SUP – Davis Bay

What a summer. Today was the last day of July and not a single drop of rain all month long. Nothing but sunshine and perfect temperatures to be outside on the ocean. Today I took advantage of one of my favourite summer programs: WOW – (Wednesdays on Water) coordinated by my friends at Alpha Adventures.

SUP Davis Bay 10

Really, this picture says it all. Can you picture a better way to spend a summer evening? What a sunset! (Big thanks to Sarah for sharing the photos! I’m not brave enough to paddle with my camera.)

Having fun

Having fun

I’ve paddled in a number of places on the Sunshine Coast, but I really enjoy the WOW SUP program. Every Wednesday evening a group paddle goes out of either Davis Bay or Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. I love the social aspect. It is always a different group of people at different levels of experience. The conversation is always different and interesting. Tonight there were 4 of us along with our high-energy leader, Sarah. A teenager and his dad, a very mature 12 year old boy, and myself. The others were new paddlers, but Sarah had them confidently stand up paddling in the bay in no time.

SUP at the Davis Bay Pier

SUP at the Davis Bay Pier

I always enjoy paddling in Davis Bay. It faces west, so great sunset views and Vancouver Island is off in the distance. Cruise ships bound for Alaska sail past every evening, and we got to watch 2 of them tonight while we paddled. Davis Bay opens to the Salish Sea, a.k.a. Georgia Strait. A heron landed on the edge of the wood pilings shown above. It was so still, I thought it was a statue but soon enough it took off in flight skimming just above the water. Beautiful! Davis Bay is an active area where people come to swim, walk the long seawall, fish off the pier, or just watch the sunset. Tonight there were a group of about 10 who were jumping off the pier into the warm ocean. It wasn’t quite high tide yet, so they were jumping a good 10-15 feet into the water.  Definitely braver than me, but fun to watch while I paddled.

Let’s hope August is just as nice and provides many more days of fun on the ocean.

Hidden Groves – March 20, 2013

Hello Spring!  To celebrate, I managed to take time for my first hike in the forest in a month.  Boy did it feel good!  Holiday, March rains, and a cold have kept me off the trails.  I made time to explore Hidden Groves on Sechelt Inlet. I’ve only hiked here a couple of times and it seemed like a good day to explore.

Massive old growth tree…500+ years old

The volunteers who have developed this park have done an enormous amount of work to create not only trails, but informational maps and signage.  No worries about getting lost here…maps can be found throughout the trail system. They’ve even marked and named the largest, oldest trees to be sure you don’t miss them. 
Too bad I didn’t have a friend along so that you could see just how big this Lonely Giant is. The young trees are as skinny as a man’s arm.  Lonely Giant towers over the others and would take a group with arms outstretched to reach around it.
Lonely Giant

I covered most of the southern half of the park in about an hour.  These are easy trails with no serious climbing.  The ground can be uneven in places, but the terrain is mostly flat with only gradual elevation changes.  I look forward to my next trip where I’ll explore the north side where there the maps show some steep climbs up to an amazing view of Vancouver Island.

You can’t get lost here
The trail builders have been busy. The official grand opening of the second wheelchair accessible trail is Sunday April 7.  It is a special celebration for dogs and people of all capabilities.
Monty’s Way

Chapman Creek Trail – Oct 21, 2012

Today was an exciting day.  In between visiting numerous studios & galleries during the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl, I took some time to attend the official opening of the Chapman Creek Trail. This new trail is a very important connection in what will be the Suncoaster Trail connecting Langdale to Earl’s Cove…80km by highway and much longer by trail.  What is important about this trail is the new bridge that crosses Chapman Creek…the only non-highway crossing of the main watershed here on the Sechelt Peninsula.
The trail was actually christened in July during BC Bike Race.  Volunteers raced to have the bridge installed just days before 500 riders hit the Coast for the prestigious race.  Today was a beautiful fall day to dedicate the trail and to honour the many, many volunteer hours that went into building the trail.

The forest is watching

This section of trail runs from the Sechelt Airport near Wilson Creek to Selma Park.  Today I only hiked the first section which is about 20 minutes from the airport to the bridge.  It is a beautiful, fairly easy hike…just some uneven ground and a bit of a hill at the very end as you return to the airport.  From the airport, it is a short distance to the B&K Road network of trails which is a prime mountain bike area.

downstream from the bridge
the highlight – the bridge itself

We’ve had a bit of rain the last two weeks, so everything was a deep rich green.  Lots of ferns, moss, and thick vegetation.  Pine needles rained down and covered the trail.  There are some very large old stumps from the original grand forest that I am guessing was logged 70-100 years ago.

upstream from the bridge

Chapman Creek is also home to the Chapman Creek Hatchery which is a bit downstream from the bridge.  Here, millions of salmon are released each year and are now returning to spawn.  Here is a short video clip to try and share the power of the water.

