Fjord Fun

We had a perfect paddling day today: 21°C, with very little wind, so we adventured somewhere new: Finalayson Arm. This is really a fjord from the Salish Sea that spikes its waters between Vancouver Island and the Saanich peninsula. With towering cliffs and protected waters, it made for a fantastic day on the water.

We started at the red star, as far down the arm as we could, at the Goldstream Marina. We were instructed that we could not go further south; it’s a protected wildlife area and we were regaled with stories of a black bear walking the beach the day before. We did not meet him. We made our way up the west side of the arm, crossed over at Elbow Point, aptly named and proceeded to Mackenize Bight, a great rocky beach where we had lunch. On our return, we stayed on the east side, since it was now in the sun, and enjoyed the aquarium paddle. It was a total of about 18 km round trip.

So, what made this so special? Of course, it’s always fun paddling in a new area. Always lots ot see. But there is more. Even though the Island Highway runs at the top of the cliffs and there were several houses nestled among the trees on the cliffs, it was very quiet and peaceful. We really felt we were in wild country. The scenery was beautiful, even with the dry brown grasses, shrubs and many stressed trees, due to the drought we are still experiencing.

Towering walls of the fjord.
Didn’t take pictures of the big houses, but this was a charmer. We expected to see gnomes or hobbits on the lawn.

The other great thing of today was the wildlife we saw (and I exclude my paddling partners!). We saw countless jellyfish of all sizes. We think they get carried into the arm with the tides and can’t make their way out to the sea but are not sure. They do like deep waters and the arm does go to a depth of 200m. They are fun to watch, very ethereal and ‘soft’ as they float and move through the water.

We also saw countless seals. Some in the water, carefully watching us. Some on the rocks that slipped into the water as we approached. And then there was this one guy that stayed on land and allowed me to get quite close. It was dry and comfortable in the sun. We were not sure if it was ill or just used to seeing people in kayaks.

And of course since we were travelling close to rocky cliffs that plunged into the water, there were lots of lots of sea stars to see, of all sizes, and shades of purple and orange and yellow. Since the tide was fairly high, most were under the water (hence the poor picture). When the sun shone, we could see quite deep and see them everywhere. These ‘aquarium paddles’ are so much fun.

So all in all it was a great day. We were fortunate to share it with friends of ours, which made it a bit more special too.

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