Tuwanek Beach

Sunday January 5 (continued)

We’re in the Sechelt Inlet, kayaking North to Tuwanek Beach, which is 3km away. We’ll make one rest stop along the way…at Tuwanek Point

Dave is leading the group. That’s a good thing. He’s a very experienced kayaker (he led 60 kayak tours last summer alone). It shows in the way he handles his boat. His paddle strokes are very powerful. When he pulls, the blades bite into the water and his kayak leaps forward like a racehorse out of a starting gate

Mine…not so much

Ladies and gentlemen, to your right, the Tuwanek Hotel

Just past the hotel, Dave paddles back and directs me to pull alongside his kayak, which is now facing me. I drift over and, as instructed, reach out to hold Dave’s boat with my right arm

“We’re going to build a raft”, says Dave


Wendy pulls alongside my kayak and, again as instructed, I reach past Dave’s boat and grab hold of Wendy’s. Before you know it, the six of us have created a fairly recognizable version of a floating deck

“I had a group of Girl Scouts out last summer”, says Dave. “Each girl got out of their kayak, crawled across the raft and got into another boat.” (why does that sound so funny?)

Geeziz…how ’bout we NOT do that today. I’m not even sure I can fit into anyone else’s boat

“A kayaking Chinese fire drill”, I say

The visual suggested by those words, seems to confirm what Dave has probably already decided…today is not the ideal time to practice the kayak exchange

Fire drill abandoned, he points to our next objective…a tiny island, just up ahead. Perhaps because Wendy and I are so green (green as in new…not green as in seasick), Dave is guiding us to the lee side of the island (which will protect us from wind and waves). He reminds us that the waters are shallow on either side of our passage and we must steer our kayak directly at a floating dock that is attached to the island

Dave gives a couple of swift reverse paddles and his kayak jumps back as if struck

That was amazing!

I didn’t even know these things went backwards. Watching that, I feel like I did the first time I saw someone skate backwards…which is a very cool thing to do once you know how (unless some goon is trying to kneecap you, right Wendle?)

With a quick lean on his paddle, Dave brings his boat around and dashes off towards the steel dock. As he nears it, he continues to paddle and passes under the dock with inches to spare

Hmmm…first time kayaking and I’m already expected to do stunts

We’ll that went pretty well. No one foundered (oh yeah, i got the sea lingo down…matey). Funny enough, getting to the dock and passing under without running aground (or losing any scalp) is a huge confidence builder

Our next stop is (i think) Tuwanek Point and Marine Park. We’ve come here because it’s a sheltered area and a good place for a rest

We drift through the channel with an occasional and leisurely paddle stroke. None of us got a photo but here is one that I did find online

(it looks exactly like this…but much colder)

Laurie, who has come alongside, tells me that this is a favourite spot for divers and that normally, you would see all kinds of marine wildlife in the shallow, clear waters. Almost on cue, I hear Wendy shout, “I see a starfish”

There is a mature bald eagle sitting in a tall tree overlooking us. It’s head has been visible, as a silvery point of light, from about four hundred meters away. It is very aware of, and mostly unaffected by, our presence…this hunting spot is too good to give up

“We’re going to round the point.”, Dave says. “Once we do, it will be a bit choppier, so we will paddle right through to the beach.”

He’s right…it’s much choppier once we’re around Tuwanek Point. Its a little more challenging but I seem to be making good headway despite the waves. This would have been even easier if Wendy and I had gone in a tandem kayak, but she nixed that idea as soon as soon as Laurie offered it this morning (‘i vont to be alone’)

Before I know it, I’m approaching the beach. Dave reminds me to pull up my rudder…lest I break it off on the rocky bottom

I pull up to the beach where Dave is waiting to help me out of my boat. I watch Wendy, who pulls up next. In quick succession Dennis, Mickey and Laurie arrive and are out of their kayaks. And with that, the outbound leg of our journey is complete

We’ll rest here…enjoying the warmth of the sand and sun and giving our wet gloves time to dry a bit

Laurie, Dennis and Mickey on Tuwanek Beach

Moose and Wendle

(the first rule of kayaking…’pee before you get into the boat’)

(while Laurie waits for you)

A quick pee and it’s time to head back. Laurie holds my boat for me as I get in. It’s all coming back to me (paddle across the back of the cockpit, left hand holding it against the boat, paddle extended out to the right…)

And I’m off

Now that certainly looks like a new and interesting way to get into your kayak

(Super Dave)

The wind is up a bit and the waves are higher. Dennis swings by and reminds me that the best way to handle rough water is to keep paddling

The space between Tuwanek Beach and Tuwanek Point hasn’t increased in any way since we came across twenty minutes ago…but in these waves…it feels a lot further. I keep paddling

Dave flashes by, pointing out several scuba divers off to our right. I have no camera…that’s okay, I’ll ‘borrow’ a picture later

(borrowed pic)

Back around Tuwanek Point and we’re heading for home

The water on this protected side is once more as smoothe as glass. I should be going faster but my arms are weary from battling the waves and although my stroke feels technically correct…my boat does not appear to be moving (you can always use your towline). It’s not helping that I keep banging the pump that sits atop the front of my kayak, with my paddle (stupid pump). I try shifting it around but nothing helps…I’m going to have to live with it

By the time we return to Pedals and Paddles, de-commission the kayaks and carry them up from the beach to be housed, neither Wendy nor I have any strength left to take pictures. Our shoes and gloves are soaked so we lay them out on the Civic to dry in what’s left of the day’s heat

A quick change of socks and shoes and we’re ready to eat. Dave has a fire going and Laurie has brought some Vietnamese style, rice paper spring rolls with peanut butter sauce (oh wow, these are really good), tea and olives and a cucumber salad. Wendle has chicken thighs and sausage and a melange of veggies and potatoes both of which are currently roasting in tin foil on the BBQ. Dennis, Mickey and I arrange the chairs around the firepit. Then, everyone relaxes into the warmth of the fire and the afternoon sun

We’ve traveled 6km in total and it feels mighty good to have done so successfully (much better than the alternative). I wouldn’t say I feel over confident in my abilities but this outing has definitely changed my mind about kayaking. I like it

Almost as if reading my thoughts Laurie asks, “So, would you do it again?”

“Absolutely Laurie. Anytime.”

Dave and Laurie…Thank You for another great outdoor adventure. And if any of you are in the area, and looking for your own adventure, why not give Laurie a shout at ‘Pedals and Paddles’, slip yourself into a tube and go for a run. You’ll thank yourself

Pedals and Paddles; info@pedalspaddles.com or call (toll free) 1-866-885-6440

Man, I am going to be sore tomorrow

Goodnight all

Moose and Wendle


Photo Credits

Tuwanek Hotel – http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-hKmvWjg3nSQ/UV4z0vsXJsI/AAAAAAAAP8E/oQqtz5eMfNI/s1600/P8258798.JPG

Tuwanek Point and Marine Park – http://kennethmcmillan.wordpress.com/tag/marine-parks

Divers – http://uwexplorers.net/tag/suncoast-diving/

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