A total of 105 paddlers raced their way around Cormorant Island Aug. 2 as part of the annual Alert Bay 360 kayak race.
According to organizer Luke Lessard, this is the ninth year the race has been held.
The Alert Bay 360 is an eco-tourism based event which encourages a healthy lifestyle and covers seven nautical miles. Any paddle-powered vessel with one or more people is allowed to race.
“The number one fastest time ever was 45 minutes,” said Lessard, which was done by former Olympic athlete Ian Mackenzie, who wins every time he participates.
Every year there are cash prizes up for grabs for the top three male and female finishers in a single kayak. This year, for the first time, there was a prize of $500 for the first place finishers in a double kayak.
The Alert Bay 360 showcases not only Cormorant Island, but also the culture and wonders found on the North Island, including the Broughton Archipelago.
The event included a welcome from the ‘Namgis First Nation and following the awards ceremony, there was a Big House celebration, which included a seafood feast and cultural songs and dances put on by the T’sasala Dance Group.
Local RCMP, Canadian Coast Guard, Auxiliary Coast Guard, and many other safety vessels accompanied participants during the race.
Each safety vessel and event volunteer had a hand held radio to quickly relay any issues or concerns.
Lessard and Christy Taylor are the owners, operators and guides of Blackfish Adventures Ltd. Together they have 12 years of experience guiding trips in beautiful areas like Johnstone Strait, Broughton Archipelago, Clayoquot Sound and Gulf Islands.
The winners of the event were as follows.
1st – Bob Woodman (0:55:07)
2nd – Derek Crook (0:57:58)
3rd – Walter Van Bruggen (1:10:48)
1st – Kathleen Petereit (1:02:52)
2nd – Zoe Norcoss-nu’u (1:03:03)
3rd – Annie Boulding (1:15:12)
1st Peter and Silke Gumplinger (0:58:27)
Next year’s event will take place July 31.