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Archive for the ‘kayaking’ Category

Kayaking again

It was great to be back on the Middle Branch in Baltimore at 6:00 this morning. My kayaking in Puget Sound was in the midst of speed boats and jet skis in mid-afternoon. There was no one around when I paddled out today.

Just the way I like it.

Back home at 8:00 and grocery shopping done (on foot) by 9:00.

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Actually paddling

I do know another 70-something kayaker. Maybe the next time we’re out on the water together I can post a picture of her. She took these shots.

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This morning I left home at 5:25 and was on the water by 5:50. The sun was up.

Sun up

I took the following picture accidentally, but it’s too good to pass up.

Shining

Except for rowers in sculling boats, I saw not another person. At this website, you can see what sculling looks like. There were one- two- four- and eight-person sculls on Middle Branch this morning.

By 6:55 I was back on the launcher. Now comes the hard  part. I have to get the boat up from the launcher, out of the water and on to the lower pier.

Out of the water

On the lower pier

Then I have to get it from the lower pier up to the upper pier.

Up to the upper pier

It takes a few steps. I don’t know how heavy this kayak is, but I can lift only one end at a time.

On upper pier

Next I have to drag it and turn it around before getting it up on the rack. Today I was able to do that because there was another kayak on the pier next to the rack, the yellow one. I lifted my boat on to the yellow kayak and from there on to the rack—right side up, the only way to slide it into place.

Up on the rack

Then I had to turn it over, which meant pulling it far enough toward me to be able to turn it under the  kayak above it. I succeeded.

Kayak secure.

Secure

It was 7:09 when I got into  my car.

Another beautiful morning. What a way to start the day!

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On the water

At 6:10 this morning, I pushed off the launcher into the Middle Branch at Nick’s Fish House. I just missed sunrise by a few minutes.

Sunrise

I had left home at 5:38. It’s different on a Saturday morning from the weekdays I’ve experienced heretofore. There were crabbers and fishers out.

Crab pot

This man was lowering a crab pot into the water from the bridge. A moment later he held up a crab to show me one he had caught earlier. Can you see the other line? When I returned he and two others had a dozen or more lines—for fishing and crab pots, hanging from both sides of the bridge. Below you can see a float that marks a crab pot. They were scattered all over this area, tended by people in motor boats. I had to deal with wake for the first time. It was fun!

Crab pot marker

After passing under the bridge, I left the city and traffic noise and paddled past this kind of shoreline:

Left bank

Of course, I was still in the city.

Right bank

I took these shots with my phone, so they’re not good, but they give you an idea of where I was this beautiful morning. Can you see the rower beneath the bridge? This is the Hanover Street Bridge seen from a kayak.

And again

Beyond the bridge is a marina which you may be able to see—the white shoreline in the distance on the left .

Bridge closer

If you look closely, right in the middle of the picture below, at the shoreline, you may see the mother duck and her ducklings. They crossed right in front of my kayak.

Mother duck

Here’s the trash I picked up during my paddling.

Trash

And here are crab pots with their floats, up close.

Crab pots

Today was the second day of kayaking this week for me. I was out for an hour on Thursday morning. My arms are tired.

I paddled back on to the launcher at 7:40—an hour and a half on the water. Getting the kayak out of the water and back to the rack is hard work. After hoisting it out of the launcher on to the pier where the crab pots were, I have to pull and push it up a couple of feet on to the docking pier, then drag it to the rack and turn it over. Heavy work.

I was back home at 8:18, achy but feeling all the better for the exertion and the outing.

My brother took me to lunch to celebrate my birthday on Thursday, and he asked me, “Do you feel 74?” Well, I’ve never been 74 before, so how do  I know? Do lots of 74-year-olds kayak alone at daybreak?

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Paddling

This morning I was on the water at 6:15. It was hazy, so there was no brilliant sunrise, but the haze dissipated while I was out. Since I don’t yet have a dry bag for my camera and I’m afraid to take my cell phone even in a water-tight container, I haven’t gotten any shots from the kayak. But here it is, in the launcher after I returned at 7:10.

It’s the smallest one, and today it was on the uppermost rack. I had to wait until I saw a man at his truck a little way off. I asked his help and he easily lifted it and placed it on the deck.

Here am I, still wearing the PFD, with my whistle and car key attached to my pants.

It was already 77 degrees hot when I arrived, and there was only the barest little occasional breeze. The water was still.

That white boat is actually derelict and ugly up close.

I paddled across to the hospital on the opposite shore and around to the other side of the hospital before heading back.

You can see some residual haziness in this direction.

Back to the Hanover Street bridge, an old drawbridge.

Home by 8:00, after taking these pictures and filling my gas tank.

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At 6:40 this Thursday morning  I left Charlestown and by 7:15 I was on the water off Nick’s Fish House. I spent 1 1/2 hours on the water.

Wednesday evening I met Michelle, with whom I had trained, at Nick’s Fish House, where she was going to paddle with Cliff from Canton Kayak Club. I was there to observe and pick up tips. Before Michelle and Cliff arrived, I had the chance to watch two men put kayaks in the water, and to talk with them about the experience.

It was well-worthwhile for me to be there. Cliff offered lots of information and recommendations. He told me which boat I should use and where it would be safe for me to practice by myself. He showed how he got the kayak into the launcher, which was different from the other two men I had watched. He also provided information about the Middle River docking station at Island View Café.

(Click on the pics to enlarge.)

