Monday, July 22, 2013

Wave Motion

I portage the canoe on my shoulders the 250 yards from the house to the water and head up the coast into a NE wind, a wind direction that mostly runs along the shore and when it doesn't, it is an onshore breeze.  This brings with it the wave and chop of dozens of miles of open water.  It always feels, and probably is, slow in these conditions.  There is no knifing of the canoe through the water, it wiggles and squirms and bobs.  The power of each paddle stroke is partially consumed by the correction necessary to keep the canoe on a heading.

The conditions aren't too rough, but rough enough to keep the camera in its box, and I don't stop to write...but, I don't have much to say.  It is a meditative trip without too much to remark about.  I pass Oyster River, the most interesting part of this shoreline, thinking that I may go in on the return.

I turn back at Savin Rock.  It's been about 4 miles in rough waters and the wind is rising some.  As I turn I take a quick photo of the cormorants.

Rounding the point before the Oyster River is where the waves start to get big.  There is some wave echo from the shore here, a phenomena called clapotis...a jumble of waves, very non-rhythmic and non-directional.  It's just a rough ride and you have to roll with whatever comes. 

I paddle up to the mouth of the Oyster River, but it is draining with the tide at a speed that I can't bust in a canoe.  With the wind and wind waves at my back and the river current at my bow, I hold stationary in foot high tidal chop before turning sideways and getting pushed away.

And, the waves get bigger.  Sometimes, and more often, they are getting to be chest high when I am in the trough, but they are not breaking yet, although a few good slaps on the side of the canoe leave some water inside.  It is the take-out that will be the most fun.  Our shoreline is boulders at this tide level.  Even at low tide there is only a foot or so of sea shell beach.  When the time comes, I sideslip slowly on the waves toward shore.  I time my exit almost perfectly on a rather small wave, getting out knee deep just in time for a series of 10 or 12 large waves to blast over the stern of the canoe (and me) filling it with water.  I just have to hang on to everything while getting my gear out of the seems that I am one or two hands short.  But, it gets done and in a pause of wave action, I tip the canoe and empty it and as quick as I can lift it clear of the next waves.

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