Saturday: 14K open water in Wellfleet

Sunny warm and beautiful.  Brisk wind from the NNW between 10 and 15 mph with gusts to about 20.  This kicked up a fair amount of chop away from the windward shore, so I tried to stay close to shore where I could

I launched at 8:40am.  Here’s the weather data.

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I launched from the small beach near my house, and rowed along the shore of Lt Island.  Then I cut over toward indian neck.  On the water, the wind felt like it was more NNE than NNW, and once I got over to the indian neck shoreline, there was nice smooth water and a bit less wind.

I went into Wellfleet inner harbor and I wanted to explore up into Duck Creek.  It was a good thing I did, because as soon as I turned around the end of the breakwater that forms the entrance to the creek, my boat was surrounded by a school of fish, they looked to be between 6″ and 12″ long and they were swimming so fast that they were stirring up the surface of the water.  I wasn’t sure why they were so agitated, but when I looked around there were a couple of seals peeking out the water at me.  They soon went back to hunting these fish, there were thousands of them.  A most amazing site.

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I turned at the end of the marina and then rowed all the way out of the harbor and along the Wellfleet town beach to the west until I got to great island.  By then I had done about 9km and I needed to turn for home.  I didn’t stay as close to the beach on the way back and there was a lot more chop, which was basically on my beam.  I needed to ease up a bit and work on balance and timing to get both oars engaged at the catch with the boat rocking around.

I wanted to get over to the eastern shore a bit before I turned for home to avoid a bit of the chop, but time was growing short so I decided to just turn and row with the waves.  This was a blast.  Sometimes I was surging down the fronts of waves, but I needed to be really aware to avoid catching my oars on them on recovery.  In this case catching an oar is not the kind of slap that I am used to in flat water rowing, but burying the whole damn blade in the back of a wave.  I don’t want to give the wrong impression.  I would be surprised if many of the waves were over 12″ tall (except when they merged with a passing wake).  But it was enough to really change the way that I could row.

I surfed all the way back in front of my house to the little beach.  Then I had to carry my boat over the dunes back to my car.  One issue with the boat.  Every time I row, I get a good liter of water in the boat that drains out when I open the plug in the bow.  I suspect that the seam between the hull and the deck is cracked.  I’ll have to try to fix it this winter.

Edit:  Adding graphs from rowsandall.com

Here is the pace data leaned up and scaled so you can see the slow bits that were going into the wind and waves.  The worst was the bit from about 5 minutes to 10 minutes.  The bit from just after 20 minutes to 30 minutes was tooling around wellfleet harbor.  I struggled with the waves from about 55 minutes all the way to about 1:10.  The big slow downs were huge wakes combined with the waves that pretty much swamped me.

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