The members of our unofficial kayaking group and I have found ourselves thinking that the weather this year has been worse for kayaking than last year. We all recall a great spring for paddling in 2006, with nary a cloudy day.
We have had some great weather this year. A week ago today was the warmest day ever recorded in Victoria, but on the other hand our planned paddle only three days previous to that was cancelled due to rainy weather. And on the gripping hand, most of the good days have seemed to have come during the week, while the weekend weather has turned bad. And weekday paddles don't work for all of us -- some of us have to work for a living.
So with our planned trip to Discovery Island this Saturday possibly threatened because of a forecast of heavy rain, I decided to check the facts. I consulted our past kayak blog entries to see if our memories are valid. In terms of weather, was last year a better paddling year?
I returned to paddling on April 8 this year after recovering from my accident, so I compared the paddles from April 8 to July 18 in both years. As it turns out, in each year there were 20 paddles documented in the blog during this period.
2006 paddles (Apr 8 - July 18)
55% - cloudy
5% - cloudy and rainy
10% - foggy
25% - sunny
5% - cancelled due to bad weather
2007 paddles (Apr 8 - July 18)
45% - cloudy
15% - cloudy and rainy
25% - sunny
15% - cancelled due to bad weather
The proportions of bad weather to sunny weather seems to be about the same; one paddle in four was under sunny skies. But even though there's been the same proportion of unsunny weather this spring, the weather would seem to be have been a little worse as we've cancelled more trips this year and gone out on more rainy days.
So the perception that this year's weather is worse seems to be accurate. Adding to this is the fact that we did have an amazing Spring last year. Out of 13 pre-April 8 trips in 2006, seven were on cloudy days and six were on sunny days, a ratio of nearly 50-50. This year is a little harder to judge as pre-April 8 trips are not as well documented in the blog. However, the three that we have photographic evidence for shows one sunny paddle, one cloudy paddle and one snowy paddle. A small sample size to be sure, but it leans towards to another checkmark in the 2007 Bad Weather column.
Further adding to the perception would be the miserable Fall last year. Prior to my accident in late November, all three of our planned November paddles were wiped out by bad weather, and November, December and January were marked by an incredible series of nearly two dozen fierce and destructive windstorms in the area, which resulted in many cancelled paddles. All this makes it seem like it has been a long time without a good run of sunny paddles.
What does this all mean, apart from the fact that I wasted an evening hunched over my keyboard with a Diet Coke figuring this out? Well not much, except that sunny paddles don't come along every day. They come along only one in every four paddling days apparently, so enjoy them when you get them.