A week earlier, the evening before my daughter and I went to Kentucky, I paddled in town. That was a beautiful warm fall evening, calm, twilight, the full moon rose, just serenity at its best.
I had launched at Sunset Park and headed toward the Maple-Oregon Street Bridge or the MO Bridge as the operators call it. Passing Bay Ship Building, there were two guys in a pulling boat out in the mid channel of the shipping lane. I was passing them, heading closer to shore as it was dusk and I don’t like paddling away from shore in the evening light when a small kayak is difficult at best to see. The Harbor Lady had left the dock near the bridge a ½ mile away and was heading toward us. The rowers were staying in the channel and I mentioned to them it might be a good idea to head to one side or the other of the channel and stay out of the Lady’s way. They did meander over my way near the shipyard.
Kayaks are small, slender, low and sleek. Qualities that make them efficient to paddle, but difficult to see, even in daylight. When the light is low, I stay near shore. I bring a flashlight, strobe, rocket-flares and a light attached to my vest. Signalling devices are always with me. Fortunately I have never used anything other than a light. If I ever need to bail out and then lose the boat, I’ll still have signaling devices with me instead of floating away on the kayak. Don’t know if the rowers had a light, but I turned on the jacket light and let it droop over my shoulder, so it wasn’t shining in my face, but would be obvious to a boat coming up from behind me. Another reason to drift near shore are treasures…treasures that escape from some poorly tied knot and become set free until they find me. Tonight it was a black 20” fender. I tied it on the rear deck.
There was a rhythmic clanging in the distance from behind…clack, clack, clack.., like a bell. I looked over my shoulder…a tug was coming up the channel with a flap on top of the exhaust to keep out weather and dirt when it was running. The flap was clanging with each puff of exhaust. A small harbor tug named Barry, a good simple name. I followed it and the Harbor Lady toward the bridges. Barry pulled in and tied up to the tugs of Selvik Marine Towing and I continued on past the MO and Center Point Marina on the left, then crossed the channel to the DNR dock and headed back, past the Coast Guard dock, Selvik, the Maritime Museum where I paused and tried taking a few photos of the rising full moon…didn’t worked so well. Low light, drifting boat in water=blurred photo.
So I paddle back in darkness and Moonlight. I have always enjoyed evening paddles. They are quiet, when the water is full of noisy craft running here and there during the day. The night is a quiet and peaceful time. A few lights here and there, stars, moonlight; I once paddled under the Northern Lights. The red and green flares are always amazing to see, but it is just rare to see them from a kayak….
Oh Yeah I was GRINDING…later.