Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Surprise in the Clouds. . .

FRANCES: We had a great day of kayaking yesterday. We went to Apalachee River again and put in before sunrise. We didn't expect to see much of the sunrise itself, because the sky was full of gray clouds. In fact, the sky was gray, the water was gray, I didn't think it would be a bright and happy day for a paddle. Boy, was I wrong.

GLEN: I made the comment that "we might not see the sun rise," but I had the feeling the sky would still be beautiful.

I started out being concerned about the weather. The wind was kicking up and in a few places the clouds looked like they had the potential for rain or worse, lightening. I was a little hesitant to head up the river, but Glen seemed so confident about the weather, I followed his lead. (I didn't know he had checked the weather and knew the clouds were supposed to burn off after sunrise.)

Once the sun came up, most of the clouds did burn off and the day was absolutely gorgeous.

GLEN: This time, the weatherman was right on target. The weather did exactly what he said it would.

The wind and current going up river were against us to the point the waves made by the wind were crashing against the bow of my boat. I enjoyed watching the little waves form and then fall again. Then our eyes noticed the plumes of splashes far in the distance. Not one or two but ten, twenty, forty -- maybe even a hundred little splashes. What was causing that? We tried looking with the binoculars but still couldn't tell.

Only after we paddled closer could we see it was fish jumping everywhere!
GLEN: Literally hundreds of fish.

FRANCES: I thought surely one would jump into our boats, but it never happened.
We stopped at one point in the middle of the river, believe it or not, so Glen could take a phone call. I turned side-saddle in my kayak and dangled my legs into the cool water. I had brought a banana and the rest of my "birthday" cinnamon rolls to eat, so I sat and enjoyed my little snack while Glen chatted with our friend Tom from Tennessee.

GLEN: I knew that Tom would appreciate talking to us while we kayaking.

FRANCES: I took some pictures and enjoyed the break, then we realized that the strong current of the day had pushed us almost back to where we had started on the river. By this time though the wind had died down some so paddling back was not quite as hard as it had been before.

On the way back in from the day, we decided to practice deep water re-entry of our kayaks. I transferred our backpack to Glen's kayak and started to exit mine. As I was doing this, I remember thinking that maybe this wasn't such a good idea. I let myself slide off the side of the kayak into the water and immediately I was surprised at how much my PFD held me up in the water. I was incredibly buoyant. I reached one hand to the far side of my kayak and one to the near side and pulled myself up across the seat of my boat. Then it was easy to roll over and then just sit up. It all worked so easy! Then we transferred the backpack to my boat and Glen practiced. His re-entry was just as easy. (To see instructions for this re-entry go to TopKayker.Net)

I actually thought I might tip over the other way, but I was able to right myself. It's good to know that we can do this in case we capsize.

The only problem with the re-entry practice was that I had forgotten that I had tucked my mp3 player into my bathing suit strap and didn't take it out before I slid into the river. It took a good dunking and is still drying out.

GLEN: Now how can you kayak without an MP3 player?!

Besides that, it was one of the nicest days on the river we have ever had.

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