Sunday, October 26, 2008

Barking Crab '08

The annual Barking Crab paddle was today.
This annual paddle is a big hit with people, so the early week weather forecasts saddened me more than usual. Then the weather gods decided to smile on me and flipped the weekend weather. Saturday went from sunny to windy and rainy. Sunday went from windy and wet to sunny!!!
As usual we had a good turn out. We had 12 paddlers in 11 kayaks.
While we were getting ready to paddle it was hard to decide what to wear. The overnight dampness and clouds were lingering making it a little chilly. The forecast called for the clouds to burn off and the temperatures to climb into the sixties. H decided to start off with her dry-top as did a few other people. I went the other way and decided to stuff the dry-top in the front hatch.
Within minutes of our hulls hitting the water, the sky cleared up. The temperatures started to climb. It didn't take long for people to start shedding layers.
The day was perfect for paddling. There was plenty of sun, the air was clear, and there was just a hint of a breeze. The trees blazed in reds, yellows, oranges, and greens. We had the river to ourselves.
We made decent time paddling up the river, through the locks, across the inner harbor, and to the Barking Crab. Nobody pushed themselves. It was nice doing a relaxing paddle where I could chat with people.
At the Barking Crab we did the awkward high-deck landing. There is nothing pretty about watching someone climb onto a deck that is two feet higher than the deck of their kayak. We had no swimmers.
Usually, we get put out in the back tent. Apparently the inside crowd doesn't appreciate a bunch of smelly, sharply dressed kayakers. This year, however, they put us inside. It was very civilized.
The paddle home was much more relaxed than the paddle to the Crab. There is nothing light about the food at the Crab, so we all felt a little slow. Besides there were distractions....
A group of people wanted to see just how close you could get to the Constitution without getting shot. You cannot get very close to the Constitution because they've closed off the entrance to its mooring. You can sneak in pretty close to the destroyer next to it before a park ranger shoos you away.
I suffered from an urgent bladder issue. I figured that there would be plenty of places I could stop and take care of it. Boy was I wrong. There are very few docks along the way. The places where one could stop and stabilize the kayak had audiences.
Finally, I found a deserted boat house that had a spot where you could hide and relieve yourself. I hopped out, ran around the back, did the business, and as I was finishing up spotted a boat rushing towards the boat house..., The college kids who disembarked didn't say anything as I slipped back into the Q-Boat.
Towards the end of the paddle people started getting tired. This trip is not difficult, but it is long. My guess is that it is between twelve and eighteen miles.
After the paddle, we invited people over the house for chilly and coffee. It is always nice to have good post paddle food and conversation.
This was a great way to start off the cold weather paddling season.

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