Monday, April 26, 12021 HE
I felt very fortunate to be getting out for a morning paddle after already having a paddle session on Saturday. There was a Vancouver School Board professional development day for my oldest son and my wife had taken the day off so that we could have a family day. We planned to keep our younger son home from daycare and had booked a swimming time at the Minoru Centre for Active Living pool.
I planned to get out early to minimize time away from our family day. I ran into my neighbour who was heading out for a morning ride as I was preparing my kit in our parking garage. She was heading out for a morning ride and would later be down at Locarno Beach as I set out on the water. She has a new board so we are hoping to get out soon for a paddle.
The conditions were very calm and glassy with overcast skies. It was a great morning to be out on the water. Below is the view westward from the shoreline at Locarno.
I spent the morning enjoying the flat water and playing around with some buoy turns around the speed buoy markers at Jericho Beach. Check out the glassy water conditions below as I head west.
Below is an image of some ripply waves that I created after a buoy turn.
I then made my way over to just east of the Vancouver Yacht Club docks before coming back. On my way back I again worked on my turns this time trying to push myself a bit more. Which I was successful at as I managed to come off of my board into the water.
On the westside of the Jericho Pier, I did some more turns trying to get the nose of my board higher out of the water. I finished off my paddle by doing a few lengths back and forth between the swim buoys doing two pivot turns at speed in each direction.
Below is the view of the city from the water from Locarno Beach with the Jericho Pier and Jericho Sailing Centre backdropped by the Downtown Vancouver skyline.
When I got off of the water two other paddlers were heading out. We chatted for a bit and it turns out one of them is a client of a massage therapy colleague of mine. Small world. They were heading out towards Point Grey to see if they could spot the humpback whale that has been out there. It had slipped my mind that I had seen the whale a few weeks ago and in hindsight that could have been a more interesting adventure. Next time I guess.
Below is the route that I took.
Enter the evening…
My neighbour Peter sent a message saying that there was a supermoon tonight. Though unfortunately he was at work and was not able to make it out to see it. When I looked it up I found this article stating that it was a pink supermoon. I was up to check it out and our boys were likely to go to sleep early after a big day at the pool. Fortunately, Trevor was free and keen to check it out too.
We departed from Kitsilano Beach after an interesting encounter as we were sitting up our kit on Cornwall Avenue near Kitsilano Pool. This individual who approached us felt he needed to communicate to us that he was happy to see people not wearing masks outdoors in Vancouver. He had recently come back from Richmond where according to him everyone was wearing masks.
Now to me, this is an interesting discussion point. At the start of the pandemic, I came down on the side of cloth masks being useless in the context of the size of viral particles as well as the research that was available at that time that showed that cloth masks increased the risk of healthcare workers. But this must be caveat by saying that working in a medical/hospital setting is different from being in the community at large. Or at least it should be if your community transmission rates are low. I have since changed my opinion in that I think cloth masks do serve a purpose in helping to slow the spread of coronavirus, albeit to a lesser degree than surgical masks. So it is a topic that I have been intrigued by and I feel that I am relatively well informed on. Though I am not sure that this gentleman was making a distinction between cloth or surgical/procedural masks. I was left with the impression that he felt masks were useless altogether. Especially, since at one point in our conversation he referenced the need for biohazard suits for working in virus laboratory settings.
So unbeknownst to this would be anti-mask proselytizer he approached the wrong citizen.
After his comment about the seeming overuse of masks in Richmond, which I can only assume was a covertly disguised anti-Asian statement I retorted that my own biases had been challenged during this pandemic. At the outset of the pandemic, I erroneously hypothesized that Vancouver would be a hotspot due to our close ties to Asia. But we now know that this was not the case and that if anything Vancouver has fared very well compared to other cities and regions. So I told him that maybe the mask use accounts for the lower case count that has been seen in Richmond.
It was at this point that he attempted to educate me on the size of a particle and the futility of trying to stop viral particles with a mask. Now, this is where whether his stance was that masks, in general, were useless or if cloth masks, specifically, were useless becomes important for nuanced debate. But a random proselytising street encounter doesn’t afford that opportunity.
When I told him that a particle could be defined as a very small piece of matter but that a more technical definition of a particle could be a sub-atomical structure that is the building block of matter I felt him pause for a moment. From there the conversation devolved into a source of fact argument (i.e. he said, I said). His stance was that why would we wear masks to protect against Covid-19 but not for influenza when it was more deadly. Curious as to how deadly, I asked him what he believed the global death toll of influenza to be. At least he had done some research since he quoted the annual global influenza death toll as 675,000. At least he wasn’t far off. I told him that was a high estimate and more indicative of a bad year. My statistics (he said, I said) were that influenza kills between 250,000 to 650,000 per year (here is a recent estimate). In any case, when I asked him what the death toll from coronavirus was he said it was nowhere near as high and that CDC numbers were wrong. And that’s where you can no longer have a rational conversation. I’ll grant that the CDC numbers are wrong, but only in the context that all estimates are wrong. But by that logic everyone’s numbers are incorrect. They are estimates. But there is no way they are going to be off by a factor of more than four!
I was going to write you can’t argue with stupidity. But this guy was not stupid. You can’t argue with ignorance. Or perhaps more accurately you can’t argue with belief.
On a deeper level, all of our ideas and opinions are just that, beliefs. Just some beliefs are more grounded in objective reality than others. Even my proselytizations.
Back to paddling if you are still reading.
The moon wasn’t pink. But it was spectacular. The photos below do not do the experience justice but it was a spectacular night. One to leave you in awe at the wonder of our world.
We paddled from Kits Beach out to the Vancouver Yacht Club so that we would have a view of the city and the moon on our return.
The photo below is the moon over top of Kitsilano.
And the night cityscape of the Burrard Peninsula.
Trevor taking in the spectacle of the supermoon.
And the same photo after I clued in to not only turn off my flash but also to turn off my headlight.
And just a straight scenic view of the Vancouver nighttime skyline.
We finished our paddle with a dram of Lagavulin as we packed up our kit. It was a great call by Trevor earlier when we were departing his place to run back for a bottle of fine malt and two glasses!
And below is the route that we took.