Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiting out the Storm

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A day of bad weather passed.  I watched waves explode against the rocks below my balcony leaving tendrils of mist to blow away in the breeze.  I’m staying at Hotel Calanca where the staff is really great, but after a day of sitting around I was ready to paddle, even if the sea was still a little rough.

I went down to the port, and after talking with some folk down there, got in my boat and began to paddle the seven miles to the next town.  Five or six people had heard my story and came to see me off.

I would be paddling into a force four headwind.  It’s the largest I let myself paddle into and I won’t do more than a few miles under it.  That’s why my destination was Scaurio, only seven miles away.

I secured my winged paddle under my deck bungees and set off with my storm paddle which is better suited for paddling against heavy headwinds.

My onlookers pointed out that I had a hard day’s paddle ahead of me and I told them that if I thought it was too rough I would turn around and come back.  I didn’t think that would happen.  The fellow told me he’ll see me in twenty minutes.  I joked, undoubtedly five.

I left the port.  The waves were at least two meters high, twice as high as my head.  But they weren’t waves so much as chop.  Coming from the sea, bouncing off the rocks, or seeming to pop up right under me, they left me a little nervous.  I could paddle farther out on more regular swells, but then I wouldn’t have any shelter against the wind.  Even near the cliffs, when ever I crested a wave I felt the blast on face.

I turned around, very cautiously so as not to capsize or get run into the cliffs. And I paddled back to the port.  I had been out for about twenty minutes.

The town invited me to stay another night and the port guys who were entertained by my plight assured me the weather would be better the next day.

I was already suited up so I practiced my rolls and taught myself a new one called a shotgun roll where in I hold my storm paddle with one hand and secure an end in my armpit.  I also nailed some hand rolls, and then missed some.

Hand rolls, that is rolling without a paddle, are one of my projects. Last summer I was getting them all, but this summer I somehow lost it.  Hopefully with enough days like today I’ll have them back by the time I finish my trip.  I’d like to get certified to train instructors for the ACA when this is over, and I’ll need both exceptional kayaking skills and exceptional teaching skills.  


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  2. Hotel Calanca... do you mean

  3. Interesting! I like that you explain different techniques, such as what a hand roll is. Good luck with the weather.

  4. Dov, have you ever read "My Reach", by Susan Fox Rogers? A good read when you are holed up due to weather. Here's's Abstract on the book, during your next snack break in calm seas:

    In this memoir of the Hudson River and of her family, Susan Fox Rogers writes from a fresh perspective: the seat of her kayak. Low in the water, she explores the bays and the larger estuary, riding the tides, marveling over sturgeons and eels, eagles and herons, and spotting the remains of the ice and cement industries. After years of dipping her paddle into the waters off the village of Tivoli, she came to know the rocks and tree limbs, currents and eddies, mansions and islands so well that she claimed that section of the river as her own: her reach. Woven into Rogers's intimate exploration of the river is the story of her life as a woman in the outdoors—rock climbing and hiking as well as kayaking.

    Rogers writes of the Hudson River with skill and vivacity. Her strong sense of place informs her engagement with a waterway that lured the early Dutch settlers, entranced nineteenth-century painters, and has been marked by decades of pollution. The river and the communities along its banks become partners in Rogers's life and vivid characters in her memoir. Her travels on the river range from short excursions to the Saugerties Lighthouse to a days-long journey from Tivoli to Tarrytown and a circumnavigation of Manhattan Island, while in memory she ventures as far as the Indiana Dunes and the French Pyrenees.

    In a fluid, engaging voice, My Reach mixes the genres of memoir, outdoor adventure, natural and unnatural history. Rogers's interest in the flora and fauna of the river is as keen as her insight into the people who live and travel along the waterway. She integrates moments of description and environmental context with her own process of grieving the recent deaths of both parents. The result is a book that not only moves the reader but also informs and entertains.

  5. Yah, that look right. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Thanks! In what little time to play that I have I'm actually trying to build an instructional section for the sight. Naturally, it's slow going. Certainly though I try to write the blog for non kayakers, hopefully they'll see how much fun it is and come out to play!

  7. A few years ago I kayaked from Albany to NYC on the Hudson. It's a beutiful river.