Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Narrow River

It was raining in spots on my ride from Northborough to North Kingston. At the launch the wind was stiff, blowing straight down the Narrow River. But this was all part of the plan. I’d prefer to ride my bike on the nicer days and kayak on the lesser days. Especially in spring when dressing for the water can leave you overheated in the air. This day had me back in my fleece one piece suit, AKA my PJs.

The paddle was a level 2 and I was thrilled to see Mary show up with Bill. There is no better way for the less experienced paddlers to get a feel for how comfortable they are in the sea kayak world. At some point you might find your paddling skill limit but it would be irresponsible to find it on a level 3 if you didn’t first try a level 2. In the case of Mary it’s great to see her stretch herself from flat-water to the 2. She did just fine!

I was looking forward to this paddle partly to get out on the water, partly to give my elbow an easy workout, and partly to paddle with Tim, who I haven’t paddled with since November.

We headed up river into the wind at a slow comfortable pace consistent with a level 2 paddle. Tim tried to herd the group to the more protected shore as much as he could to minimize the wind exposure. And he stopped frequently and paused for a few minutes even when we were all grouped up. This gave those who might have taken an extra minute or so to catch up their own minute of rest time. This gave me the opportunity to slip in a roll or two. I’m trying to put myself at ease to roll more spontaneously. Not just at lunch or at the end of the paddle.

The Narrow River gets prettier the further you go up river. The houses get less dense and the water widens into decent size ponds. At the head of the river, in the lee of the trees, it was quite warm and comfortable. We stopped for lunch out of the wind and frankly I was convinced that a sea breeze might be fighting the North wind and my prediction of a head wind in both directions might come true. But when back on the open water after lunch the North wind was still there and as strong as ever. In fact many of us were holding up our paddles to the wind and almost keeping pace with those who were paddling.

I was impressed that Bill was aware that I was lagging behind and checked a few times to see that I was OK. These are very positive attributes in a paddle partner. I was also impressed by a number of paddlers who were working on skills on the little breaks we were taking. I think Tim has a way of bringing that out in people.

All the practicing during the paddle left us with little desire to practice back at the launch. Instead we focused on packing up the boats and where to get coffee.

5/6 Air 52, water 50, NE20 G25