Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Long Two

When a paddled is listed as a 2/3 you can never tell what you are going to get. When it leaves from the Bay Campus the possibilities are limitlessly good.
The possibilities were reflected in the number of paddlers who showed up. For the first time in a while a RICKA paddle have twenty plus paddlers. The group ran the gamut from old hats to new faces.
The large group size and open ended trip description was exciting. However, I was very glad that I was not on the hook for coordinating the trip. Any group of paddlers presents coordination problems (there is a reason it is called herding cats). A large, diverse group exacerbates the issues. Balancing the desires of the advanced paddlers with the needs of newer paddlers, ensuring that everyone enjoys themselves, maintaining safety, communicating plans across twenty kayaks..... Not an easy task. CC and RB managed to pull it off with aplomb by staying firm, but flexible.
We started out by crossing from the Bay Campus to Ft. Getty and then working our way south along Jamestown. The light winds and small swell meant that the newer paddlers could comfortably get some open water feel. The rocky shore line offered the more adventurous paddlers a chance to play.
I took it easy and just worked on my forward stroke and edge control. I needed some calming Zen time. Life has been stressful lately and many of the stresses are outside my sphere of control. Kayaking offers a nice balance between control and no control. It happens in real time. The ocean is beyond control, but how the kayak responds to the ocean is controlled. The awareness helps me bring the rest of life back into perspective.
We lunched on a low tide beach before reaching Beavertail.
After lunch we turned north and returned up the coast following our original path. Once we reached Ft. Getty, we continued on to circle Dutch Island. We hoped that we could catch a glimpse of the air show from the northern tip of Dutch Island.
We stopped at the northern beach on Dutch Island. Most of us got out of the kayaks and lounged on the beach and watched for planes. I decided to perform stupid kayak tricks along with a few others. I tried and, somehow, pulled off a forward finishing pry roll. I nearly did a butterfly roll. My regular roll was in fine form.
The return to Bay Campus was the only real challenge of the day. The wind had picked up and was blowing west to east-in our face. The wind was not blowing fierce, but it was blowing consistently. With a large group wind makes sticking together requires the advanced paddlers to ramp down to the pace of the slower paddlers. If the advanced paddlers take off, the slower paddlers struggle to keep up, tire out quickly, and start making mistakes. All in all we did a good job keeping it together.
Back at the beach, I tried a few more pry rolls. None of them were successful, but they were close. I need to spend some more time working on the technique. You cannot power a pry roll, it is all about getting your body to move through the right positions and using its buoyancy to roll the kayak.
To finish the day on a positive note, I did a few regular sweep rolls. They were perfect.
Not a bad way to spend a day.

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