Today we paddled. Not far. I am calling it a paddle, sort of. My
GPS trip computer read 8.44 kilometers and a moving time of 2 hours and 2 minutes. The forecast was calling for 0 degrees C and 30 km southwest winds in the afternoon, so Neville, Clyde, Tony, and I put in at St. Philips after lunch for a couple hours on the water. We decided we would paddle at least as far as St. Thomas Cove, about half-way to . With the southwest wind we paddled almost directly into it. Topsail Beach
I found myself quickly tiring in a very short period of time. I mentally went through reasons why. Did I eat enough breakfast? Was it the fact that I have not paddled much this year; only once in February and only two times prior in March? Did I start off too fast? Why did my PFD feel so tight? Perhaps the wind was just stronger than me today. I watched the other guys. They just seemed to be paddling along without struggling…
Normally I have a higher cadence but I just could not seem to increase it today. I decided it was useless to try and switched into a lower gear, trying to concentrate on good torso rotation with each stroke, applying more power. I found this difficult to do as well. After a while I just tried to blank my mind and not think about trying to keep up, or increase my cadence, or even trying to paddle with proper form…. I decided that if I fell behind than so be it. I was feeling somewhat off my paddling game. Some days are just like that. But I was happy to be able to stay with the herd.
After a little while I found that my breathing was less laboured. We finally reached our destination, but I was tired and was glad to be stopped. We contemplated continuing on toward
. I said I would be okay with that, but needed a few minutes rest. The little cove provided relief from the wind. We decided against advancing (we would go back to the cove and paddle back and forth there) and we turned around and let the sea follow, paddling ahead of the squall we could see in the distance, across the bay. It is amazing how little you feel the wind in your back as compared to the accumulated effect of the wind in your face when you are paddling into it [called apparent wind speed]. Topsail Beach
The snow squall finally caught us. We continued paddling. Then it blew past us. It is interesting to experience a squall on the water like that. The last one we got caught in we did not see it or expect it – it just hit us hard and we had to get off the water. We seen this one coming from a distance - the forecast had called for snow squalls - and so it was not an unexpected event. Luckily it was not fierce like the previous one... perhaps I should blog about that experience... but anyway...
We paddled into the cove at St. Philips and fooled around there for a while. The other guys were busy paddling and playing in the wind and waves outside the shelter of the cove. I felt unenergetic and so I stayed in close and fooled around with my
GPS. I went to a seminar/course last week and finally learned how to use waypoints and routes, and so spent a little time practicing my new found GPS knowledge. I should have learned these things sooner; I’ve only had my GPS for about a year and a half now! You should not solely rely on a GPS while on the water, but you have to admit that it is a great little piece of navigational technology in the palm of your hand. I need to make it a point to practice using it on paddles and to learn the other features it has, like tracking…
After our paddle we went for coffee at By-the-Beach restaurant. This has become fairly standard practice after our paddles/practices at St. Philips. The ladies at the restaurant tend to keep watch over us from the windows and when they see us coming back in they’ll make sure there is coffee ready for us. One lady even said she turned the heat up a little when she seen us coming... next thing you know we will all be on a first name basis with them.
We’ve been told before that we are the entertainment for the restaurants patrons, especially when we have our regular Thursday evening practices. These weekly practices will start in about another couple weeks, when the evening daylight becomes just a little longer. Perhaps we should alert the restaurant owners about this so they can advertise the return of our regular Thursday evening practice. If it’s good for their business maybe we can get some free coffee out of it….