an enormous “Ah, hah” off

in my brain. One of the mysteries about

orca is why each family of fish-eaters (residents)

bothers to use a unique dialect. Dr

Tyak’s hypothesis suggests an answer to this

question. Orca and other dolphins are

known to pay close attention to minute

changes in both the frequency and timing

of their calls. If a young whale has learned

exactly how a sound should be broadcast,

it can “read” the holes punched in it by

objects and thus detect fish. A mother whale

would be most interested in providing this

swath of acoustic illumination to her offspring,

not whales from another family. This

would explain why each family uses its own

dialect. However, this is still only a theory

and there are likely many other factors are

at work.

30 WaveLength October/November 2001

Photo: Alexandra Morton


When the A36 brothers entered Tribune

Channel they promptly fell asleep

and swam close together, producing

long rhythmic breaths. This was such

normal behaviour it gave me hope that

the persistent impact of the underwater

acoustic harassment devices that

had been used by the salmon farmers was drawing to an end.

When the whales came in a few days later they behaved in a

similar manner, but at the east end of Fife they appeared to have a

serious argument. One brother crossed to the Gilford Island shore

and foraged intently, while a second brother made a wide arc out

to the Burdwood Islands. The third brother, however, stopped at

the end of Fife and slammed his tail repeatedly on the surface.

Calls triangulated between the brothers and forward progress was

halted. After an hour and a half, they decided to swim back the

way they had come. I wondered why, until I spoke with a

sportfisherman later who told me there had been a second family

of whales that had not wanted to come into Fife and had turned

and gone back out. This family may not have been convinced the

pain-causing sound devices from the fish farms had been silenced.

At least one of the brothers had apparently been intent on escorting

that family and had convinced the other two that social needs

should outweigh a long quiet nap down Tribune Channel.

The abundance of pink salmon this year was matched by other

fish species as well. Thousands of rhinoceros auklets dotted Fife

Sound all summer. This species of bird is a surface marker of big

masses of small fish. Usually they congregate out in Queen Charlotte

Strait, feeding on the herring that are swept against the Archipelago

with every flood tide. Whenever I saw a flock actively feeding,

surrounded by screaming gulls, I snuck in to take a peek. I

could always find a tight little ball of fish in the center of the activity

being eaten from below by the diving auklets and snatched from

above by the swarming gulls. The fish were about 5cm long and

made very snakey movements. There were none of the scales twinkling

in the dark water that I find whenever herring are being eaten

by birds. As I approached the school, I took a dip with my net and

found so many fish in it I couldn’t lift it up. I quickly backed it

down until I had only a few, then I slipped them into a bucket. The

little fish were slim and slivery, their dorsal fins ran down the entire

length of their backs—they were sand lance.

I have never seen sand lance in the Archipelago before this spring.

That doesn’t mean they were never here, because fish are so hard

to see, but they certainly have not been here in the past decade in

such high numbers for so long. I make it a habit of checking whatever

dolphins and birds bring to the surface and have never seen

these fish before.

With arrival of so many sand lance I expected a humpback whale

to come in and feed on them, but none materialized. I wondered

why until I spoke with a commercial troller who had been fishing

at the west end of Queen Charlotte Strait. There, fishing for salmon

he had hooked many oil-rich pilchard or sardines. I know from

previous experience that humpback whales love pilchard. The oil

in those fish help sustain the essential warm blanket of fatty blubber

on the whales. Clearly the table was well set to the west.

In mid August a mysterious phenomena reappeared. Beginning

in 1986 I have occasionally heard a very distinctive sound from

the hydrophone, which operates 24 hours a day in my house. When

I first heard it I thought it was a humpback whale leaping. Then

when I couldn’t see anything on the surface, I began to wonder if it

was something dragging along the seafloor. It sounds a little like

Darth Vader breathing in the Star Wars movies. After 1986 the “sea

monster” was silent for almost a decade, but when I heard it again

I recognized it immediately. Now over the years I hear it periodically.

It is often heard in the fall, particularly as the sun begins to

October/November 2001 WaveLength

If you hope to enjoy the wilderness

of this coast in the future, you are

going to have to fight for her.

set. I have come across it here and

there through the Archipelago. Once

it must have been directly beneath the

boat and very loud. I now believe this

sound is a call of some type because

it has a distinctive repetitive rhythm.

It sounds like a very large animal,

whatever it is, because it is so low frequency. There are likely many

life forms in the ocean that we have never seen, or have seen but

never heard. Some day I hope to borrow a remote-controlled submersible

to try and have a look at this caller from the deep.

The sealice infection I identified this spring has shown up in

many other species of salmonids including searun cutthroat trout,

young chinook salmon, young coho and chums. Several people

have brought me young salmon they have found lying in the bottoms

of their boats in the morning. No one has seen this before and

some believe the excessive jumping is due to the fish trying to rid

themselves of the sealice. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans

refuses to take this event seriously and have even placed me under

investigation for taking the lice-infested pink smolts two weeks prior

to receiving my scientific permit. The international community of

scientists, however, has a completely different take on these sealice.

They tell me they felt certain this would happen here, as it has

everywhere else there are salmon farms. They say most of the fish I

caught had so many lice they were not going to survive and that

unless the salmon farmers are forced to reduce their sealice before

the wild salmon juveniles come out of the rivers each year, we will

lose our wild stocks just as they have in Norway, Scotland and

Ireland. They have been very helpful in guiding me through proper

testing protocol.

I have seen many kayakers enjoying the beauty of this Archipelago.

Small pods of you appear through wisps of fog, among the

diamond-capped waves of the afternoon westerlies, and your brilliant

little vessels line some white beaches like butterflies at rest. To

you I would like to say that if you hope to enjoy the wilderness of

this coast in the future, you are going to have to fight for her. Oil

wells are on the way and the fish farmers want to expand throughout

the entire coast in ever increasing densities. The governments

of Canada, British Columbia and many municipalities have failed

to recognize that wilderness will become the most precious and

valuable commodity on earth in the near future. In my years of

talking with bureaucrats and politicians I have learned one thing—

it is up to us, the citizens, to keep life on earth. ❏

© Alexandra Morton is a marine

mammal scientist and writer in

the Broughton Archipelago.


31


NEWS

WaveLength held a 10th Anniversary gathering,

August 11-12 on Gabriola Island for

staff, columnists, distributors and those

who’ve played a role over the years. Lots of

laughter ensued as we shared stories of

memorable past events—like the time we

cooked Thanksgiving dinner for 70 people

at Blackberry Point! Sunday morning we

held a strategic planning session to help us

grow into the second decade.

The American Canoe Association is offering

$15,000 in free hull insurance coverage

to clubs participating in the association’s

Paddle America program. The insurance

covers losses due to theft or damage,

including damage while boats are in transit.

800-929-5162 or www.acanet.org

Beter Bray, 44, is believed to be the first

person to paddle from Newfoundland to

Ireland, across the North Atlantic. He left

Canada on June 23, and arrived in Ireland

in early September in a 7.3 metre kayak

with a waterproof cabin.

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Berry Wijdeven, WaveLength’s cartoonist,

had one of his ‘Raindrops’ cartoons published

in a July issue of Canada’s national

magazine, Maclean’s, proving once again,

he says, that dubious drawing skills do not

necessarily preclude a career in cartooning!

