Monday, August 16, 2010

Paddle Log #18: Lake Winnipesaukee around Long Island

Monday morning was dark with heavy cloud cover and a light drizzle outside.  Those of you who know me well know that I have an aversion to sunlight, so this was PERFECT weather for a long paddle around the island. 

It was an AWESOME morning on the water.

I used my Kokotat paddling jacket, NRS pants, and my scuba dive booties.  With air temp in the high 60s and water temp in the low 70s, I didn't need a lot of warmth.  These jacket and pants are just a shell to keep the water off - protection against wind and rain.  I just wore a pair of swim trunks and a t-shirt underneath.

My eldest son graciously allowed me to use his waterproof North Face flop hat, and it worked great.

The winds were 8 mph out of the south-southwest when I got underway and turned south.  The wind created a little bit of a swell, and it was fun watching my bow crash through the swells.

I loved how each of the hills in the distance was a different shade of silhouette, and I loved the wispy rain falling from the clouds in the distance.  I had some light sprinkle on my head during the trip, but no steady rain.

There were three distinct phases of this trip difficulty and speed-wise.  During this first southbound leg of the trip, my average speed was about 2.8 mph paddling into the wind.  After I rounded the southern tip of the island and started paddling northeast, I was surfing on the swells coming from behind me and made it to a max speed of 4.5 mph.  When I rounded the easternmost point of the island and started paddling NW, I was in the lee of the island and it was glassy calm.

Mergus merganser americanus
 
Over on the leeward side of the island, I happened upon two families of common mergansers.  I couldn't get close enough to get any really good pictures of them though.  I think they're beautiful birds, and I've never seen them anywhere but in New Hampshire.  I don't know why all the local tourist shops sell wood decorative decoys of mallard ducks and loons but no mergansers. 

Also on the leeward side of the island, I spotted a beautiful blue jay flying along the shore.  My shutter speed wasn't fast enough to get a crisp picture of him, but I was surprised I was fast enough to get this blur of him flying past.

Here's where I could use some help from any bird experts in the audience.  This bird was teasing me.  He kept twittering away at me from a tree and each time I got close to him, he flew on ahead a hundred yards or so.  I never got a real clear look at him.  I thought he had a black head and wings with white spots at the end of his wings, a gray body and white under-body.  I was surprised in looking at this photo close up to see a splotch of brown in there, too.  I never noticed the brown with my naked eye.  Any ideas what type of bird this was?

Even though the pictures didn't turn out so great, I really enjoyed the paddle around the island and admiring the birds along the way.

Now, I use my handy digital camera on a philosophy of "electrons are free."  I take LOTS of pictures and hope that a few will come out nice.  As I returned to base, who should be waiting for me at my landing spot but another family of mergansers.  I said to myself, "Self, you're FINALLY going to get close enough to try an get a good picture of a merganser."  Right after I took this picture, my camera informed me, "MEMORY CARD FULL." 

Ahhhhhhhhh!

I tried to quickly flip back through the older pictures and delete some to make some room for new pictures, but they swam RIGHT by me and I missed it. 

This is my exasperated self-portrait back on shore looking back out to where the mergansers swam off.

Trip Stats from the 60CSx

Stats for the paddle log:
  • Date: 16 August 2010
  • Time In: 9:12 a.m.
  • Time Out: 11:30 a.m.
  • Elapsed: 2 hr 18 min
  • Moving Time (GPS):  2 hrs 4 minutes 
  • Stopped Time (GPS):  14 minutes
  • Mileage: 6.55 miles by GPS
  • Sea State: 1
  • Winds: 5-8 mph SSW (from Intelicast)
  • Air Temp: 66F climbing to 70F (from Intelicast)
  • Water Temp: 73.8F digital / 72.3F IR
  • Current:  None.
  • Gauge Height:  ~503 feet (above sea level, not depth of water).  The lake level is about a foot or so below "full" right now (normal "full" level is just above 504 feet).
  • Avg Speed (GPS):  3.2 mph
  • Max Speed by (GPS):  4.3 mph
  • Rapids?  None. 
  • Hazards?  None.
  • Kit: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL. My son's North Face flop hat, Kokotat paddling jacket, NRS pants, NRS paddling gloves, short sleeve shirt, swim trunks, dive booties.
  • Configuration: Both boys stayed home, so I paddled solo sitting in the middle seat.
  • Route:  Put-in at Jonathon's Landing and paddled counter-clockwise around Long Island.    

  • Other comments (such as wildlife spotted): Mergansers, Blue Jay, Sea Gulls.

1 comment:

SamanthaSimons said...

Looks like you're livin' it up on the water!