After several days of indoor ‘exercise’ (office cleanup, elliptical, stitchery) due to rain, we had a day in which everything aligned perfectly.
√ New hearing aids: Bill lost one overboard a while ago due to tangling of croakies, hat strings etc. After we paid for a replacement, the audiologist offered him a second pair, free of charge, since they were a demo, if we paid for a custom mold to hold them inside his ear. Sounds weird but it works! He won’t lose them. If he dumps, they are done for, but a loss of $200 is a lot easier to accept than thousands for his ‘good’ pair. He now has the ability to hear while we are paddling – I can have a conversation with him instead of various hand signals!
√ Tides: High Tide at 8:30 am in Maple Bay allowed us to consider paddling through Samsun Narrows. This is the strait that connects Maple Bay to Cowichan Bay. The waters go through a narrow passage between Saltspring Island and Vancouver Island. Passage has to be timed carefully because the tidal currents can reach 3 knots (6km) which a paddler cannot very easily go against. So we could paddled one way, from Maple Bay to Genoa Bay, a distance of 15 km. Pearce Shuttle was kind enough to meet us with our car in Genoa Bay so we could get back home! We really felt the current push us and I think it’s been our fastest paddle yet, with speeds sustained at 9-10 km per hr through the Narrows. We had to watch for eddies and ‘funny spots’ but they were not difficult. Feeling the current push us was fun!
We are lucky enough now to have experienced Samsun Narrows from up high on Stony Hill (one of our favourite hikes) and at water level.
√ Weather: A break from monsoon rains was predicted, with some wind, but not enough to scare us. Once daylight finally broke and the sun rose, it was a glorious day with blue skies and sunshine and essentially no wind. As we started, we were ‘blinded’ by the low angle sun that was still rising because we had to go east, but as we turned the corner into the Narrows, we could see a lot more!
√ December 17: This is a record for us. We have never been able to paddle this late in the year. We have paddled in February but way way down south, not in Canada. It was a real treat.
√ Scenery: The rocks and cliffs along the strait were beautiful. Then we found a beautiful waterfall along the way. We heard it well before we saw it! In summer this would be a trickle but the fall/winter rains make the waterfalls full this time of year. They are lovely.
So, perfect weather and water conditions, combined with a paddler that can now hear, made for a great paddle! Summer traffic is gone so the waters were quiet. We enjoyed the peace, quiet, scenery, sunshine and each other’s company, still reveling in the fact that we can paddle in December. Our dream of year-round activity is coming true!