The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science

Centre, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada,

are calling on the public to participate in

the BC Cetacean Sightings Network by reporting

all whale, dolphin, and porpoise

sightings in BC Waters. More than 17 species

of whales, dolphins, and porpoises can

be seen off the BC coast. Sightings can be

contributed via mail, fax or on-line at

www.wildwhales.org. For those that work

on the water in a professional capacity, a

logbook to record sightings can also be

obtained from the Aquarium, and returned

when completed. Sightings will then be

entered into a database that will be used

for future analysis of key questions pertaining

to the cetaceans of British Columbia.

For information: Angela Nielsen 604-659-

3516 or Nancy Fowler 604-666-0646.

A humpback whale found dead near Glacier

Bay in July was likely hit by a cruise

ship, according to an expert hired by the

US Park Service. An autopsy Sunday indicated

the whale was pregnant and suffered

a severe head injury. Park Service officials

are interviewing crews to pinpoint which

ship may have hit the whale.

There appears to be a growing body of evidence

that whale-watching tours are con-

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tributing to Orca population decline. Studies

of outboard motor noise on whale behaviour

seem to indicate that the 100 metre

limit for approach may be far too small.

There is also some evidence that paddlers

could have impacts on Orca behaviour.

Mark Spalding, a professor at UCSD with

extensive experience in whale watching

issues worldwide, says “There is no question

there are short-term impacts on whales

of whale watching, including behavioral

changes, dives, breathing, and flight. And

until we have proven that there is no long-

PHOTO CONTEST!

Submit your funny photos for our

upcoming ‘Misadventures in

Paddling’ (Humour) issue (contest

deadline: Nov. 1st). Submitters

whose photos are selected will

receive a free year’s subscription, and

their pictures will be published in

WaveLength and/or on our website.

Guide Jim Demler after a Tsunami

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32 WaveLength October/November 2001


term impact, we should exercise caution. Orca do exhibit behavioral

changes when chased by boats. It is only common sense not to

pursue, or encircle, the whales.”

‘Cockroaches of the sea’, that’s how the Japanese government describes

minke whales. Fisheries Agency counselor Masayuki

Komatsu made the comment in an interview with Australian Broadcasting

Corp. as he denounced efforts to curb Japan’s whaling industry.

For the second year in a row, meanwhile, the International

Whaling Commission rejected pleas to create new whale sanctuaries

in the South Pacific and South Atlantic. Japan came under fire

for “vote buying”—essentially bribing impoverished Caribbean nations

with aid money so they will vote against protections for our

vanishing whales. Japan slaughters hundreds of whales every year

in defiance of international law. Japanese whalers claim they kill

whales for “scientific research,” but the whale meat ends up on

dinner plates in Tokyo’s finest restaurants.

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are recognized

by scientists around the world

as an important tool in conserving marine

biological diversity and developing

sustainable fisheries. However, despite

commitments of Canadian, American,

and Mexican governments to establish MPAs, progress is slow and

the health of our oceans remains in jeopardy. In response, the Living

Oceans Society, a BC conservation group, is hosting the MPA

Power Tools Conference October 19-21 in White Rock, BC. The

goal is to empower individuals from the west coast of North America

to become part of the movement to establish MPAs. The conference

features speakers from Canada, the USA, and Mexico. Scientists

and GIS experts will share innovative tools available to identify

MPAs, First Nations leaders will teach ways to work on MPA

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initiatives while respecting native culture and legal issues, and commercial

fishermen will outline ways to work collaboratively on MPA

projects. Groups from around North America will discuss their MPA

projects, providing the opportunity for building partnerships and

sharing ideas. For details or to register: www.livingoceans.org or

250-973-6580.

A massive fish kill at a salmon farm in Bedwell Sound has alarmed

First Nations’ leadership. The weight of a reported 25 foot deep

layer of dead fish, lying at the bottom of a huge net pen, damaged

the structure of the net cage. The fish had died from an algae bloom,

which may have been caused by waste from the farm itself. Fungus

covered carcasses floating to the surface created an unbearable

stench at the site. The Ahousaht people had earlier protested when

the fish farm company wanted to move their net cages there, but

government allowed this site to go ahead, ignoring protests.

The BC salmon aquaculture industry is being investigated by a Citizens’

Inquiry beginning October 1. The Leggatt Inquiry into Salmon

Farming in BC is headed by former BC Supreme Court justice Stuart

Leggatt. Public hearings are taking place in several communities to

October 12. The federal Fisheries department is refusing to participate.

Written public submissions are encouraged. The report is due

out mid-November. Ph: 604-721-1536. www.leggattinquiry.com.

The world’s coral reefs may be dead within 50 years because of

global warming. Microscopic algae that support the coral polyps

cannot live in the warmer water, and the polyps, the tiny creatures

who actually create the reefs, die off within weeks. Scientists agree

the world’s oceans are now warming at a rate of between one and

two degrees Celsius every 100 years due to the increased amounts

of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But even if we stopped

pumping out greenhouse gases tomorrow, it would still be too late

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33


to save the reefs, given a 50-year time lag

between carbon dioxide emissions and the

effect on ocean temperature. The implications

stretch far beyond the death of the

colorful coral structures themselves. The

weird and wonderful eels and fish which

inhabit the nooks and crannies will become

homeless, and many species will die out.

Humans will also suffer directly as the dead

reefs are eroded and shorelines that have

been protected for the last 10,000 years face

the wrath of the oceans without their natural

defenses. The only cause for optimism

is that new coral reefs could start to emerge

in colder waters such as the north Atlantic

Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

A recent discovery of deep-sea coral off

Nova Scotia’s coast is fuelling a debate over

the importance of such areas as fish habitat.

A diving expedition went 500 metres

down this summer and found a thriving,

centuries-old thicket of cold-water coral,

never before seen. Anna Metaxas, the lead

scientist on the expedition says, “What we

hope to be able to do is provide some idea

of how these systems work to help policy

makers to make decisions about how much

an area should be protected.” But environmental

activists say science is taking too

long, and researchers already know that the

home coral provides for juvenile groundfish

is threatened by certain fishing practices.

The Ecology Action Centre in Nova Scotia

says the government is aware that trawlers

with weighted nets are scouring the ocean

floor, destroying everything in their path,

including coral. The group is taking the Department

of Fisheries and Oceans to court

over its decision to re-open Georges Bank

off Nova Scotia to dragger boats again this

year.

Johnson Outdoors Inc. announced in late

August that it will consolidate the manufacturing

of Necky Kayaks (winner of Manufacturer

of the Year in 2001) into its Ocean

Kayak facilities based in Ferndale, Washington.

The Necky brand will continue

along with its sales, marketing and new

product development functions. Patrick

O’Brien, President and CEO, emphasized,

“We are pleased that the Necky brand will

continue to maintain its own infrastructure

in support of marketing, sales and new

product development. There is a lot of heritage

surrounding this brand and we greatly

respect that. This move was made to leverage

our manufacturing and logistics management.”

Johnson Outdoors Inc. is a global

company engaged in the design, manufacture

and marketing of many well-known

branded outdoor recreation products. Visit

Johnson Outdoors online at

www.JohnsonOutdoors.com.

Paddle Meals

Coastal Cooks

Former fisheries scientist, David Hoar and

his physician wife Noreen Rudd, have

spent twenty years exploring the coast of

BC and Alaska. Ten years ago they started

compiling recipes on computer so they

didn’t have to drag dozens of cookbooks

along on their trips.

They didn’t plan to write a book, but people

they met were always asking questions

and the cookbook seemed like the best way

of putting the information together. Although

written with the boating community

in mind, it’s equally valuable for campers

and seafood lovers alike.

