SISKA's April 2018 Newsletter. Upcoming events, reports and articles
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April 2018 SISKA Newsletter


Dear <<First Name>>,

Thanks to those members who contributed photos and materials. After enjoying a SISKA event or paddle, please consider sending a short (100-150 words) summary article; for more information, contact one of us. If you would like to start a regular column, please let us know!

(Ben is out of town and Mike is on the road in a campground with flaky internet - editorial errors are all Mike's for this issue!)

Michael Jackson (SISKA president) and Ben van Drimmelen (editor)
PS: You can find SISKA on Facebook at this link.

PPS: SISKA has a Meetup site for "impromptu" and other paddles organized by club members. For more details, go to To join this, you have to be a club member.

PPPS: You can find the SISKA newsletter archive here:

Table of Contents


Upcoming SISKA Events

For more details, go to the SISKA website

Sunday, Apr 8, 2018 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Spirit Bay to Becher Bay Paddle

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Injury Prevention in Kayaking - Keeping You on the Water with Jennie Sutton
Sunday, Apr 22, 2018 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Spectacle Falls and McKenzie Bight Paddle
Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Monthly Meeting
Thursday, May 3, 2018 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Songhees to Evening paddle- Victoria Harbour/Saxe Point Paddle
Saturday, May 5, 2018 Level 1 paddle Canada course
Saturday, May 5, 2018 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to McKenzie Bight Paddle
Sunday, May 6, 2018 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Willows Beach to Intertidal Oak Bay foreshore Paddle
Saturday, May 12, 2018 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Oak Bay Marina - Parking Lot to Birding around local islands Paddle
Saturday, May 19, 2018 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Oak Bay Marina - Parking Lot to Trial Island Paddle
Saturday, Jun 2, 2018 9:00 am - 3:00 pm 10 Year Anniversary Picnic
Sunday, Jun 3, 2018 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Willows Beach to Intertidal paddle- Oak Bay foreshore Paddle
Sunday, Jun 10, 2018 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Fleming Beach to Fisgard Lighthouse Paddle

Community Events of Interest

If you are aware of an event  that should be included in the next Newsletter, please email Alan Campbell at

Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm "Another Season" - Fly Fishing Photography with David Lambroughton - Robinson's Outdoor Store

Thursday, Apr 12, 2018 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm The Wolf of Discovery Island - ORS

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm West Coast Trail - Robinson's Outdoor Store

Monday, Apr 30, 2018 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm Marine Night: Gorge herring, Victorian native oysters, and Seaquaria - Victoria Natural History Society

Friday, May 25, 2018 - Sunday, May 27, 2018 2018 Pacific Paddling Symposium - Lester B. Pearson UWC

2018 membership

If you have not renewed your membership for 2018, this will be the last newsletter we send out to you as we will update the Mailchimp membership list for the next newsletter.

April's general meeting (25th)

Kyuquot to Nootka – West Coast Vancouver Island Kayaking at it’s Finest!
In September 2017 six seasoned SISKA paddlers cruised the MV Uchuck to Kyuquot, were slung off in loaded boats, and kayaked the outer coast for 2 weeks to the south end of Nootka Island.
These are serious waters, with winds and weather to be respected, but the amazingly rugged marine environment makes it a journey well worth taking, and worth taking the time to enjoy it safely.
Come and join Debbie, Lynn and Jennie, Alan, Michael and Morley for their photos and tales of wonderful, wet and wild weather, wildlife and the wild outer coast in an area rich in pre- and post-contact history!
Also this month we will have our AGM!