SUP in Davis Bay – July 4, 2012

The sun returned and it was finally warm enough to really get outside.  I took advantage of the blue skies and celebrated some WOW – Wednesdays on Water with my friend and guide Sarah at Alpha Adventures.  This was my first time out on the water this year…it finally felt warm enough.

It was high tide and the water was so smooth.  Hard to believe this is the ocean, sometimes.  A quick reminder of some basics from Sarah and I was off.  This was only my 3rd time paddle boarding and the first time out since last fall.  Yes, just like riding a bike, it all comes back.  In no time I was up on the board and cruising down the beach.

Davis Bay w/ Vancouver Island in the background

WOW takes place every Wednesday.  It’s a social paddle…anyone can join and its about practicing skills, making friends and having fun.  My fellow WOW group members were all from out of town. John is visiting from the other Sunshine Coast in Australia. He chose the wet suit because we don’t have the tropical waters from Down Under, but he was sweating up a storm after the good workout that paddling provides. I was happy to not have ‘taken a swim’…a.k.a. falling in. Every once in a while a wave would run across the top of my board and my feet and remind me that the water is still cool. Two sisters from Canmore Alberta were in town for BC Bike Race (more about that tomorrow) and decided to have a little ocean adventure.

So much fun.  You know how the sun shines and creates a trail over the water as it gets lower in the sky?  I just let myself line up with that trail and paddled along.  Not a care in the world…just me and the ocean.  It’s a real sense of freedom.  When I looked back toward the beach, I couldn’t believe how far from shore I had gone.

These shots are from the beach after a good workout.  I can really feel my abs tonight!  A couple days of rest and then I hope to be back on the water for Sunday’s 2nd annual SUP Festival in Porpoise Bay.  Come out and try paddle boarding for yourself!

2 kayaks – 2 Alaskan cruise ships
smooth water with Vancouver Island in the distance

Hidden Groves – May 12, 2012

Today felt like summer had arrived.  Everyone was so happy to see sunshine and warm temperatures that it was a must to spend as much time outside as possible.  So after stocking up at the Sechelt Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market, I headed for Sechelt’s Hidden Groves along Sechelt Inlet.  It was the grand opening & ribbon cutting for the new fully accessible trail.  “Take It Easy” or “ayat-tsut” (in shíshálh ) is about 500m of level meandering trail through the forest open to anyone.  Wheelchairs, scooters and strollers joined the group today for the opening hike.
Take It Easy / ayat-tsut

This is another one of our fabulous Sunshine Coast trail systems that is only possible because of extremely dedicated volunteers.  This single trail was built over the past few months and required over 600 hours of volunteer sweat & hard work.  Many local companies and the District of Sechelt came together with materials and equipment, and a number of important grants were earned from various foundations to create a financial base.

The area has a large network of trails that include a number of old growth giants estimated to be 750 years old.  This was my first trip to the area, but the sights from this short trek were fantastic.  Look at this old beauty standing, but at an amazing angle.

new shelter at the trail entrance

I look forward to my next hiking trip to Hidden Groves when I have time to explore all of the trails….and many more days of warm sunshine like today.  If you’re not tempted enough…have a look at the Hidden Groves brochure.

Davis Bay Sandcastles – July 30, 2011

It was a super sunny day for today’s annual Davis Bay Sandcastle Competition. This is an annual event put on by our local Rotary organizations. Boy, did they pick the day for a long very low tide!

Some very creative minds went to work this morning designing all elements of creatures. Here are a few of our favourites:

Amazing likeness!

Love those toenails! Purple clam shells

Seaweed for the thong.

Mr Tortoise soaking up some sun


SUP – July 24, 2011

Today was an amazing day. Summer has finally arrived in earnest here on the Sunshine Coast and we were looking for some fun in the sun. Our good friends at Alpha Adventures hosted the 1st Annual SUP Festival in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. I’ve been wanting to try this hot new sport out for a while now, but everything finally came together today.

What is SUP? Stand Up Paddleboarding! I am so sorry not to have pictures…I didn’t want to worry about the camera on the beach and in the water. I’ll try to get some from a friend to add to this post tomorrow.

Picture standing on a surfboard in fairly calm water and using a single paddle…something like a canoe paddle, but really long. How hard would it be? Balance of surfing but advertised as easy as kayaking? It was awesome!

Thanks to Jamie Mani, Alpha Adventure co-owner, for hooking us up with equipment and a quick 5 minute lesson. Yes, a whole 5 minutes to get a pfd, learn how to measure for the appropriate paddle length, learn to carry the board into the water. Next, you get on the board in a kneeling position on all fours and center yourself on the board. I like to think of it as yoga prep…do a few cat/cow to get comfortable on the board. When you’ve got the feel of it, roll back onto your toes and into somewhere between downward dog and forward fold. Get your balance and roll yourself up to a standing position. You’re up!

This is where the work begins. This isn’t just standing on a board and paddling. This is balance! Core muscles working, knees bent, thighs engaged, arms & abs pulling through the water. This was a perfect day to learn…sunny and warm so not a big deal if you fall into the water. We were out at high tide on Sechelt Inlet, so fairly calm water and a very long stretch of shallow (3′) water. Just a little windy to cause some waves to give you something to pay attention to. Now you learn to paddle and steer and see how brave you are to venture to deeper water.

So much fun, but high concentration necessary to not fall into the water. (only once!) After a break to warm up & dry off in the sun, I took a second try at it. Amazing improvement 2nd time out and able to enjoy and look around a bit more. What a gorgeous day! Shallow enough water to feel very safe, but so clear you could see the bottom. Lots of families out enjoying a day at the beach and trying out the equipment. I am looking forward to upcoming Wednesday evenings when Alpha Adventures does regular SUP nights in Davis Bay. Yes, come out after work and try paddleboarding in the Salish Sea. Can’t wait to try this again!

To watch a video of the day, check out Thanks to Laurie at for the photo & video!

BC Bike Race – July 7, 2011

This week’s highlight was BC Bike Race’s annual appearance on the Sunshine Coast. This is a premier mountain bike race with over 400 riders from all around the world competing for 7 days. The Sunshine Coast is proud to be home for 3 days of the race.

Today, riders made the trip from Sechelt to Langdale…38km with 1,400m of elevation climbing. Serious stuff, but they all love the 7km downhill decent at the end. These are the same trails that I hike regularly on Mt Elphinstone. The last kilometer comes down through our neighborhood with the finish line at the ferry terminal.

The fastest riders made the trip in 2 hours. A good number were in by 3 hours and some made a day of it. There is obvious relief & joy when they hit the finish line.
The first rider I spoke to was from Belgium and the next pair was from the UK. Love to see people come from around the world to ride in my backyard. The brits loved the course, but were disappointed that they hadn’t seen a bear yet. I told them that was probably a good thing.
One rider said, “The most fun you can have on your bike.”
After the race, there is still much work to be done. The support team for the event is as least as big as the riders themselves.

Each day there are celebrations and awards for top finishers. Teams of 2, individuals, and two race categories. There are a number of women racing, and the best are right up there with the guys. These women rock.

What better after 3 hours of gruelling riding than a massage by this caring crew?

The first task after the race is food & drinks. Tables are layed out for the riders with fruit & drinks to rehydrate. The second task is to give the bikes a quick shower and get them loaded up on the truck for easy transport on the ferry.
Once the bike is taken care of…its time for the riders to have a shower, too. Yes, there is a mobile truck for that, too.

Then its time to hit tent city a have a good long sleep. Afterall, there is more singletrack waiting the next morning.
Good luck to all the riders in stage 6 & 7!

Selma Park Road – Feb 20, 2011

Another sunny Sunday afternoon. A friend invited me to come along for a hike in an area I’ve never been, so I jumped at the opportunity. Selma Park Road is just outside of Sechelt near Davis Bay. We went to the very end of the road at the top of the hill and headed into the forest.

A few minutes of easy hiking and we could soon hear rushing water. Chapman Creek is one of the most important watersheds on the Sunshine Coast. It provides drinking water to about half of the population. It is also the site of the Chapman Creek Hatchery which releases millions of salmon and trout each year.

This trail spends most of its time in very young forest only meeting up with the creek in a few places. Soon we could really hear the water and came upon a wonderful opening with huge boulders and a waterfall. Apparently this is the site where steelhead salmon come to spawn.

Looking straight across from here, we could see the back of the Sechlet Airport. What a wonderful area to walk to navigate around Davis Bay…all the way from the edge of Sechelt to Wilson Creek. This stretch is one of our most dangerous sections of highway for walkers and bikers. There just isn’t much space on the shoulder. This trail could be a great connection…if only there was a bridge to cross Chapman Creek.

Maybe someday…..

Davis Bay – June 30, 2010

Summer! It has been a while since I took a little time for me, so with the sun shining and B&B guests welcomed and settled I got outside today.

Davis Bay one of the largest stretches of beach easily accessible by the highway. There is a long seawall that is very popular for walking with wonderful views of the Georgia Strait and Vancouver Island. The water is warm, school is out and kids are enjoying the ocean on a sunny afternoon.

Plenty of room for everyone…even the geese are out for a swim. Grey whales have been seen in the area a few days this week, but no such luck during my visit today. I have heard that they have been very close to shore and quite a sight.

One of my favourite things to do in Davis Bay is frequent Feastro the Rolling Bistro. Yes, the odd looking purple taco truck has the most delicious food! Seafood tacos, West Coast bbq, mussels and more. Fresh fruit smoothies & real lemonade. Locally grown organic greens for salads and taco toppings. Yum Yum! Paul and crew do a great job and add a bit of flare to a walk in the fresh air.

Hello summer! So glad you’re back.