Cooks Afloat! is dedicated to those who

are committed to the preservation of our

coastal fishery, reflecting David and

Noreen’s philosophy of treading lightly on

the earth. It’s a mini-fieldguide to coastal

edibles such as berries, wild onion, sea asparagus,

beach peas and shellfish. Recipes

entice you to taste the treats of nature, as

long as caution is taken not to overharvest.

The provisions list includes spices and liqueurs

to add that gourmet taste with least

effort. Noreen has learned, for example, that

Pernod makes crab just a bit more exotic.

Although they now have a galley, the

authors used to travel by inflatable and did

lots of canoeing in Ontario. They’ve baked

on campfires and Coleman stoves using

two pie plates (one deep dish and another

slightly smaller) put together like a

clamshell. They recall canoeing around

Bowron Lakes relying on their own prepackaged

food.

WaveLength’s Diane Coussens attended the

Outdoor Retailers Summer Market in Salt

Lake City this August and reports it was a

wonderful event. She enjoyed several days

of rubbing shoulders with the manufacturers

and retailers of the outdoor industry. This

years show included more exhibitors and

brands than ever before. Total attendance

was 18,792 with 948 exhibiting companies

and 3,284 retail stores represented by 6,261

buyers, up in every capacity from last year.

The show kicked off with the Open Air

Demo held at Little Dell Lake where retailers

had the opportunity to try out the latest

outdoor products of 50 companies. While

admitting she might be biased, Diane reports

that she found the Paddlesports area

of the event the most fun and friendly.

Throughout each day there were demonstrations

by some of the worlds’ best

paddlers in the pool. Manufacturers were

enthusiastic in showing all the new devel-

Deborah Leach with Noreen

Rudd and David Hoar

“We made 12 days of food and packed

all the food for each day in a separate

ziplock so that we would not run out. We

even packed snack food in the daily allotment

so that the treats were spread out over

the days. Then we packed 2 extra days of

food in case of unforeseen delays in our

travels.” Needless to say, with that sort of

organization, they didn’t go hungry.

Now they plan to get kayaks for their

boat, the Pacific Voyager. David has already

figured out which kayaks they want to buy,

but he encourages people to get ‘out there’

however they can—whether in a kayak,

opments development in kayaks, paddles,

clothing and accessories. At press time,

Diane has just returned from the TAPS’ West

Coast Kayak Symposium in Port Townsend

which she reports as another big success,

although the mood was dampened by the

recent terrorist attacks. “Paddlefests”, she

says, “help build camaraderie and excellence

in the industry. They are a great opportunities

to learn about new developments,

try new products, meet new people

and bump into old friends.”

Trailpeak.com has recently launched a

trails database for kayaking, cycling, hiking,

and skiing. They have 10 kayak routes,

including 2 from Baja. They allow anyone

to upload pictures, descriptions, route stats,

GPS data, and often create 3D maps. All

maps and listings are free. Contact Kurt

Turchan at 604-689-9667. ❏

34 WaveLength October/November 2001


Noreen and David on Pacific Voyager

canoe or an inflatable—to discover what

the coast has to offer. He points out that

small boats teach you how to handle yourself

on water so you can “move up to your

dream boat when the rocks get too hard to

lie on.”

Their model suggests that mothership

kayaking is likely in the future of many

coastal paddlers who may well want more

creature comforts as they age, but still want

to explore the shallows in silence from their

paddlecraft.

SUMMERTIME WILD PEA—

SAMPHIRE—ORANGE SALAD

1 cup sea asparagus

1 cup shelled beach peas

1 orange, peeled and chipped

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Dressing:

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp orange juice

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp sugar.

Sea asparagus, known as American

glasswort or Pacific samphire (Salicornia

pacifica), is a succulent, salty-tasting plant

with leafless jointed stems. The blue green

plant grows around tide flats and salt

marshes.

Beach pea (Lathyrus japonicus or

littoralis) is a perennial herb that grows on

sandy beaches. The leaves are rounded and

japonicus has tendrils. American vetch has

similar seed pods—but is toxic.

In early summer, gather only the tender

upper stems of sea asparagus, wash thoroughly

to remove salt. Cover with water,

bring to a boil and drain immediately. Add

a small amount of fresh water. Steam until

tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

Steam the beach peas for 5 minutes.

Toss beach peas with asparagus and let

cool. Arrange on plates and top with orange

and nuts. Toss dressing ingredients

together and pour over salad. Serves 2.

October/November 2001 WaveLength

BARBECUED OYSTERS

First—check with the government agency

responsible for shellfish testing and closures

due to red tide/paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Choose oysters that have a cupped shell

on one side so they will sit fairly level on

the BBQ or a grate over campfire coals.

Cook until the shells open (usually 15-20

minutes). Use an old leather glove (or tongs)

to handle hot shells. Discard the top shell

and add your favourite seafood barbecue

sauce to each oyster. Continue cooking until

the sauce is bubbly and the oysters start to

shrink. Rotate them frequently and add

sauce to prevent drying. Use toothpicks to

pop oysters in your mouth or place on a

cracker.

JENNY’S OATMEAL SCONES

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

dash salt

1/2 cup margarine

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1/3 cup buttermilk (stir 1 tsp vinegar into

1/3 cup sweet milk and let stand for 5 minutes)

In a mixing bowl, toss together the flour,

baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.

Stir in the margarine with a fork to form

pea-sized chunks. Stir in oatmeal and raisins

until well mixed. Add buttermilk gradually,

stirring with a fork, just until the dough

starts to follow the fork around the bowl.

(You may not need quite all the buttermilk.)

Subscribe to WaveLength

(or renew) and you could WIN a North Water DECK BAG.

Winner of our most recent prize, a Hennessy Hammock, was DR. HUI LEE of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

1year—1 entry. 2years—2 entries. If you give a Gift Subscription, your name and the

recipient’s will both be entered in the draw. CONTEST DEADLINE: Dec. 15, 2001

To SUBSCRIBE or RENEW in North America

$15/yr or $25/2 yrs

Plus GST in Canada

To start your sub today, call 1-800-799-5602

Clip or photocopy coupon (or subscribe on-line)

and mail a cheque to: 2735 North Road,

Gabriola Island, BC Canada V0R 1X7

Knead the dough in the bowl a couple of

times.

At home or in your galley, turn out onto

a lightly floured baking sheet and pat into

a 7-inch circle. Score into eight wedges.

Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until golden

brown on the bottom.

At camp—Press dough into clamshell pie

plates or Outback oven pan. Score into 8

wedges. Bake for 20-25 minutes. ❏

Cooks Afloat! Gourmet Cooking on the

Move by Noreen Rudd, M.D. and David

Hoar, Ph.D. 2001, Harbour Publishing

PO Box 219 Madeira Park, BC V0N 2H0

ISBN 1-55017-260-3 www.harbour

publishing.com.

© Deb Leach, her computer

and kayak live in Victoria, BC.

From Epub

Adventures

Interactive CDs

on Sea Kayaking.

Now available:

Master Sea

Kayaker: Derek Hutchinson

Over 60 minutes of MPEG1 video & dozens of

historical photos. Microsoft operating system

compatible. MasterCard/Visa accepted.

Available at Epub-Adventures.com

(Also, custom-made Toksook paddles.)

www.northwater.com 1-604-264-0827

NAME_____________________________________________________________

ADDRESS__________________________________________________________

PROV/STATE________________ CODE ________________ 1 YR (6 ISSUES)

EMAIL____________________________________________ 2 YR (12 ISSUES)

GIFT Subscriptions: “From ___________________________________________”

(Print your name if you wish us to send a gift card and subscription to a friend or relative.)

