This morning a group of us met at Irondequoit Marine Park (which we refer to as “Seabreeze” because it’s near the Seabreeze amusement park) for a paddle on the lake. The forecast was for very light winds and very small waves, so I didn’t think it would matter if we headed east or west. We had a good group, Mike and I often paddle together and we’re pretty evenly matched, and Pete G has gotten really fast this year and he’s probably going to be blowing us away in not very much longer. John H is a really fit guy, mostly a runner and a SUP paddler but he’s taken to paddling a surfski this year and he’s picking it up fast. And Jim managed to get back from yesterday’s Madrid race to come with us as well.
It started out as expected, with very little wave action. But what there was was almost directly on our beams. By the time we got to the Genesee River outlet those waves had built up a bit, and so had at least one other source of waves, on top of the boat wakes and the reflections from shore and the pier. The problem is that all these waves were about 1 foot high – big enough to affect you, but because they were all the same size there was no one wave that was dominating and making it so you could ignore the others. If you have one foot waves coming from three different directions, that’s far worse than if you’ve got one foot waves coming from two directions and three foot waves coming from one. You end up with two waves stacked when something hits you from the third direction and it really throws you off.
By the time we decided to turn, we were getting straight beam waves and an exactly 180 degree off reflection from the shore, as well as at least one other set, and I was bracing more than I was paddling. When we turned 90 degrees to directly off-shore, it actually became way easier, and I actually started enjoying it. Except I didn’t want to go 90 degrees off shore, I wanted to go back along the shore to where we’d put in. After we’d gotten far enough from shore that the reflection from shore was much reduced, I turned as much as I dared putting the incoming waves about 45 degrees off my right bow. That was still heading us directly towards a sailboat race, which we probably didn’t want to do. But after a short time, we got a another wave set, this from about 30 degrees to my right, so I tried to angle a few more degrees off the first set so I was almost directly into the new set. That was actually giving me an angle that would allow me to pass further out from the horrible mess that Mike calls “the potato patch” at the mouth of the Genesee. John H seemed to not make that turn, and so he continued towards the sailboat race. Luckily Jim went with him so he was taken care of if he got into trouble. Mike and Pete somehow managed to cut further in shore, and were just skirting the end of the Genesee outlet right in the horrible stuff. I was completely alone, and hating every second of it. I found myself thinking “why did I ever think I had any talent at this? I’m completely useless.”
After getting out of the worst of the potato patch, I managed to work my way inshore enough that I was beside and then slightly ahead of Pete, but Mike was literally a mile ahead of us. He didn’t seem to slow down at all. Being in with Pete made me more comfortable, both because I now knew I wasn’t going to have to go completely beam on for the rest of the paddle in order to get home, and also for the comfort of knowing that somebody would notice and possibly be able to help if I fell in and had trouble remounting. John and Jim were still miles off shore, but heading in quickly. I was getting a bit more confidence, and getting a bit more speed, but the number of boat wakes was getting more and more problematic. At one point I got hit by two sets of boat wakes that were more than 2 feet high and exactly 90 degrees apart, so instead of getting something I could surf, I just got pyramids of water.
After the paddle was over, the unenjoyable part of the day wasn’t over. When I’d set off, I’d decided to carry my Mocke PFD instead of wearing it, and I’d put my phone and car key in the big pocket on the front. I’d previously realized that the pocket has a bit of a flaw in that the velcro that closes it is much shorter than the width of the mouth of the pocket. I’d decided that I should go to Home Depot and pick up some a couple of snap rings or mini-carabiners or something so I could attach the keys and phone securely to the PFD, but I figured just for today it would be fine if I just made sure the bungees that hold the PFD to the boat were laid between the keys and phone and the mouth of the pocket so things couldn’t fall out. It seemed like a perfect plan. Once I got the boat out of the water, I discovered that somehow the key had managed to sneak out. I have no idea how, I have no idea where. I just know it was gone.
This lead to an hour or so of the whole group of us scouring the sand to see if just possibly it dropped out when I’d been carrying the boat to or from the water while back home Vicki searched to see if she could find the other copy of the key. We both thought we knew where the other copy was, but it wasn’t in any of those locations. So I called AAA and settled in for a long wait. I had my phone, and it was pretty fully charged, but unfortunately my spare reading glasses were in the car. But with a bit of squinting and pinching, I was able to keep myself amused for the first hour or two. But then it started to sprinkle. Since the only shelter at the boat launch was a really stinky public toilet, I called Vicki and she came so we could sit together in her car for a few hours while we waited for the locksmith to come, and them while he attempted to get a key made for the car.
We eventually got home just before 5pm. Not a great way to spend the day.