Monday, May 31, 2010

Sassafrass River Kayaking

The family, along with Dave and Lori, spent a nice Sunday yesterday at the River, fishing and kayaking. Dave keeps a couple of kayaks at the house, and I had never been out in one before, but yesterday after an early dinner he and I went out for a short cruise just to get me out in one.

Dave thought it best to start with a simple run along the shoreline, which made sense to me. The River at our house is about a mile wide (although it looks very deceptively narrower in some of the pictures). It seemed reasonable to keep me near the shore in case I got myself into trouble somehow. I was a little concerned as we started out as to how stable the kayaks were, because on a holiday weekend there were a lot of power boats out and the water was not very calm.

It turned out that there really wasn't anything to worry about. The boats seemed to have good initial and final stability (that initial feeling of "tippiness" versus the resistance to tipping beyond a certain point and rolling over), and even without knowing what I was doing and being on choppy water, I never felt like I was in any danger of rolling. As can be seen on the track below, we did a total of a little under a mile and a half as a simple out and back along the south shore.

Dave was in a Perception Acadia 11.5 foot and I was in a Perception Acadia 12.5 foot. The slightly longer boat means more stability, which isn't a bad thing. Paddling was fairly easy, but used almost entirely upper body. The footrests hadn't been adjusted for me and I couldn't use them. I suspect that if I were able to use them there would have been better leverage between upper and lower body and it might not feel so much like I was paddling entirely with my chest and shoulders.

The only trouble I had was in a foot of water. Much to everyone's amusement, as I nosed the boat into the shore to get out, a few big waves from passing boats washed over the stern, partially filling the cockpit and getting me soaked.

As I floundered my way out of the kayak, I managed to spin the boat sideways to the waves and filled the rest of it with water.

So here we are putting the water back where it belongs...

It was a lot of fun, and I can't wait to go out again, especially on a calmer day when we can go across the river and explore some of the smaller coves, creeks and other hidden places.

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