As hoped for, this morning was great for a sea kayaking outing in Seattle. The temperature was about 36F and mostly cloudy. Just cool enough so that you appreciate it after you’ve warming up from rowing. The Ballard Mill Marina was mostly vacant except for me and a cat making its way up the docks as I arrived. This friendly black cat with a collar and tag, stopped by just long enough for a head & chin scratch and to confirm I was NOT a fisherman before nimbly leaping from boat to boat to circumvent the marina’s security fence and go on her way.
There was a bit of dew on the kayak, so I wiped it down and checked everything out before putting it in the water. I really like the look and feel of sea kayaks compared to river kayaks. I know its a sacrifice of speed over maneuverability but they just strike me as sleek and eager to “go”. Checked my gear and, of course, my digital camera picked this moment to go all grumpy on me, but at least the G1’s GPS fired up without a fuss (nifty GPS track maps after the cut). PFD strapped on and hard-shell jacket zipped up I was ready to go. Using Astrid’s trick of wedging the kayak with the dock bumpers made hopping in remarkably easy. After a few feet away from the dock, I lowered the skeg (which I would come to appreciate greatly later on) and slowing paddled out of the marina area and into Salmon Bay. I was immediately pleased with the absence of Giant Killer Octopus*.
I’m not sure what passes for normal wind in this area at this time of year, but felt like 5-6mph of headwind. It required a bit more effort rowing against the wind (even a kayaker has some profile/resistance) but at least it was DIRECTLY in my face so I didn’t have to worry about tracking too much. This kept up until I cleared Fremont Cut and entered Lake Union.
At Lake Union the wind picked up and the water got a bit choppier. Still perfectly safe, imho, and a bit more fun as well. I guess I got a little lazy hoping that the headwind on my way out would turn into a friendly tailwind on the way back, but as I finished my loop of Lake Union and pulled along Gasworks Park, the wind had shifted enough so that I had a crosswind. Having to constantly correct track is more frustrating for the OCD in me than fighting a headwind. :-)
Once back in Fremont Canal the water calms down and its an easier row back to Salmon Bay and the marina. Still, even with a vented jacket I’d built up quite a sweat and could feel that my shoulders and upper arms were going to have something to say about this outing. To heck with them, they’ve been getting it far too easy lately! :-)
Back home for a “hot as it gets” shower and a cup of coffee to find some much appreciated freelance inquiries waiting on me.
The GPS maps were created by real time data on the Android G1 phone using the free GPS Tracker application and the Instamapper.com and Google Maps tools. It has been split into two for some reason but here are the basic stats followed by the maps.
- There should be a “kayak-thru” coffee shop
- People on the water are very friendly to other people on the water
- Seattle has some of the most unique and beautiful house boats
- Deep sea vessels are freakin’ huge