Sunday, March 15, 2009

Push the Limit

I intend to watch weather forecasts religiously, any sign of questionable conditions and I will be parked safely on shore with nothing but ground under my feet.

Unfortunately, no amount of planning ahead can eliminate the possibility that conditions may change at any time. This is my biggest concern, having a nice day and boom, all of a sudden wind and large waves, KM away from shore, wind pushing me into more open unpredictable water, or worse yet, capsizing and not being able to rescue because I’ve never been in that situation before.

My last training task before the trip is to “push the limit”. The plan is to pick a day where the wind is blowing and the waves are crazy, and get out on Georgian Bay and see what it’s like. Specifically, how does the kayak react in waves, against the wind, with the wind, etc., I also plan on capsizing numerous times and practice rescue techniques in extremely bad conditions. My thought process being I want to know what to expect should it actually happen instead of being faced with the situation with zero experience. I will not be doing this alone, I’m not an idiot, I will have a spotter with me in a boat should assistance be required. Safety is my first concern.

I read a great article on estimating wave sizes. When you are in a regular boat, you are high above the water so it takes a very large wave to obscure the horizon. In a kayak, you are very low in the water, all it takes is a 2’ wave to obscure the horizon, a good technique to estimate wave size (yes I did this) sit on your kitchen floor and look at the top of the counter, it’s about 3’ high, now imagine that coming straight at you one after the other, now look at the fridge, it’s about 6’ high and you don’t want a 6 foot wave coming at you in any boat let alone a kayak.

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