Span-Kit: Quickie

Thursday, December 2, 12021 HE

We have had some wild weather in British Columbia of late. A scorching hot summer with the heat dome. And then a recording-breaking amount of rainfall with catastrophic consequences in November. What will December hold?

Well, the first day of December was the end of the third atmospheric river in a week. And today, the weather was calling for a change from warm and wet to cooler and drier. Cooler and drier weather typically comes to the Vancouver area (Pacific Northwest) during the La Niña period of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

I noticed the forecast earlier in the week on Windy.com predicting favourable winds and waves for a Span-Kit downwinder on Thursday. And as luck would have it, my work schedule conformed to provide a window to be out on the water.

Below are the forecasted winds in Səl̓ilw̓ət (Burrard Inlet) from Windy.com.

Screenshot of the Windy.com wind forecast.

And the forecasted waves.

Screenshot of the Windy.com wave forecast.

I also checked the weather real-time on the Jericho Sailing Centre weather conditions page. But something was wrong with the website, and it was showing the conditions from the night before with easterly winds. Initially, I was slightly confused since the image on the live webcam I viewed beforehand showed the windsock moving with westerly winds. I clued into the discrepancy when I looked at the time stamp on the charts on the weather page.

I departed from the Spanish Banks East Concession. I hoped to paddle to X̱epx̱páy̓em (Kitsilano Beach) or beyond where I would be able to book an Evo Car Share to take back to my vehicle. When I checked the Evo ability status before departing, there wasn’t much available in the Kitsilano area. But there were some cars in the area surrounding False Creek. In the worst case, I would have to paddle to False Creek to find a vehicle if one didn’t come up closer in the interim.

The conditions on the shore at šxʷsyiΦəm (its Musqueam name meaning “sandy place”) or Ḵweḵw7úpay̓ (its Squamish name) (Spanish Banks) were a bit chaotic.

The shoreline at Ḵweḵw7úpay̓ (Spanish Banks).

I did a quick survey of the conditions and a last-minute check on my gear. Leash? Check. Zippers closed? Check. Let’s go!

Surveying the waters.

The strong winds made for an interesting launch. I had an early entry into the water dealing with the strong crosswind and tumultuous water. It was less than waist-deep. Back on my board, I battled the strong winds out far enough to where I felt I would clear the Jericho Pier on my way eastward. Then I gave into the wind and waves and turned to ride them downwind.

Here is a quick view of the conditions from a head-mounted camera. Unfortunately, I had the angle slightly too high, and you couldn’t quite see the board in the water.

After my paddle, I did check the Jericho Sailing Centre page to see what the conditions were. Below is a portion of the two-day data dump. It is available on the Jericho Sailing Centre weather page. While I was out on the water, the winds were westerly at about 17 knots. 

Screenshot of the Jericho Sailing Centre WeatherStation 2-day data dump.

When I landed at Kits Beach, I couldn’t find a nearby Evo to book. Typically, I will reserve a car while on the water. I did attempt that this trip, but there were none available. From the shoreline, I ended up reserving a car at Granville Island. But that left me with a dilemma. How to get back out on the water and around Kitsilano Point without crashing upon the rocks?

I felt that the wind was too strong to paddle back out into, so I ended up walking my board around the point and re-launched at the west side of Hadden Beach. I then paddled to the Granville Island Ferry Dock, where I landed to collect my Evo and make my way back to my vehicle.

Below are my route and statistics from Ḵweḵw7úpay̓ (Spanish Banks) to X̱epx̱páy̓em (Kitsilano Beach) recorded on Geo Tracker. I stopped recording after landing at Kits, so it doesn’t include my jaunt to Granville Island.

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