From a distance, our second day of SEVENTY48 looks okay. Decent. Pretty good, even. We launched just about when we planned to. The weather report cleared up enough that we were able to take the shorter route up the east side of Bainbridge Island. We managed all but the last four nautical miles of our planned route for the day. Those all seem like they would fall into the WIN column.
But we also had a lot chipping away at our reserves. Every time – all day – that the entire team launched and landed, things went sideways.
Launching from Lisabuela
Our very best launch of the day was from Lisabuela. We had our kayaks loaded and ready to go just a few minutes behind schedule. We all floated our boats and got ready to head out.
Travis slipped as he was getting into his cockpit and ended up in the water. He was in a dry suit, and uninjured except for his pride. And our launches went downhill from there.
Landing on Bainbridge
We made good progress up the North end of Colvos, and headed toward Fay Bainbridge as our next planned stop. We decided that we needed to add a stop just north of Wing Point to make some needed adjustments. We found a beach that would meet our needs, though it had larger rocks than we like to land on in our fully loaded kayaks. But that’s okay – we’re all in dry suits. We’ll just do a floating exit and then find a good spot to pull the boats up.
Except a set of waves appeared out of the glassy water and added some difficulty to that plan. We were able to float our boats to get out – just barely. We were able to find some spaces that seemed reasonable to pull the boats up on the beach. We were not able to prevent the waves from crashing over the boats and flooding the cockpits. So we added some time to bail our boats out and dealt with another set of waves crashing on the beach as we prepared to launch.
What we thought would be a quick pit stop turned into a lot more. Wrangling the boats on the shore, ensuring they weren’t hitting the rocks with too much force, and bailing all three boats took time, energy, patience, and resilience. Time, energy, patience, and resilience that weren’t in the plan.
Freighter Wakes at Fay
Once we were underway, we headed for Fay Bainbridge. We were able to get to the beach and take our break without too much difficulty. But again, as we were preparing to launch, a series of freighter wakes caught up to the beach and turned our planned easy launch into a rodeo. Waves were again crashing over the kayaks, filling the cockpits. The waves were crashing violently onto shore, and we decided to get the boats beyond the breaker zone even though we wouldn’t be in them yet.
Travis was already zipped into his dry suit, and his kayak was completely flooded with water. He waded out with it beyond the breaker zone to dump the cockpit, rather than trying to bail it closer to shore. He then stayed out there while Lara and Melissa shoved the next boat off the beach and out to him. As they readied the third boat to launch, a much larger wave hit and slammed the fully loaded kayak in an unexpected direction. Right into Lara’s knee. Travis continued to corral the kayaks in 4-foot-deep water (with freighter wakes still coming through). Melissa and Lara went back to the driftwood to inspect the damage. Luckily, the injury wasn’t a race-ender (though it took several minutes to determine that).
Once we were ready, we each made our way into our floating kayaks while the freighter wake continued to crash on the shore. We were covered in seaweed and the launch – again – took more out of us than we’d bargained for.
Back on Track
Our crossing to Jefferson Head was relatively pleasant. It wasn’t the best that stretch of water has ever been to us. But we did see the harbor porpoises that always make an appearance there. It was relatively uneventful and we were glad to be making the open water crossing before the predicted headwinds gained strength.
As we approached Appletree Cove, those winds found us. We’ve often made it across the Kingston-Edmonds ferry route waiting for only one ferry to pass. This time, we watched many ferry boats cross as we struggled against the headwind. As we finally made it to the north side of the ferry lanes, the sun dipped behind the trees. We added another stop to our plan, so we could adjust our layers in preparation to paddle into the night.
Layer Up at Apple Cove Point
Apple Cove Point was the next good landing spot, so we set our sights there. We were approximately 80% of the way through our planned mileage for the day. As was the theme of the day, we were able to land without much trouble. Trouble did not stay away, and our launch once again went sideways, with waves picking up and the headwinds growing stronger. This was the point when we suddenly needed the one dry bag we hope to never make use of.
Stay tuned for the next installment: The “Oh, $#!+” Bag