SISKA's August 2016 Newsletter. Upcoming events, reports and articles
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August 2016 SISKA Newsletter


Dear <<First Name>>,

Here is the next edition of the SISKA newsletter. We hope you enjoy it. We are sending it out a little early as both the editors will be off the grid when we would normally send it out! We hope that members will continue to send in a couple of photos from our various paddles or, even better, a short (100-150 word) article; if you can, please contact one of us. Our next newsletter should come out around the start of September. Have a great rest of your summer!

Michael Jackson (SISKA president) and Ben van Drimmelen (editor)

Table of Contents


Upcoming Events


August 06 9:30 am - 3:00 pm  (RELAXED)
August 20  9:30 am - 3:00 pm  (ENERGIZER)

September 04, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (RELAXED)

September 10, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,   (RELAXED)

September 10, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Paddle for Health fundraising paddle. (see below)

September 11, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,   (RELAXED)

September 18, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER)

September 28, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Monthly meeting: John Kimantas -  "Reflections on 15 Years of Paddling". (see below)


For more details, go to the SISKA website

Beached Bird Alert

Many of you may have heard about the surprisingly high number of Rhinoceros Auklets that have been found dead along our shores. Here is a note from Bird Studies Canada:

Beached Bird Survey during the last week of July

This is just a reminder to keep an eye out for Rhinoceros Auklets (and any other carcass!) during your Beached Bird Survey this month. Since the end of May, approximately 130 carcasses have been reported, 54 have been collected for post-mortem exams. Phone: 1-604-350-1988, Email:

So if you come across any bird carcasses, please let them know.

September General Meeting - John Kimantas

On September 28th, John Kimanatas will be coming to our General Meeting, where he will reflect on 15 years of paddling, with a list of ten things best not done while kayaking. It's not the stuff of heroes and legends, and instead more about what happens when a journalist trades pen for paddle and hits the water to document the British Columbia coastline at a pace of about 3 knots through whatever hurdles Mother Nature might put in the way. It's an irreverent look at some of the more memorable, although not necessarily the proudest, moments on the water.

John Kimantas serves various roles at Wild Coast Magazine, among them editor and publisher and owner, but most importantly as the walker for Wild Coast Publishing's skipper Yoshi, a fox terrier-cross rescued from a high-kill shelter in California. The odds of Yoshi surviving to become office crew aboard the MV Wild Coast (the Wild Coast Publishing floating office) are astoundingly small, yet there he is.

Oh, yes, about John Kimantas.... You will know him as the author of six guide books and two atlases, including the renowned Wild Coast series. He is an accomplished expedition kayaker and hiker and would do more if he did not have to run an office and walk a dog every day.

SISKA Paddlers for Health

Once again SISKA is participating in the Paddle for Health event out of Willows Beach on September 10th. I have created a team fundraising page and invite SISKA members to participate as paddlers and/or donate to the cause. This can be done through the SISKA Paddlers for Health page. Let me know if you have any questions. Mike Jackson

SISKA's Meetup Site

As many of you may know, SISKA now has a Meetup Site for organizing informal paddles. Currently, 56 SISKA paddlers have joined this site and we have now had several paddles organized.

You can find the SISKA meetup site at Please note that you have to answer some questions and be verified to join the club meetup. The site has a message board ( which can be used for online discussions as well as buying and selling kayaking gear. Members can also upload photos from meetup or club paddles at

Please note that, if you organize a paddle, you need to include the "disclaimer" which can be found in the "About us" button. That information is also pasted below:

This is the meetup page for SISKA. It is intended to foster more interaction and the possibility of non-organized, informal paddles. This Meetup website is for our current members only. Meetup will enable our members to easily communicate with each other and help to coordinate non-club paddles. 

Once you become a member of SISKA you are welcome to join this Meetup website! For general information about SISKA including information on how to join our Club, please visit our main website: 
South Island Sea Kayaking Association

The text below should be part of every paddle notice

**This is not a SISKA paddle. SISKA meetup paddles are not covered by SISKA insurance. All participants are fully responsible for their own safety both on and off the water. Appropriate cold water clothing and  Canadian Coast Guard requirements for their boats are deemed essential. **

If you have any questions, contact Mike Jackson ( or Mark Byrne (

What’s in a Name?

