Thursday, October 30, 2008

Clouds Move Back In

I thought that the clouds were not going to be here until late today.  But they were here when I got out of bed.  So I kind of had a slow start as I was not too excited about running around in the thick cover of the clouds.  I eventually made it out to go on a short run and took a little side hike down a trail I have not been on.  It was short but was really nice.  All you could hear was the water and near by birds moving around the forest.  The trail has some of the larger fir trees I have seen on any public land here on San Juan Island.  As you get closer to the coast you run into Pacific Madrone tress with bright red bark peeling back to a vibrant green.  Running along the main trail there are mushrooms everywhere.  The wet forest floor is perfect for mushrooms right now.  Over all it is a short and really nice trail and I almost never see anyone there.  Plus it is quite with no road noise, maybe the sound of a passing boat.  Today I was lucky to catch the sound of something moving across the water.  The sound was of something breathing.  Slowly it came into view and it was a Stellar Sea Lion.  It was heading north along the channel, most likely to Green Point on Speiden Island.

Well here are a few pics from my run. 

Here is a pic of some of the forest that looks like it was clear cut at one time.  You can see the fog in the air.

As you can see it is pretty cloudy out.  It was a really great view even with low visibility.  With the little point and shoot camera I have not figured the art of working out the contrast that well. Wish I had a DSLR.

Just another image of cloudy skies.  The water is flat calm though.

Here is a close up of the Pacific Madrone bark.

A nice little flower growing on a rock outcrop.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nehalem Bay Kayak Clinic

I am back home on San Juan Island tonight.  It was a interesting trip with a some what bittersweet ending for me.  Though there were parts of my trip that we challenging for me. There were great moments working with the young adults from Lewis and Clark College.  I really enjoyed Portland and I could say it is one of my favorite cities.  I wish I had more time and reason to be there.  On Friday I met the group on campus and we packed and loaded gear. Heading out with the sun falling for our destination at Nehalem Bay State Park.  We had nice Yurts to sleep in and they had heat.  It was amazing.  The night sky was vivid with bight bodies of light scattered as far as you could see.  The sound of crashing surf in the distance and great company.  It was nice to be out and nothing to worry about but kayaking.  

Day 1 on the water was nice.  It started out with calm conditions which was great for assessing the abilities of each individual.  It also was great for working on rescue skill and kayak handling skills. This was important as the conditions would change through out the day and the next day. As the ebb time was going out we gained a bit of tidal chop and followed it out toward the mouth of the bay.  You could see the out going tide hitting the surf.  We had to slide across to a back eddy to avoid being pulled out.  We beached the kayaks and hiked to the point.  The surf was big and we all took time to stand and get blasted off our feet by the crashing wave.  Heading back home we encountered strong head winds.  It was a tough and long paddle back to the take out. That night we had dinner with another group on a Yoga and Meditation Clinic.  A little guitar music after dinner and back to the Yurts.  We then had a meeting on how everyone was doing and of they were getting what they are wanting from the clinic.  Then I went over the plans for day 2.

Day 2 the wind picked up over night and was sustained throughout the day.  With the strong winds we got the conditions we were looking for.  Plenty of chop to practice rescues and paddle strokes.  We were able to get part of the group out on the water and get some work done.  With the strong winds were worked hard and the day was a bit of an early conclusion.  Everyone was tired and it was time to relax, pack gear and head to Portland.

I headed to Vancouver Washington after the clinic and met a friend of mine.  It was lots of fun.  I had a great dinner with her family and was able to stay the night in the spare room.  It was great to catch up and meet her family.

Monday I headed to Seattle and stayed at my buddies house.  I got there early and need to fit some afternoon sleep in.  I met up with another friend of mine and we all took off to the pub. Tuesday I got up and went for a run around Green Lake with Eduardo.  Afterward we headed for breakfast.  I went to get my roommate from the airport and we headed back to the island.

It was a pretty busy little trip.  I got to do a lot in my short time.  Like I said it was a bittersweet trip and for those of you who know me, you know what I am talking about.  But sometimes life does not always work out they way you wish it to be.

Well I have quite a few pictures to share so I will stop writing and get to the photos.

Well on the first night we had a bit of and issue.  Some how in the moving of the trailer one of my kayaks got damaged.  It is hard to say what actually happened but the end result ended with a large hole in the stern of the kayak.  Here you see I have set up a cook stove to heat the hull and apply an epoxy patch to the hull.  The patch held up just fine and we were able to use the kayak all weekend.

 This where we stayed.  The Yurts were so nice to have.

 Finally we are getting on the water. Calm waters.

Time to practice rescues.                                       Oh no. Everyone capsized. LOL..

 I love the images of all the capsized kayaks.

