Puget Sound Challenge – Day 9

Posted by Ken Campbell April 7, 2009 0 Comment 905 views

The epic days make the best stories. The days when the wind is howling and the seas are big and nasty, when the food and the sleeping bag get soaked and you end up getting washed ashore on some rocky beach just before dark. Big days, when you are forced to question your sanity and your strength… those are the days you’ll talk about for years.

This particular day was not like that at all. I awoke at dawn and got the board and gear down to the water before my campmates stirred. After a quick breakfast (and giving Micah a chance to try out the board), I was underway. The day was clear and warming, blue skies and scarcely a breeze.

This was the first day I wasn’t on my own. Chris, a friend of mine from the shop, met us at Manchester and started out with me from there in a kayak, and we paddled the 4 miles to Southworth together, where we met Tom, the other kayaker I had seen at the end of the second leg a few weeks earlier. Before we got to Southworth, Chris and I stopped for a few minutes on Blake Island, and took a short walk around. It felt like a summer morning, like we had bypassed spring altogether and gone directly to July. There were a half-dozen sailboats tied off to the floats offshore and we paddled through them toward Southworth, where Tom was waiting on the beach.

It was 11:00 am by this point and a wind had picked up out of the north. As soon as we turned the corner into Colvos Passage, the wind assistance was immediately in force. Small but consistant swells pushed us in the direction we wanted and at a few points, I was able to surf them at speeds of over 4 knots. (Tom had a GPS). There was a lunch stop on Vashon Island and another stop further down at Lisabuelah, where I’d stashed a bottle of wine years before. There had been some new landscaping done in the intervening years, however, and that 2001 Merlot had apparently been found by someone else. That’s a chance you take, when you leave bottles of wine laying around; I hope they enjoyed it.

As we approached the Narrows, we started to feel more of the effects of the contrary current. The current in Colvos Passage always sets to the north, but it had been fairly weak all day. The wind was more of a factor than the movement of the water, but near the end of the day, the current speed picked up and the wind slacked. Still, crossing from Dalco Point to Owen Beach was not difficult, and soon we were pulling into shore at Owen Beach, where the nice weather had brought hundreds of people out for the day. A celebratory beer was chugged and in a matter of minutes, the three of us had packed up our gear and were gone.

The foul days make better stories but every now and then, a perfect day with good company is better than adding another epic story to your collection. I’m sure there will be plenty more opportunities for suffering.

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