Sunday, June 8, 2008

2008.20.113 - Coal Island Again

Today, Louise and I returned for a another paddle around Coal Island, this time bringing Paula who missed our first paddle there.
2008-06-08 Coal Island 021

Do you think that I have enough gear on my deck?
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We decided to follow the same route that we took last time, and explore some of the islands before crossing to Coal.
2008-06-08 Coal Island 110

We didn't see a lot in the way of wildlife today, although I did mange to annoy this heron....
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...and Paula kept watch on a seal. Or was it the other way around?
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The winds were coming up and the tides were ebbing, and we discovered that the currents between the islands were running a little too much for our liking. There were a few whorls and eddies, some standing waves, and even a few small standing breakers. We decided to change our route and stick to the first channel near the mainland and cross the more open water of Swartz Bay to go to Coal Island.
2008-06-08 Coal Island 126

This left us a little more exposed to ferry traffic, but we knew when to expect them and I figured we would pass one as we passed Coal Island. As we approached Coal, we could see one coming the other way. We ducked into the lee of the island to wait for it to pass.
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Paula was further out than I was and she let a out a big "Whoop!" as it passed us.
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In fact, she paddled out very close to it.
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Well, no, not really. The foreshortening of the zoom lens makes it look as if she was closer than she was.
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The winds were not subsiding, and as we went around the point of Coal Island and began to head back, we were into some chop. And then I heard the Coast Guard on my radio announcing that a gale warning had just been posted, just at the half-way point of out paddle. This paddle might turn very interesting indeed!
2008-06-08 Coal Island 187

We continued around Coal -- what else could we do? In the end, we did fine. We avoided the nastiest looking currents, and easily handled most of the chop. Only on the last crossing of the paddle when the winds came up again and the waves were a little choppier and coming across us sideways were some of our stomachs starting to feel it. No one felt nauseous or anything, but some of us agreed that a long paddle in such waves could have been a real adventure, especially once the puking started.
But today's paddle had no such issues, and was great fun!
2008-06-08 Coal Island 053

Coal Island
More pictures are here.

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