July 4th Paddle
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On Saturday July 4th we were in Birch Bay, and decided to go for a paddle in the afternoon. We had to wait until the tide was in, since the bay is a shallow bay. When the tide is out, it goes a long way out. At low tide it is better to go digging for clams rather than trying to paddle.
You need a license to dig for clams, but it can be well worth it if you like seafood. It can take about half an hour or so to get your limit of clams, and perhaps some oysters too. Be sure to follow the rules, since they are strictly enforced. Also be sure to get all the sand out of the clams before you cook them.
Anyways the high tide was around 6pm, so we went out around 5.30pm. When you catch the tide at either high or low tide you get slack water. Sunset was somewhere around 9pm, so we had lots of time to get back before it got dark.
We paddled south and just around the point, which was out of the bay. It was quite noticeable to leave the shelter of the bay and out into more open sea. The weather was perfect, so there was nothing to worry about, but we were cautious, since we had not been that way before. We know that we can paddle at around 5 Km per hour comfortably for an extended time, so we are careful to not paddle where the wind or the current exceeds 5 Km per hour. That way we know we will not get into trouble.
On the way back, we stopped to take this photo. It was much closer to slack water, and without much wind the water was calmer than when we were paddling out.
We had to be careful to avoid several children letting off fireworks early. They did tend to point them out over the ocean, which was directly at us. Also some folks were hitting golf balls off the cliff into the ocean, not far from where we were paddling. We had to paddle further out from the shore to avoid getting hit by anything.
We met a few other paddlers out, some of whom did not even have proper safety gear. Here is a link with some info on kayaking safety.
Our overall trip took about 2 hours, and covered about 8 km round trip (we were in no hurry). We got back long before the serious fireworks started around 10 pm.
Here is a map of our route: