With my dry suit and plenty of layers underneath I felt adequately protected and even ventured a few rolls to get an idea what Greenlanders and the Inuit might experience.
Ahh! The crisp air in the nascent promise of spring as migrant cormorants rest up in leafless trees on their annual trip up north ...and an entire season of paddling and sailing to look forward to ...a fine feeling, indeed.
|Many kayaks to try out at the OkoumeFest|
The fact that CLC is based in Annapolis makes the OkoumeFest an opportunity to see what's new in the small boat building world and hook up with friends plus do some paddling on the Chesapeake and its tributaries - a "no-brainer".
My friend Dan Thaler and I had coordinated our travel plans and met up to paddle the Severn River into Annapolis Harbor and out into the Bay. It was a beautiful yet boisterous afternoon with 15-20 knots of wind. In the previous year those conditions might have intimidate me. Not so this time. Progress noted!
Sea Kayaking - Maryland's Chesapeake Bay"
I'll be back there again. The charm of this tributary will invariably show its many facets throughout the seasons.
|Dan Thaler paddling in a nice chop with Bay Bridge afar|
It was my second time attending this event and I was looking forward to practicing rolls, cowboy reentry and most importantly the heel-hook reentry. I had just seen this youTube video during the winter and was convinced by its elegant efficiency. Yes, it was easy. An effective way to re-enter the cockpit!
|Outcastpaddlers checking out safety gear|
Though I aim to expand my paddling venues, for practical purposes Moraine State Park and The Three Rivers of Pittsburgh are my home turf... and I don't seem to tire of paddling either venue.
|Early Morning Outing at Moraine State Park|
|Tucking into a little nook on Lake Arthur|
Needless to say, it is a special treat when Iris comes along for an outing in her Shearwater Sport which along with the Night Heron make a lovely pair of 'yaks.
|Shearwater Sport and Night Heron at Watts Bay: ready to go for an outing|
For readers who did not read the previous blog entry: I finally finished by Petrel build in late August. Since then I have paddled the Night Heron only once... not because I like it any less... but the Petrel fits me like a glove and the type of paddling it requires is what I've been aiming for.
The Night Heron is a straight shooter - fast, slick, elegant and awesome. It slices through the water like a sword. The Petrel has more rocker and a noticeably fuller bow entry and stern exit - so it dances on the waves with superb agility. Probably not as fast on flat water but it'll surf in big waves with ease. With its lower back cockpit and lower deck, it rolls like a dream.
|First efforts at surfing|
|Joey providing assistance as I climbed back into the cockpit|
(Note to anyone interested in and new to this type of paddling: Bring a helmet to protect your noggin)
A big Thank You to them... and progress noted!
Winter seems to have arrived in Western PA prematurely. Next week we are expecting highs in the upper 20's. That's about 25 degrees below average.
Just glad we are not in Buffalo where 5-8 feet of snow have brought life to a still-stand. I am still hoping for a rebounding of the temps before Winter arrives officially.
My tuilik and Petrel were standing ready for action!
Then on Nov 23 a window of opportunity opened. Once I got to Moraine State Park I knew it would be a wonderful outing. The water temperature had already dropped to 35 F and there was ice all around the edges but the air temp was a balmy 50's - quite a change from the previous week of 10's and 20's.
Coots, Buffle Heads, Red Heads, Ruddy Ducks, and Horned Grebes as well as some Hooded Mergansers supplied a busy backdrop to a sublime scene.
A clear sign that the season is coming to the end is when the water is getting crunchy...
...and with this realization I happily packed up my paddle gear
and declared 2014 kayaking a success.