Thursday, July 26, 2012

Paddle Log #25: Lake Winnipesaukee

We're back in New Hampshire again for a family vacation.  In the 15 years I've been coming here with my wonderful wife, we've only missed coming here two summers - the summer we were in Hawaii (2008) and last summer due to our PCS to Kitsap and my work schedule.  It's good to be back.

Wednesday was what I consider a perfect day for paddling. Between it being a weekday and being overcast, there were few people out on the water.  The air temperature was just right - not hot, not cold.  No wind.  No waves.  Just peaceful, calm water on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Since we flew out here from Seattle, I don't have my kayak here with me, but our next door neighbor graciously allowed me to borrow his kayak.  It's a Wilderness Systems Pamlico 100.  It was a little small for me.  With the foot pedals moved all the way forward, I still couldn't quite squeeze my knees into the cockpit.  Even so, it was a glorious day on the water.

I paddled south along the western shore of Long Island and then counter-clockwise around Sandy Island.  I wasn't ready to go home yet then, so I paddled across to Ragged Island and counter-clockwise around Ragged Island.

Even though I've been coming to Lake Winnipesaukee for family vacations for 15 years now, this is only the second time that I've seen a loon.  It still surprises me how big they are.  I keep expecting them to be like the size of a duck, but they're more like the size of a goose.

I was really glad I paddled around Ragged Island.  In addition to the loon, I also saw several other birds and some peaceful coves with lily pads and beautiful water lily blossoms.

Seeing families walking around Ragged Island reminded me of the awesome geocache the boys and I did there a few summers ago.

When I finished paddling around Ragged Island, I was really enjoying myself and didn't want to go home yet.  I wanted to just keep paddling the long way home counter-clockwise around Long Island, but I didn't plan my timing well.  It was half past noon and I was hungry, and I hadn't brought any food with me, so I headed home for lunch. 

Stats for the paddle log:

  • Date: Thursday, 26 July 2012
  • Time In: 10:04 a.m.
  • Time Out: 12:36 p.m.
  • Elapsed:  2 hrs 32 min
  • Moving Time (GPS): 2 hours 19 min
  • Stopped Time (GPS):  14 min
  • Mileage (GPS): 6.0 miles
  • Sea State: 0
  • Winds: < 5 kts NW
  • Air Temp:  65F climbing to 69F
  • Water Temp: 75F - Yep, the water was warmer than the air.
  • Current:  None.
  • Gauge Height:  503.63' (lake full = 504.32'  source)  The Lakes Region has had 6 inches less than average rainfall this year, so the lake level is a little low.
  • Avg Speed (GPS):  2.6 mph
  • Max Speed by (GPS):  4.8 mph
  • Rapids?  None. 
  • Hazards?  Not much.  Wake from an occasional passing boat.
  • Kit: Wilderness Systems Pamlico 100 and Seaquel paddle borrowed from neighbor on lake.  Ballcap, NRS paddling gloves, short sleeve swim shirt, NRS paddling pants, neoprene booties.  I brought my orange rain coat in my small dry bag, but didn't need it.
  • Configuration: The Pamlico 100 was a little small for me.  With the foot pedals moved all the way forward, I still had difficulty keeping my knees inside the cockpit.  Also, the owner had a fishing rod mount bolted to the starboard side of the hull.  I knocked the fingers of my right hand against the fishing rod mount about four times during the trip.  The built-in seat was pretty comfortable - no complaints at all from two and a half hours on the water.
  • Route:  Put-in at Jonathan's Landing beach on the west side of Long Island.  Paddled south, counter-clockwise around Sandy Island, then east to Ragged Island and counter-clockwise around Ragged Island.  I was tempted to keep going counterclockwise around the rest of Long Island, but I was getting hungry and didn't bring any food with me, so I went back clockwise up the southern then western side of Long Island.  
  • Other comments (such as wildlife spotted): 1 loon, 3 mergansers, many ducks, 1 robin, 1 maybe killdeer or semipalmated plover lots of dragonflies and waterbugs, water lilies.  I've been coming to Lake Winnipesaukee for 15 years now, and this is only the second time I've seen a loon.

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