Saturday, July 18, 2015

Rushing to the Reefs

On Friday, I called PB to see if he was up for a Saturday adventure. He was undecided, but leaning towards a bike ride. He would decide in the morning.

I went to sleep planning on driving myself to Stonington and hoping that PB would decide to paddle and pick me up on the way.

I got half my wish. I woke up in the morning and checked my e-mail. PB was going to paddle, but he wanted me to drive.

My sense of time is skewed towards optimistic, so I figured there was plenty of time: ten minutes to pack lunch and get dressed; ten minutes to put the kayak on the roof; thirty minutes to drive to PB’s house….

An hour and a half later, I managed to get to PB’s house. According to the Waze, we would arrive at the put-in just in time. Launch time 10am; ETA 9:58am.

We pulled in just as TG was about to give the pre-launch talk. Needless to say we rushed to get the kayaks unloaded and our kit together. The other paddlers graciously helped us out. Miraculously, we got all of our stuff together without forgetting anything critical. I had forgotten my croakies at home, but I knew that before getting to the launch.

The tides were not going to turn until after lunch. So the plan was to paddle east over to Napatree. From there we would cross over to Fishers Island by way of Wicapisett rock. After a leisurely lunch, we would see what the reef gods would offer up for fun. Finally we would drag ourselves home.

As we rounded the tip of Stonington and turning east towards Napatree, I decided to check my watch to see what our pace was. I discovered that getting my kit together didn’t go quite as smoothly as I initially thought. The watch was gone. I still had hopes that it might be in the day hatch or had fallen into the cockpit or I had put it in the clothing bag by accident.

We stopped for a check in and break on the backside of Napatree. I checked the hatches for the watch, it was nowhere to be found. I also decided to change the lenses in my sun glasses. It was overcast and the polarized lenses I was wearing were too dark. The orange tint lenses brightened things up a lot. They also prompted a number of comments about how I was dressing to match the Aries and turning into a big pumpkin.

The crossing from Napatree to Fishers was uneventful, but fun. There was some texture to the water. All in all the morning paddling was a nice warm up. People got the chance to chat and get some sea legs before tackling the tide race.

After lunch we drifted out to the race. The play area was well defined. Wicapisett rock created a calm pocket for resting at the head of the race. The outer edges were also easy to spot. We set up so that resting and the return path were along the outside of the race.

TG reminded us to make sure we kept our eyes out for each other while we were playing. While the conditions were not extreme, a swimmer would still get separated from their kayak quickly. The current would also make it difficult for us to get to a swimmer.

The race was not at full mayhem, but there was a wind opposing the current. There were standing waves to ride and I had a kayak built for wave riding.

I don’t know exactly how long we spent in the race. Time flies when you are having fun, and I was having a blast. The Aries is way more fun in a tide race than the Q-boat. It catches waves effortlessly and can be easily controlled on the ride. I paddled out into the race waited for a wave to pass under the kayak and then geared up. The kayak shoots forward, gliding down the wave face and into the next one. A few well times paddles, and the kayak keeps gliding along.

The best part of the race was the front. The waves were better formed, taller, and easier to predict. It was a perfect way to end each run through the race. Just when I thought the kayak was done running, I’d wait for one more more wave to pass under and hit it again. Whoosh!!

PB commented that this was the happiest he had seen me in a kayak. The Q-boat in a tide race could be fun, but it was a chore. The Aries was fun.

TG demonstrated excellent navigation and leadership skills on the return to the put-in. He assigned a lead kayak and set him on a bearing. At first glance, the bearing seemed way off. As we paddled along, the current dropped us into perfect position to hit the harbor. It was like magic.

Sadly my watch was not to be found at the put in. It was a costly day of fun, but it was definitely a day of fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment