Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fair Weather Paddling
Summer-like weather is tenaciously holding on and, at the same time, some leafs are already trying on their fall dress. Lake Michigan is at its warmest for the season, and onshore winds have produced some fine paddling conditions. Right now, it looks as if there will be good paddling for everyone well into the rest of the year. Sadly, many around here will soon react to an end-of-the-season-mentality and stash their boats until next spring.

On the surface, this makes some sense. Some people don't like to paddle in the cold weather and some don't have dry suits or other cold water apparel. So, goes the logic, the calendar is telling us it is time for cold weather and, ergo, time to put away the toys until spring when these same folks will return to the lake.

Thing is, it isn't that cold, and the water is warmer than it will ever be in spring or, for that matter, early summer. The conditions are still good...and safe. So instead of putting the boat away, this is a most excellent time to practice rescues (and even rolling) in order to hone those skills for when they are needed. Maybe now is the perfect time to try that T-rescue in one, two or three foot waves, the conditions in which we are actually most likely to need them. Step away from that storage shed and keep your paddles where I can see them.

Unfortunately, I am on the road this weekend, lecturing in Baltimore. I am hoping that the weather will stay status quo so I can get out there next week. Then again, as long as there is no lightening, the weather is always excellent for paddling.

Paddle safe...


JohnB said...

And, I'm off to Madison to conduct a L4 Coastal ICE. A new bunch of instructors, along with a couple of upgrades (level leaps) are on the horizon.

Hopefully we can get out for a paddle weekend after this. And, hopefully it will match the last paddle we did last week. But, as the saying goes, a so-so day on the water is better than a good day at the desk!

gnarlydog said...

Silbs, you think your folk is chucking in the sponge too early?
Here in Queensland we are so spoiled that if it is not 80F plus and sunny most paddlers won't go out.
Needles to say that in our "winter" the waters are very quiet (which suits me fine).
Did I mention that nobody owns a dry suit or wetsuit for paddling?
It woudl be just too hot.
Most paddlers don't even have a spray jacket.