ON01

35


Know Your Neighbours

Animal, Vegetable Or Mineral? Bryan Nichols

The Essence of Corals

GOOD CNIDARIANS

Sea kayaking is no longer a sport restricted

to chilly water. In palm tree studded regions

throughout the world, locals that had

never heard of a sea kayak ten years ago are

now growing accustomed to them. As commercial

guiding companies flourish and

more adventurers unfold kayaks worldwide,

the future of tropical paddling looks good.

Or does it? Tropical paddling rests on a

shakey foundation. After all, we don’t paddle

warm waters because of the palm trees.

For the most part, the scenery above water

in the tropics pales in comparison to the

glacier studded peaks and coastal rainforests

most of us enjoy up here. Much of the

allure of tropical paddling is in the water

itself—the alluring warmth, the colorful

fishes, the swaying soft corals and the eye

popping visibility.

Tropical water is known for its clarity.

Cruising over sand and coral patches clearly

visible ten meters below you is a wonderful

way to travel, different than the pea soup

green we often paddle in up north. Extensive

shallows behind reef crests, circular

atolls of emerald amidst the blue of deep

water—these warm seas entice us in brochures

and on television, enhanced by polarizing

lenses, software and our imaginations.

What most visitors don’t realize though,

is that clear water means sterile water. Many

tropical areas have a whole lot of sandy

bottom and not much else—there aren’t

enough nutrients for life to flourish. What

makes a big difference is coral—or rather,

the stony, reef building corals, animals that

cheat the sterile waters by acting as plants

by day and getting food from the sun.

Corals are a type of cnidarian, simple

animals that use tentacles and stinging cells

to capture their food. Though beaches with

palm trees might typify the tropics for winter

weary brochure surfers, it is often the

corals that create the islands and beaches

for the palms to grow on. Stony corals are

a remarkable combination of animal (an

anemone-like predator that feeds mostly at

night), vegetable (single celled algae that

use the sun to make food) and mineral (a

limestone home precipitated from minerals

in sea water). When they are healthy,

colonies can grow rock faster than the

ocean can erode it, reaching outward into

deep water and leaving shallow flats called

lagoons or back reefs behind them. With

the “help” of hurricane season to pile up

rock, they quite literally build and main-

tain islands. Many of our favorite destinations

would be nothing but open ocean if

it wasn’t for healthy coral reefs.

Isn’t nature wonderful—using symbiotic

animal/plants to create tropical paradises

for us. Of course, reef building corals don’t

grow just anywhere. They need warmth,

clear water to let the sun shine in, a firm

bottom to attach to and a decent amount

of current carrying food. When they get

these things, they can produce spectacular

ecosystems rich in complexity, biodiversity

and color. When they don’t, reef growth will

slow or stop and the ocean will quickly

began to erode the land.

BAD HOMO SAPIENS

Life has evolved to be fairly resilient but

we are certainly taxing the planet’s reefs.

The biggest problems have been pollution,

siltation (often from deforestation), direct

damage from anchors and careless swimmers,

loss of habitats that support reefs (like

mangroves and seagrass beds), coastal development

and poor fishing techniques (particularly

dynamite and cyanide fishing).

Even more alarming, large scale bleachings

and die offs have been recorded in recent

years, especially in the tropical Pacific.

Many scientists believe that global climate

change is to blame and things will get worse

before they get better, particularly in light

of the US backing away from the Kyoto protocol

on greenhouse emissions (Ed.—

Canada has agreed to ratify Kyoto in 2002,

but support is needed from the provinces,

so Canadians should press their provincial

government to act.)

What does this mean for the increasing

legions of tropical paddlers? We’ll have to

choose our destinations carefully. What was

a fantastic undersea garden of color and

light just a year or two ago might now be a

blasted, silted or bleached pile of rubble.

Hopefully we won’t have to visit with a “last

chance to see” mentality, spinning tales of

how wonderful coral reefs used to be to

the next generation of paddlers.

Here are four tips that all of us can try to

help preserve the world’s coral reefs.

1) Visit and support countries that are actively

involved in protecting their reefs—

spending vacation dollars on sustainable,

responsible ecotourism is a fun way to help

and avoid that cooped-up winter feeling.

2) While paddling or snorkeling in the

tropics, learn what living coral looks like

and don’t touch it, kick it with your fins,

walk on it or buy pretty chunks of it for your

aquarium. Reefs can easily be “loved” to

death by careless snorkelers, waders and

boaters. Siltation is also an issue—inexperienced

snorkelers often stir up clouds of

silt that suffocate nearby corals.

3) Back at home, do your part to live more

efficiently—even though governments may

try to avoid their responsibilities, we can

burn less fuel ourselves.

4) Get involved—if you’re the active type

there are numerous organizations working

to save coral reefs and minimize global climate

change. Contact them and ask how

you can help.

GO SOUTH

Not being the doomsday sort, I’ll end this

on a more positive note. The idea is that

we drag our winter weary butts down south

this season to get away from the icy

seawater and southeasterly drizzle, and see

how many of these corals we can identify.

There are plenty of different types including

fire corals, soft corals (which often are

mistaken for plants) and black corals. Stony

(reef building) corals are the most ecologically

important and (apart from the first two)

this Checklist features them, giving you a

chance to get acquainted with the living

architects of your vacation destination.

If you’re new to sea kayaking or the tropics,

there are plenty of tour companies that

can take you out paddling along some amazing

reefs. When you do, you’ll simply have

to pop on the mask and snorkel and go for a

swim. Here are twelve corals to look for if

you’re in the ever-popular Caribbean. ❏

© Biologist and guide Bryan

Nichols would like to thank

a variety of constructive

corals for providing him with

so many great places to live,

work, paddle and dive while

avoiding northern winters.

FURTHER READING

The best field guide to Caribbean corals

is Paul Humann’s Reef Corals, part

of the excellent full color series that includes

Fish, Creatures and Behavior

For an enthusiastic and sobering account

of the wonder and state of coral

reefs today, read Osha Davidson’s The

Enchanted Braid—Coming to Terms with

Nature on the Coral Reef.

See page 44 for our annual

‘Winter Getaways’ Directory

36 WaveLength October/November 2001


October/November 2001 WaveLength

Checklist #21—Caribbean Corals

FIRE CORALS Millepora sp.

Though they have stony skeletons,

these aren’t true corals at all—they are

colonial hydrozoans, like the Portuguese

man of war. The name and the

relatives are clues—don’t touch or your

tender northern skin will get stung.

Nothing serious, some pain and a welt. Personally I wish there

was more fire coral to remind careless visitors to stay off all living

corals. Whether in branch or blade form, these colonies are

always mustard yellow and can be abundant in shallow water

on either side of the reef.

“SOFT” CORALS various

Shallow reef flats and back reefs are often

described as gardens of soft corals.

Sea rods, whips, plumes and fans all use

a horny material to build their colonies

and this flexibility allows them to bend

and sway with the current or surge. Their

beautiful colors and shapes will catch your eye whether you are

above them in a kayak or snorkeling down amongst them.

FINGER CORALS Porites sp.

Finger corals are rugged compared to most

other stony corals—they can survive behind

the reef crest as well as in the deeper blue

waters in front of it. One of the few to regularly

feed by day, their extended tentacles give them a whitish,

fuzzy appearance. Aptly named, the colonies grow like chubby

fingers, forming dense, deceptively soft-looking beds. Shallow

colonies offer a close up look, but don’t touch and don’t silt

them—it’s a tough enough life on the back reef.

