An aerial photographer gets a bird's-eye view of a war canoe during the Alert Bay 360 Eco Paddle Sunday around Cormorant Island.

An aerial photographer gets a bird's-eye view of a war canoe during the Alert Bay 360 Eco Paddle Sunday around Cormorant Island.

Alert Bay 360 draws a crowd

CORMORANT ISLAND-Paddlers from far and wide come together for the annual race in Alert Bay

This year’s Alert Bay 360 drew a flotilla of fifty-five as paddlers from far and wide came together for the annual race.

The Eco-paddle event pits rowers in a clockwise circumnavigation of Cormorant Island and is open to any self-propelled craft. The bulk of this year’s armada was made up of kayaks with various canoes, skiffs and even dragon boats filling the field.

After a countdown, the fleet of paddlers set off from the Government Dock at 11a.m. with several pleasure craft mingling with the safety boats in the bay to get a good view of the start. The racers were also shadowed by a light aircraft, skimming over the boats as they headed out for the point.

First home, in a little over 50 minutes, was Ian McKenzie, an accomplished kayaker and no stranger to the event, having now won three of the four annual races.

He took a share of the $15,000 worth of cash and prizes that were put forward for the event.