It was pretty windy, but warm and sunny. I decided to go bounce around. I launched at 11:30. Here’s the weather. It was blowing 15-20mph from the WNW.
The bounciest part was right after launching. I was rowing right into the teeth of the wind and the waves had a long fetch from the north end of the harbor really build up. Most of the waves were around a foot, but every minute or so, there would be group of 2 or 3 two foot waves that totally swamped me. I basically had the bailer open all the way up to Wellfleet inner harbor.
Once I got used to the dousing and shortened up my stroke, I was able to relax and just work my way through the waves. By the time I got to the green can, the water smoothed out and I glided into the inner harbor. It felt a lot like getting onto a paved road after you’ve driven on a rough dirt road.
I wanted to row at least 90 minutes, so I did a lazy lap around the inner harbor, up into the cove, dodging moored boats and the shallows. Then I headed out the main channel into the wind again. The wind was blowing, but the water was reasonably flat and I wasn’t taking on a much water. I decided to row over to Great Island and then come diagonally back to the beach.
You can see that I skirted the edge of the shoals (the green) along the north edge of the harbor. These are marked by big yellow floats because the shoals are leased as shell fish beds. Basically followed the outer buoy line.
I planned to row almost all the way to beach on the shore of Great Island, but as I was approaching, I rowed right over a gigantic rock, submerged about a foot under the waves. It really freaked me out. I’d spent some time looking at the charts and this rock never really registered. But when I looked afterwards, I found the asterix. You can see it in the included chart. In previous rows, I had only come over this way when it was much closer to high tide and the rock would have been much deeper. I also thing that I am usually a bit closer to the north shore, because I go in the cove by the Herring River.
At any rate, if the tide had been 6 inches lower, or the waves had been a bit bigger, I could have ripped a big hole in my boat and that would have been a bad ending to this row. I’ll have to avoid that area in the future.
Since I was spooked, I just decided to row home. I got most of the way to the main channel and realized that I would get back a bit too soon. So, I turned and followed the main channel out to my favorite buoy. As I rowed along out here, the waves were getting bigger as there was a longer fetch for them to build.
I really started to feel the waves again, once I turned and headed to the beach. I needed to keep the bailer open again. The wave heights changed quite dramatically as I rowed. I assume it was due to the depth of the water. My impression was as I got closest to the green shoals, I would get much steeper and nastier waves. At this time, though I was rowing with them, so I would go surfing down the face of the waves and the bow of my boat would bury in the trough, sending solid water into the cockpit. Over the next 10 strokes, the bailer would do its job and slowly empty the footwell.
I go back to the beach after around 95 minutes. From the summary chart, it looks like it was an appropriate intensity and it was a lot of fun, not counting the close encounter with the rock.
Tomorrow: Hopefully a coastal 4 x 10’/5′ at r25