Here’s Cliff testing his spray skirt for fit on this kayak:

(Notice the Hanover St. Bridge. Today I  paddled under it, through  it.)

0511111806a

The yellow kayak was for Michelle. Here she is, safely in the cockpit, ready for her paddle from Cliff and push-off.

In the cockpit

She wrote afterwards that she had had a great time.

Back to this morning. Of course I chose the little kayak Cliff had recommended. It was not up on the rack; it was on the ground under the rack. I had no difficulty getting it into the water. I slid it from the upper pier to the lower one where the launcher is located, as I had seen Cliff do.

To the launcher

My paddle and water bottle were already there.

It went easily into the launcher. It was just as easy for me to get into it, and I knew how to push off.

Launcher

From there I paddled out under the Hanover Street Bridge and up toward the Patapsco. At first, I was hugging the shore, but it was immediately apparent how much easier this kayak was to handle. It also felt more stable, which may have been due in part to my having remembered to adjust the foot pegs before putting it in the launcher. I felt quite secure and confident and after 20  minutes or so, I headed out into open water. After turning around, I came back past the Nick Fish House marina and on to the other side of it. By 8:45 I was back at the launcher and on it with no problem. Getting myself out of the boat was somewhat difficult, as I was too far away from the pier, even in the launcher. I had to haul myself out chest down. Getting the kayak out of the water was easier than that! But…..

I could not get it back up on the upper pier where the racks are located.

Uh-oh

So I dragged it to the ramp I had mistakenly used last time, and pulled it up.

Up

Getting it secured under the rack was easy-peasy. Getting it there, however, after arriving back at the launcher, took me about 15 minutes. I was feeling a little shaky from the effort required. That quickly passed, though.

There’s  my boat—the little blue one on the bottom, returned and secured. By the way, Cliff had told me that this is a Venture Kayak, the brand recommended by the trainer. I hadn’t seen that last time. Instead, I had taken the largest, heaviest kayak from the third rack up! That kayak is now at  Tide Point docking station, where one of the men I talked with last evening had taken it.

My boat

The “ancient kayaker” after my second solo. Ready to head home at 9:10 a.m.

Boat secured_edited-1

And definitely ready to do it again!

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Solo

This morning I was out on the water by myself in a kayak. For so long the days have been windy, Small Craft Advisory in effect, that when I saw there was no advisory until noon, I packed up at 8:30 and took off for Nick’s Fish House—12 minutes away.

IMG_1695

I took this picture when I was there on Sunday with son Pete and his wife, mother-in-law and grandson Noah.

IMG_1696

It was a gray and rainy day.

Today the sun was shining. I parked quite close to the Canton Kayak Club dock.

Kayak rack

My mission was to find out whether I could handle a kayak by myself. I found out that I couldn’t—at least this time. With experience, I may be able to do so.

I successfully opened the combination locks on the lock-box and the kayaks. I found a PFD that fit me.

PFD

This one was much less bulky than the ones used in training. I could move my arms freely and it was not nearly as heavy.

The paddles were marked with  numbers so that it was easy to find two ends that mated.

One end_edited-1Other end_edited-1

I got a kayak off the rack, choosing the brand that trainer Nick had recommended—Venture Kayak. It was third from the bottom on the rack. Surely it would have been easier to take the bottom kayak, but I had been alerted that some of the other brands were “tippier.” Notice the cables that secure the kayaks to the racks.

My kayak

Off the rack, I proceeded to drag it down this ramp:

Ramp

When I had gotten a few feet beyond the ramp, a marina worker called to me and pointed to the place where I should launch the kayak.

Launcher

It was close to the kayak rack, but I had failed to see it.

By this time the helpful man had already picked up one end of the kayak and we walked it to this site, where he slid it into the water, depriving me of the experience of doing it myself. He also held it while I got in, though I am sure I didn’t need that help.

I paddled for 15 minutes, staying within the marina. I went behind the boats docked here:

(Note the bridge.)

Marina

And into the open area beyond the end of the dock.

Paddle area

A man with a bicycle on the bridge overhead called to me that I was exceeding the speed limit.

Being out on the water felt wonderful. Although I realized that I had not adjusted the foot pegs and could not without tipping over, I was able to maneuver the kayak and to enjoy just sitting in it on the water on a perfect morning.

When I got back to the launching device, however, I could not get the kayak into it. The bow kept banging against it, instead of riding over it. For several minutes I tried to haul myself onto the dock. I tried several ways without success. It was too high. By this time, my arms were tired. I knew I couldn’t do it. I blew my whistle. The kind marina worker appeared again and pulled the boat into the cradle, or whatever it’s called. He said it was too high and that’s why the kayak wouldn’t ride into it. He held the boat as I got out. Then he helped me put it back on the rack.

After he left and I set about threading the cable through rings on all the kayaks on the rack to secure them, I discovered that the ring of my kayak was at the other end of the rack. I tried for several minutes to turn the boat over and get it off the rack to turn it around, but I couldn’t do it. So I walked to where several men were working and asked for help. Another man came back with me and told me that when a storm blew some of the kayaks off the rack, it took two men to get them back on it.

Unless I can learn a better way to do it, I cannot get a kayak back on the rack by myself. Not UP on the rack, that is.

This morning I went paddling after swimming 2/3 mile in our pool, as I do Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I went paddling instead of doing my usual workout after swimming and had a thorough workout. I’m feeling sore muscles all over. Just took Tylenol.

Okay. I needed help. But this was the first time at Nick’s Fish House and the first time alone. I didn’t capsize.

I soloed!

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