It was a windy weekend. We did not paddle Saturday. But Saturday night it was a go for the pool session so I went with my WW kayak. After I got home, paddling buddy Tony had e-mailed a bunch of us about paddling after lunch – the winds were called to drop in the afternoon. So we made a plan to meet at St. Phillips for a little paddle in the cove.
The car’s temperature gauge was reading -5 when I got there; I guess twice that with the wind chill. Not sure what the wind was; it was forecasted to be about 25 km in the afternoon. I was early and got on the water in the marina while waiting for others to show up. Only Tony came. I waited for him to gear up and we headed out into the cove.
We had fun. We would paddle out into the wind, and surf back in. At times the wind would blow much harder for a sustained amount of time such that bigger waves would develop; we agreed there were some at least 2 meters from trough to crest, and some would become steeper to add a little thrill. We paddled back and forth in beam and quartering seas as well.
After a while Tony’s paddle shaft was icing over enough that it was a consideration (I use a wood GP and wasn’t having that problem so much). Our deck lines, clothing, and gear was icing over as well. We like to paddle and push limits at times, but we maintain an awareness of safety as well, especially in the colder months. In wind and waves a slippery, iced up paddle shaft could make a swimmer out of you. We had our fun. We had been on the water an hour or more and decided to head back in.
Once we got into the marina and paddled to the river to rinse off I decided to try to put on my new storm cag with my neoprene mitts on. It was not too difficult to push the mitts (bigger than the neoprene gloves I wear most of the year) through the cuffs and then stick my head through the neck and pull it over my PFD. The hardest part was getting the cag around the cockpit coaming. I have a little trouble with my skirt too when I wear the neoprene mitts. I’ll have to make sure to practice it with the mitts each time I paddle.
After our fun we had coffee at the nearby restaurant. The waitress made a remark about it being cold out there. To me, with the little extra clothing on under the drysuit, today it did not feel much different from spring or fall paddling. As long as you do not overdress and do not paddle too hard such that you start sweating, it is surprisingly warm and comfortable.
Some people in the restaurant had fish and chips that looked and smelled good. When I got home I mentioned to my wife about the fish and chips and we decided to go back for supper. While we were eating, I heard a woman telling her friends about these couple of ‘crazy kayakers’ that she seen there earlier when she was out for a walk…. Can you believe that? She was actually out walking around in -5 temp, even colder with the wind chill!!! She must have been dressed properly for it. Those crazy walkers….
[I know, I know, no pictures. But if you go see Tony's blog he has one of himself that's kind of funny]