Sunday, September 03, 2017

Level 2 Goodness

Sometimes you need a good adult paddle to feed the need. Fortunately, RIC/KA was having a level 2 paddle on a day where I could get paddle clearance. Level 2 was about all I was feeling I could handle anyway given how rusty and out of shape I am.
It turned out to be a huge paddle with more than 10 paddlers. Tim 1 did a lot of coaching and making sure we stayed out of trouble. It wasn’t always easy for me since I kept looking for ways to get into just a little bit of trouble. Memory of past deeds is a strong lure. Fortunately, the conditions were mostly benign and the group provided the peer pressure to crumb my worst instincts.
It was a very nice paddle south from Bay Campus. We worked our way along the bluffs into Bonnet cove. The paddling was relaxed and provided a nice opportunity to pay attention to stroke mechanics and getting in tune with how the Pumpkin handles.
After lunch, the swells picked up a little and there was more opportunity for playing. We had some excitement by the rocks near the bluffs as a big set of swells set up some perfect surf conditions.
Once past the rock and in the open bay, the following seas was perfect for the Pumpkin. The ride back was basically one long surf run. I basically just kept leaning forward and paddling just enough to maintain speed. The hull cause each swell and just glided along.
Back at the beach people did some rescue practice. I mostly just floated around wanting to extend my time on the water as much as possible. I was tempted to try a few rolls, but didn’t want to tarnish an otherwise glorious day with a blown roll.
There is plenty of time this winter to get my roll back...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Solo Bug

After our big Acadia trip, H needed some solo time to prep for school and see her Mom. That meant that Bug and I had to entertain ourselves.... What better way to do that than go kayaking!!!!
It is not Bug's favorite thing to do, but when I promised her that she could paddle her own kayak and go swimming off of it, she was game.
She was even more excited when she got a purple kayak. The rental place has a number of Ocean Kayak Banzis that are designed specifically for young paddlers. They are under 10’ long and narrower than standard rec kayaks so that short arms can get the paddles in the water.
Bug did really well. She was very proud of herself for remembering how to do sweep turns and being able to paddle fast.
We split time between paddling around and swimming off the kayaks. Bug did most of the swimming since one of us had to stay with the kayaks...
Is there a better way to spend a late summer afternoon than playing around on kayaks with your daughter?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Acadia Adventure

Our big summer vacation this year was to Acadia National Park.
It is where H and I got engaged and where H and her family had some of their best vacations. It is also one of the prettiest places on the east coast with a ton of things to do.
It was a trailer trip; we were bringing all three kayaks, all three bikes, every bit of associated gear, all of our camping kit, and a weeks worth of food. It was one of the easiest packing jobs I have ever done. Packing things in the trailer has one simple rule, put the heavy stuff in front of the axel. To accommodate the pumpkin we did have to move the bikes to the roof of the car. We just have not found J-hooks that fit Aries hull, so it takes up more space than it should.







We stayed at Mt. Desert Campground at the top of Somme’s Sound. It is a great spot if you get a good site. We got a giant site right across from the boat docks. It didn’t have and ocean view, but that was fine. It looked like a lot of the ocean view sites were smaller and saw a lot of traffic.
The docks are one best features of the campground. We kept the barge and the pumpkin tied up for quick access to paddling. They are also a great place for the kids to hang out and catch crabs.
For activities we did a lot of things in the National Park. We picked blue berries, hung out a Thunder Hole, hiked Flying Mountain, climbed some rocks, and did a ranger led activity to discover how Sand Beach formed. Bug earned her Junior Ranger badge.
The best program, in my opinion, was the star watching program on Sand Beach. We had a nice clear night and the rangers used laser pointers to show us the different features of the night sky. They also had great stories to go along with each feature.
We spent time on the water as well.I got a few chances to paddle and we did a family paddle. On our last day we took a schooner cruise. Being on a giant schooner was pretty cool. The only wild life we spotted was a big dog that Bug spent the entire trip befriending.
We came back tired, but ready for the work and the start of school.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Seal Sightings

H and I got engaged on Flying Mountain on Somme’s Sound. We paddled up the sound to the beach at the foot of the mountain and hiked to the summit where I proposed.
We planned to recreate the experience with Bug while on vacation. We planned to paddle from the top of the sound to the beach and show her the spot.
Unfortunately H had a Herculean task getting Bug and I to stop crabbing and generally laying about before lunch. By the time we got in the kayaks, it was after 3pm and sunset was around 6pm. That gave us just enough time to make the trip, if we hurried....
As we were leaving, a couple landed and said they had spotted dolphins. We figured if we didn’t accomplish the goal we would get to see some cool wild life....
Once out of the protected harbor at the campground we were in a constant head wind. It was not bad, but it was definitely slowing us down. H decided then and there that we were not going to make the journey all the way down to Flying Mountain. I had a more optimism about our chances, but was just happy to be on the water.
It was not long before we spotted some seals out in the sound. They just kept popping up. Bug was fascinated by them. It was pretty cool.
As we made our way down the sound, the seals stopped following us and Bug started admiring the lobster buoys.
We didn’t make it to Flying Mountain, but we had a relaxing time.
For a while, I stopped paddling and let Bug be the motor. She did a good job. We weren’t speedy, but we did make forward progress. I enjoyed the break and look forward to taking more of them in the future.
Later in the week, we drove over to Flying Mountain and hiked to the summit so Bug could see where we got engaged. Bug also had a great time playing on the beach.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Solo in the Sound

The campground we stayed at while visiting Acadia, Mt. Desert Campground, has docks where one can tie up kayaks. I tied the pumpkin up with plans to get out every morning for a pre-breakfast paddle in the sound. It was a great plan, and I did manage to get out on the first morning.
It was tough getting up early enough to have an hour before breakfast to paddle, and not wake everyone else up. So, we all went down to the dock.
H made me promise not to do anything crazy and to be back in one hour. I had no plans for doing anything crazy and the top of Sommes Sound is pretty protected. The worst I feared was forgetting how long I had been on the water...
I was attentive to the time. My Fenix is good at telling time in addition to always knowing where I am.
It was a lovely, relaxing paddle. I didn't see much beyond a guy standing out on his deck enjoying a quiet cup of coffee. There was almost no wind or swell. I just fell into a smooth rhythm. The pumpkin glided along smoothly following my every desire.
I did do a little bit of maneuverability work. It is hard to paddle an Aries and not do some zigging and zagging. It would make the kayak sad to not be used for its primary purpose in life.
Sadly, and predictably, it was my only morning paddle, but it was a great way to kick off a vacation.