Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Patio" Stone Bridge

Tim picked a weekend when we could catch the outgoing tide at Stone Bridge. The tide was scheduled to run strong in the early afternoon. We wasted time by lazily paddling to the top of Common Fence Point and back to the bridge for lunch. Carole entertained by wearing (and sharing) her lunch. Heather laughed when at lunch I described it as “a stupid paddle, but fun!”

After lunch we headed out to the evil can. The water was moving but there was no wind. It was basically flat. Joe encouraged us to back our boats down on an eddy line for excitement. It did result in a few capsizes. Even a passing cruise ship couldn’t stir things up.

So how does one recover? Coastal coffee roasters of course!
Just another great day on the water.

How many times has this boat been upside down?

9/20 Stone Bridge Tiverton

Monday, September 08, 2008

Hull Sharing

Every Monday morning Ellen and I sit down at break in the cafeteria and share our kayak adventures. Mine usually involve time on the water. Her’s often involves “I was too busy”. But despite this, it was Ellen who actually got me started in kayaking. That might have been 8 years ago.

There are others at the table also. They are also wondering what this kayaking thing is all about. My dirt bike riding friend Chris thinks it must be boring and involve no skill. My rec-boat paddling friend Darik can’t imagine why I’d want such a long boat (and wear a life vest). But most of the others think it looks like fun and would like to try it.

So when we decided to have our summer work outing at Dave’s house in Hull on the water, Ellen, Darik, Dan and I decided to bring our boats. We had seven total. An Explorer, Ellesemere, Elaho, Carribou, Sole, Swifty and Loon. About half of the group of 30 spent some time in the boats and no one found themselves upside down. I explained the differences between the boats (engineers are an inquisitive bunch). Most could appreciate the long boats over the short ones on the water. It felt great to share our sport with our friends.

As the day wound down Ellen, Dan and I headed out for a paddle around some of the inner Boston Harbor Islands. We invited Scott along. He has spent a lot of time in canoes with his boy scout troop and looked very comfortable in the Elaho. We paddled by Bumkin Island and headed across the two mile crossing to Pedocks near the Hull Gut. I would have liked to go a bit farther through the gut but it was getting late and I knew Scott would tire from too much “arm paddling”. So we rested a bit and explored the island before heading back.

Dan’s arm was bothering him on the way out so I encouraged him to lead the pace paddling back. The vitamin-i he took on the island obviously kicked in because he paced us pretty good on the return trip. As expected, Scott started to fade in the last mile. Dan and I surfed every ripple or wake we could find. Ellen returned with Scott just a few minutes behind and just as the sun was beginning to set.

It really was a wonderful day on the water. I don’t usually paddle so late in the day. Things looked very nice in the fading light.

Worlds End to Pedocks Island Hull, Sept 8 Winds Light, Water upper 60s, air low 70s

Tropical Storm Hanna

Tim had a paddle scheduled out of Sakonnet point on Sunday morning. But tropical storm Hanna was forecast off shore Saturday night with the winds lingering into the day Sunday. In my mind this paddle was not going to happen. And if it did, it was going to be well beyond my comfort zone. Sakonnet can be a challenge in much tamer weather.

On Sunday morning I read Tim’s email about moving to the bay campus. He emphatically stated:
“This will be a level 5 paddle. Full safety and rescue kit required. Must be able to stay with group, follow direction and lend assistance as required. Expect large swells and strong wind gusts. No "cowboys" needed.”

Paddling from bay campus allows you to sneak up on the swells slowly. If at any point it feels too much you can retreat. This of course assumes that the conditions are getting better not worse. And it also assumes you didn’t wander into the trouble spots at any of the many points.

Unfortunately I was in RI without a boat. The best I could do was meet them at the launch site as they returned from their adventure. This would allow me to hang with them at Java Madness. This is of course the highlight of any paddle!

When I arrived at bay campus I recognized Joe, Eric, John, Bob, Rich, and Tim’s cars. I didn’t notice the cars of Tim, Rich, and Nick who made the total 9. They were still out so I wandered over to Bonnet Shores to watch the swells rolling into that cove. It was quite beautiful as the bent in an arch across the whole cove and dumped their energy on the beach. Wave power is proportional to their wave length and the square of their height. I would estimate these swells had 10 to 20 times the power that we typically encounter.

Back at the launch the paddlers had returned and were practicing various rolls and rescues off the beach. As they pulled ashore they told stories of conditions being more reasonable than they expected. They also described a very sensible level of risk taking. They stayed well clear of the problem areas such as Beavertail Point.

At Java Madness Carole showed up with her daughter and her daughter’s partner. She too wanted to hear the storied of the day’s adventure. (And how did she know we would be there?)

I must say it really was almost as if I paddled. Except for the salty feeling and all the rinsing of boats and equipment.
Now what am I going to do with those 4 boats I have in my garage?