Saturday, September 10, 2022

Surftastic

URI’s Bay Campus beach is a great place to launch for a paddle because it offers a variety of paddles. You can paddle up the Bay for a nice touring paddle; you can cross over to Jamestown; you can paddle down the bay to get more ocean conditions.

Our plan for the day was to head south along the Narragansett shore and look for rocks and swell for some playing.

The way south didn’t offer much. The conditions were mostly flat along Bonnet Cliffs and crossing the cove.

Whale Rock looked relatively fierce. The spot just in front of the tower offered a nice spot to bob around and practice holding position in swell.

After Whale Rock we headed back north to the cove just south of Bonnet Shores. The swell was setting up  nearly perfect for surfing. The was a biggish outer break and a smaller inner break that were spaced so that you could catch the outer break and link your ride with one from the inner break. You could also be adventurous and use the break close to the rocks and catch a bigger break.

We spent a good amount of time playing before heading in for lunch.

After lunch, we went back out and did more surfing.

The surf was perfect for the group. People could hang inside and take the small waves, head to the back and ride the big waves, or test your mettle trying to catch a big wave and not get surfed into a rock. There was also plenty of space to just float and enjoy the weather.

I mostly spent my time on the outside break and trying to maintain speed and control so I could extend my rides by catching the small break. When I didn't mistime the wave or just misjudge a swell that looked like it would break, I did pretty well.

I worked on using forward strokes to maneuver without killing my speed. The Aries is swede form boat with most of its rocker upfront on the flat planing bow, so the bow never takes much to swing around. It is the stern that has all the keel and requires a bit of work to free up. I good sweep stroke was enough to keep things going straight. I also was more conscious of using my edges to control the hull. The edging seemed to help in freeing up the stern enough to keep the wave from overpowering my attempts to maneuver the bow.

Catching the second break was always a nice little rush. Just as I could feel the kayak losing speed, the stern would lift up a little. A few quick strokes and I was flying along again.

Compared to the surfing, the paddle home was tame. We did try to find some rocks to dodge.

Back at the beach people thought rolling practice was a good idea, so I joined the fun. For a while I was just being a spotter and offering my bow to anyone who needed a boost. When it was my turn, I managed OK. One on each side.

I also tried some rest position sculling where you lay flat back on the water and gently scull to catch your breath. I hadn't done it in years, but once I got over the nerves it was pretty easy. Kayaking and bike riding  are pretty similar in that once you learn, you never forget.

The rolling and sculling was a great way to end a great day.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

King's Beach Touring

A paddle out of King’s Beach is always a rocks and surf paddle.

Then there was today’s paddle out of King’s beach...

The water was like glass. It was a perfect day to ogle the mansions and ostentatious luxury of the Newport scene.

We paddled over along to the cliff walk and inspected the wave damage.

We took advantage of any play spots we could find. In most cases, it took a lot of imagination to call what we found “play” spots. They did all involve rocks, wavelets, and some quick maneuvering, so they made for good practice for the real thing.

We lunched on a small rocky beach near the cliff walk.

The conditions on the way home were slightly rougher, but hardly typical for King’s Beach.

We stuck closer to the coast on the return so there was more opportunities to maneuver around rocks.

The nice thing about kayaking is that you don’t need conditions to enjoy the day. A nice relaxing tour of a lovely coast can be just as reinvigorating.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

I Lead a Paddle?

Life has been getting a little rough as of late and I needed some kayak time - preferable kayak time involving at least the possibility for danger. I kept watching the RICKA message board for someone to post a paddle, but by Thursday I was getting desperate. I couldn’t run the risk of nobody posting, so I took the leap.

The plan was to launch from Ft. Wetherill and paddle towards Beavertail with at least a few people confirmed. (I am not allowed to paddle solo.)

The first thing I did in the pre-launch briefing was make it very clear that I was not leading anything…. I was just a person with a desperate need to paddle. I was more than happy to do whatever the group wanted as long as it involved paddling.

The conditions looked promising in the morning. There was enough swell rolling in to make the rocks between Wetherill and Mackreel Cove interesting. I hoped that it would also make the coast going down towards Beavertail fun as well.

We made our way out of Wetherill hugging the coast to make the most of the conditions. There was plenty of bounce in the water to make the rocks fun and create the illusion of danger. At a minimum it was feeding my need for adrenaline.

We found a nice play spot where waves were breaking over a rock. It was a feature that looked challenging and appeared to offer some level of danger. After a few runs, the feature maintained its fun level but lost its sense of danger.

Fortunately, one of us mistimed a wave just enough to get knocked over. It was a minor thing. Paddler and kayak were unscathed (ego might have been a bit bruised).

The rescue also brought the sense of danger back to the rock and we milked it for all it was worth.

From there we worked our way along the coast playing in any rocks the looked interesting. We  found plenty of opportunities before we got to Mackerel Cove.

From Mackerel Cove to Hull Cove conditions flattened out.

We lunched at Hulls Cove. We hoped to find some surf, but it was pretty dead.

The return paddle was mostly just a touring paddle. We tried to eke out any play opportunities we could find, but they were few and far between.

It was probably best that the return trip was less active.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Mt. Desert Island

 Our annual Maine family vacation was a bit up and down, but mostly up.

I am not going to lie. The best part was having my kayak available for daily paddles. I took it out just about every morning. The paddling was not challenging, but it was scenic and relaxing. The only thing I missed this year was a porpoise spotting.

We took a trip out to the Cranberry Islands. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the plan, but it turned out to be very pleasant. Little Cranberry was the highlight of the trip. The museum was really good. The ship building shed was amazing. The have kids building sea worthy dories and canoes. We took a very nice walk along the beach and stopped at an art gallery. Big Cranberry was nice as well, but there was not as much to do or see.

Other highlights included biking on the carriage trails, eating at Jordan Pond House, hiking with Heather, and chillaxing at camp.

The low light was a midweek down pour. The clouds dropped like 5 inches of rain on us in one soggy day. The tents leaked a little and there was just not much to do, but stay inside and try to stay dry. We did take one adventure in the rain. We took the Island Explorer to South West Harbor and walked to Beal’s Lobster Pier. It was wet, but the food was worth it.

The other highlight was lots of yummy pastries and ice cream!

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Paddling with the Heater

The major joy of summer camps that do overnights is the day parents get to spend a whole adult day.

H decided to spend one of these days getting out on an ocean like kayak trip. She also wanted to see Classic Tim.

We decided to do a mid-week paddle out of Sakonnet Point and head north up river for a bit. The route is on the ocean, with some ocean conditions, but is also protected by Aquidneck Island.

We decided to take a leisurely approach to the day. We put in latish - closer to 11am than 10am.

We slow paddled around the harbor to let H get her sea legs under her before heading out into the river. It was nice to ease into things and take a little time to practice turning and just feel the kayak move.

The conditions out in the river were relatively tame. There was some swell and wind put a nice slow bounce on the water.

We stuck pretty close to shore and took our time paddling.

To Tim and I, H looked great in her kayak. She was moving along at a nice clip with a smile on her face and a nice, confident forward stroke. H can move her Capella around like a pro - or at least fake it very well.

After about an hour, we found a sandy spot to put in for lunch and a chat.

H reported that it felt good to be back in her kayak, but that she felt a little nervous with some of the swells. It has been a long while since she paddled in anything like open water.

The paddle back was much like the morning paddle, just going the other way.  Tim and I stayed in close to shore to catch what little action was around. H stayed further out and bounced around in the swell.

It was a chill and relaxing day on the water.

We followed the paddle up with ice cream and a Bender drop in.

Paddling and catching up with old friends makes for a great day.