Friday, May 20, 2011
Many kinds of 'good days on the water'
GalwayGuy is home from grad school in St Louis and the first thing we needed to take care of, other than some Que Viet egg rolls for lunch, was getting the boats out for some Greenland style rolling. Hazy sun, 70F air temps and water temps in what could loosely be described as the 'comfortable range' made for a fine evening.
The paddle plan was discussed on the way to the lake. Maybe we would paddle up to the creek, play in the current and then come back and roll.....Or perhaps just as far as the beach and then come back to roll..... I'm sure those of you who like the skinny sticks and that upside down feeling know where this is going; we wound up paddling about 40 yards offshore and rolling the boats for about an hour. The interesting thing was that we were far from the only paddlers on Long Lake. It was a veritable paddling fest on the water last night with damn near everything that could float on the lake. When we got there we saw a couple loading their vintage, beat up Alumacraft canoe on their car. Next to them was a guy getting a surf ski ready to hit the water. The parking lot was full of tandem and solo racing canoes and there were many more racing boats on the water. Two folks were padding in with touring kayaks and a woman in a little rec boat was playing near shore. The only power boats were a fairly modern fishing boat out trolling and a couple guys trying to start the '73 25 horse Johnson on their '50's vintage 14' Crestliner fishing boat.
It was apparent from the comments and looks that everyone thought everyone else was mildly nuts. I was thinking it was far too nice to work up a sweat hammering around the lake in those racing canoes, the people in the touring kayaks looked mildy horrified as we 'tipped over' and the folks training in the racing boats seemed deadly serious in their training and not even conscious of the rest of the flotilla bobbing around them. Which is just fine. We had pleasant conversations with a few of the performers in this Thursday night water ballet, including a discussion of the quirks of the '60's and '70's Johnson outboards, a subject I have some familiarity with. There was no proselytizing or evangelical style persuasion to give this or that style of paddling a try, just some nice idle small talk on a sweet spring night. All of the paddling styles have their pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, but we were all having fun on the water. It would be nice if the polarized yahoos holding political office on the left or right, and the ideologues that either support of savage them could get a bit of this accepting attitude in their heads. Maybe we just need to get 'em out on the water.
The 8 month layoff did not bother GG and he hit all his rolls, including the hand roll in the clip below. Ah, to be young and flexible. No hand or stick rolls for this guy but I was OK on most of the standard (meaning easy) Greenland rolls, layback and forward finishing. Don't ask about the offside......oh sorry Turner, the 'other side' rolls. Doable but uncomfortable is the verdict at this point. We grabbed a growler of Little Barley Bitter on the way home and broke down the evenings rolling. This weekend we are off to Grand Marais, MN for a bit of padding and to await The Rapture, which is scheduled for around noon on Saturday. Being tormented by scorpions doesn't sound like a lot of fun but maybe a couple beers will make it more tolerable. Get out on the water and be sure to say hey to your fellow water folk. Maybe the civility and friendly attitudes will be catching.