"This is sometimes the best time of day to paddle," said Mike Jackson, when I ran into him and his friends on the beach at 3:30 PM. They were just coming ashore as I was launching. They seem to have had a good time on the water... well, maybe. Mike and one paddler carried off two of the boats over the steps to Killarney. The other paddler said, a little sourly, "He told me he was just taking me to the point!" Then he grinned.
Ah! Understanding bloomed. Apparently good ol' Mike is not unlike some other paddlers I know, who are cheerfully willing to scoot out across Baynes channel to the Chathams at any time of day, even when the current is running.
But I was paddling alone today, except for the company of an otter out by Flower Island. It was a good day to do my usual loop out and back to the beach, a loop about four kilometres long that takes me an hour, counting a few pauses to admire the birds and the sky.
Four klicks in an hour isn't a bad speed for this little 8'4" inflatable kayak. In fact, it's not much slower than Freya's average speed in her surf-ski style kayak that she used in her recent circumnavigation of Australia. On average, she covered fifty klicks or more a day for the best part of a year. Of course, she kept paddling for eleven hours a day. I do an hour, maybe an hour and a half, on most of these solo paddles in the bay. Still, it's nice to feel even a little like Freya. Oooh, and my wetsuit is black -- does that count? Maybe I'm (in the phrasing of the late Douglas Adams) not entirely unlike the best of us kayakers.