MUSTARD HILL CORAL

Porites astreoides

If you have enough English blood, the

lumpy greenish colonies of this coral will

remind you of a tasty plate of mushy

peas. As repulsive as that sounds to the

rest of us, mustard hill is actually a pretty coral and very common

in shallow waters. In drab back reefs the bright green color

is often spotted by kayakers, waders or shallow snorkelers as

their first live coral.

BRAIN CORALS various

There are about five species in the Caribbean

that look rather like colorful bits

of brain on the bottom. When healthy,

several form huge, cerebral looking

coral heads that make good reminders

of how old (if not wise) coral colonies can be.

ROSE CORAL Manicina aereolata

Rose corals are one of the few stony

corals that will grow unattached—

mature colonies break free of a stalk

and can be quite common in turtle

grass beds. Their bleached and beautiful

skeletons often wash up on shore.

BOULDER STAR CORAL Montastrea sp.

Various species of Montastrea (the exact number

is still debated) are among the most important

reef builders in the Caribbean, forming shallow

boulders, mounds and pillars as well as layers

of plates in deeper waters.

GREAT STAR CORAL

Montastrea cavernosa

Great star coral colonies look remarkably

like a platter of pitted olives sliced

in half. The large, individual polyps

offer a good look at what corals actually

are, especially on a night snorkel

when their tentacles are out feeding. One variety or stage has an

amazing pinkish tinge that refuses to show up on regular film.

ELKHORN CORAL Acropora palmata

These branching brownish colonies frame zillions of pictures—

northerners will realize they look more like moose antlers. This

species is a significant reef builder, growing quickly in shallow

zones and regularly getting tossed up on reef crests by storms.

Even kayakers have to beware of hitting it—the jagged fingers of

stone often reach right to the surface.

STAGHORN CORAL

Acropora cervicornis

Big colonies of staghorn coral look like

piles of antlers scattered on the bottom,

with yellowish live ones mixed in with

older, bleached dead ones. Their convenient

size and attractive form has tempted

many to add them to the home aquarium. Just say no to this

illegal and destructive trade.

THINLEAF LETTUCE CORAL

Agaricia tenuifolia

This tan-colored lettuce coral forms

huge colonies along the Central American

coast—elaborate buttresses that

reach to the surface near the surf zones

of barrier reefs. On calm days paddle

over it and hop in. Inside the narrow

“leaves” are oodles of colorful little fishes, hiding from the larger

predators that roam through the deep channels between colonies.

BLUE CRUST CORAL Porites branneri

For a final, rare treat, keep your eyes open

for the gorgeous purple-blue color of blue

crust coral and a similar rare violet phase

of finger coral. Both grow in very shallow

water, often behind reef crests or in the

shallow centers of patch reefs, a visual delight for kayakers

snorkelers.

© Bryan Nichols 2001. No reproduction without permission of the author.

Images: Bryan Nichols

37


seaotter@he.net

www.he.net/~seaotter/

Ph/Fax: 250-539-5553

RENTALS, TOURS, LESSONS

rbruce@gulfislands.com

121 Boot Cove Rd.

Saturna Island, BC V0N 2Y0

EXPECT THE BEST!

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Located at Okeover Inlet—

the Gateway to Desolation Sound

Toll Free Reservation Centre

1-866-617-4444

www.prcn.org/kayak

kayak@prcn.org

Sales • Lessons • Rentals • Tours

2 B&BS ON BLACKFISH SOUND (VANCOUVER IS.)

KAYAKERS TRANSPORT (18 yrs)

ORCA WHALE WATCHING (16 yrs)

CHARTER & SCHEDULED SEATS

TO REMOTE LOCATIONS

OR DAY PADDLE FROM THE

SWANSON ISLAND B&BS

vikingwest@capescott.net

250-956-3431 (Pt. McNeill)

VHF 73, 79

Wilderness Experience in Comfort

Whale watching, forest tours, native art & dance.

Kayak Mothershipping available. 4 to 6 day cruises.

Comfortable and friendly with wonderful food.

G. COOK’S TOURS Box 22, Alert Bay, BC,

Canada V0N1A0. Toll free 1-877-974-5002

Email: waletail@island.net

Web: www.alertbay.com/cooktour

America’s Importer of

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50 years of experience building

single and tandem folding boats

tough enough for the military, yet practical in

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Ralph@PouchBoats.com Ph: 425 962-2987

BED & BREAKFAST ON THE BEACH

Gabriola’s south coast paradise.

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• KAYAK RENTALS •

Ph/Fax: 250/247-9824

www.island.net/~casablan

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Don’t go there!

Unless you want an awsome deal!

Kayak Lessons, Rentals & Tours

Custom Classes & Tours

Bud and Sheryll Bell

Ladysmith, BC

250-245-4096 or

1-877-KAYAK BC (529-2522)

www.Sealegs-Kayaks.bc.ca

Bowen Island

Sea Kayaking

Tours • Rentals • Lessons

Call to reserve

604-947-9266

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Tree Island Kayaking

3025 Comox Rd.

Courtenay, BC

V9N 3P7

tree@island.net

www.island.net/~tree

May to October

1-866-339-1733 250-339-0580

Rentals • Lessons • Tours • Necky Sales

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in Clayoquot Sound on Vargas Island beachfront.

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transport from Tofino available • Lots to do!

CALL 250-725-3309

CATALA CHARTERS

Undiscovered Port Hardy BC

“Where the highway ends and your

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250-949-7560 800-515-5511

www.catalacharters.net

info@catalacharters.net

Kayak Rentals & Boat Transportation

Bed & Breakfast Accommodation

SECHELT INLET

Paddlers’ Paradise

Accessible wilderness only

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Ocean kayak & canoe rentals, sales, lessons

& trip planning. BOOK AHEAD 604/885-6440

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If you’re planning a paddling trip near

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Toll free 1-888-792-3366

250-902-0565

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ALBERNI OUTDOOR ADVENTURES

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KAYAK RENTALS • KAYAK LESSONS

—April to September—

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3 Hr introductory lesson $50

Double Ocean Kayak $50 per day

Ph: (250) 723-9934 lbone@cedar.alberni.net

www.alberni.net/alberni_adventures/

www.IslandOutdoorCentre.com

610 Oyster Bay Drive, Ladysmith, BC

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Your home base for

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Kayak Rentals, Lessons and Wildlife Tours.

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877-535-2424

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Explore Princess Royal Island and the

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Fully inclusive kayak and wildlife/culture tours

Kayak rentals, transportation, accommodation

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tours@kitasoo.org www.kitasoo.org

Half & Full Day Kayak Tours

Voyageur Canoe Tours

—Liz Issac—

Ph: (250) 728-3535 Fax: (250) 728-3534

Toll Free: 1-877-728-3535

Email: deer_paddles@hotmail.com

In action

for 25 years!

LAND AND WATER BASED

• 14 week semester programme

• Outdoor Education Practicum

Phone (250) 286-3122

www.colt.bc.ca


Winter Getaways

Paddling a Pacific Paradise

Foamy waves lapped on the hot

sandy beach as our party of ten

launched a fleet of double and single

kayaks into the gentle surf at

Playa Samara, on Costa Rica’s

Nicoya Peninsula. The warm, salty

water was slightly murky with the

current, nevertheless we could easily

see colourful fish as they

skimmed along the rocky shelf a

few feet below our hulls. Above us,

the “Costa Rican air force” glided

in perfect v-formation—the outstretched

wings of the ever-present

brown pelicans living true to their

nickname.

