Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day

Avast me Mates, Da summer ‘as come t’ end in Northern climes and we be back in de sunny trop’cal climes of de Carib’yan. While ye be liming in da cool bright days of autumn, we be sweatin’ somet’ing fierce in the da equatorial sun.

Me classes started d’first tide in Septembre, and I be workin’ like a scurvy sea dog. But me and Cap’n Pete ‘ave found a wee bit o’ time to set out to on da fair Carib’yan sea in we great grand furner. She be a bit on da smallish side, but nonetheless as sound an hearty a vessel as hever sailed da seven seas.

All right, enough pirate talk for now. Work is keeping me really busy. I’m teaching two classes that I’ve never taught before, getting students started on research projects and working on a proposal and 2 papers. Add to that the two mornings a week I’m teaching early morning Seminary and I am one busy woman.

Nonetheless, the last two Saturday mornings, Rich and I have finally gotten the chance to take our sea kayak out from William’s Bay on Trinidad’s north west peninsula. This is a very sheltered bay that hosts a kayak rental business and easy place to launch. Our first day out the weather was very calm and we paddled quickly across the bay to Point Garde which we later found was about 2 miles from our put in. Our Kayak is a tandem sit on top. The day was hot and sunny but much more pleasant out on the water than on land. There were several other kayakers out and about. Near point guard there is small harbor with an abandoned dock where several sail boats are moored and a few derelicts have been washed a ground. There are 5 small islands off to the south of the bay and a string of larger islands further north which we plan to explore as we become more skilled paddlers.

Our second Saturday out, we had stiff winds from the south west along with some moderate size waves and an occasional white cap. We started off paddling into the wind but since there isn’t really any where to go that way except out to the five islands and we weren’t quite confident enough to do that with the winds, we turned and headed to the north side of the harbor with the wind at our backs. Which of course meant we had to paddle back to our put in into a heavy head wind. To paddle effectively, we need to be synchronized which is a bit tricky when there are waves and the stern paddler, Rich, has to make corrective strokes to steer the boat. Our kayaking thus far has involved a fair amount of Cap’n Pete yelling out orders to his crew of sprogs (me) and the requisite threats of mutiny from said crew. But by the end of the day, we were getting the rhythm down, having fun and making good time even though we were paddling into a stiff wind. As we were angling into shore to avoid being cross wise to the waves, we were also racing against a storm squall coming across the gulf of Paria. We hit the put in just after the rain started and by the time we’d hauled the boat ashore it was coming down in buckets. Some of our fellow paddlers weren’t as lucky and were struggling to get to shore in the downpour.

We managed to wait out the hardest part of the rain under a little shelter although we aren’t quite sure why we bothered since the rain wasn’t cold and we were wearing paddling clothes that were already somewhat wet.

So far what we’ve learned about kayaking in the tropics is
1. wear more sun screen.
2. wear more sun protective clothes
3. wear more sun screen.
4. the stern paddler needs to call out a cadence
5. head for shore when you see a squall coming
6. wear more sun screen.

Fare thee well me Matey's!!

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