SISKA's  December 2017 Newsletter. Upcoming events, reports and articles
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December 2017 SISKA Newsletter


Dear <<First Name>>,

Last month, we referred to having have fewer SISKA paddles in fall and winter, which increased our need for short articles from members. Turns out, that was our misinterpretation - generally there are 2-3 paddles per month regardless of time of year. Still, the Newsletter always needs material, so after enjoying a SISKA event or paddle, please consider sending in a short (100-150 words) summary article; for more information, contact one of us. And if you would like to start a regular column, please let us know!

A new column begins this month, "Community Events of Interest". It highlights events occurring in our community that may be of interest to our members; talks, shows, workshops about kayaking, marine life, weather, environment etc. sponsored by other associations/societies.

You can find SISKA on Facebook at this link. SISKA also has a Meetup site for "impromptu" and other paddles organized by club members. (To join this, you have to be a club member.) For more details, go to

And of course, best of the season, all ye merry paddlers!

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

Table of Contents


The annual SISKA Christmas Party lunch to be held at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club on December 2nd booked out in record time this year…100 keen partiers! Santa Claus (have you been naughty or nice?!) and Santa Bear will be there along with all the elves. We are still taking a wait list so, if you would like to attend, contact Jane Jacek at

Upcoming SISKA Events

December 2, 2017, 11:45 am - 3:30 pm. 

December 3, 2017, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (RELAXED)

December 17, 2017, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, Rolling Clinic plus drop-in pool session at Crystal Pool with Michael Egilson - to pre-register.

December 17, 2017, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER)

January 11, 2018, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, 

January 13, 2018, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (RELAXED)

January 22, 2018, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, 

January 24, 2018, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, 

January 27, 2018, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm,  (ENERGIZER)

For more details, go to the SISKA website

Community Events of Interest

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

December 7, 2017, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm, 

December 8, 2017, 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm, 

December 12, 2017, 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm, 

December 16, 2017, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm, 
December 21, 2017, 10:00 am - 11:30 am, 

January 6, 201810:00 am - 2:00 pm, 

January 18, 2018, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm, 

What’s in a Name?


- Vic Turkington


A popular SISKA destination, James Island is an easy 1 nm paddle across Cordova channel from Island View beach. It has long sandy beaches with easily identifiable sea cliffs (190 ft) at the southern end.
The island was named after BC governor Sir James Douglas and was first settled in the 1870s. It later became a private hunting reserve and in 1913, the site of a major explosives factory (CIL -Canadian Industries Ltd.).  At its peak, a village housed 800 factory workers and during WW ll  the plant produced 900 tons of TNT per month. The plant closed in 1977 and the village was disbanded in 1979.

James Island is now privately owned with luxury homes, an air strip, a yacht basin in the lagoon and a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course. The island's value was assessed in 2009 at $76 million.  Access to the island is prohibited but the sandy north beach provides a convenient lunch spot for kayakers, below the high water mark. A beacon at its NW tip houses a single flashing light (chart symbol Fl). Circumnavigating James Island makes a very pleasant and interesting energizer paddle.

2018 SISKA Paddles

- Jennie Sutton
Most of the 2018 club paddles will soon be listed on the website at

Keep an eye open for the popular special interest paddles being added to the list over the spring; i.e.- birding, yoga and intertidal. All paddles can be viewed on the SISKA calendar.

The number of paddles offered to SISKA members is totally dependent on having enough qualified paddle leaders willing to volunteer a day a year. As Paddle Coordinator, I am trying to encourage more paddle leaders so that we can start offering some mid-week paddles as well as more paddles each month. More than 40 of our members have Level 2 Paddle Canada certification, a VHF radio and a radio operator’s licence, so are qualified to help. If you would be willing to lead one or more paddles, please contact me at

Trip Tips

- Debbie Leach


To make a lantern, wrap your headlamp around your water bottle. Nice ambient lighting without shining light in other campers’ eyes.


