We have been baked by the sun for many, many weeks now, including the heat wave under the Dome during the last week of June. We have not had rain, I think, since June 15. While for retired Islanders this presents many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, our world is suffering. 300+ wildfires now burn across BC, billions of shellfish were literally ‘cooked’ to death at low tide during the heat wave, streams are drying up, and what waters remain are too warm for fish. Salmon and other fish stock are at risk. We are now at Stage 3 for water restrictions so lawns are brown, farmers’ fields and roadsides grasses are brown. We still have lots of green in the trees that we see everywhere but I’m sure they are being stressed too.
So yes we have enjoyed the endless summer days, but we are not sure what long-term costs these extraordinary conditions will bring.
So what have we been doing?
Lots of Biking
We still love trail riding and have done lots, but our bikes (and shins) get very dusty from the dry stone dust! A lot of cleaning after each ride is required. But it’s worth it.
Lots of Paddling
Derek is back in his boat so we took him on our of favourite trips: around DeCourcy Island.
Each time we have done this we have had flat water, (ie no wind) and blue skies. Derek brought with him lots of wind and blue skies. Winds were likely in the 20-25 km which bring white caps and swells. The added challenge was wind against the current so we had some periods of ‘haystack’ waves where lots of peaks are formed and you really have to watch it. Nothing too scary. It was actually fun to test our skills and know that we can handle some heavier wind. We thought we would be in the lea of the island on the way back, and we were for the first half or so. Then we had following seas of nice swells and waves. Then you have to keep eyes in the back of your head to anticipate the unknown. It was fun! Tides were low enough that we could not paddle through the “Hole in the Wall” so we portaged across the tombola between Link and Mudge islands.
So it was a very different DeCourcy paddle but it was a lot of fun and Derek was really happy to test his paddling skills and see the cool sandstone formations along the west side.
We revisited Samsun Narrows the other day, going from Maple Bay to Genoa Bay. This is fun to do with the current and even so we had to watch for back-eddies along the sides of the channel. We had a perfect day for it – little wind, blue skies and wonderful scenery. Our friend John was with us, and his wife and grandchildren had hiked to the top of Stoney Hill and looked down at us when we passed by. We were just ‘dots’ in the water and they were ‘dots’ up on the cliff but we waved to each other and heard shouts of “Hi” across the water. Topped off with lunch at the wonderful Genoa Bay Cafe – it was another great day.
We also went back to Gabriola Island, but this time paddling from Nanaimo, instead of taking the ferry. There were 8 of us from the club and we had a grand day exploring the west and north sides of the island. According to forecasts we should have had winds of about 3 km/hour from the SE and instead we had winds of 10 km/hr from the NE. So much for forecasts. But the breeze kept us cool. The spectacular cliffs along Gabriola had lots of ‘white snow’ on them from all the nesting cormorants. So it was an interesting paddle by, holding our noses while enjoying the shapes and colours in the sandstone.
The real stars of the show were the clouds. There were several different types at different levels, and contrasted with the water, they were simply beautiful.
Lots of Hiking – that’s the next post; stay tuned.
We feel very blessed to be able to do activities like this and appreciate the beauty all around us.