A November Sunday morning

Posted by Ken Campbell November 14, 2011 0 Comment 730 views

With the south wind blowing and the waves breaking on the shore here in the Tacoma Narrows, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a paddle. I like calm seas and languid summer evenings as much as the next guy, but I enjoy rough water even more. Is that strange?
The current was running in the same direction as the wind, which made the surface conditions less lumpy than they might have otherwise been, but the wind was strong enough (25-30 knots), that there was plenty of turbulence to think about. Crossing over to the west side of the passage was rough, and I got my face washed a few times along the way, but once in the lee of the cliffs, the water calmed down considerably. In the flat water along the opposite shore, a middling eddy carried me southward, and the eddylines were filled with fall leaves and other floating debris.
Once I’d gone far enough to the south to set up for a return crossing, I paddled out into the lumpy water again. It didn’t seem quite as rough as before, now that the wind and current were at my back, and the crossing quickly turned into a surf session. Two-foot wind waves caught my kayak and carried me onward… I’d paddle hard for a few strokes until I felt the lifting sensation that comes with being on the face of the wave, then I’d use the paddle blade as a rudder to maintain direction while the boat sizzled across the surface. A few seconds later, when I felt the next wave building behind me, I’d do it all over again.
And so it goes, the gales of November.

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