[Don't Panic!] FW: Kayaking to Hood Head
john at zantek.net
Sun Jun 16 00:47:33 PDT 2013
Feed: Crew 42
Posted on: Saturday, June 15, 2013 11:29 PM
Subject: Kayaking to Hood Head
<http://www.crew42.org/images/stories/PortGamble.png> The morning dawn was inspirational, and the weather promised to be sunny and warm. Crew 67 was coming over to join us in Port Gamble for a mid-day kayak crossing of the top of Hood Canal. The far side is a point of land called Hood Head, where the seas opened into Puget Sound. Hood Canal is spanned by Hood Canal Bridge, which actually floats...the retreating glaciers from the last Ice Age carved the deep, deep trench which is now home to the west coast's major submarine base. This was going to be a fun, two-hour paddle. So we thought.
The flags gave us our first hint. There was a stiff breeze coming from the north, right out from the opening to Puget Sound, as if it was blowing off Mount Baker which we could see in the distance. There were some whitecaps over in Port Gamble Bay. Crew 67 missed their ferry from Edmonds, so it would be an extra hour before we could get underway. Meanwhile, we were sure the winds would start veering to the east and subside. So we hoped.
<http://www.crew42.org/images/stories/hoodHead.gif> Meanwhile, other prospective kayakers were arriving and were being turned away at the kayaking rental store. Oops. Crew 67 arrived, joined up with our group and headed down to the cove and conducted our safety briefing. Fourteen brave souls launched their kayaks in the protected waters and started paddling toward the breakwater. The wind and swell greeted us as we cleared the harbor and paddled into the open waters north of the Port. We intended to hug the shoreline over to the bridge, then pass under and turn on the leeward side, using the bridge as a shield from the weather. As we passed Salisbury Point and the anchored commercial fishermen, the winds subsided and the seas dropped. We quickly turned and started paddling to the NW and headed directly for Hood Head.
As we crossed mid-chennel, the winds came up again. It was a steady 12 to 15 knots and our bows started dipping into the waves. We aimed for the cliffs at Hood Head and paddled hard to find another lee and come ashore for lunch and to stretch our legs. It was already 2PM, our original ETA for completing the event. Looking back at Port Gamble, more than 3 miles away, we could see the big flag still waving in the stiff winds. We mounted up and paddled with the seas and wind on our "port quarter", or over our left shoulders. The waves seemed bigger now, and were coming in groups of three. <http://www.crew42.org/images/stories/StillAlive.jpg> However, we had good boats with rudders on most, and skegs on the others that helped us hold to our trackline. Everyone was wearing spray skirts to keep the water out of the cockpits. One boat was rolled, but we quickly recovered. All those hours of training on Wildcat Lake paid off!
We almost surfed around the breakwater and back into the protection of the harbor back at Port Gamble. We were all fairly wet, windburned and pinker faces reflecting a day on the water after a long winter, and muscles were just a little more tired than you would expect after only 7 or so miles of paddling. Regardless, everyone beamed and spirits were high. Two hours late getting back, but nobody cared! As all Venturers do, we conducted a reflection of the day's roses, thorns, and buds. The common bud? Venturing Rocks.
View article... <http://www.crew42.org/component/content/article/194-kayaking-to-hood-head>
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