ironymaiden: (Seattle)
[personal profile] ironymaiden
today, the smoke from the wildfires in BC has made the air quality here worse than Beijing. it's creepy and getting uncomfortable. the haze makes it cooler than was forecast, but the nights are warmer, and the air is starting to hurt my throat :/

Monday, it was sparking clear and hot but not too hot. it was the second Monday in a row that i went kayaking on Lake Union; hopefully that will get to be a really regular thing before it gets icky outside. we're busing in, renting, and busing out. perfect urban adventure.

last week was windy and there was a lot of chop; they gave [personal profile] philotera and i rec kayaks (i think they were Rip 12s) that were okaaay. we struggled to travel up the east side of the lake. it was nice to look at the houseboats but any time i stopped paddling the wind blew me all over the place.

this week, we went again (with the welcome addition of Sailor J) and both [personal profile] philotera and Sailor J brought their carbon fiber paddles along. i'm not saying that definitely changed things, but this time we got real sea kayaks with rudders. (now that i know there are choices, i will express a preference.) based on our prior experience, we nosed around the calm south end of the lake and up the west side past the float planes and up to the working boat moorage at the north end, then a long diagonal back to the the rental dock.


this was my first time with a rudder. it took me a while to get it figured out. engaging the rudder with your right foot turns you to the right, but when you steer to the right with your paddle, you paddle on the left (shoving off of the water). eventually i could be pretty nimble with the rudder/paddle combo, but it took a while. it's like patting your head and rubbing your tummy. so i unintentionally got very close to things, and to my companions. hooray for plastic bumper boats.

i had my phone in my PFD so that i could access it to take pictures. i got more than i intended:


there were also a good dozen that were pure black.

we nosed around the Center for Wooden Boats, and the historic ships at MOHAI, and then headed west toward Kenmore Air. we watched a plane that was painted to look like an orca land, visited it up close, then later saw it take off.






we saw rowing teams practicing, both crew and dragonboats. here's some crew:


once we had bobbled most of the way up the west side, Sailor J checked in on my stamina (as the least experienced paddler in the group, i got to call when we turned around). he suggested going up to check out the working boats; i thought my desire might be stronger than my ability. he reassured me that the wind was going to give me an assist on the way back, so we went for it.



Sailor J for scale. he's in a 16ft kayak.

i didn't realize just how tall they were until i was right next to them. those fishing boats are BIG. they don't look big from the road.



after that, i said yes to cutting straight across the lake to the rental dock, about 1.5 miles. so that was probably my longest continuous paddle yet and i think the farthest i've been from shore.

i posted that view of the skyline earlier, but here it is again.




i think my favorite bit was on the way back to the dock, when we were directly below the flight path of a float plane that had just taken off. it was breathtaking.* i am sad that i don't have a picture, but glad that i didn't waste such a stunning moment fumbling with my phone.

I'm still trying to figure out my best transit path/timing (traffic in South Lake Union is hellish) but the lake hasn't been super-busy, so in general Monday night looks like a good time to go.

Monday Night Paddling. it might be a thing.


*the underside was painted with a local tv station's colors; for all i know we could have been b-roll on Evening Magazine.
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