Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rainy Delight

Since I haven't been getting much sleep lately, I decided to skip the annual Cuttyhunk trip on Saturday. The Cuttyhunk crossing can be a flat, snooze inducing slog or a windswept death march. Neither is much fun on less than five hours of sleep. (The amount of sleep we're getting is steadily improving, but is not back to the blissful eight hours.)
Much to my surprise, TM called me Saturday afternoon when I was sure that he would be in the middle of Buzzard Bay. (Sleep deprivation clouded my memory of him telling me that he would be getting back from vacation on Saturday.) He wanted to paddle on Sunday and was looking for company.
After checking with H to see if I could go and play, I checked the weather: 90% chance of rain with fog and likely thunder.....
TM convinced me that thunder was unlikely, and we'd take a route that would give us plenty of "options" if it did thunder. H looked skeptical, but didn't push the matter. For some odd reason she still thinks that we are sensible paddlers who wouldn't purposely endanger ourselves.
As predicted, Sunday was rainy and foggy. While we were getting ready and while we were packing up the rain kept to a pleasant drizzle. While we were paddling, the rain vacillated between drizzle and downpour.
It didn't really matter much. Paddling is a wet sport and we had plenty of wet weather gear to keep our core temp up. We both wore dry tops. In fact, the rain enhanced the outing in many ways. It meant that there was less boat traffic, we wouldn't need to rinse our gear out afterwards, and we wouldn't have to deal with a large group. The otherworldly look of the Bay on a gray day with a rainy sheen hovering over the water was an added bonus.
We didn't do anything terribly interesting before lunch. We used the time to practice paddling on a compass bearing and doing dead reckoning. We chatted about life. We worked on boat control. We spent some time working with the chart and compass trying to triangulate our location. Mostly we just ambled along the Jamestown coast and made our way northward.
After lunch, we decided to cross the Bay and head back to Bay Campus along the mainland. We took a bearing for Fox Island and headed out.
The crossing started out uneventful. The wind was picking up a little and the rain turned more constant. There was a little boat traffic running along the Jamestown side of the crossing.
A quarter of the way across we noticed the high-speed ferry heading towards open water. Initially we couldn't tell if we would make it across the ferry's path. We continued on our course, but kept a close eye on the rapidly approaching ferry. It didn't take us long to realize that we couldn't get across its path, but it looked like we might be right in its path. We took our best guess, stopped, and prayed we wouldn't need to rely on the Hogan maneuver (ducking while we paddle between the pontoons). Fortunately, it passed (closely) in front of us.
Once clear of the ferry, we changed course and headed for Rome Pt. The rain turned hard and the winds picked up more strength.
The paddle back to Bay Campus seemed long. We were paddling into a beamy headwind and against the current. I'm also out of shape. Fortunately, the water had some bounce in it which kept things interesting.
Back at Bay Campus, the puddles around our cars kept growing. By the time we returned we had no dry access to either car. It shouldn't have been a big deal since we were already wet, but there was a least one spent condom floating in the puddle (I think people who don't have the sense to throw spent condoms in the trash should be forced to spend the day standing in a mud puddle that has a few spent condoms floating in it). I found the shortest path to my driver side door, hopped in my car and moved it away from the puddle. I just couldn't stand the idea of stepping in it more than once.
Even with the rain and the condom, it was a much needed refresher. I needed the paddle time to recharge and prepare to face another week of being bored in my neon closet.

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