Sunday, 24 July 2016
Boating is more fun with two.
Yesterday, Jeannine ( J9 ) stopped by to share her too generous box of salad greens she’d purchased from Biocharm Farms . Since we both had the next day off (Sunday), we decided to go boating together again. She hadn’t been in a kayak yet but we had sailed (and rowed) together on nearby Loomis Lake maybe five years ago.
I put Mary Beth’s short kayak inside the van with J9 and the longer kayak on top and we van-pooled up to South Bend.
There was projected a 15 mph wind from the northwest that works well in this stretch of river. A sailboat trip works best sideways to the wind.
Later when the wind started blowing, it was a westerly which changed our plans.
We would both have our own boat to have fun with. We could tie together, tow each other, or I could sit behind or beside her on the fabric deck.
She was tooling along here when I stopped to try to catch a small floating crab. Didn’t want to grab it but it kept falling off the paddle.
Given that we had left South Bend at 1:30, it was now 3:00, and add a half hour because we’d have a head-wind on the return trip, we should be back between 5 and 6.
This is where I thought we could set the sail up and use the wind to help get us home.
As the wind was blowing our boats onto the shore, I tied up to her boat and towed her across to the opposite shore so the wind would blow us onto open water. We discovered the little kayak doesn’t tow the larger one very well.
After a muddy beaching, I set up the sail, tied up the second kayak behind and forty five minutes later, off we went. The wind was picking up so I unrolled only about a third of the sail.
Back and forth we went. The wind, instead of being from the northwest, was coming straight upriver from the west. Four tacks later, we hadn’t made it very far so we decided to head back to Raymond. I would paddle the more efficient foot drive and J9 would be towed in the second boat.
There is a small channel behind the bridge that saves a quarter mile that proved difficult to locate and I towed J9 through it. We also had to fold in an outrigger to fit through it. After docking at Raymond, we went off to find restrooms. They were locked. It was now 5 o’clock. We still had four and a half hours until dark. J9 set up in the little boat, I tied it on and off we went, and we were blown back into the dock.
Time for a rethink. I just needed a ride four and a half miles back to South Bend to bring back the van. I called a cab locater that hooked me up with a cab company in Olympia sixty-five miles away. I declined. The buses don’t run on Sundays. J9 offered the teens money if they’d get a parent to give us a ride but they said their parents were broke and didn’t have any gas. J9 couldn’t work around this logic. I found an elderly couple (like us) studying the tourist signs at the dock. Turns out he had been in a Grumman canoe club and had had just this thing happen to them several times. They offered to get their car from the local motel and shuttle me back. Yippee! As I went down to tell J9, I remembered the blog and went back and took a picture of them, but not a posed one as I didn’t want anything to stop this.
As I waited, and J9 watched the gear, I noticed some planters half the size of our Ilwaco planters across the street. This is a garden blog after all. They did look bright and educational.
Overall a pretty fun trip but still a lot to learn. Besides the wind problem, the two boats needed to be linked with releasable rigid rods if one paddler is going to help power the other boat. Or simply go solo and rent a boat built for two when the occasion arises.