Sunday, December 04, 2005

Home with a cold

First snow day of the season - just a snapshot, looking out my window

Cancelled the weekend's plans, which were lunch & a movie with a couple of friends yesterday, a paddle to Edgewater, New Jersey for sushi (well, this probably would have been the day for ramen - there's a stand there that makes wonderful hot ramen, all sorts). Unfortunately, I ended up sitting home nursing a sore throat instead. Roasted a chicken yesterday, turning most of it into chicken rice soup today. Hopefully curative.

Actually the snow/rain forecast today wouldn't necessarily have stopped me from paddling, but add in the sore throat & the fact that my drysuit has gone back to it's maker, I decided that it would probably be wiser to stay home today. But I'm bummed, I haven't been up to Edgewater for a long time. This is getting to be the time of year when that becomes a very appealing trip - a good paddle with a solid lunch indoors midway through. There's a lightship at the Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey that is good in the same way.

You burn a lot of calories just keeping warm in winter paddling - people doing it for the first time always tend to be a little surprised about how tiring it is compared to summer paddling, where the energy expended primarily goes into moving the boat - a stop where you both get to warm up and refuel may not be very tough - but it's fun, the food always tastes incredible & you get the entertainment factor of seeing people's reactions when a bunch of paddlers in full winter gear walk into the place.

The drysuit being gone is kind of key to why I'm not out there today. Remember that picture from a couple of weekends ago where I had my kayak over on it's side & was dangling my head in the water? Well, sometime in the one-week space between that weekend and last weekend, the water turned - went from chilly to seriously cold. The rule of thumb I picked up somewhere is that when the water drops below 50, you need a drysuit. My drysuit, as I mentioned, has gone to meet it's maker. Literally! I packed it up last week and shipped it back to Kokatat to see if it's a candidate for refurbishment - last Spring, while teaching at the Hudson Valley Kayak Symposium, I found that the left leg had developed a bit of a seep somewhere. Broken gaskets (the latex cuffs that form the watertight seals around your wrists, ankles and neck) can be repaired at home with a little patience, but mystery seepage is beyond my capabilities & although it's a very slow leak (I only noticed it whenI was in the water for a while during one rescue demo) & chances are that it would probably be fine for one more season, this is not a piece of gear on which you want to gamble like that. The good folks at Kokatat will be able to locate anywhere on the suit that's no longer watertight. They'll also look at the overall condition of the suit & determine whether it's worth making the repairs or not - if they think I can get a few more seasons out of it when they get done with it, they'll proceed - if they find the one place that's seeping but find a dozen other places where the coating is about to part company with the nylon shell, they'll call me with that information. I really do like that they'll do that. Much though I whine about it, I do rely on this thing.

If they do find it's fixable, it's coming back with Gore-Tex socks instead of latex ankle gaskets! I am VERY excited about that! The ankle gaskets are the worst - on my ankles, they always seem to roll up over themselves & bind & that's incredibly uncomfortable.

Anyways, the deal with today's paddle was that I was only going to do it if conditions were just about perfect - clear, warm, not much wind. Had that been the case I would have gone with the drytop/wetsuit combo. As it is, add in the snow and the rain and the fact that I'm not feeling too well, and here I am at home. Ho hum.

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