Sunday, April 11, 12021 HE
My friends, Jae and Lindsay, who are avid cross-country skiers put me on to the virtual Tuesday Night Race (vTNR) series being put on by Coast Outdoors through Deep Cove Kayak. For a brief description and rules of the event see here. They participated in the virtual cross-country skiing series and said it was a great motivator with great draw prizes to boot.
I had also been told about the Deep Cove Tuesday Night Races (TNR) but a client who lives in Deep Cove. The universe had to be telling me something. Or maybe it was just the Law of Coincidences at work once again?
I was a little be reluctant at first, but then after giving it some thought I figured why not. It is another excuse to get out on the water! Plus, with the virtual sessions, you have the option to do either the local route or a non-local route of equivalent distance. Since I have generally been paddling at least once per week it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch just to try to add a little bit of speed and purpose to my paddles.
The first course was a body of Orion-shaped route starting at Boulder Island then heading northward up Indian Arm past Hamber Island before making a sharp turn westward towards Deep Cove at the small island just north of Whiskey Cove (I now know this rock to be named “Bikini Island“). I found the map below when trying to find the names of the islands but was only able to get the name of Whiskey Cove. From there you paddle across the fjord to what I think would have been the buoy marking Deep Cove (more on this below). Then you paddle southwards to go around Grey Rocks Island before circumnavigating back to your starting point at Boulder Island. An image of the course route is below and here is the link to the webscorer event page.
Below is a virtual tour of the racecourse created via Google Earth Studio.
My problem ended up being one of the seven Ps. My downwinding escapade the day before meant that I had used up my weekend paddle pass. And then Sunday afternoon was my nephew’s birthday which meant that my wife, Annie, was solo with the kids for a second afternoon. So on Sunday afternoon/evening with the “Sunday, April 11, 2021[,] 11:59 PM (GMT-7)” deadline closing in, I knew that I was going to have to pass on TNR#1 and aim to get on the books for the following week.
But then the universe seemingly stepped in again. Or so I thought. Both of our boys looked like they were heading for early bedtimes. I started to scheme about whether or not I could make it to Deep Cove to do the run before sunset or do an alternate route closer to home. Sunset wasn’t until 20:00 and the Nautical Twilight was ending at 21:13. I figured I could make it. But then coincidence turned on me and Elijah rallied and stayed up way later wanting to read book after book. Which was fine, but a hard pill to swallow after getting my hopes up.
But the idea was planted. So I decided I would drive over to Lowry Waterfront Park and make a game-time decision based on the conditions. At this point on the drive over I knew there was no way that I would be able to finish to course before the end of nautical twilight. But I had done night paddles in the past, though they were always with a partner. In the end, I decided that it wouldn’t be too crazy for me to paddle at night, given I had lights and it was not a remote area.
I set off into the twilight with a headlamp on. I decided that I would modify the course slightly in the interest of time. Rather than start at Boulder Island, I would just start from Lowry Waterfront Park and then paddle toward Boulder Island so that I could finish at Lowry Park and save myself a third crossing of the fjord.
Overall it went well. I got a little confused as to which island on the east shore was my turning spot and needed to do a mid-race map check. And then I was well off of the buoy despite my efforts in the dark. But I did manage to make the distance on a somewhat local course. And after arriving home I even managed to extract my GPS data from Google Fit and submit it to Webscorer before my Cinderella deadline.
Here is the route that I actually took.
They are kind of close. Orion’s body versus a Trojan’s body😬.
And my efforts seemed to have been rewarded. I came in first place in my category of male SUPers on a shorter than 12 foot (3.7 m) board. I guess I should note that my category had only one, yes moi, paddler😁.