Here we are at lunch.

Click on the images to make the larger.

Here is a sequence of the group holding a tight formation taking on the large waves as a team.
It was pretty fun.  Once you get hit by the wash it would take for a long ride back to the beach.

Day 2 we had high winds and choppy seas.  The pictures do not really capture the roughness of the sea that day.

Tumble of the surf and a distant view of the rough seas.

Time to pack up and head home.

Well I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In Portland

Well I got to Portland yesterday.  Spent some time catching up with someone.  Then headed to my buddies house to stay the night.  We are both leading a kayak skills clinic this weekend.  I am filling in as a leader for someone who could not make the trip.  I know I am a nice guy.  The trip is run through Lewis and Clark College Outdoors.  We are heading to Nehalem Bay, there are going to be a total of 13 of us.  It looks like a good time.  Tonight we loaded up the trailer with kayaks and went through the gear.  I went over a quick game plan for the outline of the clinic that we are going to follow.  All in all everyone should have a good time so that is the focus.  So I hope to get some good images of everyone on the water.  I will get some posted when I get back. We will be out Friday to Sunday.  So some time Monday I will get the images up.

Above is a chart of the area we will be kayaking. 

So check back Monday and I hope to have the images up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Slow Days on San Juan

It was a very slow day today.  Not much going on around town at all.  The wind that was in the forecast did not make it until the afternoon today and at that it was only breezy.  But with the add wind the air temp seemed cold.  A few rain drops fell and I headed out to take a shot of the Haro Strait.  

We really do not get much of what many would think of as fall colors on the island.  But here are few trees showing some pretty fall colors.  In the background you can see the clouds encasing the Olympic Mountains.  There was a dark wall moving toward San Juan and it passed quickly and the sun came out.  Since then the sun has been in and out all day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another Great Day

Last night was pretty fun.  We all gather at a friend local farm (Sweet Earth Farms) and had a Cider and Spice party.  Basically people brought apples and there was a press there and we made cider.  The made hot cider drinks and all the like.  It was fun to see everyone there and to have the feel of sharing harvest.  

Today was not quite as sunny as yesterday.  But I will take it.  I woke to fog hanging low across the water.  Fog is common this time of year and has its own beauty when it wraps around the islands.   I got up early and headed for town with a book in tow and took a nice walk.  Ended up in town having coffee and sitting of the on the porch of the coffee shop looking out at the water.  It was nice and crisp out and I zipped my jacket to the top and had a nice time enjoying the feel of fall.  A got a text letting me I was going to be doing a day tour at 11am and I had 4 people.  I headed home to get my gear ready.

The water was nice, a bit more texture to the water today than yesterday.  The wind is suppose the pick up tonight and blow 45mph into Monday morning.  But out time on the water today was just a light breeze.  All the people were from Seattle and were excited to get out on the water. We took our standard route along the west side of San Juan Island.  I have a few photos to share. 


Me and my roommate Lyle before going out kayaking.  Yea I know we look silly.

Not too bad of a day for a paddle.

Here is another view of my small group.

Heading south toward the Lighthouse.

Two Black Oyster Cathcers hanging out at Deadman Bay.

Here are a couple of fun images I took along the way.  

Once again another great picture of me.  Well maybe not so great.

Now you know whats going on out here.  Not much really.  Mainly kayaking and trying to have fun after that.  Today after the tour me and my roommate went mountain biking.  Killed my legs.  But it was really nice to be back on my mountain bike.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Amazing October Day Tour

Well the forecast was for sun and no wind.  I guess others looked at the forecast as well because I took 8 people out for a kayak tour today.  I had 6 of the nicest ladies from Houston and very nice couple from Portland.  Plus I had an opportunity for one of our prospects guides for next season tag along.  The day started great with an early start and breakfast at Rocky Bay with some friends. Then I packed my gear and got ready for my tour.  The group was in good spirits and ready to have fun.  As we reach San Juan County Park the conditions were as good as they get.  Flat water, sunny skies and not even a breeze.  Taking to the water was a perfect way to spend my day.  Plus I took along my new cam and have some pictures to post.  

Like I said the water conditions were more than perfect.

On the way back I took a quick picture over my head.

Lime Kiln Light House                                             Couple of the Houston ladies.

Looking out in the distance you can see Vancouver Island.

Deadman Bay.  Our lunch spot.  Not to bad!
              This is toward the end.  Still flat water.

This is a self portrait of me.  From under the water shooting the surface.  The best picture of me I have ever had.

Well there you go.  I am not all that great with the new camera yet.  Has a lot of settings and I keep messing with them.  Once I get it dialed in and use if for awhile I will give my two cents on it.  But for now it is awesome to have a digi cam that I can dunk in the water.

