Monday, February 7, 2011
Two weeks ago now Dave, Merick, Dave's family and I had a plan to head out to the island for some good 'ol ocean surf, which I'm not a huge fan of. I am, however, a huge fan of hanging out with my buddy Dave, Merick and Dave's cool family, which drives me to sacrifice a bit of my own intentions to often join them where they want to congregate, and if you've never met Dave...he loves a good surf session! (Especially being a surfer before he kayaked).
Merick and I headed out to Jordan River and set up camp that Friday night, I was without creekboat being as the Pyranha Burn, acquired by circumstance the week prior, was still in the shop, so I was stuck in the familiar, but forgotten having not paddled in about a month Medievil. Merick had the right idea having a creeker and a river running playboat in his DragoRossi Mafia 7'10" (which actually measures 7'8" oddly) and his newly acquired Jackson Fun.
Saturday morning after my sleeping in we headed up to Port Renfrew to check things out, there we ran into Shane Vollmers, the penultimate island boater from Nanaimo, also the boater who recovered The Burn from my adventure the weekend before on the high water Chilliwack. Shane was finishing up a surf session in his fiberglass surfboard kayak and ready to hit the triple crown of the Gordon. He was willing to take us down the lower stretch (the easiest), which was awesome, though I had a little reservation being in the edgy Medievil and with the water being a little high for what I would prefer at my level.
Merick and I waited for a few hours while the creekers did the upper and middle runs. We were surprised to see about 13 creekers sneak up behind us on the hike in to the lower to put in the boats. Turned out with the water levels most skipped the class V middle run except for three people and headed straight to the lower.
It was getting late in the day and everyone started heading downriver. Merick and I had the enjoyment of watching Shane and 2 others run the exit falls of the middle run, what a sight. I had a bad feeling about the run, which was weird, it was my first time ever having a bad feeling about running anything. After deciding on things, we headed down late, without much light left, Shane leading myself and Merick. Shane will tell you The Lower Gordon is a class 3 run, I've also been told Chilliwack classic is a class 3 run, and this was of much more difficulty, it just goes to show the difference in rating from one person to another. Island boaters live up to their names it seems of underrating things compared to the mainland...which underrates compared to most of the rest of North America from what I understand....everything else is practice for BC creekers the 'River Gypsy Guide to North America' will tell you, highly recommended by the way!
We headed down, and I found myself in a bind, the same thing that gave me trouble on my high water Chilliwack run was giving me trouble here, the most basic of features, eddy lines. Much of the Lower Gordon is in a commited canyon of restricted space...similar but more difficult I found than Lynn Creek. I found I was getting flipped on eddy lines against the canyon walls on my role side and couldn't get out in time to use my roll, this amplifies the need for an offside roll which will be my new project...along with some other basic boating skills. I doubt I would have had this problem in a bigger boat, but who knows. It was an odd feeling to be fine through big drops then have trouble in the recovery pools below on a pool drop run. I was not having a great day for the first time. These things happen!
Everyone spent the rest of the weekend surfing at the ocean while I watched, my foot hurting from a drop I swam through, and neglecting to bring a second set of next to skin paddling gear and lack of a drysuit stopping me. Finally Sunday night we headed back. It was a fun weekend, but hardly worth the exorbitent ferry prices BC now charges when I didn't have a creek boat and Chilliwack River was at a good level (1.6). It was a great time hanging out with friends on the island though, and being on a river that wasn't Chilliwack with 15 other boaters was cool and a good first too, met some good people as well.
Since then I've been dialing into The Burn in the canyon and man does that boat let you know when you do something wrong, I think driving it a few times will really improve my paddling fast, much as The Medievil did from the start...regardless, this week I think I'll end up caving in and go grab that nice green Pure they've got at Western, after all I have to pickup a paddle anyway, and yesterday was my birthday! 29 deserves a boat right?
Last weekend got to see an interesting sight as the tandem canoe we often boat with in the canyon had a swim, that was interesting, and also marked the first time I've actually seen someone recirculating in a hole...looks just like in the safety films!
Until next time...when I report on the new Prijon Pure I just bought!