Sunday, June 29, 2008

Anniversary Paddle

H and I have been married a year now. It is hard to believe it has been a whole year. Time does fly when you are having fun. We have had our trials, but so far so good.
One of the minor trials was figuring out how to celebrate our anniversary. We didn't really have the money or the time to go away for the weekend. We also wanted to do something that would involve our friends.
H came up with the great idea of doing an anniversary paddle. For the first one we figured it would be symbolic to paddle out of Bristol since that is where we got married. The plan was to paddle from the OSA launch, cross the channel to Prudence, carry across into the marsh, slip down the river, round the northern point of Prudence, and head back to Bristol.
The day before the paddle the weather looked bad for making the crossing. There was forecasted fog and H was, quite rightly, concerned about crossing a shipping lane with limited visibility. TM, on the other hand, was looking forward to some "limited visibility" practice....
Fortunately, there was no fog for the actual paddle. There was a little more wind than we had hoped....
BH, RB, CC, PB, TM, MB, H, and myself all set out ready for a sunny day on the water. I was psyched to see MB. He has been recovering from some medical stuff over the last season and has not paddled. He was looking good and reportedly feeling excellent.
Paddling out to Prudence was a breeze. There was very little wind and the water was clam. It was hot though.
We landed on Prudence at the marsh. Upon inspection, there was barely enough water to make the marsh passable. We decided not to risk slogging through the muck, or carrying the kayaks. Instead we decided to head to the southern tip on the island and then cross back over.
After checking out several rocky lunch spots along Prudence's coast we finally settled on a spot near the Southern tip. The beach was sheltered from the light breeze and we suspected that we may roast in the sun. However, it turned out to be a great spot. Just enough breeze blew to keep us from over heating.
As we shared goodies, we spotted three kayaks approaching from the Warwick side of the Bay and making a bee line for our lunch spot. Apparently a few other RIC/KA paddlers decided that today was a good day to paddle to Prudence also. When they spotted H's hat, from two miles away, they headed straight for us hoping to find baked goodies.
After sharing some of our goodies with the invaders, our group set off for home.
The crossing back to the mainland was pretty easy. There was a good crosswind that caused some weather cocking. We also encounter some swells.
It was when we closed in on the shore, and turned north towards Bristol, that things got hard. The cross wind turned into a steady head wind. Paddling back to the point at the mouth of Bristol Harbor was a slog. Naturally the group got spread out as each paddler dealt with the wind at their own pace. I kept hearing Carl Ladd's comments from last years leadership training stressing the importance of keeping the group together in the wind. Fast paddlers deal with the wind OK. Slow paddlers tend to over compensate to keep up, tire out faster, and are prone to making mistakes.
Once we turned into the harbor, paddling got easier. We rode the following seas all the way back to the OSA landing.
Along the way we met up with RS who had been enjoying some light practice.
After the paddle TM took us into Bristol for some coffee at a secret little shop. At first, the mission to find coffee looked like a disaster of monumental proportion. We had to find parking in Bristol center which is brutal the weekend before the 4th. Then we wandered around - with the group getting very spread out - for a while. We were lead down some side street....
Finally, we arrived at the Beehive Bakery Cafe. It was worth the wandering. Their pastries, all freshly made in the store, looked delicious and from all reports tasted as good as they looked. The coffee was also excellent. To make things even better they have plenty of cozy seating: a ground-level patio, a rustic upstairs room with couches, tables, comfy chairs, etc., and a 2nd floor deck.
It was a great way to launch the second year of our marriage. If today's paddle was a sign of things to come, it will be a great year.

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