Monday, April 17, 2006

New to Kayaking

After half a year on layaway, Beth and I finally completed the transaction and took delivery on our new kayaks this past weekend. We learned or were reminded of several good lessons:
  • What is known in New Hampshire as a fairly small pond is the equivalent of what would, in Maryland, be known as a pretty substantial lake. Our first outing with our new boats was to a beautiful body of water known as Grafton Pond. It has apparently grown from its original size as a result of damming, but it's still considered to be pretty small. In Maryland, there are no natural lakes. (A fact I learned years ago from Beth, who knows many things.) This means that our Maryland-oriented sense of inland bodies of water is pretty warped. In a sense, these lowered expectations are good for us. They keep us from taking for granted the comparative grandeur of our new environs.
  • When the wind kicks up, a flat body of water can become surprisingly choppy, surprisingly quickly.
  • There are places (for example, one particular area I found myself in while trying to complete a circuit around a little island) where paddling against the current is a fairly futile exercise. Sometimes, it makes sense to just let the current do with you as it will for a while. When the view is nice and there's no rush to get anywhere quickly, this can be a most enjoyable approach.
  • It is wise to carry a GPS device with you when kayaking. Covering pretty good stretches is really quite easy in a kayak, and without a GPS device handy, it would be easy to lose track of where you put in. As Grafton Pond is not very big (by local standards), and as we were eager to get out on the water, we had neglected to pack a GPS device with us. So, once out on the water, we made an early decision to not go into the various coves and out-of-the way areas of the pond. Instead, we made sure to keep the access beach in pretty plain sight. This, of course, detracted from what the expedition could have been, but we had a wonderful time anyway.
  • Mini Cooper + roof rack +kayaks results in an assembly that's too tall to fit though our garage's doorway. So, while we can attach and detach the rack to and from the car inside of the garage, we have to load and unload the kayaks to and from it outside. The overall appearance of the whole assembly is fairly comical. (I'll try to remember to take and post a photo on our next trip.) We got ourselves some pretty short kayaks. Had we gotten the Pungo 120 model instead of the Pungo 100, the boats would actually have been longer than the car.

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