Saturday, November 24, 2018

Out on the Water on Thanksgiving Day

A last minute call from a friend Wednesday night asking if I wanted to head across the bay on Thanksgiving Day for a hike led me to ditch all my plans for the day in favor of an excursion on the water.  I was particularly excited because I just finished the Coastal Navigation class days before and I wanted to see all those things I'd learned in action to really cement my learning. My friends were happy to educate me as well, sharing their experiences of 18 years of boating on Kachemak Bay.

Seas were choppy on the way over, and supposed to calm as the day went on
In all their years of boating here, they have never been out on the water this late in the season. The weather has been ridiculously nice--in the 40's for most of the month of November and not too stormy--extending the shoulder season for recreating across the bay.

The trips started at home, figuring out how cold it was going to be on the water. It was 30 degrees and calm at home, which meant on the water, with a windchill, was going to be quite a bit chillier. I dressed with 3 layers on my legs and 4 on top, including balaclava and hat. The sun was just barely peeping through the clouds at 11:00 when we set out, so there was a nip in the air.

The lagoon we anchored in was full of water at a +22 foot tide. I've walked through this area when it was dry.
 Listening to my friends discuss where to throw the anchor was fascinating, with the details of the current tide level, expected tide level upon our return (+2 feet), how far out to be, which anchors to throw (stern, bow or both?) and then coordinate the drop on shore, which is easier with a sailboat that draws 9" than many boats. A delightful 2 hour hike with bird watching and relaxing in the sun on a bluff got us back to the boat at the expected time. The ground was soggy with the amazing amounts of rain we've been getting, with no hint of a freeze.

Poot Peak in the afternoon light, heading back to Homer
 The chop had settled down as forecasted, but there were some nice, long swells. My friends let me drive the boat back, and that was interesting, up and down those swells. Driving a boat isn't difficult, and I can see how, like driving on roads, it can be hard to stay alert to possible dangers, such as kelp rafts, logs and sea otters, when there's this wide-open expanse of water.

My friends let me skipper the boat back into the harbor--teaching me tips and tricks
 Returning to harbor, I was happy to turn over the wheel to my friend to steer into the slip. I was happy to set foot on land again. And I was just in time to take a quick shower and get to Thanksgiving dinner with friends.
There's always a sense of relief for me returning to the safety of the harbor

Looking over to the mountains we were just at the base of shortly before gives me a strange sense of perspective
It made for possibly one of the more unique Thanksgivings I have had, and the timing was perfect. I learned and reviewed so much of what I'd just gone over in the Coastal Navigation class, and had fun with my friends as well.

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