Saturday, April 14, 2012

Make up for lost time

It is a day to make up for lost time.  Other projects, of both art and life have required my attention.  It seems that I have had little time for my canoe, but I know that it is temporary.  M joins me today.  She is a poet and has a reputation for taking on difficult tasks.  I plan two very long trips and wait for the weather to decide which will happen. 

north of the lighthouse, in calm air
NOAA predicts light winds, so the trip is out to the sound in a very nice spring day.  We walk the Dead Lake Portage and M holds her own in conversation...we are well matched for enthusiasm.  At the put-in, I coach her briefly on paddling, but just so that she understands the rhythm.  And as we cross the lake heading west, she shows herself to be natural at paddling.

Our route takes us west through the Fremont Canal and to Fishermen's Terminal.  Wind has started to come up, so we will do our portage south to Elliot Bay now, rather than later and in the opposite direction.  This will give us a tailwind in the water.  We roll the canoe through a drive through at a coffee shop.  We are civilized.

Elliot Bay is already quite wavy.  There are small white caps coming at our side as we paddle out to 4-mile Rock.  It is enough to slosh water over the gunwales at times, just enough that while M looks for interesting things, I keep an eye on the waves as they come in.  The water is cold and I keep close to shore.

At 4 mile Rock, we turn more downwind.  On the steering end of things, I stay busy as waves overtake us, but the waves ease some and we paddle close to shore, not only for safety, but because this is where the interesting stuff happens.  I spot a seal.  There are quite a few golden eyes around, and I spot a pair of harlequin ducks flying off.

The water is much smoother once we round Discovery Point, and we can stop and rest.  There is a flock of Brandts here along the shore.  They are a goose that migrates through here, nesting at the Arctic ocean.

We get to the locks just as a load of boats exits into the sound.  So, we have a short wait, and then follow a fishing boat in.

Rather than take-out in the dead lake, we continue north and into Portage Bay.  The walk home is the same distance, with only an additional two miles of paddling, 22 miles total.  But more important, we fool ourselves into thinking that we have gone someplace...even though we have.

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