One member of our party,

Andrew, a surfer from California,

drifted southwards from our group. Intent

on the activity below, he wasn’t paying attention

to what was happening on the surface.

Not that it would have helped much.

None of us could have predicted the tenfoot

wave that curled up out of nowhere,

across a shallow reef, yawning like a monster,

picking up Andrew’s boat in its gaping,

frothy jaws and taking him for a ride.

Andrew faced his foe bravely, surfing the

slope backwards until he reached the

trough, where he was promptly swallowed

whole. The monster passed, leaving Andrew

sputtering, his belongings scattered, but

Costa Rica!

Spectacular scenery, amazing wildlife,

friendly people and excellent guides.

Eclectic 8-12 day itineraries,

January 2002. Enjoy KAYAKING,

SAILING, HIKING, SNORKELING...

Perfect for nature lovers and outdoor

adventure enthusiasts!

www.islandescapades.com

escapades@saltspring.com

1 888 KAYAK-67 (529-2567)

250 537-2537

Preparing to enter Bejuco Mangrove Estuary.

otherwise unscathed. It was the rogue wave

of the day, a one and only appearance that

left us all much more alert and appreciative

of both nature’s beauty and strength.

Such is sea-kayaking on Costa Rica’s

northwest coast. Here, a thirty-kilometer

strip of coastline between Punta Barco

Quebrado and Punta Coyote boasts an incredible

variety of paddling experiences

ranging from tranquil, wildlife-rich mangrove

estuaries and protected bays, to

adrenaline pumping kayak-surfing opportunities.

The ocean averages 26°C, the

beaches are white, soft and sandy. What’s

more, this area of Costa Rica is not

“foreignized” like many of the better-known

destinations in this tourism-driven country.

Kathryn Gardner

“I came [to the area] for the surf

but stayed because the monkeys

outnumber the people”, says Tad

Cantrel, owner of Popo’s Adventures,

based near Playa Carillo, a

tranquil, palm tree-lined beach

just south of Playa Samara. “Here

you get the real feeling of Costa

Rica.”

Born in the British Virgin Islands,

Tad lived in Europe and the United

States before heading to Costa

Rica for a short-term stint as a rafting

guide. That was ten years ago.

Now Tad, his Tica wife Susana and

their four kids live in this tiny corner

of pacific paradise operating

a successful sea-kayaking business.

“This place is so beautiful, the social

knit is incredible—it is a perfect place for

kids to grow up,” says Tad.

An easy 4.5 hour drive on paved roads

from San Jose International Airport or a 40

minute flight makes Carillo an excellent

jumping-off point for touring this section

of the Nicoya Peninsula. The town is small

but offers a modest campground, a few

guest houses and a couple of restaurants

serving up such tico specialties as fresh fish,

casadsos (rice, beans, fried plantains, salad

and meat of your choice), gallo pinto (a typical

breakfast of fried rice, beans, cilantro

and onions), freshly squeezed tropical

juices and of course, cold beer.

From Carillo you can immediately begin

40 WaveLength October/November 2001

Photos: Kathryn Gardner


exploring by water or head overland (a 4X4

vehicle is required since all subsidiary roads

are dirt and often entail river crossings) to

nearby estuaries or rivers.

Nearby, the town of Samara is well serviced

by hotels, restaurants, and guest

houses—the majority of which are owned

and operated by locals—giving the area a

decidedly “tico” feel. There is even a disco

or two for those craving upbeat nightlife.

Back in the bay off Samara, we managed

to get Andrew and his gear safely stowed

back into his kayak and continued on our

way—this time taking a wide and wary

berth around the hidden reef and frothy

monsters, and out towards the open ocean.

The sun had risen higher in the sky, bathing

us in searing heat, and sunlight glanced

off the small whitecaps in blinding flashes.

I mused at the flashes, wondering how a

particular wave was making vertical leaps

into the air, when I realized that the flashes

also possessed a tail and wide flat wings.

Manta rays! Hurling themselves into the air,

four, five six times without a pause—a feat

that left us mere mortals in awe and envy

of their skill.

Not to be outdone by vertical leaps, a

school of flying fish decided to get into the

game. Soaring inches above the waves, the

fish flew some 20 feet in the air before hitting

the surface with tiny splashes. Ripples

on the surface indicated more action, as

schools of smaller fish writhed and wriggled

to avoid the jaws of some unseen predator.

We journeyed southwards around Punta

Indio, a jut of land boasting craggy cliffs

and treacherous reefs on its rocky shores.

Waves pounded the rocks with unrelenting

force and as we gazed at the shoreline,

awed by beauty and danger, our guide

pointed out his favorite surfing wave.

“Not much room for error,” he intoned

“but a hell of a ride.” His grin widened as

he recalled a particularly good day on the

waves. These swells were a little beyond

the skills of our party so we paddled on

towards Playa Carillo.

Rumour has it that the perfect line of coconut

palms was planted to mark a drop

zone for drug runners, although the only

thing dropping there now is the occasional

sun-baked tourist seeking shade beneath

the fronds.

While his guides loaded up the gear, Tad

drew a map in the sand, describing a quiet

back road leading to hidden coves with tide

pools and a waterfall. If we were lucky, we

might even spot a troop of mantled-howler

monkeys along the way. Sure enough, after

walking only 10 minutes I happened to

glance up and found myself face to face

with a wide-eyed nursling clinging to its

mother’s back. Baby howlers cling to their

mothers until they are five to six months

October/November 2001 WaveLength

On the beach near Playa Carillo

old and can move independently. “Who

here is in the zoo?” I pondered as our

groups checked each other out.

Streamers of aerial roots parted like

beaded curtains as we silently slipped

through the still waters of the Bejuco Mangrove

Estuary early one morning. Located

approximately 14 km by sea or 27 km by

land south of Carillo, Bejuco is a littleknown

wilderness gem hidden on the

Nicoya. The thick canopy of red and black

mangroves towered above the tangle of exposed

roots, leaping across the muddy basin,

creating a tranquil sanctuary that belied

the pounding surf a short distance away.

Grackles and squirrel cuckoos twittered

and squawked as they hopped from branch

to branch, while large boat-billed herons

quietly honked their disapproval of our

passage. A tiny green kingfisher flashed iridescent

green as it alighted from its perch,

but the pièce de resistance was the tiny

softball-sized nest, balanced in a bowshaped

branch overhanging the channel

about three feet from the water. We could

see the tiny point of a beak angled up out

of the nest, mirrored by a tiny tail. Hummingbird.

“There are nests all around here if you

know where to look,” explained Tad, whose

knowledge of the area’s flora and fauna is

exceeded only by his enthusiasm to share

it. One time, he found a nest containing

three chickpea size eggs, abandoned by the

mother hummer for reasons unknown.

All too soon the falling tide began draining

the water out of the one-way estuary

and it was time to retrace our way back to

the viney curtains that marked our entry.

The sunlight was blinding on Coyote Beach

after the dim estuary and we sought out a

shady spot to enjoy a light picnic lunch and

contemplate the waves. The breakers were

a little daunting today, even for a swim, so

we decided that paddling off the beach was

best left for another day and headed for the

tranquility of Rio Ora instead.

The river is rusty coloured, slow moving

and teeming with wildlife. Herons and

raptors, lizards and iguanas, monkeys and

butterflies were all waiting to be spotted

amongst lush foliage.

