Oh to Win a Race: The Alert Bay 360 (By Intern Angelica Rosa)

The normally quiet main street of the tiny village of Alert Bay became unusually busy as cars with kayaks strapped to their roofs filed off the BC ferry and lined the street by the Government Dock. Over 60 people had entered a competition, in its fourth season, known as the Alert Bay 360 which was a race around Cormorant Island. Only 4 kilometers long and in the form of a crescent, the waters around the island are subject to much tidal activity as kayakers paddle through areas such as Cormorant Channel and past such beautiful features as the Pearse Islands which are part of the Broughton Archipelago. As I sat eating breakfast at Passing Thyme, I sized up the competition as entries began to place their kayaks on the beaches, some with dogs in lifejackets waiting to come along for the ride! As the time drew closer to eleven, Tysen, Marie and I paddled out into the middle of the harbor where we sat in anticipation as the announcer began to count down the seconds until the start.

At last the horn blew and we were off! Having not kayaked for more than 4 years I immediately struggled to keep up with the rest of the pack but then resigned myself to stay with the stragglers whom were very good company! It did not help that my kayak had a viewing window in the bottom through which I would eagerly peak as I paddled through areas of low tide along the island. I would stop periodically to rest my aching arms and shoulders, and hoped a whale or dolphin would come over to me, but to no avail. As I reached the halfway point the weariness in my body seemed to vanish as I felt a renewed sense of hope that I would make it to the finish line! The sun began to shine and the scenery was absolutely stunning as I picked up the pace towards the final point on the island. Crowds cheered me on from their houses as number 181 drew closer to the finish line.

At last the end was in sight as I reached the harbor once more, but it seemed like I was going nowhere as the tides had changed and began to force me backwards from the docks. As more and more people began to cheer I battled against the tide and finally, after 2 hours and 15 minutes to be exact, I finished the race! Though I had come in 2nd to last, the chance to kayak in British Columbia for the first time in such an amazing event was well worth the workout I had to endure. As for Tysen and Marie they too had fun and did not walk away empty handed. During the Random Draw Prize Ceremony that occurred after the race Tysen won some fishing knives and Marie won a bike! Congrats!

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