So after my trip I met up with my buddy Eduardo and we went of a hike/run.  It was a trail on the island I have never been on.  Funny that you can live here and still only hike the same old trails and find there is a nice little DNR trail.  We hiked in and jogged back.  I have to say it was a pretty nice day.  I can only hope the evening will be half as fun and I will be ok with that.

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Cam

Well the Digi Cam right after the post I made earlier.  Plus my new trail running shoes came in so I had to go check them out.

Here are a few pics from my run.

Cattle Pass Light House

Cattle Pass once again

View toward the Olympic Mountains.  

This guy was hanging out just as I took off for my run.

Well there are the pics.  I have a lot to learn with the new camera.  But I will have fun in the process and I hope you all enjoy all the pics that are to come.

New Digi Cam

Today my new Digi Cam should be delivered.  I am very excited as it is a waterproof camera. This means I can get better and more shots since I do not have to worry about getting it wet while kayaking.  I am getting the Pentax Optio W60.  I have been reading about it and have finally just decided to give it a try.  

I am leaving next week to go to Portland Oregon to lead a rough water skills clinic for Lewis and Clark College.  So I hope to get some good pic there.  But I plan on getting out and getting some shots as soon as I get the camera.

Check back for some photos.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Discovery Sea Kayaks selected for Rough Guides

Discovery Sea Kayaks was chosen to be in the Rough Guides.  Below is the letter we received today.

I’m writing to let you know that your company has been specially recommended in the Rough Guide to Ultimate Adventures, published in September 2008.

As you may know, Rough Guides is one of the most successful and respected travel brands in the world, with over 300 travel guides in print. We have a reputation for good writing, accuracy and honesty, and the inclusion of the very best that a destination has to offer in terms of hotels, restaurants, caf├ęs and other businesses and services. To find out more about please log onto

Only a few companies qualify for a special recommendation of this kind, which highlights your company as one of our authors’ favorites. 

So you could guess we are most happy to have been selected for the guide.  It is once again a nice notice of the hard work that we put into running quality kayak tours.  Plus it goes along way to recognize the hard work our guides do in the field to provide the best experience in a kayak on San Juan Island.

I just wanted to post this exciting information to share with everyone.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Slow Days On San Juan

Well the title pretty much states it all.  It has really slowed down on the island.  We were lucky and had a nice weekend and had some tours out on the water.  I was in our shop downtown so I did not get to enjoy the weather.  Monday (today) I woke at 530am to see a heavy mist strangely suspended in the air. It never seemed like it was making it to the ground.  I decided it was a perfect morning to head to town and have coffee and read a book.  

I finally made my way to open the shop and town was empty.  I decided I would hang around for the morning ferries and then head out for some fun.  After getting a small bit of work done I packed up and headed for British Camp to enjoy a nice run along Bell Point.  Bell Point is a small loop only about 2 miles.  So I had to take a few loops around to get much out of it.  But it is a wonderful trail. It snakes along the shore of Garrison Bay and rounds Bell Point to where you run along Westcott Bay.  The trail is nice and maintained with very little incline to worry with. Garrison Bay was full of Surf Scoters and Common Mergansers.  There was a Blue Heron on the dock but was wise to my movements and took off before I was able to get a picture.  

The British Camp campus area off Garrison Bay has a few old buildings left from the mid 1800's and a English garden.  There a few amazing Big Leaf Maple Trees there as well.  I took a few photos of the area.  

Well that is all I have from my end.  Life on a quite little island is just that, QUITE.  There are times where it seems to quite.  But I have to say it is nice to enjoy nothing more than the sound of the wind, the distant sound of a ships horn carrying across the water or simple sounds of pebbles being tumbled along the beach by the sea.  Our little town of Friday Harbor is growing. We see new development all the time.  So I recognize that as everything in nature our town is evolving.  I try to enjoy the areas that seem to be a bit left behind.  Because in the end some of the wild areas will evolve as well.

Big Leaf Maple Trees at British Camp.  I wish I had someone with me to add to the picture.  It would give more scale to the size of the trees.

This is the campus area off Garrison Bay.  History tells of Native American using this area as a camp before the British moved in.  It is a nice place for a safe camp.  The passage to enter the bay could be easily guarded.

I have seen various images of this building.  It sits right on the water.  You can see the small holes where rifles would be able to protrude.  The building has gone trough a series of changes over the years.  The park has restored and it is nice condition.

That is all of the pictures I had time to take.  Remember all the images should be able to be click to enlarge.  For those who have been to British Camp, you know how beautiful the area is.  For those who have not, I recommend a stop if you are visiting the San Juan Islands in Washington State.