What a difference a day makes. Tuesday when I set out the lake was a roiling moshpit of waves. Leaving the safe harbor at Leland I wondered about my ability to make 49 miles in such conditions. Due to geography and the NW wind and swell direction, if I hugged the coast I’d be paddling directly in it while approaching the big juts of land that are part of Sleeping Bear National Seashore, and if I cut to them in straight lines I would be side swiped by rather sizeable, short period swells.
I figured on the latter, while hoping there’d be some backwash and smaller chop to give me some rides. I did figure right on that part, the bits of bumps going in my direction occasionally, but the size of the chop necessitated angling up the swells so as not to totally torque the ama and aikos. It wasn’t working out so well, and even though my Pueo is a pretty tough boat I wondered about the abuse to the boat and my own ability to hold out for the entire trip, also knowing full well that, as bad as things were, they could always get worse. The fact that shooting the points has me really far out was another concern. A swim to shore in really chilly waters in those conditions at that distance would be rather problematic. Put them altogether and I decided, hell, this is crazy, I’m gonna bail.
Jessica and Stacie and I had gone over landing points the day before in case I wanted to add extra mileage onto the Leland stop, which then I opted to not do, so I had a pre-planned bail out location in mind for this round of craziness. Just a word to those who worry-without that bail out option I would not have even attempted going out in that stuff for any distance, let alone the one I was gunning for.
Coming up to Pyramid Point I made my decision. Get the heck off the water, head for the nearest beach. I called Carl, my husband, since I knew he was in a good cell location and Jessica’s phone is sometimes out of reach, so he could relay the message back to Jessica. It was a long shot that Jessica would make it to the beach to help me out, because there are only trails down to that part of the beach, but at that point I figured well, I’ve come off of gnarly West Coast surf alone so this shouldn’t be quite that bad, especially since this beach was only getting a glancing blow, due the angle of the swell and land. I guessed right and despite the steep drop off, all my gear sliding out of the bungees(but still attached-gotta love lanyards!), and other issues presented by lifting a 23 pound catcher of wind out of pounding surf, I managed it without breaking the boat-total score!
Once Jessica and I got reunited and back to the car, we bumped into two hardy inland surfers looking for rideable surf. Stoked to see their Surfrider Foundation bumper sticker and their stickers from the local surf shop “The Wet Mitten” or is it “The Wet Mitt?”
So today we are leaving our two night home here in Frankfort where we stayed in the family compound of fast paddler Eric Haas. He joined me on the water yesterday and is joining me for a stretch today! Am super amped and well fed on amazing Indian cuisine made last night by the KIDS in the house-even homemade naan!! (Am hoping my kids take note of this….) Also was interesting to learn about the American Heritage Girls program that Eric’s sister, Sonja Myers, is involved with. I’m super duper stoked to see they have, among other badges to earn, a badge for freshwater and marine biology! Woohoo!!