Nothing in my life has ever sparked such overwhelming fear as sitting alone on a beach in the early, early morning, long before sunrise with intentions of paddling a kayak across an enormous body of water to a foreign island. There was lightning on the horizon, too distant and sparse to be a sure no go, but not clear enough to make me feel confident to paddle out. The wind was blowing from the north and would launch me down to Cay Sal on an open ocean kayaking voyage in under 12 hours. I would arrive there before dusk and set up camp on the uninhabited island in the Gulf of Mexico. I could see the tall palms swaying high overhead behind me and knew the wind coming from the other side of the island was strong. Within the first mile of paddling the wind would catch me and launch me faster and faster from the island until eventually I would not be able to paddle back. It was a commitment that gave me chills.
Big, big waves out in the Atlantic right now. Not conducive for fast kayaking, which I certainly need in order to make a 90 mile open water crossing. I went out today for 2.5 hours in a force 5-6 and got had an absolute blast. Towering, towering waves. Fun going downwind, brutal coming back. Once again the boat handles great but the limiting factor is going to be my endurance in such brutal conditions. I’ve been checking the weather every few hours just hoping I’ll get favorable conditions soon. It looks like we’re getting east winds for the next four days until it lines up perfectly with 10 knots coming from the northwest on Thursday. It doesn’t get much better than that but I wouldn’t mind doing without the isolated t-storm warning. Strong chance of dealing with a squall along the way. Should make for some exciting times- deploy sea anchor and outriggers and hang tight till the weather calms down. Continue reading Force 5-6
I have always loved the water. I grew up in it. I spent every summer at the beach. I would stay out in the waves for hours, not returning for lunch or even a sip of water. My family would go back to the house and I would stay. And with my last day of work today, I have an opportunity to return to the water.
I used to challenge my friends to contests, who was willing to swim the furthest, the deepest, stressing the moms out beyond imagination. I always won, fearless of the thought of being so far from shore, enticed by the thrill of the diminishing horizon. I would swim as far as I could dive and still reach the bottom in one breath. I would surface with a fistful of sand and swim further out, eventually giving up in the frigid deep water, but still tempted by the horizon. Continue reading Let the adventures begin