This is our local name series. Most of the information is drawn from “The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names” by Andrew Scott. We have a copy in the library.

Brentwood Bay and Tod Inlet

Brentwood Bay is a popular launch site for SISKA paddles, providing access to Saanich Inlet. Recently, we had one of our "fireworks paddles" launch there; see the article below.

Brentwood Bay was named after the town in Essex, UK, where the chairman (in 1913) of the BC Electric Railways' board of directors had built a lavish country house. Previously, the bay had been named Sluggett Bay (note nearby Sluggett Point) after John Sluggett who had settled in the area in the 1870s. Brentwood College School (currently in Mill Bay) used to be in Brentwood Bay until it was destroyed by a fire in 1947.
Tod Inlet (and Tod Rock in Oak Bay) was named after John Tod who was an early HBC official and a significant figure in the early colonial history of BC. John Tod eventually retired to an Oak Bay estate which he called Willows Farm.

SISKA Annual Campout June 24-26 2016

Tony Copping described this trip as "one of the most fun campouts I have done, and with a most enjoyable group of paddlers."

It started on Friday, with 14 singles and one double leaving Amherst for Arbutus Point on Portland Island. The crossing near Tsehum Harbour was bumpy but all paddlers were energized and performed well. Paulo did a great job as lead.

After a lunch stop at Shell Beach, we traveled up the west side of Portland to our spectacular destination - an excellent beach with many beautiful campsites, both in the woods and on the bluff next to the beach. It also has the luxury of a food cache and a composting toilet, well worth the modest cost of $4.90 per night.
Relaxing on Portland Island
On Saturday we had 3 activity groups:
  1. a paddle around Moresby Island,
  2. a group trip to Russell Island, and
  3. exploration of the excellent hiking trails around Portland.
Everyone was in great spirits (the non-alcohol kind), had great conversations and told many fine stories. Julie spoiled us with fresh crab, served right on the beach.

Just to round out this superb trip, Sunday provided good weather, a following wind and ebb tide for the return, which made for a leisurely ride back.

Kayakable Birding

Birds are a fine feature of any kayak trip. But which is which? In each Newsletter, we’ll describe a couple of species that you are likely to see at this particular time of year.

This issue, we'll sort out cormorants. Cormorants are fairly large, long-necked divers but, because their feathers rapidly get saturated in the water (which helps them stay below), you will frequently see them sitting on exposed perches, wings spread to dry. We have three species locally, but two are most common year-round.

The Double-crested Cormorant has an orange throat. Adults are dark-breasted, but juveniles have a pale neck and chest. They have a dip in the neck when flying and supposedly are the only local cormorant that will fly over land.
Double-crested Cormorant, drying those soggy wings

The Pelagic Cormorant is smaller than the Double-crested, with a dark face and throat. In the summer, it shows a flashy white flank patch. The neck is thin and held straight out when flying.
Pelagic Cormorant

Butchart Gardens Fireworks Paddle

Debbie Leach led and reported on the Butchart Gardens Fireworks Paddle July 16, 2016.
Eight kayaks launched near dusk on July 16 from near the Brentwood Ferry dock to paddle round the Butchart docks and on to the end of Tod Inlet.

Purple martins and egg yolk jellies were there to greet us. At the sitting beach, we tucked into popcorn, cherries and chocolate treats. 

The fireworks display above the trees was great and the red glow of lower lights shimmered like a forest ablaze.
Silent night running
On the way back, our headlights shone on millions of moon jellies under a waxing gibbous moon peeking though mackerel clouds.

We reached the ramp by 2320 hrs without encountering much boat traffic. A mere 3.45 NM, but it was a magical evening.
Moon Jelly
Copyright © 2016 South Island Sea Kayaking Association, All rights reserved.

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