A rainy day.

May 19, 2007

wet

I had arranged a tour with Noriyuki Hoshi – my tour guide of Miyagi and my ski buddy, Jonathan. But due to some poor communication that got blown out, so I went with Nori and his “club mate” Abe-san. They are planning to cross Sendai bay (about 70km) in September. Good luck! がんばってね

All of these photographs were taken by Abe-san. Who very generously sent me them.

putin

We set out from my usual put-in at Oku-Mastsushima. Nori lent me his North Shore, Shoreline kayak (which was awesome!) Abe-san was paddling the same but without a skeg and Nori was in an waterfield kayak (Japanese brand). The forecast was for rain to stop around 9am and slowly turn to sun around noon but as you can see in the photos it rained steadily all morning.

rafted up rearranging my foredeck

We did a very simple circuit of one of the islands. There was no wind and only small swell and it was a pleasure to paddle. We ducked in and out of the caves that I know quite well by now.
caves 1
profile

Paddling with the swell was great as the Shoreline kayak accelaerated quickly and so surfed easily.

Low tide was at 11am and at a few points there were some breaking waves, Nori and Abe-san didn’t seem to interested in these though so I just followed their lead. We were making good progress and I was surprised how easy it was to keep up. This pace in my own kayak would have been tiring.

arch

We came to one spot that where the waves were breaking (I actually remember trying to get on these waves once before without much success) and I decided I shouldn’t miss the opportunity to mess around (with some back up in case things go wrong). As I was practicing some bracing I hit the limit of secondary stability and capsized but rolled up first time, this gave me confidence that there wouldn’t be a problem with the small surf.
headingout

The waves were about 50cm and running for about 100m. They were breaking due to a huge bed of seaweed and so were irregular, breaking at different places and running at different angles and fun! Sometimes a larger wave would form and it was possible to get triangular waves as the waves interferred with one another.

headingout2

Punching out through the waves was fun too. I did some bongo sliding and managed to catch, surf three waves. The first one was great and I got a decent run. The second was ok. The third was one of the bigger waves and I enjoyed the speed. At the end of the run, I broached round to bongo slide the last bit, high bracing into the wave

brace

It was all going great until just about as this picture was taken. The wave disappeared and I capsized. I then couldn’t roll using my usual, short roll because the seaweed was preventing me getting the paddle round. I tried for the back-up roll that Shibata-san had taught me but failed, twice, and had to wet exit. (Thanks to Nori for the timely reminder about where the spray skirt pull cord was – at the side rather than front) .

As I came up, just outside the surf zone I let go my paddle which was dissapointing – I want to keep hold of that. Anyway after a short discussion about how best to rescue I went for a rentry and eskimo roll (maybe I should have rolled up with my paddle as practice?)

pumping out

We then pumped out (that’s Nori pumping at the back using the built-in pump on the Shoreline’s deck) rafted for stability (and closing my eyes to look good). The water was the same temperature as the rain and the air (about 15 degrees C) one of those days when the junctions are all blurred. We then paddled in to shore and did some rolling practice in the rain

rolling up

(this roll one wasn’t so good – note the sinking paddle blade)

I tried again the failed back-up roll and couldn’t do it. The Shoreline doesn’t have good knee braces and it was hard to get a good hip flick – this was Nori’s conclusion… Hmm I need more practice. After a few minutes rolling though I got really cold – Abe-san pointing out my purple lips so we set out for home through the lake-like part of Matsushima bay.

going home

I practiced refining my stroke and cadence and finally decided on a 15 degree feather (have been experimenting with zero, 15 and 30 recently). I really, really enjoyed the Shoreline kayak. It is the best kayak I have paddled so far (beating my own of course, the North Shore Mistral and Calypso and two waterfield kayaks I have paddled with tour guides). Fast – easy to get up to speed, manouverable, good secondary stability, nice tight cokpit – fit me well – and surfs well. The only complaint was knee braces.

Thanks again Nori (and sorry for the cancellation) and to Abe-san for the photographs.

route map

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