Thursday, July 8, 2010

Evening Paddles

For awhile there, we could count on a few hours of evening paddling before the sun set, but lately we've had to turn the lights on a little earlier. Summer goes by so fast. We always start out thinking this year will be different. We'll get out more, take one day off a week and spend it paddling, take an occasional overnight- you know, do all the stuff our summer visitors get to do. But there's always more work than we will ever have time for, so every hour of paddling feels like time stolen from the things we're "supposed" to be doing.

The funny thing is, as soon as you get out there, that whole world back on shore feels a bit less urgent, and it feels like this- out here, paddling- is far more significant. This is one of the biggest conflicts of our current way of making a living. We work so much during the nicest paddling times (I think maybe I've mentioned this before, once or twice). But we do have a goal, which is to buy ourselves some quality time in the off-season, when we can paddle here and in warmer places.

Those evening paddles are nice though. We seldom see lobster boats... maybe a sailboat or two arriving late to an anchorage. The air temps are usually just a little cool. And, even though we see plenty of kayaks out beyond the harbor during the day, we almost never see anyone else out paddling in the evening.

Some weeks are better than others. With no openings to get ready for, we might be lucky and get out three times or so. Other weeks, there's too much going on, or the saddest circumstance, when I'm so tired at closing time that I can't quite summon what it takes to get out there, and later I look out and see my mistake. Oh well. We also took my sisters and my niece out for an afternoon paddle. And I shadowed Todd last week on a guided trip, and taught a bunch of young kids at the pond at Old Quarry yesterday. Aside from learning to guide, these experiences have allowed me to see our archipelago through the eyes of others, and it looks more amazing all the time.

A few links here:

After my "Up the Downeast Coast" article came out in Ocean Paddler Magazine last month, I received an email from Etienne Muller in Ireland, who also sees some nice paddling days go by while he works in his art gallery. Over the past thirty or so years, he's built sixteen boats, including some gorgeous strip-planked kayaks. Check them out at his website. If you haven't seen Ocean Paddler Magazine, I'd suggest ordering a copy from their website. It is a beautiful and inspiring magazine- not too many ads, printed on nice, heavy paper, gorgeous photos. It will never end up on the recycling pile.

I'd also like to congratulate John Carmody on becoming a BCU Level 5 Sea Coach, one of the few who have attained this distinction in the United States. We took a surf class with John last summer and hope to get back for more sometime this year. Canoe and Kayak Magazine also mentioned his Socratic teaching method in a recent issue.

And this is only peripherally kayak-related, but for anyone who doesn't understand how important it is for us to stay out of the way of lobster boats, here's a story in the Bangor Daily News about a recent accident off Schoodic Point, in which a lobster boat collided with another lobster boat, resulting in one death.

(Oh, and this post is dated for July 8- twenty days ago, because that's when I started it. That's just how it's been lately.)

No comments: