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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Paddle Day 26: Gifts from the sea: Hat and Hurricane

The hat from the sea!
Two gifts from the sea today.  One was splendidly welcome and the other was only tolerated.
The exciting gift was paddling past something that looked like a hat.  It looked so much like a very particular hat, that I backed up, searched for it again and scooped it out of the water.

I was so excited!  It was my old hat!  My favorite hat!  The one I loved so much that I had used it as a subject for my first watercolor painting.  The one I had lost about five years ago on my Nova Scotia kayak trip.  Well, it was the same model, same color and same size as my old hat.  It is the canvas and leather version of my current synthetic hat.  I was so excited because the canvas version is not produced anymore, and here it was just floating up to me.  I do hope it's previous owner finds another one soon.

The second gift from the sea was less welcome - Hurricane Cristobal.  I knew from the marine forecast that there was a small craft advisory for the afternoon, and it would continue for the next few days.  So I decided to leave early and try to paddle the routes for two days in one morning.  But even leaving at 6:30 am was not soon enough, as the winds picked up and the seas increased.  

I approached the tiny boat ramp in Narragansett.  It was the one possible landing spot before my final destination  - Point Judith Harbor of Refuge.  Just that "Harbor of Refuge" alone sounds a little scary.   Should I stop or continue on?  I drank a protein drink while I listened again to the marine forecast.  The winds were in my face at about 10 to 15 knots, and predicted to rise to 20 knots in the afternoon.  I only had three and a half hours until afternoon.  With a flat sea, I could paddle into the winds and make it to Point Judith.    But the swells were already 3 to 5 feet.   The seas from Cristobal were due to arrive about 8 p.m. and be 8 to 10 feet.   I realized the seas would be rising continually over the next 12 hours, and would be too big for me well before 8 p.m.  The marine forecast was not calming with talk about surf and undertows. So I decided to take the safest approach and land at the boat ramp.  A SUP was coming in at the same time.  He said it was too rough out there to get back to the beach he had launched from.  Fortunately he and a passing biker helped me carry my kayak to shore.  By the time I called my host, Russell, he had already figured out I had landed at the boat ramp, thanks to the Delorme MapShare page that shows my location every 10 minutes (https://share.delorme.com/DebWalters).

Yet another new use for my NRS paddle float!
Russel was a marvel at figuring out how to load the 18 foot kayak onto the six foot bed of his pick-up. He used a packing blanket to protect the roof of the truck cab, and I figured out we could use my NRS inflatable paddle float to protect and support the other end of the kayak.  ( I love finding the third or forth use for a piece of gear!)  With some fancy rope work and a hefty ratcheting strap, the kayak was secure enough for the short ride on the slow roads to Russell's home.

Tomorrow I'll walk the cliffs along the rest of the route to Point Judith, and look down on the big surf.  Maybe Friday I'll walk the beach to Westerly as the surf should still be quite high.  One problem with kayaking is that my legs don't get enough exercise, so this should be great!  Maybe hurricanes are my friends.

Paddle Day: 26                                                    Date: August 27, 2014
Start: Dutch Harbor                                             End: Narragansett
Distance: 7.41 miles                                            Total distance: 287.31 miles
Max speed:  5.0 mph                                           Moving ave.: 3.2 mph
Kayak storage:   Russell Bertrand                         Host: Russell Bertrand

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