SISKA's November 2021 Newsletter. Upcoming events, reports and articles
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November 2021 SISKA Newsletter


Dear Tony,

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!

Alan Campbell (SISKA president) and Tony Playfair (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

Saturday, November 06th, 2021 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Cadboro Bay to Gonzales Beach possibly via Trial Island Paddle
Saturday, November 06th, 2021 - 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM - Pool Session - Pool Only
Saturday, November 06th, 2021 - 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM - Pool Session and Rolling
Thursday, November 18th, 2021 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Light Paddle - Cadboro Bay to Cadboro Bay Tour Paddle
Saturday, November 20th, 2021 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Coles Bay Paddle
Sunday, November 21st, 2021 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Cadboro Bay to Discovery Island Paddle
Thursday, November 25th, 2021 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Light Paddle - Amherst to Tsehum Harbour Paddle
Saturday, December 04th, 2021 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Mackenzie Bight via Willis Point Paddle
Sunday, December 05th, 2021 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Cormorant Point Paddle
Saturday, December 11th, 2021 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Light Paddle - Cadboro Bay to Christmas Picnic Paddle Paddle
Thursday, December 16th, 2021 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Light Paddle - Esquimalt Gorge Park to Portage Inlet Paddle
Sunday, December 26th, 2021 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Oak Bay Marina - Parking Lot to Cadboro Gyro Park Paddle
For more details, go to the SISKA website

Community Events of Interest

These events are not formally supported by SISKA, but considered to be of interest to a significant number of our members.

Any member may request an event to be included in this section by sending a note to

SISKA, Covid-19 Precautions and Plans

by Alan Campbell

Sea kayaking is definitely one of the best and Covid-safest ways to maintain your fitness and health!  

However, we must all stay vigilant and take the precautions necessary, including becoming fully vaccinated, to protect ourselves, fellow paddlers, friends, families, and communities.

Almost 90% of eligible people in BC have now been vaccinated once, and about 85% have been fully vaccinated. The very great majority of new cases in BC are among those who have either not yet been vaccinated at all or have had just one dose so far.

Although certain regions of BC remain under tighter pandemic restrictions, some restrictions have been eased in the Island Health Authority, but only for those who are fully vaccinated.

Since SISKA must now confirm full vaccination status for participants in indoor meetings (which we hope will resume soon), over the next month we will prepare to extend the same requirement to those attending outdoor club events as well.

To better protect all those attending any SISKA event, confirmation of vaccination status, now required in BC for indoor meetings and events, will soon be required for members participating in outdoor SISKA events such as club courses, paddles, or other group gatherings.

Beginning November 8th all club members will receive detailed instructions regarding how to upload a picture of their BC Vaccine Card to the SISKA website. Once your card has been verified using the BC Vaccine Card Verifier app, the uploaded picture will be deleted, you will be notified by email that your vaccination status has been confirmed, and this will form part of your member record. If you are fully vaccinated, you will then only need to identify yourself to organizers to participate in club events.

In order to provide sufficient time for all members to complete this process, the requirement for full vaccination status will begin to apply to outdoor events as well as indoor ones as of December 15th.

Thank you for helping us keep everyone safe while participating in SISKA activities!

NOTE: In addition to confirming your vaccination status, you should only attend SISKA events if you can answer NO to each of these questions: In the past 14 days, have you:
1.  experienced any symptoms related to COVID-19?
2.  travelled outside Canada?
3.  had contact with anyone travelling outside Canada, or who has tested positive for COVID-19, or experienced symptoms related to COVID-19?

