Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trip 24 November 8, 2009 Apalachee River

This was an odd trip.

We started out at 6:12am. The water temperature was 64° and the air temperature was 47°. There was a little wind, but not much.

We were dressed well for the weather and I never once felt cold. I could tell through my clothes that if I could feel the water, I would know it was cold, but I never felt cold myself.

From our last chilly experience, I had added an additional layer, a waterproof rain suit. This kept the chilly water out of my pants and kept me completely dry the whole trip. I also added a pair of gloves so that my hands never felt cold. Temperature did present a problem later on, though.

We put in with plenty of time to see the sunrise, but because of it being so much later in the year, the sun now comes up in a different place and those beautiful "sunrise on the water" pictures just weren't the same.

As we started, I found the gloves made it difficult for me to keep my hands in the proper place on the paddle. My hands kept slipping with each stroke. I had a pair of thin, latex gloves on underneath the cloth gloves and eventually I removed the cloth gloves and just wore the latex gloves in order to keep my hands dry.

We paddled up the river and we both felt as if we were paddling in pudding. For some reason -- perhaps the multitude of layers -- we both felt awkward and out of rhythm with our stroke. It seemed as if it was taking us forever to reach our goal.

At one point, I had to stop and remove the coat to my rain suit. I was becoming too warm. This meant I had to take off my PFD (which sounds easy, but isn't really that easy sitting in a kayak in the middle of a river), remove the coat and then reapply my PFD. That was the first of three stops we would make to disrobe.

We eventually gave up on reaching our goal and settled for a nearer spot to stop, rest and enjoy our thermos of hot chocolate. I was secretly hoping the current we had been battling would push us back toward where the bay meets the river, but the current seemed to be going in all directions at once. After a nice chat and our tummies full of hot chocolate, we headed back.

We stopped once so that Glen could remove his jacket and the second shirt he was wearing and a few minutes later, I stopped to remove the latex gloves and all my shirts except the sleeveless one. The rising sun had made it definitely warmer, even though the water was still very chilly.

Once I was free of the layers on my arms, I felt like I could stroke the paddle the way it was meant to be stroked. The way back still seemed long and I think we were both glad when the put-in came into view.

It was one of the few times I have ever really been glad to come out of the water and pack up the boats. On the way home, Glen was chilled from some water that had leaked into his suit. I, on the other hand, still felt over heated. We played tug-of-war with the controls of the car's air conditioner/heater until our body temperatures became a little closer to each other.

I don't know how long into the fall and winter we will kayak, or at what point we will say the water is just too cold, but I was pleased to know that we could go out and stay dry and warm (and maybe a little too warm) in spite of the cold water and the wind.

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