Saturday, December 10, 2016

A sprinking of heaven and a good dose of hell

The major weather networks were forecasting westerly winds at 40 kms gusting to almost 60.  Some checking of other wind sources indicated lighter winds.  The invitations went out and replies from Brian, Cathy, Dean and Gary meant we would have five.

We met at 9:00 at the familiar St. Philips.  It would serve the purpose today.  We arrived at the slipway where it was icy under foot and would remain so in the -4C temperature.  We left the protected boat basin and ...

... headed south.  The west wind drove the temperature down to -12C with the wind chill.  Though the picture doesn't show it, we had occasional breaking wind waves close to 1 meter.  After a few minutes Brian said he wasn't feeling the cold under the work.

There's not much of a story to today's paddle.  It wasn't a sightseeing day.  It was merely a chance to get some water time.

Here we have the master.  He's been making these paddles possible back in the day when some of us were a little greener.

Its only early December but already icicles have formed on the cliffs.

We arrived at Topsail Beach where we got out for a break.  Cathy asked if we were going to grab something to eat.  I said "No" explaining I couldn't as I had not brought anything.  Dean replied "No worry, Cathy has enough for all of us".  Here he's checking out what goodies are in Cathy's lunch bag.

So far the paddle south to Topsail Beach was heaven.  Cold temperatures, no flies, a bit of wind and good wind waves.

The return for me was hell.  My skeg was stuck retracted by a pebble picked up launching from the beach and as I went along it became an issue.  Gary was well ahead as were Cathy and Dean.  I was making slow progress in the building waves continually dealing with the boat weathercocking.  Brian stayed with me but must have been wondering what was going on with me.  I wasn't going to ask anyone to stick their hands in the cold water to free up the skeg.  I decided I'd just deal with it myself.

Brian left to deal with an issue ahead of us.  Alone. the shoreline crept by and I said to myself I wouldn't be disappointed to be back at the slipway.  My strategy became a paddle letting the kayak weathercock away from shore, stop and make up the distance riding the meter to 2 meter waves back closer to shore.

As the entrance to St. Philips Cove came into view I felt relived to be back promising myself I'd replace the twine on my skeg so someone could easily pull the skeg down the next time.  Small things not addressed can make for a lot of grief.  I will be more attentive to the details.


  1. "Brian left to deal with an issue ahead of us."

    Which was . . .?

  2. That's classified information Sean *lol* Scanty information to protect the innocent!

  3. That's right Tony; what happens on the water, stays on the water.

    Sean, you're just gonna have to start paddling with us again if you want to know the gory details...

    1. Dean, I think he's still interested but finds it hard to find a balance between fat biking and kayaking.

    2. The balance is to bike one weekend, paddle the next.