Saturday, May 30, 2009
First Flip of the Season
Aurora, Nancy and I like to kayak.
Sounds simple right?
We go out in all sorts of weather. I try to keep it simple. Easy winds, light chop is okay. Sun is nice but it can be rainy too. Anything is generally fine.
Well, we can finally say we have seen a different side of our lake. Cayuga is known for being capricious... now we have first-hand evidence to support this.
We put in at the swimming beach at Taughannock Park on the thursday before the Memorial Day holiday. Nice flat water. Smooth as glass. You could see down about 12 feet perfectly. There are some BIG fish down there too!
Aurora and I usually head south from the launch to take us into some sheltered coves in hopes of doing some bird watching. Not this time. Aurora asked to head north to the North Point part of Taughannock Park. Sounded good at the time. By the time we cleared our little launching area and were past the swimming dock, the waves rose up. Went from glass smooth to hunched up waves about a foot high before we were 200 yards from shore. Hmmm. A sign perhaps?
We persissted and made our way quite swiftly and made our way along the shore. As we looked out across the lake we started noticing the lack of other boats out on the water. We passed one boat trying to fish... they were bobbing like a cork on a string. So were we. The farther we paddled the bigger the waves got. By the time we reached the marina we were hitting waves in excess of 24 inches high. Seen from a kayak, that is monstrous! Those waves lift you right up and toss your stomach and then slam you back down just in time to catch the next wave right over the bow, sending water into your face and into your cockpit. Normally, any sane kayaker going out in waves like this would have on a neoprene spray skirt. Not us. Nope. Bad idea. Duh.
Fast forward to the gory stuff... we rounded the point and became aware that North Point was tem times worse than what we had just paddled through. Starting to get scared I told Aurora we needed to make shore landing. The waves were coming WAY up the shoreline. There wasnt much beach to speak of, and the waves were taking their fair share bite out of it. Aurora landed with only a few gallons of water spilling into her cockpit. I came ashore just after her... not so cleanly though. When I hit shore the wave behind me decided I needed a shove. So it lifted the back end of my boat and tried to help me ashore. It didn't help. I ended up flipped over to the side, head underwater, with the boat totally full of water. I executed a slippery wet exit, caught my boat and paddle as they sought to escape and stood up in less than four feet of water. Ice cream-headache in hand, I waddled to shore. Soaked to the bone and cold like I have never been cold.
That was when I realized we needed to hoof it out to get the van in order to head home. Ugh. A short ten minute hike to the van helped me dry off but not warm up. I was getting seriously cold by the time we finished loading the boats back onto the van. All the while, Aurora was whooping it up exclaiming how fun this was and how she wanted to do it again. Suffice to say, her facial expressions and mine differ a wee bit.
After we had loaded up the last boat and dried me off a bit, we stopped to shoot some pictures of the lakeside. The waves had dropped to less than half their original height. Not nearly so imposing. We probably should have either checked wind before launching or maybe just stayed out in the water longer.... live and learn eh?