Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Years on Pender Island

I usually don't do too much for New Year's but this year was super fun. Kim and I rented a house with several other friends on North Pender Island for four days up until New Year's day. Our plan was to kayak over so we loaded our gear up and set out from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal area. However, once we hit the crossing to Portland Island, the wind was foul, there were white caps everywhere and the forecast was for gale force winds in several hours. We had checked out the weather but figured we'd still have enough time to make it across before the weather got too bad. Since we were both just not having fun and didn't want to encounter and serious problems, we quickly decided to turn around, load up, return home, swap our paddle gear for bike gear, and make it back to catch the Pender ferry. It was a bit of a rush but we managed to catch it with no problems. On the ferry ride over, the winds had actually dimished substantially but we were still both happy that we made the decision as it could have really turned nasty. On the coast, you really can't take chances when it comes to the water.
After arriving at the house, we were in for a weekend of fun.
Disc Golf!
Pender has one of the best disc golf courses out there with 27 holes, technical terrain and lots of trees and obstacles. Beer on the course wasn't mandatory but preferred by most players. The player with the worst tee shot also had to down some fireball. Good stuff.
Sailing in Swanson Channel

A bunch of us went for a nice sail to drop off a friend in Swartz Bay. The wind was blowing through Swanson Channel allowing for some good upwind speed with minor jibes and tacks. The return sailing allowed us to put out the spinnaker and cruise at a solid 8 knots. Was a good time.
When I wasn't drinking, playing disc golf or rocking out on some guitar hero 3, I was out running. I got in two solid runs with the second one covering a good 25km over both North and South Pender Island. The highlight was definitely Mount Norman Park as the view from the top of the grind was great and the singletrack down the backside was well worth the climb. There was another trail that I hit up called the William-Wallace trail (I'm pretty sure it was this but maybe I got Braveheart in my head for some reason). Anyway, this trail was sweet. Nice twisty singletrack with a good amount of elevation. Well worth it.

My Reward - View from Mount Norman

For New Year's Eve, Pender Island held a Latern Festival that was filled with fire twirlers, giant puppets, some shows, a kayak ballet, and lots of characters on tall stilts. It was a neat event.

Pender New Year's Latern Festival

The 'Old Year' Puppet

This last puppet symbolized the old year. He walked out to a dock on the water which was released to float away from the shore. As this happened, paper latern 'balloons' were released into the air and ascended into the sky. The old year was over and 2008 had begun.


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