SISKA’s Festive Christmas Events – December 2021

by Alan Campbell

Due to pandemic restrictions, we have reluctantly made the decision, once again this year, to cancel our traditional Christmas Luncheon/Party at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. With vaccine and mask mandates for indoor organized events in BC, we concluded that we would be unable to maintain the high level of frivolity, bedlam, and hoopla we have come to love…☹
But it’s hard to keep those SISKA Elves from merry making to help lift our spirits during the dark and rainy mid-winter! Chief Elf Jennie Sutton is busily pulling together her energetic volunteers to support a pair of Covid-safe festive events planned for December, so set aside these dates and times now and get ready to join in the fun!
SISKA Zoom Christmas Party 2.0 – Wednesday, December 8th at 7pm
Our first Zoom Christmas Party was held last December during an earlier Covid wave and proved to be a popular alternative for members who still wanted to have some festive fun together online!
So, it’s happening again this year on Wednesday December 8th at 7pm. Detailed information will follow soon, but you should expect to be…
  • attired in your festive finery - at least your top half!
  • challenged by the famous Heads or Tails visual quiz!
  • entertained by talented SISKA troubadours!
  • amazed by the creativity and craziness that some have been up to over the past year!
  • given lots of chances to win prizes!
SISKA Christmas Paddle and/or Luncheon Picnic – Saturday, December 11th at 12 noon
This is an outdoor event, held at Gyro Park in Cadboro Bay, at the group picnic area closest to the washrooms. Some members will come early and enjoy morning club paddles while others will choose to join us for the luncheon, socializing and some land-based fun and games!
Details will be coming out soon on how you can reserve your Classic Songhees First Nation Box Lunch with Sockeye/Ham/Veggie sandwich, Chefs’ salad & Bannock bites. That plus hot drinks and cookies will warm our bodies and the fun will warm our hearts! We’ll have canopies set up in case of rain and some contests and challenges to test your skills and imaginations!

Siska November 25th Monthly Meeting Agenda

by Fred Pishalski

Note change of date for this meeting!

The November 25th (7pm Thursday) SISKA monthly meeting will have Dwayne Wohlgemuth sharing the story of hiking the world’s longest Esker. What is an Esker; it is a long ridge of gravel and other sediment, typically having a winding course, deposited by meltwater from a retreating glacier or ice sheet.
A decision to hold a in-person or Zoom November meeting will be made closer to the meeting date. SISKA members will be notified as to the decision.
In 2020, Dwayne Wohlgemuth spent 40 days alone hiking across some of the most remote tundra in Canada with a goal to hike the entire length of the Thelon Esker. His expedition was chosen as the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Expedition of the Year. He filmed along the way and a movie of his trip, titled The High Road, was selected for the Banff Mountain Film Festival’s 2021 world tour. The route crosses numerous well-known rivers including the Thelon, Hanbury, Back, and Coppermine Rivers. All those days of bugs, bogs, rocky esker, windy water crossings, and grizzlies were worth it for the epic esker scenery and the views from the top of a 60-metre-tall esker.
Dwayne grew up on a farm in northern Alberta and after an engineering degree at the University of Alberta and a couple years travelling and learning French and Spanish, he moved to the Northwest Territories in 2006. He realized that the wilderness around Yellowknife was most accessible by canoe, and immediately bought a new canoe. He has completed many multi-month canoe trips since then, first with his spouse Leanne and more recently with two young sons as well. He and his spouse Leanne have also done a couple long hikes including a 480-km hike on the Arctic Coast from Kugluktuk, Nunavut to Paulatuk in the NWT, and the 350-kilometre Canol Trail in the NWT’s Mackenzie Mountains.
Zoom Meeting Info

Meeting ID: 825 2386 8776
Passcode: 481301

Upcoming Tides Zoom Meeting

by Kirstine Murdoch

"How tides work" with Mike Jackson

Thursday November 4th at 7:00 pm by Zoom

Tides and tidal currents influence so much of our paddling experience as sea kayakers. Mike will show you and talk about the various tidal patterns we see and then attempt to explain how these patterns happen!
It is a lot more than "just the moon”!

Mike is a wonderful speaker and his presentations are always well received. You won’t want to miss this presentation.
Join this free Zoom workshop at
Meeting ID: 823 0879 2338

Passcode: 231235

Blue Dog Kayaking - SISKA Kayak Skills Partner for 2022

by Alan Campbell/Dave Nichols

In response to your email of 9th October I write to invite some of your members to take advantage of the new loyalty program we have introduced for the coming 2022 season.

We have been blown away by the friendship and support offered to us by our loyal customers during the last two very challenging seasons.

We are offering all customers who either took courses, went on expeditions or bought equipment during 2020 & 2021 a loyalty discount off all programs and gear sales of 10% for the upcoming 2022 season. The only exceptions to this are the Great Slave Lake Adventure in August and NDK Kayak sales.

Many of your members are eligible and although we have recently sent an email I wanted to make sure everyone who is eligible can take advantage. I wondered if you could publish this in your newsletter to inform your members as we don't want anyone to miss out.

Please ask them to apply coupon code LOYALTY22 when booking online to redeem their discount. Discount on equipment sales will be applied at the time of purchase.

Many of our loyal customers are not members of paddling clubs and we wanted to find a way to include all those whose kind support we received. Therefore, we are limiting all other discounts during the 2022 season to our Level 1 skills program where any club SISKA member will be able to get a 10% discount by applying coupon code L1SKILLS22 when booking up online.

