Sunday, May 26, 2019

Saturday Sky Show (repair plans postponed)

if you're in a rush, skip down to the pictures - wonderful clouds rolling through yesterday, I was glad I took my camera!

Good case of best-laid plans going astray this weekend - I have ended up with a pretty tight schedule for my June weekends and for a couple of the events (the first is a trip leader training day at Sebago, for which I'm one of the instructors, and then I'm going for the Instructor Development Workshop half of the IDW/ICE Kayak Dov is running in Jamaica Bay and Breezy Point - more on that in another post) it would be better if my boat didn't sink. Although that would make a really excellent scenario for our trip leader trainees, wouldn't it? Especially since I don't think Cleopatra's Needle techniques (for a boat so flooded that one end is underwater) are taught as commonly as they used to be now that almost all sea kayaks are made with sealed bulkheads for and aft...hmmm...

nope nope nope, just kidding - I really do want my boat to be actually seaworthy for both of those, and I'd fully expected to have the keel strip materials in hand after a Friday afternoon trip to fling money at West Marine (now that New York Kayak is gone, sniff, West Marine is really the only place I can get to from work for boat-focused shopping). Unfortunately, the Manhattan West Marine only carries the 2" fiberglass cloth tape I need in 10' lengths. My boat is 16 feet long. Argh! I did consider getting 2 strips and trying to lay them end to end, but I don't have a lot of practice at fiberglassing (that's why I was so glad to find that really clear Sea Kayak Anglesey how-to video I shared the other day - I understand the concept but it was great to see a good step-by-step review) and my main recollections from the last repair I did do was that it's messy and once you mix the epoxy you have to work pretty fast. Trying to line up 2 pieces was going to increase the mess and decrease the speed, so I decided against that - this is going to be permanent so I'd like to do it right.

Unfortunately I really liked the timing of my original repair plan, and this sent that completely out the window, so I walked out of West Marine feeling very disappointed. Don't like shopping anyways so when I do shop it's usually very targeted, and discovering that the generally solid store I expected to have the simple set of stuff I needed didn't have it really threw me. And it was my birthday and I'd gotten out of work an hour later than I'd hoped to, and I also had to bail on a 2nd errand I'd wanted to do because I took so long searching and hemming and hawing at West Marine - not the ideal start to 52 and I'm just superstitious enough to wonder if that's a sign for the rest of the year. Minor irritation in the grand scheme of things, of course, but still left me grouchy.

At least the reset of the plan involved getting on the water - hopefully twice in this three-day weekend. 
I shopped online for the tape on Friday night and have ordered a 10 yard roll from the Jamestown Distributor website. The new plan is to squeeze in the repair next weekend. I paddled yesterday and then I expect to paddle again tomorrow (it's crazy hot today); after tomorrow's paddle, I'll take off the duct tape that's patching the pukas right now and give the boat a good all-over scrubbing.  It'll have all week to get good and dry before fix-up day. I'll collect the other pieces over the course of the week and I'll fit the repair in over next weekend, using a club boat for the all-club invitational event we're hosting. I did get some useful things done around the house done on the newly freed-up Saturday morning, and then Saturday afternoon, I went to the club bent on a good exercise paddle (in addition to wanting to fix the Romany, I also want to get more boat time in before both of the instructional events).

Club members had put together a nice paddle and cookout event in the morning, and a lot of them were still there and tried to tempt me with food and tales of a gale blowing out on the bay - ordinarily I might've joined them but since I'm on this self-imposed get-ready timeline I went ahead with my paddle. It was indeed a little on the breezy side out there, 15 to 20 with gusts around 25; I'd told my friends I would stay in the Paerdegat if it was too rough, but instead I decided to go do both arms of Mill Basin, which is a fine workout route for days when conditions out on the bay are a little on the interesting side for a solo paddle. It also turned out to work out really well with breaking up the upwind and downwind segments - Mill Basin is shaped as though you made a C with your left hand and looked at it sideways, with the opening of the C facing up. Your wrist is the inlet, running west to east. The arms run in a curve but basically north to south. The wind was from the south. To Mill Basin was into the wind, up each arm with the wind, down each arm into the wind, and back to the Paerdegat with the wind again (with a little bit of surfing because the wind was against the current, although the current was strong enough to make surfing feel mushy). I had mostly planned the route for the relative shelter, but it was nice alternating the harder work going into the wind and the breaks with the wind at my back that way.

And oh, the clouds were SPECTACULAR - just hypnotic watching 'em change as they rolled through, and a Great Egret welcomed me back to the Paerdegat, and although I'd thought about adding an extra mile by going to the top of the basin and back, I decided not to, and that worked out great because when I ran up to see if the clubhouse was open, I found my neighbor Beth literally just getting into her car to leave - she's the commodore at the club and she and a couple others had stayed after the potluck to work on some boat storage records. Usually it's good to go the extra mile, but in this case, that would've meant riding the bus home - as it was, Beth was not in a hurry and I even got to have some good red wine leftover from the potluck. Such a nice way to end a 10-mile paddle!

Got home feeling way better about 52.

Here are some photos of the spectacular sky show I enjoyed so much while I was out. Click on the first one for a slideshow view! 

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