Between Bejuco and Rio Ora, however,

lies Bar Barranquila and no visit to the

southwest Nicoya would be complete with-

41


out a stop at the “Monkey Bar”. Located high on a hill near Punta

Islita, this rustic watering hole commands a view that stretches south

to Cabo Blanco, the southernmost tip of the peninsula. The bar is

nicknamed for the ubiquitous howler monkeys that frequent the

mango trees surrounding the establishment. There is not much of a

selection, but the drinks are cold and the bar is a favorite of locals

and visitors alike.

All too soon our time on the Nicoya drew to an end. There was

so much more to explore: rugged coastline, secluded beaches and

tide pools, waves waiting to be surfed and wildlife to spot that we

were already making plans to return before we finished our final

paddle. ❏

© Kathryn Gardner is a freelance writer and outdoor leader currently

living in Nelson, BC. Popo’s Adventures offers day and

overnight tours for all ages and levels of experience.

IF YOU GO

Popo’s Adventures: www.poposcostarica.com, Carillo, Nicoya Peninsula,

Costa Rica. Phone: 506-656-0086 Fax: 506-656-0092. Email:

info@poposcostarica.com. Playa Carillo Tourism Information:

www.carrillobeach.com

Travel by bus from San Jose to Carillo. Tracopa Alfaro Bus Lines—San Jose

office located at Calle 14 y 16 Ave 13, San José. Phone: +506 222-2666

Fax: +506 255-2981. Email: tracopa@racsa.co.cr

Driving directions: from San Jose follow the Interamericana Highway North,

until the turnoff for the Tempisque Ferry (ferry to Nicoya). After crossing the

Gulf of Nicoya, drive directly to Nicoya and from there turn south to Samara.

Airlines: Travelair: www.travelair-costarica.com. Email: reservations@travelaircostarica.xom.

Phone: 506-220-3052 Fax: 506-220-0413. Sansa:

www.flysansa.com. Email: info@flysansa.com. Phone: 506-221-9414 Fax:

506-255-2176

!

SEA KAYAK BAJA, MEXICO!

Join us on the spectacular coast of the Sea of Cortez.

Sea Kayaking ~ Mtn.Biking ~ Pack Trips ~ Sailing

Twenty years blending natural history & local culture

with great outdoor adventures.

• Non-skiff supported

• Leave-no-trace camping

• Professionally trained local guides

For more information and a FREE brochure, contact our US office:

Paddling South, PO Box 827, Calistoga, CA 94515

800-398-6200 or 707-942-4550

info@tourbaja.com www.tourbaja.com

AVENTURAS TROPICALES

www.boreal.org/yucatan

Baja, Mexico photo by Mike Sheehan

WINTER

GETAWAYS

DIRECTORY

TONGA—Escape for an

adventure week in

Vava’u, Tonga with

Friendly Islands Kayak

Company: For the active

traveller! Sea kayaking

Days 2-5; Whale watching

(June-Oct)/ Snorkelling

aboard Tropic Bird,

new 9m purpose-built

boat Day 6; Biking Day

7; Diving/Sailing Day 8.

Five nights accommodation.

Meals on tour.

Polynesian feast, Farewell

dinner. Cdn

$1360. Ph/Fax: +676

70-173. E-mail:

tours@fikco.com. Web:

www.fikco.com

SOUTHEAST ASIA &

SOUTH PACIFIC—

SeaCanoe International’s

six awards include National

Geographic World Top 25 (Vietnam), ASTA/Smithsonian Environmental

Award, Thailand’s Best Inbound Operator. SeaCanoe—always the “Labor

of Love” Original—Eastern Fiji (’83), Tahiti (’83), South Thailand (’89), North

Vietnam (’89), Coron, Philippines (’95). Dream at http://seacanoe.com/

media/gallery/ Photo complaints to caveman@seacanoe.com

NEW ZEALAND—Natural High Cycling and Seakayaking operate tours in

the world famous Abel Tasman National Park top of the South Island in

New Zealand. Guided 1-5 day catered or uncatered tours, paddle & walk

combos, Freedom rentals with all nessasary equipment supplied. Take the

time to visit. More Details @ www.seakayaknewzealand.com. Phone 64-3-

5466936 fax 64-3-5466954

KAYAKING MEXICO’S SIAN KAAN BIOSPHERE—Enjoy island camping and great fresh food.

All levels including beginner. Learn to roll in 75° F tropical water. No wet suits, just good times!

Contact Jim Holzman PO Box 853 Grand Marais MN 55604 or yucatan@boreal.org

42 WaveLength October/November 2001


CHILE/ PATAGONIA—Sea kayak in the spectacular

Andean fjords of Pumalin Park (where

snow-capped mountains plunge into the sea) and

the worldwide famous Chiloé archipelago. Primeval

temperate rain forest, hot springs, 50' support

vessel, ocean front lodge with Altue Sea

Kayaking, Chile’s oldest outfitter. Great adventure

spiced with local culture. Email: altue

@seakayak chile.com. Web: www.seakayak

chile.com. Ph: (56 2) 2321103.

HONDURAS—Escape on a wondrous Caribbean

adventure at West Peak Inn. Visit the remote

communities of a tropical wilderness isle.

Paddle the clear warm seas of coral shoals and

mangrove marshes, hike the fresh water creeks,

snorkel and scuba the unspoiled coral colonies

of colorful fish, kayak the coves and outlaying

cayes of the beautiful lush island of Guanaja.

Tel: 831-439-6984. Web: www.westpeak

inn.com

COSTA RICA—December to April winter

getaways to a Costa Rican paradise with Gulf

Island Kayaking, Galiano Island, BC. 14 years

experience in Costa Rica. Ph/fax 250-539-2442.

Email: kayak@gulfislands.com. Web:www.sea

kayak.bc.ca/tour

—Costa Rica is perfect for nature lovers and outdoor

adventure enthusiasts. Spectacular scenery,

amazing wildlife, friendly people & excellent

guides. Eclectic 8 & 12 day itineraries Jan 2002

with Island Escapades. Enjoy Kayaking, Sailing,

Hiking, Snorkeling. Email: escapades@

saltspring.com. Web: www.islandescapades. com.

Ph: 1-888-kayak-67 (529-2567) or 250-537-2537.

BELIZE—Paddle and explore the pristine southern

cayes with Global Adventures. Snorkel in

calm, reef-filled waters and relax on warm, sandy

beaches. Rainforest explorations. Experience the

October/November 2001 WaveLength

beautiful, preserved wilderness of Belize. Explore

Mayan ruins & limestone caves, canoe down jungle

rivers. All trips fully outfitted, with experienced

guides. 5 to 12 day trips, Dec. to May. Cuba: multisport

10 day trip departures Dec. through Apr. 1-

800-781-2269. Email: info@globaladventures.ca.

Web: www.global adventures.ca

MEXICO—Join Canyons & Coastlines for a kayak

adventure exploring the estuaries and scenic

coastlines surrounding Puerto Penasco, Mexico.

Snorkel and swim with surreal marine life. In the

afternoons, kayak surfing offers thrills and spills.

Instructor will teach you enough paddling technique

to have fun and you do the rest! Ph: 602-

258-6318. Email: explorearizona@mail.com.

Web: paddlearizona.com

—Tofino Expeditions runs week-long Baja sea

kayaking trips from November through April. Paddle

the Sierra Giganta Coast, Magdalena Bay and

the islands of Bahia Loreto. Full service trips with

a focus on natural history interpretation and great

camp cuisine. Free catalogue: 800-677-0877

www.tofino.com

—Paddlers Wanted for Baja Kayak Adventures

with Kayak Port Townsend. Eighth season offering

7-11 day, guided tours in Baja’s Sea of Cortez.

