The days of summer are way over and we are now experiencing our first fall on the Island and it’s pretty nice. I’ll admit there are not as many jaw-dropping beautiful blue-bird sunny days as in the summer but there is lots to enjoy.
Our bikes are still taking us on adventures. Days are cooler so it just means a more layers: leggings, jackets, arm sleeves etc as needed. We have done some lovely rides. One was a tough climb up the Malahat mountain. It was steep (up to 17° apparently) but we were on e-bikes. It was a bit sobering when fit young things on regular bikes could climb faster than us on e-bikes but I don’t care. The trail was beautiful. It curved and wound through forests, meadows (yes while climbing), beside babbling brooks and although not spectacular views at the top, it was a great ride. Coming down was even more fun and went a lot faster!
Days are definitely shorter. A month ago I could watch the sunrise as I ate breakfast before sitting down to my desk at 7 am. Now I have to remember to get up and look after I start work. When the colors show up, it’s quite beautiful.
Paddling is requires a new wardrobe. We are now proud owners of drysuits so we can participate in club paddles. We were lucky to find inventory and more importantly find inventory in a size that fits us. Some brands are made for the ‘athletic’ build, not our old fart build with some extra pounds and inches. But we were successful. Meet the Mr. Bumblebee and Ms. Lilac.
Here is what we have learned so far about drysuits:
Who knew you have to burp them? Because the suit is sealed, air gets trapped when you do up the zippers. So if you don’t want to be the Michelin Man (can’t sit in the boat), you have to burp it. That involves either getting into the water so the air is forced up the torso and you let the air out by pulling out the neck gasket. Or you do a really deep knee bend and then burp it at the neck.
Neck gaskets are tight, really tight. These are water proof by using latex neck and wrist gaskets. We are getting used to them now but the first time you put it on, it feels like you are being strangled. But a small price to stay dry.
You gotta layer. These suits keep you dry but not warm if you are submerged for whatever reason. So we have to wear layers underneath, including socks inside the Gortex socks attached to the suit. The challenge of course is that when you are in a boat, with both the spray skirt and the PFD on, you get quite warm anyway. But we have to wear the fleece etc. underneath.
They keep you dry! It’s quite a treat to come out of the water and have dry feet. The water here is cold, even in summer, and getting colder. You almost always get wet feet when launching and landing. So your feet tend to cool off and/or get the lovely wet clammy feeling while in the boat. The drysuit avoids all that – it’s pretty sweet.
So we are now almost fully equipped for winter paddling with the club. We did a lovey paddle last weekend in a new area up by Nanoose Bay. The mountains on the mainland were visible, there was some interesting cloud formations to enjoy. The stars of the show were the multi-million dollar homes along the shore whose owners enjoy stunning views. We drooled but felt very comfortable with the view that we can afford here at home!
It shows up almost every morning and obscures the world for several hours until it burns off. This is definitely a new experience for us. Fog was quite rare in Ontario. We miss the sunshine but it creates some interesting landscapes. The other day the fog had burned off everywhere except over the water. With the sun shining in patches on the trees and fog, it was quite an exquisite sight. It was hard to capture the mood/lighting but this is it:
There was one day last week where the rain and sun duelled the entire day and so we were treated to several rainbows throughout the day. It was a show that never ended that we could view from our living room and kitchen. It created some beautiful moments.
We get some ‘Ontario’ color here as well, but not nearly as much. Trees that have been planted here in landscaped places often include maples that do display the vibrant reds and oranges. When the sun shines, it gladdens the soul. We have a couple on the road into our community that we can see from our deck. They are my ‘piece of Ontario’
So fall is definitely different here, but we knew that coming in. The great thing is that we are enjoying all it has to offer.