After picking up my Perception Carolina, Lendal paddle and all the peripheral bits, gettin used to the boat on the river, I finally took to the waves at the weekend. I took the boat to Shell Island Grid ref: SH557267 (www.multimap.com/map/browse.cgi?lat=52. ... 000&icon=x ), with the excuse of a family weekend away(!)
I launched into the estuary between mainland and the island on calm waters to get a feel for wind, currents etc. and it felt good. Paddling round the headland and into open water, the boat felt controlled and stable. A light swell, (two or three feet), gave me a bit of a feel for the pitching of the boat. Staying relatively close to the shore (I'm still a newbie at the sea paddling game), I rounded the rocks (seaward side) that seperate the beach from the sea and got to clear beach and sea.
After seeing a huge shoal of mackerel, I heard a swoosh of air from behind, (something like someone exhaling heavily), looked over my shoulder to see a pod of three porpoises, leaping out of the water and rounding up fish. I proceeded to spend the next twenty or so minutes paddling around with thee three fine creatures surfacing and leaping around my kayak! The sun was shining, the swell was gentle, the porpoises graceful!
This is the reason that I wanted to get a kayak in the first place, and on my first tentative strokes of the paddle on the sea,I get a close-up experience tlike this! Amazing!
The next trick was to get closer to shore and turn the boat into the wave to get an idea of handling when waves ae breaking. This I did in moderate surf wihout too much trouble, again the boat pitching but staying the right way up. Facing directly out to sea and paddling into waves was no problem at all. Such a buzz in cresting the wave landing on the sea on the other side!
The greatest challenge was in landing in surf (obviously not best advised), as you can't see where the waves break from behind. Careful use of paddle kept me in a straight line, and I landed first time no problem. Only when I went out a second time and tried to land did the fun really begin. Waves were slightly bigger and I was pitched nicely out of my kayak, by a wave which hit me portside, into about three feet of water. Then I realised that I hadn't zipped up my cag at the neck!
Wet, but happy, I dragged the kayak out and emptied the salt-water filled cockpit!
An absolute treat of a weekend. Can't wait to get out again now. I am well and truly hooked...