PPS Instructors coming to SISKA

The Pacific Paddling Symposium in May 2018 will bring world class instructors to Victoria.  SISKA has been able to arrange three days of informative and exciting clinics for our members.  The three clinics will be run May 20, 23 and 24 by three outstanding instructors – John Kirk-Anderson, Blair Doyle and Jarrod Gunn McQuillan. An overview of each clinic and a short bio follows.  More information, including registration details, will be sent out to club members over the following weeks.
John Kirk-Anderson (NZ) - Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers (KASK)
Clinic: Sunday, May 20.  Please note: Fee will be either $40 for a ½ day or $75 for a full day.  The clinic length will depend on finalizing arrangements with John for a SISKA Instructor session.  If both sessions occur on May 20, each will be ½ day.
The clinic is tentatively scheduled around skills needed to feel comfortable when crossing or playing in ocean currents. There will be plenty of opportunity to practice and learn more about the dynamics of currents within a safe and challenging environment.
Bio: John Kirk-Anderson has been instructing sea kayaking for more than 20 years and is a Life Member of the Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers (KASK). He holds a British Canoe Union 5-star award and is a BCU Level 4 coach. He is a New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association Level 2 sea kayak instructor and an NZOIA instructor assessor. He is trained as a Wilderness First Responder and has been a volunteer Outdoor First Aid instructor with the NZ Mountain Safety Council
A regular presenter at symposiums, John dislikes dogma and encourages paddlers to adapt skills, technique and equipment to maximize their efficiency and safety.
Blair Doyle (NS) - Adventure & Safety Atlantic
Clinic: Wednesday May 23 (all day) $75 registration fee
Fitting with his emphasis on adventure and safety Blair’s will lead a fun filled clinic around common on-water concerns and getting back in your kayak efficiently through a scenario /challenge format.
Bio: Owner of Adventure & Safety Atlantic, Blair has an extensive outdoor and wilderness background having hiked, biked, climbed, parachuted, kayaked, and canoed most of Atlantic Canada. He holds several certifications in paddling, in guiding, and as a PADI Divemaster; he has been diving the Maritimes since 1985. Currently, he is a Sea Kayak, River Kayak, and Canoe Instructor Trainer with the Paddle Canada program.
Active with the paddling associations, he is Retired Past President of Paddle Canada, having been on the BOD for 10 years and had been on the board of Canoe Kayak NS for 12 years. As a First Aid/CPR, Wilderness and Advanced Emergency Care Instructor Trainer with the Canadian Red Cross he has been responsible for implementation of the Wilderness Medical Program in eastern Canada.
Jarrod Gunn McQuillan (PEI) - Cloud 9 Adventures / Stohlquist Waterware
Clinic: Thursday May 24 (all day) $75 registration fee
Jarrod’s clinic will focus on improving paddling and stroke technique. Not only does a being more efficient with our stroke technique help us to paddle faster and conserve energy but improved paddling technique also helps us to get our kayaks to respond and go where we want them to go. Jarrod will use a variety of teaching methods to ensure the clinic is both fun and that participants come away feeling more confident in their paddling.
Bio: Jarrod feels at home in the outdoors with a particular passion for being on the water. He has been paddling since 1998, first enjoying the beautiful lakes and rivers of Ontario from his canoe with his wife Heather. He started exploring the coast of BC by sea kayak in 2006 and has now found a home on the beautiful East Coast. Jarrod is a proud member of the Stohlquist Canada Pro Team. He loves being on the water and welcomes any opportunity to share his passion for paddle sports. He works as a biologist with the Province of PEI and is a Paddle Canada Level 2 instructor. Jarrod also holds his Level 4 Paddle Canada Skills and a BCU 4 Star Certification.

What’s in a Name? William Head

William Head is the headland we paddle around on SISKA  trips from Weir's beach to Bentinck island, Race Rocks and Whirl Bay. While landing is forbidden, behind those daunting security fences lies much history and many interesting stories.

 William's Head was named after Rear Admiral William Parry in 1846.
It opened as a quarantine station in 1893, as the successor to the one at Albert Head. Its function was to screen immigrants, including Chinese labourers arriving to work on the railroads and gold prospectors from California. Large ocean going vessels such as the Empress of India and Empress of China dropped anchor with their passengers for inspection at William Head.  In the peak year of 1927,  1,068 ships docked and were inspected; its role was similar to Ellis Island in New York, and Grosse Île in Quebec.

 Disease was rampant; people were checked for diseases such as smallpox, cholera, typhus, leprosy and polio. Unfortunately the Grim Reaper visited many, who remain buried on William Head – (more ghosts!)  Doctors at William Head could quarantine up to 1000 immigrants within their 106-acre facility. During World War I, 85,000 Chinese passed through William Head  to serve in work battalions with the allies.
 Eventually, modern drugs and  health practices made the station redundant. It was closed in 1959 and the site now serves as a minimum security federal penitentiary. The prison holds about 240 men who live in duplex houses and are able to make their own meals. The site houses tennis courts and a small golf course; inmates produce a theatre play each year, which is open to the public. Sea birds abound and the prison overlooks magnificent views of the Juan de Fuca strait and Olympic mountains - (not a bad place to do time - aka Club Fed!). In the meantime, we can only paddle around William Head while reflecting on the many ships and thousands of immigrants that passed through this quarantine station on their way to Canada.
The cover of Peter Johnson's book about William Head- Quarantined
Chinese coolies arriving at William's Head: courtesy  Mechosin Museum

Tips from the trips

Bag O Bags. Take home your used zipper top bags in a mesh carrier to wash and re-use.

Camp Cookery

by Lynn Baier
Camp lasagna:
I was pretty pleased with this one and it got rave reviews.
Make and dehydrate about six cups of your favourite marinara sauce.
Dehydrate a bunch of spinach after removing the stems.
In camp rehydrate your marinara sauce and spinach. Mix spinach with an egg (can be powdered or fresh), and a 500g tub of ricotta cheese. Thinly slice or shred a 450g gram block of mozzarella cheese.

Assemble the lasagna in a frying pan big enough to accommodate 10 inch wraps. Put 1/5 of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the frying pan. Top it with a wrap. Top the wrap with another 1/5 of the marinara sauce, 1/3 of the ricotta spinach mix, and 1/4 of the cheese. Repeat this for two more layers. Finish with a wrap topped with the last the last 1/5 of the marinara sauce and the last 1/4 of the cheese. Add Parmesan on top if you wish. Cover the pan and let everything simmer until the top layer of the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and enjoy.

Safety tip

by Lynn Baier
Do you have perimeter lines on your kayak? In the event of a capsize, perimeter lines make re-entry much easier for both the victim and the rescuer. Put plastic tubing over the lines in key spots for an even easier grab.

February 25th paddle - Spirit Bay 

It was a dark and stormy morning when 6 foolishly courageous souls went out on the Spirit Bay to Whirl Bay paddle on Sunday February 25th.
Although a gale warning was present with winds predicted to be in the 30 knot range and the weather stations called for rain, hail and snow with intermittent sun and squalls, SISKA paddlers were not to be dissuaded!
We felt there could be an opportunity to paddle within the confines and protection of Becher Bay for an outing...paddlers will be paddlers and very little deters.  After a group consult we decided to wait until the present squall abated before unloading and launching. The launch was great and calm so we decided to paddle the northern shore of the bay and check out the possibility that would await us on the outside.
Well, as we rounded the first headland coming out of the marine, we got hit with the force of nature head on! We persisted 15 minutes and got about 1/10 of a mile before the host (moi) called for a change of plans...all were in agreement, thank goodness! We veered left toward the lee of the closest island to regroup. Although everyone agreed to get out of the swoosh, we were all having a great time, especially one who had only been paddling solo for years and had always been very conservative...he was absolutely stoked that he was able to experience such condition in a controlled environment and experienced a great feeling of satisfaction at his performance as we all did!
We spent the remaining 1 1/2 hour noodling the shore in our exploration for an appropriate lunch stop. By the time we found it, a squall came in with hail so we nixed the lunch and headed back to the launch. One of our compadres invited the group to his beautiful home for us to share lunch and have a great debrief!
The drive to the paddle was 1 hour for some, less for others, the paddle itself was a total of 2 hours and less than 5 nm, and the wonderful apres-kayak was 2 1/2 hours! a fantastic day all around!
Thanks all for making it happen.

March 25, 2018 – Whiffin Spit to Cabin Point

On Sunday, March 25, 2018 thirteen hardy paddlers headed out for an Energizer Paddle from Whiffin Spit Park (Sooke) along the coastline of East Sooke Regional Park to Cabin Point. This paddle is one of the highlights on the SISKA paddle calendar as paddlers get a taste of the “wilderness” aspects of the south west coast of Vancouver Island and Juan de Fuca Strait.
The day started off very bright with a blue cloudless sky, a bit cool at one degree and a fresh topping of snow on the Olympic Mountains and almost no wind. A spectacular early Spring day on the coast!
This paddle was led by Jennie Sutton who provided clear and succinct instructions that we were going to noodle the shoreline going east to cabin Point. A few of the group also planned to do some rock gardening, wearing the appropriate helmets, along this same shoreline.
The paddle didn’t disappoint with lots of interesting bird and wildlife sitings such Common Loons, a river otter and seals along the way. Our rock garden group also had enough surge and wave action to have fun in and around the surge channels and rock outcrops all along the route.
Lunch at Cabin Point (East Sooke Regional Park) was a true delight with beautiful blue skies and warm temperatures and no wind or waves. Our lunch stop was so delightful, we lingered on the beach for an extra half hour or so to just relax and enjoy each other’s company and the wonderful environment.
After our relaxing and enjoyable lunch stop, it was time to head back to our launch point at Whiffin Spit. Off in the distance and west of our lunch spot, we could see the building weather system coming down the strait and over the Sooke Hills- as was forecast. By two pm, the wind had picked up to 10 plus knots against an ebb tide. The building seas provided a bit more challenge for our “rock garden” group and a bit of “spice” for the rest of the group.
Just as we touched the beach at Whiffin Spit, the now darkened skies brought some heavy rain showers. Talk about good timing (or good planning- according to Jennie!).
We debriefed our paddle at Serious Coffee in “downtown” Sooke. A glorious day on the water for all of us.