Remote, uncrowded desert islands are waiting

for you to explore by kayak, foot, fins or mt.bike.

Yoga too! Fully licensed, permitted Mexican corporation.

Cooperative catering. 800-853-2252 or

360-385-6240 www.kayakpt.com

—The Villas de Loreto Difference. Kick off your

shoes & make yourself at home. With the resort’s

intimate size and friendly staff, you’ll feel like

family. New at Villas, a restaurant where dining

is as casual as you are. The activities are Kayaking,

Diving, Fishing, Cycling and Whale Watching.

Ph: 011-52-113-50586. www.villasdeloreto.com

Paddlers Wanted

for Baja Adventures!

1-800-853 BAJA (2252) 360-385-6240

Paddling South operates great tours year round

in the tranquil town of Loreto. The first sea kayak

and adventure travel company in the area, Paddling

South offers guests the best of culturally and

eco-responsible tourism. Join challenging mountain

biking, historical pack trips and spectacular

paddling in Baja: 800-398-6200.

www.tourbaja.com

—Explore Baja’s beautiful desert islands in the Sea of

Cortez with Nahanni Wilderness Adventures. Local

guide/interpreters. Based at Villas de Loreto. Trips:

Nov., March, Christmas. 888-897-5223. adventures@

nahanniwild.com. www.nahanniwild.com

—Cdn$690-1035, 6-10 day trips for fit independent

adventurers who like exercise, beachlife, and

lots of freedom on their holidays. Paddle mostly

single kayaks. You bring your own camping gear

and a few group meals.12th year in Mexico. Nov-

Apr, from Loreto. Gabriola Cycle & Kayak: 250-

247-8277 Email: info@gck.ca Web: www.gck.ca

—Sea kayaking and whale watching in Baja with

Sea & Adventures/Mar Y Aventuras. Trips 3-10

days starting at $395. Kayak, snorkel, hike and

fish the remote islands and coastlines in the Sea

of Cortez and the Pacific bay of Magdalena.

White sand beaches, turquoise waters, towering

cliffs, unique desert flora and abundant sea life.

From USA and Canada: 800-355-7140. Email:

sea@kayakbaja.com. Web: www.kayakbaja.com

OTHERS—Saltspring Kayaking: www.saltspring

kayaking.com/sskayak—Aventuras Tropicales:

www.boreal.org/yucatan ❏

GALIANO

ISLAND

KAYAKING

Kayaking Costa Rica

since 1987

Treat yourself to a

week in paradise!

Weekly getaways

to Costa Rica—

December to April

est.1985

PH/FAX: 250/539-2442

kayak@gulfislands.com

www.seakayak.bc.ca/tour

43


Real Estate

HOME & OFFICE. Modern 1500 sq. ft. house

on well treed half acre on Gabriola Island, BC.

South-facing passive solar design, with wood

and electrical heat. 3 bedrooms and office with

separate entrance (could be playroom or

workshop). 1.5 bathrooms. Bright, spacious,

open plan kitchen/dining area. Hardwood floor.

Also patio, storeroom, garden and 8,000 gallon

concrete cistern for excellent water supply.

Close to ferry, shopping, school and kayak

launch. Easy access to Vancouver by air. Only

$119,900 Cdn. Call 800-799-5602 or 250-247-

8670. Photos & floorplans at www.Wave

LengthMagazine. com

ARTISTIC ENTRYWAY WELCOMES YOU

to deluxe 3425 sq. ft. executive family home.

This architect designed Victorian heritage style

is located an easy 25 minutes from Vancouver

(no bridges!), in the finest and oldest

neighbourhood of New Westminster, BC.

Surrounded by green space, just steps from

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children's petting zoo, workout circuit.

Incredible landscaping, totally private back

yard with fish pond, waterfall and garden

boxes. Nanny accommodation or separate

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close to many whitewater opportunities in the

the Fraser Valley. Reduced to $599,000 Cdn.

Contact 800-535-1737. Pics at www.Wave

LengthMagazine.com

List your house, property or

business and reach potential

customers world wide.

DENMAN ISLAND LIFESTYLE! 10 acre property, mostly treed, very private, in ‘downtown

Denman’ area and close to an excellent all tide kayak launch site in protected Baynes Sound.

Property has a country style 2 storey 4+ bedroom home with huge river rock fireplace, open floor

plan, attached office, expansive sun decks, large pond and hot tub. There is also a small cottage.

A serviced summer RV site and a 24’ by 20’ shop are used by the owner with house and cottage

rental income of $1200/month from excellent yearly lease tenants. House, cottage and RV site

private from each other. Owner operates a woodworking shop and seasonal kayak rental business

during summer months. Price $239,000. Kayaking equipment negotiable separately. Contact

Allan Mather at allanmather@hotmail.com for further information.

ARGONAUT II

Immaculate, elegant, 73’ heritage vessel, former Thomas Crosby IV, a Mission

Ship built in 1922 for the daily rigours of the Pacific coast. Powered by a 6L.3

Gardner diesel. Built of 2” Port Orford cedar, carvel-planked over bent oak

frames. Teak house. Fir decks. Gumwood stem. Current owner wishes this

vessel to remain in BC waters. Contact John West: 250 382-9298, Victoria, BC.

Price: $225,000 Cdn. Photos and text at www.WaveLengthMagazine.com

DREAMING of affordable RETIREMENT in a

pristine setting? ‘Garden Homes’ on Gabriola

Island is all that and more. State of the art

seniors’ suites designed with your comfort in

mind, lovely common areas and a supportive

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reasons for living here. Enjoy the quiet island

lifestyle. Stroll to nearby shops, doctor,

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Argyle Lane or call Sandra Hill of Island West

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FOR SALE BY OWNER. Berrypoint Rd.,

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More info & photos: http://www.island.net/

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WATERFRONT CABIN

Boating, kayaking, whale watching, fishing,

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Check out the world of paddling

at

www.WaveLengthMagazine.com

44 WaveLength October/November 2001


Business Opportunities

MARINA, SEAFOOD RESTAURANT &

KAYAK RENTAL BUSINESS

Marina with 28 slips and fully equipped 150seat

Seafood Restaurant with large ocean

deck and ample parking, plus waterfront

Kayak Rental business, floating Cappuccino

Bar, marine mechanic building, two-bedroom

suite and room for marina expansion.

LOCATION—LOCATION—LOCATION

near BC Ferries terminal in central Nanaimo,

overlooking beautiful Newcastle Island Provincial

Park and Newcastle Channel. Private

deal. $625,000. Formerly Bluenose Marina

and Chowderhouse. Call Jim at 250-754-

0695 or 250-754-4522.

ECOTOURISM BUSINESS FOR SALE

Kayak rental/guiding business and B&B on

Malcolm Island, Broughton Strait, stunning

vistas, near principal orca grounds. 10 mostly

wooded acres, georgous 2,800' custom built

house with unique features, separate kayak

building, and 33' motherboat available. Contact:

Cormorant Seakayaking Ltd. tel: 250-

973-6033, email: lulin@island.net.

Used Kayaks

SEAWARD QUEST for sale: Blue with

White Fade, Compass, Excellent Condition,

Fresh Water Use. Only $2200. Call Rod 250-

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1996 EDDYLINE WHISPER, double kayak:

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The WaveLength office just

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Many thanks to Bob Andrew,

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and Dwight Anderson.

October/November 2001 WaveLength

WaveLength is available in print at over

500 outlets around North America

and available globally on the web.

45

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