Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Yesterday the winds came from the southeast, so Nate and I thought it would be a good day to spend some time in the lee of Isle au Haut, paddling around Kimball Island. It was getting toward high tide as we paddled out, pausing for awhile among the boulders off Hardwood Island. At that point, the seas were fairly calm, with only an occasional small swell rolling in among the boulders: good conditions to practice without the consequences that bigger waves bring with them. The boulders offer a maze of pathways. You can glide into one and quickly shift direction as other avenues present themselves. Sometimes a small wave breaks and you need to choose to either ride it out, turn into it, or risk getting pushed sideways, probably into a rock. We tend to spend a lot of time doing some fairly extreme edging to make tight turns.
We took a quick break when we arrived at Kimball Island, then headed around Kimball Head. For the most part, the seas were still fairly calm, but it doesn’t take much to make things interesting among the rocks. We found a small wave that we surfed in a few times, always ending with a 90-degree turn at the end of the ride, just before the wave hit the rocky shore. We backed into a few slots, and basically just paddled around, looking for trouble. Nate demonstrated the fine line between rock gardening and “amphibious paddling” when he frequently ended up on a ledge with no water beneath his hull. This continued on around to Marsh Head, just before we headed north through the Isle au Haut Thorofare.
Of course we were having fun and stayed out there longer than we should have. Nate had parental duties to get to at home, so the last five or six miles were fairly straightforward “let’s get home” paddling with a 15-knot beam wind. We wished we could have temporarily transformed our boats into long, straight racing craft to make the slog a bit quicker, but given the choice, we’d still go for our sporty, turny craft most days, since they take us into places that longer boats just can’t go. It started raining before we arrived back at the ramp- a cool, soaking rain, which only seemed to immerse us in the elements that much more.