Exercise for Paddlers

- Gary Jacek
Every year we make New Years resolutions.  Here is one for paddlers, especially those of us over 50, as we try to keep fit for the coming season:
  1. Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.
  2. With a 5-kg potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.
  3. Each day you’ll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-kg potato bags.
  4. Then try 50-kg potato bags and eventually work up to where you can lift a 100-kg potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.
  5. Once you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag.

Cheanuh Marina to Cabin Point Paddle

- Alan Campbell

After a frosty night, it was a cold morning for ten hardy and warmly-dressed paddlers setting out from Cheanuh Marina in Becher Bay on November 4th. Some light snow fell slowly around us for a short time as we started, and there was some light rain as we returned, but in between it was dry with high cloud perfect for kayaking.

Along the way we saw a mink, seals, plenty of sea lions, and a humpback whale some distance away as we approached Cabin Point! The winds were very light in the morning, rising after noon to about 10 E/NE, so on our return we continued from Aldridge Point across to the Bedford Islands and noodled the east shore of Becher Bay back to the Marina.

We found a soccer ball in good condition on the outer edge of Becher Bay. It was salvaged and given to Marina staff for their kids to enjoy. We happily debriefed later at My Chosen Café after an enjoyable, if somewhat wintry, paddle outing!
Gail Miller photo

Camp Cookery

- Lynn Baier

Adding an Oven

Mastering a Dutch oven is a way to increase the range of dishes you can make on a kayak trip. An outdoor Dutch oven has a flat-rimmed, slightly concave lid that can hold coals from your campfire on top plus (usually) three short legs that allow coals underneath as well. This transforms the thick-walled pot into an oven rather than a pan, so that you can add dishes that you can make in your home oven to your trip. Dutch ovens are usually cast iron, but aluminum models are a third of the weight and work well. A couple of tips:

  1. Have a few more coals from the fire on top of the oven than under it.
  2. Use a clear glass of water to level the Dutch oven when you're cooking anything liquid.
  3. Avoid early lifting of the lid. Checking to see if your dish is done too early slows the cooking process. When you can smell the food, wait a few minutes, then check. It's not exact science, but that makes it more fun.
OK, a recipe. There's no need to dirty several pans for breakfast when you can make the entire meal in one Dutch oven.

Partially fry 1/2 lb bacon in a Dutch oven over a bed of coals, then move the bacon to the edge and fully cook another 1/2 lb of sausages. Remove bacon and sausage and set aside.

Then sauté a cup of broccoli slaw in pan drippings until tender. Add 3 cups of spinach leaves and cover for a minute. Move the vegetables to one edge of the Dutch oven and add bacon and sausage to the opposite edge. Crack five or six eggs into the middle of the Dutch oven and partially scramble. Salt and pepper to taste.

Place Dutch oven over a half-dozen evenly spaced coals, cover and add twice that many coals on top of the lid. Let it cook 5-7 minutes or until eggs begin to set. Uncover and sprinkle some shredded cheese over eggs. Cover again and cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked and cheese is melted.

Pull it from the coals. Placing a couple of coals on the lid of the Dutch oven will keep it nicely warm until ready to serve.

Kayakable Birding

This month, one more shorebird (sort of) and a seabird.

The Killdeer is the least water-associated shorebird, typically found on inland fields where it nests in gravel parking lots and open fields. In winter, however, it sometimes becomes a shorebird along pebbly beaches. The dark double breast-band is distinctive, as is its strident call "teewdew" ("kill deer").
Killdeer - a half-hearted "shorebird"
The Marbled Murrelet wears a dark brown forest camouflage in summer, but at this time of year this small, chunky seabird is black and white. Note the white collar and partial dark collar. It will usually be found farther out, on open ocean off rocky shores.
Marbled Murrelet, winter plumage

To Buy or Sell

If you have any buy/sell items that you would like to post in the Newsletter, please send a short description and your contact info to

Two KAYAKS FOR SALE          Both kayaks are in very good condition, and both are excellent boats.
ontact John Abercrombie

SISKA’s Kayak Skills Course Partners

There are some fine discounts available from our kayak skills course partners for SISKA members who sign up for their skills training programs; have a look at

Our partners are: