I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Paddle Day 22: Wind Shenanigans

Heading out!
What a day!
Woke up too quickly, tried to check the marine forecast, hit the wrong button and accidentally allowed my phone to upgrade.  URGH!  While my phone was out of commission, I jumped into my wet suit, packed up and was ready to leave by the time my phone recovered it's mind.  Checked the marine forecast.  URGH!  It changed from last night's prediction of reasonable winds, to unreasonable winds.  Instead of Sunday being the high wind day, it was today.  If I hadn't been all ready to go, I would have immediately decided to sleep in and paddle on Sunday instead.

Chris drove me to the put-in at Fort Tabor.  The park was covered with the tents of War of 1812 reenactors, cannons were going off, and the fie and drums where in high gear.  I could have stealth camped with them!

The wind was whipping the flag,  the trees were dancing and the water had adequate whitecaps.  The problem was that the park was not the most exposed part of my planned route.   This spot didn't have a very long fetch, and it was already rough.  To go or not to go?  I'm already here...  but I should be cautious.

Chris to drove me to the most exposed spot of my planned route.  Not good!  We kept driving to where I would have landed, in a slightly more sheltered spot.  I looked across my route for the next paddling day.  That looked more doable.  There was only one tricky section near the end, and there was a bail-out option if it looked too rough, and I was already there!

About to launch!
So at 9:30 am I began paddling from Westport to Sakonnet.  It was calm in the wind shadow of the shallow land, but quickly got more exciting when I was further out.  I hugged the shore and made it almost around to the most exposed point on the route.  But the winds were gusting, and the waves were larger and breaking.  The final three miles around the point were covered in white caps, with lots of rocks and the usual commotion associated with an exposed headland.  I wished I had brought my "brain bucket" with me.  URGH!  When I saw a small rocky island that protected a small section of beach from the worst of the surf, I opted to surf in to land.

Oh dear, I felt like Dorothy in Oz.   It looked like a public beach.  Lots of folks with deck chairs, life guards and a pod of kayaks on the beach.  Who knew it was a private beach?  Many people let me know I was not welcome.  One kind soul said that the owner was around, and he was sure she would not send me back out into the surf.   He pointed me up to the life guard shack.    There they said I should go to the gatehouse to talk with the owner - a tenth of a mile up the road.  After nearly 3/4 of a mile up a hot, dusty road, still in full neoprene,  I finally came to the gate house.   I was told that of course I could take out there.  "And why didn't the life guards just phone me?", she added.  URGH! My walk back to the beach was cut short by the happy arrival of my husband.
The Yakima dryer
Back at our motel I found a new reason I love the load bar on my Yakima roof racks.  A great place to dry the NRS neoprene hyroskins!  I found a new reason to love the NRS hydroskins today as well.  Since the top is mostly light grey in color, it's not as hot as my old black NRS hydroskin top, when hiking along the road in Oz.

Tomorrow's forecast looks good for doing the New Bedford to Westport leg.

Paddle Day: 22                                                      Date: August 23, 2014
Start: Westport                                                      End: Sakonnet
Distance: 8.06 miles                                              Total distance: 253.36 miles
Max speed: 6.0 mph                                               Moving ave.: 3.8 mph
Kayak storage: Yakima rack                                    Host: Chris Percival

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