[Don't Panic!] Superactivity: Kayaking Kodiak Challenge
john at zantek.net
Mon Jul 8 02:59:16 PDT 2013
Subject: Superactivity: Kayaking Kodiak Challenge
This year's Crew Superactivity was a kayaking expedition on Puget Sound, with a Kodiak Challenge leadership course included. Since we meet regularly in Port Gamble, next door to the Olympic Outdoor Center, renting additional boats to add to our private fleet was almost effortless. Our friends at Olympic also transported all our boats on their large kayak trailer to our selected starting point, or "put-in" down at Penrose Point State Park in Lakebay, WA on the Key Peninsula.
Activity Co-Chairs Sam G and Chris Z worked out a route, a budget, a menu, and did all the food shopping. As Kodiak veterans, they also arranged for instructors for each of the leadership sessions each day during the trek. The plans turned out to be flawless. 11 youth and 4 adults signed up, which met the required BSA "Safety Afloat" adult/youth ratio and also allowed for a coed activity.
<http://www.crew42.org/images/stories/2013Kodiak/91BowWow.jpg> The Crew met on Day One at Port Gamble to load the 15 kayaks on the vendor trailer and all the personal gear into the Crew trailer. After some last minute shopping for paddling gloves, sorting and adjusting lifejackets and spray skirts, we set off for Penrose. The weather that morning had been high winds and rain, and Small Craft Advisories had been post in the Gig Harbor area. When we reached Penrose to unload, the skies were just clearing but we knew there would be passing showers for the next 24 hours or so. The boats were lined up on the grass next to the beach and above the high tide line. Since we had just passed the Summer Solstice, tides in Puget Sound were at their largest differential. That meant two important things to us. First, we needed to ensure our boats were always pulled up off any beach where we landed, else the tide could rise while we slept and our transportation float away unattended. Secondly, we needed to pay close attention to "slack water" times. Slack water is best described as the 10-15 minutes at the scheduled high tide or low tide times. That's when the tidal currents are at their minimum, or slack. Slack water at high tide is the best time to put in your kayak and begin paddling north in Puget Sound, since all the water will flow toward the ocean and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. A large differential between high tide and low tide also means the currents can be faster and last longer.
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