Sunday, April 10, 2016

A lesson in hydrology

Saturday, April 9th, 9 of us met in Placentia to play in some current.  Placentia has two arms of the sea with one output - at a bridge spanning Northeast Arm (click to enlarge, at the yellow arrow).  I don't have an exact span for the bridge but put it at about 75 meters.  On a flood tide the water flows into the arms and, naturally, at ebb tide it flows out again.

High tide was at 10:30 at 2.4M CD; at 2:00 it was 1.1M and at 3:00 it was 0.5M.  There was a lot of water going to flow.

Some arrived early and were just floating around when Cathy and I landed below the bridge.

When we were all on the water we paddled into Southwest Arm to await the turning of the tide and had a "warm-up" practicing entering and exiting the less challenging eddy that formed and ferry gliding across the Arm.

At 11:30 the flow was starting to run swifter so we sped under the bridge and the action began.

On the right side of the bridge it was still possible to paddle up hill into the arm.

Hazen taking a running start to get under the bridge.

Shane getting swept to the left.  Shane impressed everyone with his rolling ability.  He got knocked over three times and rolled up in the current each time to the cheers of everyone.  A most impressive display.

As the current picked up we gave up trying to paddle upstream as it was impossible to make headway.  I don't know for sure what the current was running at but I'd guess at least 8 knots.  Possibly more.  So, we switched over to the left and started doing some ...

... peel outs of the eddy.  Quick and correct edging was a necessity to prevent getting wet.  Dean was pretty adept but not quite as adept as ...

... Gary who has a PhD in whitewater kayaking.  Some guys make it look so easy and I suppose it is if you know what you're doing.  Likewise ...

... Brian, the master, also with a PhD, looked right at home in the current ferrying back and forth in the current and across eddy lines and boils.  It was 3:00 and at its maximum flow.

I watched Brian and Gary paddle with intent right to the top of the eddy before being swept away like it was a breeze.  I wasn't in the same league so I cheated and cut out of the eddy lower down.  It was the first time I've been in a current as strong as it was on the day so discretion was the best part of valour.  Like any new skill its better to learn incrementally and I will be back.

Thanks to Terry for organizing the day and everyone who shared it.  I didn't get shots of everyone.  Some of the pix re still from the video I recorded.  I'll edit the video and post in a few days.

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