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Summer Reflections 2013

The Summer of 2013 has been an amazing year for Silva Bay Kayak Adventures! It's been full of amazing people joining us on our tours, spectacular weather, and magic wildlife encounters.   



Reflecting back on all of this there are some special moments I wanted to highlight. Starting with all our our friends who joined us on our Baja tours who came up to Gabriola to check out our summer operation. During our expeditions in Mexico we often talk about how amazing our home, Gabriola, is. So with all the stories, and anecdotes about our Gulf Island lifestyle, various groups of friends decided to paddle with us in Canada.

We started with May long weekend and a group of ladies from Whidby Island. Although the San Juans are close by, and similar to the Gulf Islands, the ladies loved Gabriola and our unique artsy culture and vibe! They also loved the paddling around the Flat Top Islands off of Silva Bay.



Our second group of visitors was a reunion of a group of ladies that came to Baja in February. Two women from Berkley California came with their daughters, two women form Victoria joined us, and another women from Gabriola. So we enjoyed the nice spring weather, walking in most of the parks on Gabriola, and paddling around Silva Bay. This was end of June, the weekend of Summer Solstice. Every year we like to turn one of our weekly Sunset Tours into a special solstice picnic potluck dinner. So it was perfect timing for our guests to join in on this tradition, and for them to meet some other local friends who also share the love for kayaking. 

We paddled out and around the Flat Tops, with calm seas, and the sun breaking out of some high clouds. Finishing on Carlos Island, which is situated perfectly for viewing the sunset to the west. The white oyster shell beach on Carlos was a great setting for our picnic. I paddle boarded that evening, so I used the surf board as a table for our picnic. Everyone brought amazing food to share, we had a great spread!



It was fun for old and new friends to connect, sharing food is such a great way to celebrate the coming of summer. The sunset was great with the sky opening up to the northwest.


A favorite moment of mine was exploring around Carlos Island checking out the wildflowers. End of June is perfect timing for seeing all the local native wildflowers, and if you know me, you know how obsessed I am with identifying them. Carlos has a good diversity for such a tiny island. I found sea blush, monkey flower, blue camas, wild trailing blackberry, yerba buena, heal all, stone crop, and yarrow.

     Summer Solstice is one of my favorite times of year, especially because of the wildflowers! 


Our third group of Baja clients who came to visit us on Gabriola, were a family from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The final Baja tour of the season, the Loreto to La Paz tour had a group of firemen from Saskatoon who loved paddling, and had a great time. That guys getaway to Baja left a few of them planning their next paddling trips with their family for the summer, and Gabriola seemed like the perfect next destination. Partly because I run Youth Outdoor Leadership summer Camps, and partly because the paddling in the gulf Islands is so idyllic, is why this was a great fit. So the family road tripped across the prairies, over the Rockies and down to the west coast, with their kayaks and camping gear in tow. The son fit right in with my kids camp, enthusiastically joining in all the games and activities. He especially liked learning about marine weather, tides, currents, and marine navigation. This was his first time paddling in the ocean, rather than on lakes and rivers in the prairies. While their son was in my day camp, the parents got to paddle on their own exploring the Flat Tops at a leisurely rate. We also had some nice sunset paddling with the whole family as well! 

The summer from there on was filled with kids camps every week, and our weekly events. We did a few youth camping expeditions throughout the summer, where the participants choose their own route plan, picking what camps sites they want to stay at, picking the times to go through the tidal rapids of Gabriola Passage, and navigating all on their own. The camping trips are always fun, with the youth doing all the meal planning and provisioning on their own!



  On the first camping trip in June, there was no red tide, so the kids were excited to harvest shellfish. We collected oysters, manilia clams, and cockles. Being June, we could still have fires, before the dry hot weather and usual fire bans happen. So we steamed open the oysters over the fire, and steamed the clams in a pot over the fire as well. The kids were excited about harvesting thier own food, learning about different species of shellfish, and which ones are edible and how to prepare them. But a few of them had never tasted an oyster before, so I was surprised when all of them loved the flavor and texture! None of them were grossed out, which for picky 11 year old boys, was amazing! 



Camping on Valdez Island is always a highlight, the kids love jumping off rocks into the water, and the sunset view from the top of the cliffs. Hole in the Wall is such a great camp site, and favorite of the kids, I understand why they wanted to stay there two nights in a row!  I was happy to find the site clean, and well maintained, with a new picnic table prefect for setting up our propane stove. The youth camping trips are a favorite of mine, as these memories, and new skills, will stick with the particiants for the rest of thier lives!

All in all, it was a busy, successful summer at Silva Bay!

Happy Paddling,

Hilary Masson


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