Monday, December 06, 2010

It's not the (lack of) heat, it's the wind!

The forecast for Sunday morning was a cold and windy day, so the planned outing to the Chathams was postponed. Still, during breakfast as I looked out the windows in the kitchen and front room (yes, the Beach House has an ocean view even if the room we rent in it doesn't) the morning looked pretty good. Not good enough for a trip across Baynes Channel, but good enough for noodling around in the bay. The big willow tree was waving its fronds only a little.
It took only a few minutes to get into my gear. I spent more time looking for my neoprene cold water cap, in fact. This time, I made sure to tell Bernie (my ground crew) that I would go along the shore to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, instead of the opposite shore along the point where I usually paddle. Wrapped up warmly, I puffed up my little inflatable and carried it to the beach.
The light breeze was a bit stronger now. It blew me over to the Yacht Club in less time than I expected, where I made a quick inspection of a large square barge with a crane on it. I'd thought of going into little Loon Bay on the other side of all the yachts, but the breeze was stiff enough not to be fun.
I turned back, feathered my paddle, and worked out on "the treadmill" for a while, making my way back. It's especially important to watch weather changing, and learn how it feels, so that maybe it won't catch me unprepared one day. The weather can change in less than half an hour here, and today I could watch gusts of wind approaching me across the bay.
Eventually I made it back to the boat launch at Gyro Park and got out. Wearing paddle shoes and doing careful launch and landing meant I had dry feet the whole time! That was very nice for the walk back to the Beach House.
So, it was a short time on the water, but still worth it. And there was plenty of time to work on some writing projects before meeting several paddlers for coffee. Hours of talking later, I took a horizontal break wrapped up in a winter-weight sleeping bag before hanging out at the Cadboro Bay carol singing. Hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts, and a cheerful crowd. Cold isn't a problem when you have the right gear -- parkas and toques on the people, and canopies set up in case of rain like last year. I don't put the big portable propane heaters in the same category of "right gear" even though they felt nice to stand under. Heating the great outdoors is one of the ways we are wasting resources. Climate change is happening because of a whole bunch of wasteful choices like outdoor heaters!

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