Abbie B and Me, Day 2

I awaken having not rested but that’s okay.  The crazy night is part of my vacation with the key word being vacation.  Things that rob me of sleep at home add to the pile of stress as the next day progresses with its own challenges and concerns.   The tension pile away from everyday life is much different as there is little to build on and the things that do find their way to it, have a short life span. This is nice in that the disruptions that do occur are easy to let go of.  One of the many benefits a vacation provides.

The wind is still blowing but it’s only 8 knots which is a bit over 9 mph.  Camp is efficiently taken down.  Everything is stuffed into their sacks except the tent as I have yet to change.  Last night was warm so my I wore a short sleeve shirt and shorts, which should not be worn on the cold Atlantic.  The water temperature (temp) is fifty eight degrees.  This temp may sound chilly,  but it’s not.  It is downright cold and dangerous!  [Water robs the body of heat thirty times faster than air and treading water will reduce survival by fifty percent.  I don’t remember what site I found these facts from but I highly recommend watching this video and Check out the site for tons of cold water info and instruction ]  I change into paddle clothing from inside the tent, take it down, roll and stuff it in a sack too.  The tide is two hours from top so Abbie B is not far from the water.  I decide to load and drag her to the sea from where she is.

My biggest challenge is keeping the sand out of Abbie B’s holds.  Very little gets in but  Abbie B’s hatches are a different story.  The sand is dry but is behaving as though it is wet by sticking to and within the lip to the fore and aft holds and inside the threads to the day hold.  I swipe it with my fingers with little results.  Ding! ding! ding! Use the sponge.  It’ll squish to form and do the job and it does.  But I fail at getting the majority of sand out of the clips to the straps that run over top of the holds.  I rec-clip the sponge to the deck line and try blowing the sand out of the clips and then apply significant force.  A gritty snap, snap secures each one but the salt and sand stiffened straps are difficult to tighten.  Getting ready to go is taking forever.  I definitely have to come up with a better system!  But, she is ready to go and I drag her to the edge of the water.

Although, it seems late because of how long it took to get ready to go.  The time is six am.  The water outside of my protective cove looks rough.  I know that it is even more so than it looks.  I studied a lot throughout my preparations for this trip and The book, Sea Kayaker Deep Trouble, by Matt Broze and George Gonseth shares several stories of disaster due to the misjudgment of water conditions.  I decide to add my 7 mm dive hood to my paddle wear.  I am decked out in long underwear top and bottom, a long sleeve chafe shirt with 2 mm neoprene, 5 mm farmer john suit, 7 mm boots, 3 mm gloves, a dry top and a Snapdragon spray skirt.  I bought a full dry suit that was on sale but need to lose a few more inches to fit more comfortably inside it.

I launch Abbie B between my legs as before, quickly sit on the back of her cockpit combing, slide in and secure spray skirt.  I have a lightweight graphite feather bladed paddle and put it to use by pulling Abbie B and me over the surf.  We head out through the safest exit from the protection of the island to cover the mile between Richmond Island and Crescent Beach.  Oh, boy, the tide is bringing in large swells with some that break from the east and the wind is still out of the south pushing piles of water behind me.  I’m glad that I know the area well as there are lots of rocks and some ledges dotted throughout the area.

I work at threading my way away from them but still make a landing either at Crescent or in Kettle Cove which is next to it.  This is no easy task for avoiding capsizing in which practicing rolls specifically with Abbie B was my reason for going to Richmond.  There’s weather coming and I need to get back to the mainland!

I’m very busy keeping a vigilant eye in two directions as the incoming tide is from the east bringing breaking waves with it.  A mere five feet are between them while the south wind pushes piles of water from behind.  Sweep, pry, a few small sculling and hard forward strokes are my best weapons.  I’m finding the most difficult part of this crossing to be keeping myself off seal rocks.  The sea is becoming “confused” out here in the middle and it’s all I can do just to keep myself from being hit broadside, especially from the large incoming swells.  Abbie B is responding well but we are slowly being pushed toward seal rocks and are encountering the outskirts of rebounding waves.

I turn into the tide often, stroking hard to edge us up over and turn a bit this and that way according to the breaks and the sneaky piles from behind.  I guess I’m getting some real practice with Abbie B, except for rolls and I hope not to have to do so.  We’d make it fine.  I just don’t have the confidence I’d like because of only having Abbie B a week and a half before vacation. We didn’t have much time together and only one day of practicing getting back in after a wet exit.

Two hours fly by feeling more like thirty minutes and we are almost there.  I want to get into Kettle Cove where there would be no surf to land in but the rocks which form the cove are preventing me from doing so.  I certainly am not going out again to try and make it.  I see a quiet space in a small area right where Crescent and the west side of Kettle Cove meet and head for it.

I welcome the landing but have a little bit of a time getting out.  I worked so hard in one position that my legs , especially with a problematic knee, are refusing fluid movement.  My skirt is off and I move my legs a bit inside the cockpit while doing a partial “chair” lift a couple of times.  I feel secure now and push myself into a sitting position on the back of the cockpit, splay my legs stand up and guide Abbie B back between them.  I walk her through the light surf over to the boat ramp area and drag her fully loaded part way there.

Once again, I receive some strange looks as I walk with all my paddling gear on except for my gloves and dive hood.  The van is waiting for me in the lot by Kettle Cove from where I drive her down, load it and secure Abbie B on the top.


About Just Jude

I grew up on a small farm in Michigan but have always felt the urge to wander and began doing so as a teenager. Since that time, I've hiked, biked and paddled in every season; not for sport, but for the journey.

Posted on December 24, 2014, in Casco Bay, Maine, Maine Coast, Nature, Richmond Island, Solo Journeys, Twenty One Days at Sea, Weather, Wind and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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