Monday, April 25, 2011

Winooski F&W

"Launching at 2 pm from WInooski F&W in Colchester, then heading out to the lake.
It's a raw, wet, and windy day."  (water 34 degrees, air mid 30's, 30+ knot wind, and sleet/rain at time of posting) 

By trip time the precipitation had stopped, air temp was up to 40, but the wind was holding up.

The Winooski boat ramp is far enough up river that it's sheltered from the lake, so launching was calm and easy. The lake level is high enough, just a hair under 101 feet, that we didn't have to paddle around that last bend to get to the lake. It was possible to just paddle through the woods.

When we got in sight of the river mouth, the wind was howling pretty loudly, and we could see breaking surf in the distance. 
Once out in the lake we headed upwind (south). It was one of those days where you spend a lot of time looking up at the waves coming at you.  Effort needed to progress was not sprint, but enough that the big enchilada I had for lunch was complaining about getting squeezed.  

Eventually we got to some point that had pretty good clapotis (reflecting waves) on the south side.  After running that we headed back out into the lake enough to get a straight downwind run to the bridge.  

The bridge was in the sheltered area, but the waves still had enough momentum to give us a little kick going under.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Springtime?  On Saturday the water was 35, the air a little warmer, a good wind predicted,  and the lake is officially in flood.  But... there were 2 separate kayak trips.  I opted for North Hero in the morning as I had a commitment later in the day plus rain was more likely in the afternoon.

The beach we'd normally launch from is under several feet of water so we're starting from a steep shoreline with good size waves coming directly onshore.

The procedure (so I'm told) is wait for a relative lull, go out a few steps, jump in the boat with one foot (the other hanging), paddle like mad to get past the clapotis, then put other foot in, skirt up, and pump out whatever waves washed in during the process.  Pump goes in the cockpit because the waves could tear it out of the bungies.

Real world:
1) Figure out that for me there's no "quick jump" into the borrowed CD Rumor as it's more of a "gradually wriggle in" fit.  Go back and get a wider boat.

2) Do the jump in and paddle thing.  The put-other-foot-in step is interrupted by not being able to get said foot past the pump in the cockpit. Big wave comes during this and everything goes over.

3) Put pump in the bungies, get back in the capsized kayak and roll up, attach skirt, and pump.

Phelps, who had no pump, managed to get his 2nd foot in first try.

At least now I can say I've done self rescue "in conditions" (wind, waves, near freezing water.)  Though I've been knocked down before while entering/exiting, it's always been where I could stand, and in deeper water I've always been in the kayak so it was just a matter of rolling up.

After that things went pretty smoothly.  Paddled out along the Colchester causeway which gave us shelter from wind and waves.  At the cut we went to the other side and confirmed that it was rougher over there, then back to the lee.  For the return, we  peeled away from the causeway and rode the wind back to the start.

I heard the other trip launched in a sheltered bay,  so didn't hit the waves right away.