Oct 20, 2012

Kayaking Rocky Point, Mexico

Mr. and Mrs. Chollaball invited me down to their place in Rocky Point (Mexico) for the weekend, and I jump on that. I've been wanting to bring my kayak down and do some open water paddling again. I split from my place in Phoenix around 1:30 or 2:00 on Friday, and bolted for the border (Lukeville), and ended up at their place around 6:00. Dood, they have a an awesome place down there; perched on the hill of Las Conchas. I drank a few beers, can konked out for the night. My plan was to launch from the beach below their house, and paddle a couple miles east to the De Marua Estuary. The sun was up and as it warmed the earth, the morning winds picked up from the east. When I launched, the waves were just big enough to get me wet as I climbed into my kayak. The waves that were hitting the shores weren't necessarily wind waves, cuz they were definitely coming in sets. My bilge pump wasn't working so good, so I opted to stick pretty close to the shore line. I out beyond the where the waves were breaking, but I was in an awkward place where the waves were shoaling (building in height as they moved into shallower water). I suppose I would have been calmer farther out, but I wasn't sure how far out I would haveta go??? My paddle along shore, as I headed east was pretty rough and it took forever to paddle the 2.5 miles. I had the wind at my face (about 15 mph), but luckily the swells were rolling under me at a 45 degree angle. It was nice for the moment, that I could easily see what was gonna hit me. I was surprised by the reef when I got down to it, because I had no idea it was there. And as when I got down to it, I was nearly the end of the low tide. I would say it was about a half mile long. I came in from behind it, and I certainly enjoyed the protection it provided. I dinked around there for a while, but by the time I was ready to go into the estuary, the tide was to low to approach it from this side, so I paddle around the front side of the reef to far eastern side where the channel was at. I was tempted to blast on thru a small break in the reef, but as I ran down the the swells, I aborted this plan as it became a fear I was gonna lose control and get chewed up by the rocks. I turned back out to the sea and found a much safer approach. The estuary is far more empty than the google earth images show, but the channel was just deep enough for me to get several miles of protected paddling in. At this point, I was started to get tired, and I knew I had 2.5 miles of very rough and taxing open water paddling back home. I did find a small channel I could paddle thru (a tad bit of portage) on the western end of the reef, so I didn't haveto paddle in front of it. This saved me about 20 minutes of getting work by the waves. The launch from here, back out to the swells was pretty forgiving too. Once I got out beyond the breaking waves, the sea was far more rough. I was getting sets of swells 3 and 4 feet high. This was gonna be a very hard paddle home. That and the waves were coming from about 8:00, so I constantly had to look back at what was going to hit me. I was on edge, and frankly I couldn't wait to get off the water. This was not a relaxing paddle, at all. I had a few big swell break right on the side of my boat. uff, I even had to do a few quick braces to keep my boat from going over. The paddle back down to Chollaball's house went far quicker this time, but not quick enough. I had only paddled about 12 miles, but I was shot. I can easily knock out 20 miles on flat water, but what I had today wore me out. Now that I had made it down to the front of his place, I still had to ride the surf in. Normally, this sounds like fun, but this time I dreaded it. It has been about 8 years since I've ridden waves like this in kayak. I didn't really have a plan other to paddle fast and and try to keep my bow pointed towards the shore. I got my boat speed up, but the first swell went under me, but the second one had me riding down the wave, and as I wasn't going fast enough it pull my boat around and all of a sudden I was parallel to wave and in an awkward position. The wave just just breaking, but showed me mercy. I took a quick glance at where I was at, the shore was still about 100 feet off, and then I looked in front of me and I was in the valley of the waves, then I took a quick glance to my port side and I had a big wave breaking and white water rushing towards me. I was like a deer in the headlights, and I knew this wasn't gonna end well. I knew I need to get my boat in better position and my first instinct was to point towards the shore, the only problem was that this wasn't happening. I was stuck being parallel to a the breaker. The kayak I am in, is 19.5' long and it doesn't turn very easily; especially with current of the swell keeping me in place. After watching the video, I should have tried to point my bow out to sea and back into the shore. Well that didn't happen, and the wave bashed me pretty hard, and the next thing I know I am upside down. I had paddle dug into the sand below, but I stopped myself from using it to up my boat right side up, because I didn't want to break it. I pulled my skirt and had my feet on touching the bottom, and my cockpit full of water. I drug my hull in and was thankfull to be done for the day. I was also thankful I opted to wear my crashhelmet for this little excursion out to sea and back. This was far from a relaxing day in the kayak, but it was an excellent adventure. Here is a video of the day:

Oct 13, 2012

Rio Verde Adventure Day - Mountain Biking and Kayaking

Had a nice duo sport adventure day out in Rio Verde area, that combined some mountain biking on some new (to me) trails with some buds and then a short (3 mile) float down the Verde. It is kind of a hike from my place to the Rio Verde area about an hours drive, for a 2.5 hour ride, so I tossed my bike in the car, just in case I had some energy left for self supported rip down some new to me section of the Verde. I basically said that in the prior sentence, but you get what I mean. Ray-Ray, Nancy and Jeffro (all single speed crazies) met up at the Lone Mountain TH to pedal the Pima-Dynomite trail system at 8:00. The temps were comfy, and the normal sandy trails were still packed down from the heavy rains in the area two days prior. Perfect conditions. Nancy lead us on a nice 2.5 hour tour, that lead us around Lone Mountain, thru some whooped-dee-doo infested trail. Pretty fun. Even rolled down a nice long slab of granite. Fun stuff fo sho, but I'd say that this is a hard tail designed trail. The whoops really punished my suspension. After that I drove the 4 or 5 miles down the hill to Box Bar and stage my bike there for, so I shuttle back up to my car after floating down the river. I then drove on up to Needled Rock. The float down from Needle Rock was short as I mentioned, but really scenic. The flow was pretty low, only about 100 cfs. I actually missed the channel in two place and had to get out and tow my kayak to deeper water. Since the water comes down from Bartlett lake it, it is amazingly clear. Fishes were everywhere. Even saw a few horses. Only a few riffles on this section, and definitely no gnar. The float down only took about 50 minutes, and pedal back up to the car took about 15. I dig the area! Anycow, here is a vid of the day:

Oct 6, 2012

2012 Hot Head Regatta - Tempe Town Lake

I certainly aint into racing, but I just thought I'd bust out the old (and neglected) touring kayak for a lap on the Hot Head Regatta Race on Tempe Town Lake. It was actually a pretty kewl event, with tons of racing classes. Although I was the only recreational kayaker in my class, so I was both first place and last. The stand up paddler boards started their lap first, followed up by the recreational kayaks, then the hobie pedal boats, the the racing kayaks, then a series of racing shells, and racing canoes, and dragooon boats. My heat started a few minutes after 7:00 am, and the conditions were perfect. The sun had just come up and the winds were no existent. I paddled fast, finishing up the 3 mile course in 30:12, so I beat all 4 of the pedal boats, go crushed (by 7 minutes) by the 1st place racing kayak, but I wasn't all that far behind the 2nd place racing kayak. Not bad, considering my boat aint made to do this. Run with what you brung. I wish I could hung out longer, but I had to split to help out at the food bank for a few hours. Once that obligation was said and done, I made my was back to Tempe Town Lake to drink gallons of beer at the Fat Tire Ale Tour de Fat. This isn't the most entertaining video, but it the google earth route is mildly interesting: