Sunday, September 08, 2019

The Once and Future Level 5

The dissipating hurricane promised big conditions this weekend. To take advantage of the expected fun Tim M. posted two Level 5 paddles. One on Saturday in the Bay to experience big open ocean conditions. One on Sunday to experience big surf and big rock interfaces.

I was busy on Saturday, and H banned me from paddling in obviously life threatening conditions, so Sunday was my chance to get out.  Because it was a level 5 paddle, I made sure to e-mail Tim to make sure he felt comfortable with me participating and that my skills fit his plan. Whenever I plan on attending a level 5 paddle, I think it is important to check in with the coordinator before showing up. Level 5 paddles are usually where the serious paddlers in the group plan on paddling in serious conditions. It isn't an "I think I'm a pretty strong paddler and want to push the envelope" paddle; it is an "advanced" paddle.
After some e-mails, Tim and I agreed that based on the plan and the expected conditions, we were both comfortable with my participation. It might be on the outer edge of my range, but nothing that I could not handle. (Being an old and infrequent paddler has really narrowed my window....)
H and Bug planned on doing Newport while I paddled, so I had some company on the ride down and knew I could play hard without worrying about having energy for driving home.
I needn't have worried too much. Whatever conditions the passing hurricane threatened never appeared. The wind was calm and the swell small. We were still going to be able to find some places to play; the whole area is full of play spots.
What we found was mild at best. There were small waves interacting with rocks, but nothing too exciting. I was just happy to be on the water...
We did find some decent surfing near lunch. It was small surf, but big enough to ride. In the Aries, pretty much any bump in the water is big enough to ride...
After lunch, the wind started to pick up, so after a little more surfing we made a bee line home. We all took opportunities to find places that had interesting features. Mostly though it was just a pleasant paddle back into the harbor.
H and Bug showed up shortly after we returned. It was near perfect timing. Then we all headed to nice little farm stand/tea house for a post paddle snack.
What had been predicted to be a rollercoaster adrenaline rush turned into a relaxing day on the water and civilized tea. Is there any such thing as a bad day kayaking?

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