Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Maiden Voyage

My new (to me) kayak has been languishing in the shed, waiting to be used.  I purchased it over six weeks ago, for one of my photography projects, but have yet to put it in the water.  Today was sunny and warm. After dropping my mother-in-law at the airport, my schedule was my own.  So this was the day for the test cruise to determine if what I bought was water tight, or did I buy a leaky bucket.

It was a day mixed with good and bad decisions.  It started off with a string of good decisions.  Since I didn't know about my new kayak, I decided that it would be prudent to leave my good camera gear at home and consign myself to a point and shoot for photography.  The camera conveniently fit in the pocket of my personal flotation device.

I put in off of Route 225 in Bedford and paddled upstream towards Great Meadows.  The current and the wind were off the bow.  My body was fresh and enjoyed the challenge.  The new kayak appeared not to be leaking.  All was good in the world.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110501 &emdash;


It is several miles up river to Great Meadows.  It was interesting to see it from a different point of view.   In order you see the outflow from the lower impoundment where it rejoins the Concord River, the flooded woods near the beaver lodge on the corner, and the canal to the upper impoundment water control gate.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110501 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110501 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110501 &emdash;

By the time I reached the boat landing, I was starting to feel sore muscles and a blister on my paddling hand developing.  Beaching my kayak, I enjoyed the opportunity to stretch my legs, drink some water, and soak in the sun.  

I knew that it was longer to Great Meadows paddling up the river from Bedford, than down from Concord.  I just didn't know how much.  So after my rest break, I continued up river to see the rest of the refuge and to see how far it was to the boat launch in Concord.  I still had to work hard to paddle upstream.  This was the first of my poor decisions.  If I wasn't thinking like the 18 year old, that my mind imagines, I probably should have saved this for another day.

Along the southern end of the refuge, I encountered a old boat that appeared to be barely water tight, tied to a tree.  I wondered what the story behind it was.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110501 &emdash;

My eye was also drawn to some golden grasses against the dark water.  Drawing closer to get a photograph, I noticed they were floating on some sort of platform, similar to the nesting platforms I've seen for loons.  There were a couple more on the river, these more brightly decorated with flowers.



Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110501 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110501 &emdash;

Once I reached the launch in Concord, I turned back around for the long trip home.  (I now know that it was almost a 5 mile paddle back).  I also learned that while the current made you work to go upstream, it didn't move you very fast heading down stream.

Some where along the line, the camera had gotten wet.  It would turn on an take a photo, but not multiples and the zoom didn't work.  I was able to take this picture of the river looking towards the holt, but missed the opportunity to watch a goose fly directly towards me, drop down to the river, and make a beautiful water landing directly in front of me.  At least I have the memory.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110501 &emdash;

So I continued paddling back towards the car.  With each mile that passed, I got more and more tired.  By the time I reached the boat launch, I was very tired.  My Featherlite kayak, was anything but as I lifted it to the top of the Escape.  

My final bad decision, was one that I didn't consciously make.  Getting into the car, I realized that my skin was starting to get red.  Forgetting to put on sun screen was not a wise decision.  Because the day was cool and breezy I didn't realize that I was getting burnt from the sun shining from above and reflecting off the water.  

So the maiden voyage was successful.  The kayak is sea worthy.  While not as easy to navigate as a touring kayak, it is very stable which was my goal so I could use it for photography.