Sunday, January 11, 2015

The End of the Kayaking Season - Fifth Attempt

The weather continues to be unstable. During the Christmas it was cold, and it looked like the winter was here. For New Year the weather became warm and rainy and the snow mostly melted. A few days later we got snow and fairly cold weather, followed by a few days of rain and warm weather. Now we again have snow and cold weather, but warmer weather is forecasted. Quite frustrating.

I've thought the kayaking season to be over a number of times already, but it hasn't happened yet. The inner bays are ice covered, but my usual starting point is still not close to getting ice, which is one parameter that defines the end of the kayaking season. The other conditions are that the typical winter activities like skiing, skating and fatbike riding on snow should be reasonably possible. And we are not there yet and hence I went for yet another final kayaking outing. This might actually be the final one, since for the following two weekends I have Vigu courses scheduled.

The starting place was the usual one at Ruissalo. The water level was a lot higher than normal.

First I went a little to the west to check the conditions a bit after the cape shown here, where the wind would start to affect things. Fairly hard wind was predicted and the weather station three kilometers to the south recorded wind speeds of 12-13m/s in the gusts during the time I was out.

I decided not to do the crossing and instead chose more sheltered waters. The hard wind and an air temperature of -5C is not the place to use smaller margins, especially not when being out alone.

I could have gotten through, the ice didn't seem solid, but it didn't seem smart, since e.g. bracing isn't possible, should the need arise.

The water level was 60 cm above normal.



I continued a while until I run out of wind shelter.

Another selfie.

Going back.

There was still a crossing of little over one kilometer, but with mostly head wind it was safe. I do feel there is a clear advantage to the Greenland paddle in situations like this one. The wind doesn't affect it much and the higher cadence means that paddling against the wind doesn't feel heavy. I made about 6,5 km/h against the wind without especially much effort.

This was a rather short trip, 10 km in two hours, but it was fun nonetheless. Afterwards the kayak was covered with about five millimeters of ice above the waterline.

Except for this one, which has a spacer for temporarily putting away the paddle, the grab lines were unusable, since they were under the ice cover.

That's it. I'm definitely ready to welcome the winter.

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