Back in the Saddle again…
Okay, so I have spent the better part of the past couple of years on my bum. Either putting the final edits on my most recent book The Hungry Kayaker, or organizing a wedding (my own) with only chance encounters with the water in my kayak in between. Life and the fact we down-sized to one car meant scheduling paddling times became awkward. But now, life is a little more settled and me being terminally out of work of late I have put more thought to kayaking and using it as a therapy of sorts. Life is always good on the water. No bills to pay, no worries, just keep paddling.
To that end, I have managed to get in some good late winter/ early springtime session. I managed to log nearly 40km in the past two days alone spending three hours at a time maintaining a good healthy pace. It feels good, my arms are happy (though the muscles are asking why, why, why) the hip is okay and I think all the walking (lack of car) has toned me up as well. The first paddle day was a shocker. About a month ago I took the water leaving from town and paddling 20km south to Fulford Harbour. It was a lovely calm day but that last half hour the wooden paddle, a rather heavy beast felt like lead. A few shorter paddles in the weeks ahead and slowly I am feeling the groove returning. So much so that I did back to back days as the weather was super. Repeating the town to Fulford run in just over 3 hours and a slower cruise yesterday around some of the islands north of here.
Spring is here, I suppose my cabin fever is inspiring my paddle lust to a point, but there are bigger visions in my mind’s eye. Longer paddle times, endurance, duration, food and fluid management are starting to enter into my kayak planning for each outing. This coming weekend the tide tables are in my favour, as maybe too, the lack of predicted winds for my first ever attempt to complete a circumnavigation of Salt Spring Island. I have done the paddle before, but as a three-day paddle/camping holiday spending my nights on the satellite islands as I toured around my home island. This weekend I hope to do it in one long shot. Taking advantage of the ebb tide all day to take me southwards through Sansum Narrows and with luck have most of the flood tide later that day to take me back up the other side of the island. It is ambitious since my conditioning is still a ‘work in progress’, but knowing my home waters is a plus, being able to jump out at anytime call a buddy to get me if I run out of steam, or even camping make it less daunting.
However, I know how long it takes to do town to Fulford, and keeping that solid pace I should be able to meet my goal of 12 hours. The fastest was 8 hours by my friend Gus in his speedy Epic 18 with a high performance wing blade while training for the Yukon River Quest. I’ll be in my beloved woodie with a standard kayak paddle. In all things we must keep the right perspective. I don’t care about speed at this point, just surviving!