Dave Nichols
Blue Dog Kayaking
250 710 7693


by Fred Pishalski

At our monthly SISKA meetings we have been giving the speakers specially printed quality mugs with our logo, as a way to show our appreciation for all the work that goes into a presentation.  We have had the mugs printed up locally at Out of the Blue. Over the past couple of years, a number of folks have asked me if it was possible to sell them a mug or two. Unfortunately, I have had to say no because of stock issues. We have come to end of our supply of mugs and need to order another batch.  The minimum order is 24 before will they will do a reprinting, which I will send in. We can however, add any additional number of mugs to this order. The mug comes with a cloth carrying bag that comes in handy for personal items while paddling or hiking. This is a quality mug, good for both hot and cold drinks with a push button to open plunger on the lid and an excellent water tight seal. Our cost is $30 each which is what we will be selling them for. If interested please send your order to Fred Pishalski at  with the title “Mug”. The cutoff date for orders will be November 15th. The best way to pay for the mug is by e-transfer.

Off Water Clinics Committee

by Kirstine Murdoch

Your Off-Water Clinics committee is busy planning workshops for the upcoming season. We’re hoping to provide some in-person workshops (COVID permitting) as well as some Zoom workshops where we can accommodate a much larger number of people. Upcoming workshops will be posted in the SISKA calendar and an email will be sent out to all members. Note that you need to be a member to attend any in-person workshop.

In the meantime you might be interested in some of our past workshops which you can view on the SISKA YouTube channel. You can access that via the SISKA website under the General Information tab or directly via the link below.

We may be offering some of these workshop again this year, stay tuned.

Kirstine Murdoch
250 884-9603

What’s in a Name?

by Vic Turkington


The SS Valencia was a 1,598-ton, 252 ft iron-hulled passenger steamer with a cruising speed of 11 knots. It left San Francisco on January 22 1906 bound for Victoria and Seattle with 108 passengers and a crew of 65, under the command of Captain Oscar Johnson.
The weather began to deteriorate and the captain was forced to navigate by dead reckoning, using compass courses and distance travelled. The ship missed the entrance to the Juan de Fuca Strait and Victoria and continued straight ahead in the middle of the night to finally run aground at high tide on the Walla Walla reef, near Pachena Point on Vancouver Island,. The coastline was a continuous 100ft rock cliff, pounded by crashing breakers, making rescues hazardous and almost impossible.
(courtesy Maritime Museum)
Over the next 36 hours, terrified people were forced to huddle on the uppermost hurricane deck with some climbing into the rigging. The captain ordered the crew to lower six of the life boats with 50 passengers aboard. In the dark and confusion, some boats capsized in the violent seas and passengers were drowned or dashed to death against the rocks; only 12 men survived.
Rain, strong SE winds and heavy swells persisted during the night, as huge waves pounded the Valencia, which slowly began to break up. Rescuers were unable to approach the ship due to the rocks and were eventually horrified and helpless as a huge wave swept 40 people overboard into the sea. Some drowned or were beaten to death against the rocks. Others, clinging to pieces of wreckage were swept out to sea and died of exposure. Overall, there were only 37 survivors from the wreck, while 136 souls perished in what was one the most tragic maritime disasters in Pacific Northwest history – aptly called “The Graveyard of the Pacific.”

In 1910, it was reported in the Seattle Times that mariners had seen a ghost ship with people clinging to the rigging, which followed them to the site of the wreck, when it crashed on the rocks and disappeared. Also, Indian (First Nations) fishermen had reported seeing a lifeboat manned by skeletons. This may serve as a ghostly reminder of the dangers at sea – (especially at Halloween!)
As a result, a lighthouse was built at Pachena Point (1907) and a lifesaving trail was constructed for shipwrecked mariners, known today as the West Coast Trail, as part of the Pacific Rim National Park. Fortunately, today we have radar and satellite technology to aid navigation in foul weather.
(The wreck of the SS Valencia is currently featured in the Victoria Maritime Museum)

Farmer John Fallacy

by John Abercrombie/Lynn Baier

Thanks to John Abercrombie for finding this truly ‘food for serious consideration’ article.

Jay (the author) refers to the 55F (13C) water temp when he describes the springtime incident involving his hypothermic friend. That's warmer than our waters ever get!

Here's the temperature chart for Victoria ocean waters from