Thursday, June 16, 2011

Alouette Lake Revisited

Ted and I decided to take a day trip on Alouette Lake and join our friends who were spending the weekend paddling the lake.  This was my second time paddling Alouette... see a previous posting.
Just like the last time, Ted was very kind to offer me a ride to the put-in site in Golden Ears Provincial Park.  After a bit over an hour of driving we arrived by the edge of the lake.  As usual, setting up the boats and getting everything ready to paddle took a bit over an hour.  Time does fly!

This time I took my bike's GPS unit to track our route.
...a straight forward to-and-from route.

Starting out...

Ted with his Wisper's narrow beam and Greenland paddle was keeping up a good pace.  I managed to keep up with him with my Java.

 A good southerly breeze of 8 to 12 knots kept us going forward without hesitations.  I wonder if my boat speed would have greater with the use of a sail.  ...maybe next year.

Conditions were quite different from last time.  I enjoyed the tail wind.
The return trip will be a different story.

It took us just one and half hours to paddle the 9km to the Moyer Creek campsite; that's an average of about 6km/hr!
Steven, Janice and Michael arrived to the campground earlier in the day.

Shortly after our arrival, Michael came back from an exploration paddle.  He was with his brand new sleek looking folding Pakboat XT-17.

Ted was really excited about the new kayak.

My teal Java in the foreground looked good too though.

After walking around the campsite I found Janice's beast.

The campsite.
We resisted offers of marshmallows for dinner to make us stay overnight.

A frigid looking Moyers Creek in the campground's backyard.

A "cool" underwater shot of the creek.

Michael got really excited trying Ted's seasock on the Pakboat.  A seasock is an excellent safety feature in a folding kayak.  It keeps most of the water out and the kayak's interior much cleaner.
He want one now.  ...while an Helios is resting.

Getting ready for the return trip.

 Returning wasn't quite as hard or long as expected - just two hours.  Most of the time the winds stayed under 12 knots.  We experimented feathering our paddles.  45 degrees works magic in reducing wind resistance on that airborne paddle blade.
Early evening sun coming through the clouds.
We are close to our destination.

Some interesting stats from my GPS.  The first graph's boat speed clearly shows a much faster outgoing passage then the return, due mainly to a southerly wind.  Also interesting is the elevation graph, with three little humps at the start, the end of the paddle and the middle when we stopped.  The difference in elevation I thought would be negligible, but it was still picked up by my GPS.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Urban Paddling - May 29/2011

One of the many good things about living in Vancouver is the proximity to the outdoors.  False Creek is just a few minutes cycling from my office.  I have paddled here several times before, and so far I still have not gotten tired of the different city views available from the water.  A real urban paddling treat to enjoy from a kayak.

Taking advantage of the nice spring weather, on a sunny Friday afternoon I left the office early, way early. With my Safari in tow I cycled to Vanier Park.  There are boat ramps, parking, the Coast Guard station and... water taps to wash your kayak after paddling.  Unfortunately there was still a problem with the water supply, so no washing this time.  But I found a water hose at the nearby False Creek Community Centre (another convenient put-in place).

First I pointed my bow offshore toward English Bay.  Of course pictures of waves look a lot smaller than they really were.  The breeze was about 12kn with about a 2' chop and a few whitecaps.  Waves were often breaking over the Safari's deck. Trust me... my Safari was bouncing around like a little rubber duckling.  But I felt quite safe with little chance of capsizing and the kayak's self-bailing bottom kept me floating high.  Once I reached the red mark defining False Creek's entrance I decided to turn around to take advantage of a following sea.  It was really fun being pushed by the waves.  My GPS showed a max. speed of 8.5km/hr.!

Now paddling toward the Burrard Bridge to False Creek's protected waters.
Vanier Park is on the right.  On the left and not visible, is Vancouver's WestEnd.

False Creek is home of a boathouse community.  It would be nice...

Quite a few of these boathouses have a boat docked just outside their door.

These innocent looking stone steps lead to Feathercraft.  The world renowned folding kayak manufacturer.
My Java was born in that building behind.

Another convenient put-in place. 
The False Creek Community Centre floating dock c/w a H2O hose.

The FCCC is home of an active paddling racing club.

Continuing... spring is definitely in the air...

Urban paddling offers so many interesting views.
This building, the Erickson, is becoming a Vancouver icon. 
This condo tower was built in honour of the famous architect Arthur Erickson.

We are approaching now the infamous Olympic Village with it's luxury condos subsidised by city taxpayers.
We are all in the hole for that.  But that's another story.

I like the way these guys are hanging out.  If I was a seagull I would be there too.

Of course humans know how to hang out sometimes too.  Like this your couple on the rocks for instance.
Maybe I'll stick to humanity for now.

One of my favourite pictures.  Parked in front of the Creekside Community Centre (another potential put-in place) with Science World in the background.
Urban paddling at its best!

These cormorants also know how to hang out in style.

Now paddling back towards Vanier Park.
I'm just under the Granville Bridge with the Burrard Bridge in the background.

Like it or not, this one of Vancouver most iconic symbols.
The Burrard Bridge was built in the 1930's in an Art Deco style.
Note the wind has died down completely.  Now it would have been the right time to paddle out English Bay, it's getting close to dinner time.  I'll save it for another time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Alouette Lake - Easter Weekend 2011

It was just a perfect day to paddle Alouette Lake.  Ted and I decided to join Steven and Jim who were camping on the lake this Easter weekend.  This would be my first real paddle with the new Feathercraft Java.  I wouldn't be disappointed.

The red marking indicates Alouette Lake in relation to Vancouver. Just about an hour drive from town.
Assembling the Java went quite smoothly.  It's easier and faster than putting my old Wisper ogether.  It ought to be, being a sit-on-top kayak with an rudimentary frame without ribs.  Assembly pictures can be seen on an earlier blog.

We put-in at the boat launch site located at the lake's south end.

After setting up we padded north pushed by a pleasant southerly of about 5 knots.

 Ted had his FC Wisper XP.  What a slick kayak that is!
Then about one third of the way up the lake, the wind died completely.  These idyllic conditions remained for the rest of the day!

Another view of the glassy calm water lake surrounded by white capped mountains.

After a 10km paddle in one and half hours we were met by Steven on his Sunny
Their camping spot was just a few paddle strokes away.

Our Feathercrafts, and their crew, are now resting. This was a good landing spot, with a few flat tent pads up from the beach.

From the beach we walked across a "log bridge" to see what was on the other side...

...and there it was: a lush mossy forest.

Walking back on the bridge.  Watch your step!

Our kayaks look like they are ready to take us back.

The Java and Wisper side-by-side.
Notice Ted's new Greenland paddle.

Again, heavenly conditions. 
On the back deck I'm carrying the Safari waterproof backpack.

No words needed.

By the way I'm dressed it might seem the air was cold.  It actually felt quite warm under the spring sun.

Another cool shot.

Since we made good time paddling back from the campground, we took Steven's suggestion to explore Gold Creek.  It's a short half km paddle to the watefalls.
The creek's entrance can be seen right above my paddle blade.

We are now in shallow water approaching the creek's entrance.

After a short distance we reached the end of calm waters.

It was fun getting pushed back the creek's current.

On the way out.  Cristal clear water.  It would be fun to practice skinny dipping here in the summer.
After leaving Gold Creek we paddled about another 4km back to the start.
Alouette Lake is an excellent paddle destination early and late in the season.  Apparently during the summer the lake is overrun by powerboats filled with beer drinking youth... a place to avoid.
A good start to this year's paddling season!