Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A tight squeeze

Entrance to St. Philip's harbour

Sunday it was blowing hard. Conception Bay was full of whitecaps as the water was whipped into 2+ metre waves. They were rolling at an angle to the entrance to St. Philips harbour. We sized it up, keeping in mind that its not only the exit we had to be concerned with but also getting back into entrance.

The entryway is only about 8 metres wide and doesn't give much room for error when returning in following waves. Four of us got out and after an hour and a half of playing in the waves we headed back in.

I waited for a large set to pass before making the run. As I entered the passage an unexpected large wave picked me up and pushed me forward and sideways towards the wharf. Edging away with an aggressive high brace to the stern I shot by the pilings with only 20 cms room to spare.

The lesson for the day was to consider foremost the need to get back in and off the water. All ended well.


  1. Way to keep a cool head and get in safely. Looks pretty gnarly!

  2. Brian, I'm not sure I can admit to keeping a cool head at the time. It was more of an instinctive reaction on my part but I do remember looking up at 2 people on the wharf, amused that I was able to provide some entertainment for them.

    By edging away I presented most of the bottom of the boat to the impact if I couldn't avoid hitting the pilings. Another lesson learned.

    Tony :-)

  3. I like the last sentence of that post. I have long subscribed to the concept that:

    it is better to be on the beach, wishing you were on the water, than on the water, wishing you were on the beach.

    Another lesson that I teach students doing day paddles is to always start your day paddling into the wind, so you get the push home when your tired, instead of fighting it.

    You, of course, didn't have an option. You had rough water to get through going home, regardless of what you did. and it sounds like you did just fine. I think the one big lesson in is patience. wait much longer than you would think, watching sets.

    But it sounds like you handled a bad situation well. No autopsy, no foul.