02-Aug-2004 -- In pursuit of 49N 123W
Eric and I (Jason) decided to look for our first confluence point based on proximity to our city of Langley.
We travelled into Tsawwassen via Hwy. 17, turned left onto 12th Avenue and stopped at Centennial Beach to check it out. The GPS read 3.5K to the confluence point, so we decided to see if there was a closer point from which to launch our kayaks. We continued down Boundary Bay Drive, which turns onto 3rd Avenue. We eventually found a real boat launch by travelling south to 1st Avenue and headed east. The boat launch was located at the end of the road, and we were able to secure free parking close to the launch on the south side of the street.
After unloading the kayaks, we found we had to portage them about 300m along the beach before finding water deep enough to accommodate them. Eric gave me a few instructions on how to kayak, as this was my first time. Soon we were off in search of a point in space only discernible by our GPS receiver. We left about 10:00 h. The tide at this time was about 6 feet heading to a low of 2 feet around noon.
Our first difficulty was the low tide. Just when we thought we were in deep enough water, we ran aground onto sand. Rather than getting out of the kayaks, we used our arms to push ourselves across the sandbar which was covered in only inches of water. What was amusing was that this occurred not just once or twice, but four times till we hit the open water.
Our second issue was the wind. We were hoping for a calm day, but we could have taken our hints from the kite boarders who came out to play. The seas were somewhat rough, with swells up to 1 metre. We overshot the target and then found the confluence point by doubling back. We were unable to get a photo of the GPS at this time due to the conditions and not being prepared for the big moment. We decided to double back and allow the current to assist us by pushing us into the confluence point, where Eric could take the photos. Although we were well within 100 meters of the confluence, trying to obtain all zeros was our goal. Trying to do the zero dance while trying balance the kayak, deal with waves and currents while taking pictures with a digital camera was not easy. Unfortunately, we ended up not as close to the confluence point as we were originally. Nevertheless, we got our photos.
Having achieved our mission with a celebratory high 5 with our paddles we headed back to shore, with the waves to our back. We suddenly realized that the shore was much closer to us than when we left as it was reaching low tide. On the plus side it was less kayaking, on the down side it was more portaging. When we ran aground, we began to portage our kayaks over at least 500m of clamshell ridden sand and shallow water inlets. Not sure if it is ever really calm out there, but it is something to keep in mind when trying to attempt this, also checking the tide charts can be very helpful.
All in all it was a fun experience in conquering our first confluence.