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View of Washington Marina (Kayak Only)

Paddle from Gravelly Point across the Potomac, around the West and East Potomac parks into Washington Marina, back along the War College and we will be doing the "optional" extra excursion up the Anacostia past the National's Stadium to the Cruiser in the Naval Yard before going back across the Potomac. This is the route I am planning (between 8 and 10 miles depending on when we turn around at the end of Washington Marina and how far we go up the Anacostia).

At present prediction is 48 degrees with 15 mph winds from the SSW (subject to change, of course :o). THIS WILL NO LONGER BE A "MIXED" PADDLE SO THE PACE WILL LIKELY BE FASTER (moderate pace for long sea kayaks). FYI, no launch fee at Gravelly Point.

Push off at 10am (so please be there early as it does take some time prepare for cold weather paddling) from the boat ramp at Gravelly Point. A number of us have to be back and ready to leave by 2pm for Mike Aronoff's class so I would ideally like to be back at the boat ramp by 1:30pm (except those who want to do the side excursion who may be returning later).

Prediction is that it is going to be a mild day but the water is still deadly cold (39 degrees). So now for the usual disclaimer: wetsuits or drysuits please (NO COTTON). Wetsuit/Drysuit and PFD required. As always folks are responsible for their own safety but dressing inadequately still puts not only the paddler in jeopardy but the entire group as well so please keep that in mind. Let's be overly cautious so optimally bring a change of clothes in a dry bag (such as fleece) to keep in your kayak as well as typical safety gear (pump, float, sponge, etc). I will bring a VHF radio that also does FRS/GMRS and I will bring 2 FRS/GMRS radios (all submersible and floating) to make sure we can keep in touch. Feel free to bring radios designed for water use. Don't forget to bring a snack and something to drink.

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  • Darrick

    Also, I believe rolling is a wonderful skill, however I believe self rescue is just as important and each paddler should have one or the other, but preferably both skills. It is my suggestion that when the weather breaks and the water is warm every posted paddle should incorporate a skill practice/rehearsal. I believe WKC organizers would do well to increase the safety of all its members to establish skill set practices with each meet up. For those with instructor credentials the WKC could use your skills and gracious volunteered time to help increase the skills of the novice who paddle with us. I believe this will increase confidence, keep everyone safe, and further establish the already good name of the WKC as one of the best meet up groups to paddle with. What do you think?

    1 · January 21, 2013

    • Randi K.

      We have a running joke about bubble wrap and duct tape in a different club we are in. I apologize if my joke fell flat. At least Deke got it. :-)

      January 25, 2013

    • Marc

      It was a joke? I was just about finished with my new bubble wrap suit that I've carefully put together with duct tape as you suggested. :)

      1 · January 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Stay tuned everyone! Big discussion going on via e-mail. Lots of "Rules of Engagement" coming soon.

    January 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Geez Darrick, it's like you were there with us today.
    In mid-Feb or March, I'm going to try a "Fun/balance/rolling/rescue" meetup. I'm not an instructor, so my idea is a "Kind of for fun, kind of introductory" type of play-day. Instructors welcome and encouraged! It'll still be cold at that point of course, so it'll only be for people with appropriate gear.

    But to address some of the other things you said...yes, I think as it warms up, incorporating some safety practice into the recreational paddles is a great idea. My favorite instructors ALWAYS hit us with unexpected "rescue scenarios" to make sure we've been paying attention.

    1 · January 21, 2013

    • Darrick

      I only hope the organizers feel the same way we do about incorporating some practice skills into the meetups. As a first responder we often go over scenerios of 'What Ifs' before going on duty. While its still cold I believe creating dialogue and getting peoples thoughts on emergency responses is the next best thing to actually practicing the maneuver's. Before each launch we can designate (Safety Officers) who will lead and who will sweep. I wonder what the other members think.

      January 22, 2013

    • Randi K.

      Just reading all this over. Each organizer's style is different. James and I, for example, always designated a leader and a sweep. We generally carry radios, have a tow line, and between us a long list of safety equipment. We are also used to working closely together as a small team. Over the years we have tended to attract many novice paddlers to our events, but in no way want to be considered instructors. While the winter meetups have an apparent edgy flavor the summer ones tend to be easy going affairs with many rank beginners. Neither James nor I would look forward to demo-ing self rescue etc, every weekend, with every event. Maybe that can be your baby! :-)

      January 22, 2013

  • Darrick

    On another note. I, like most guys (boyz n their toyz) have a long list of must haves when engaged in a sport like kayaking. I have just added to my list a tow rope, larger dry bags, and a brighter strobe light. If you've paddled with us recently you probably understand why my list has increased. With heavy fog, 2ft chop, and an occasional piggy-back ride the members of WKC have to always be prepared.

    January 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hope you know I meant that first line to be funny.

    January 21, 2013

    • Darrick

      I understood; wish I could have joined you.

      January 22, 2013

  • Ben

    This was my first paddle with the WKC and I enjoyed it.

    Personal Lessons Learned – used Mambas for the first time – found out I could move my hands along the loom and blade of the Greenland paddle. Paddling the Chop - paddling in the Chop is a great reminder to be aware of where I am and to paddle from my belly. It’s no place for daydreaming. I’m grateful to Deke for organizing this paddle and I’m grateful to the other paddlers for sharing the experience. I’m also grateful to the folks in the other kayak Meetup groups and the CPA who have shared their skills and knowledge with me. And I’m especially grateful for their emphasis on wearing COLD WATER gear and PFDs. If we hadn’t worn appropriate gear the outcome may have been catastrophic.

    All in all I enjoyed the paddle. I enjoyed working in a team to help Dennis get his kayak back to the put-in. My only regret is that I didn’t have the skills and material to repair his rudder at Haines Point. Perhaps next time I will :-)

    January 21, 2013

    • Marc

      Thanks Patrick. I guess what I'm saying is that I'd rather be in a position to help out in case one of the more skilled paddlers should need help. I really need a little more experience dealing with 1.5 ft waves coming in from the sides in my tippy kayak.

      January 21, 2013

    • Marc

      On a positive note, I made a lot of progress with my roll in the pool session that afternoon. :)

      January 21, 2013

  • Darrick

    WOW! This paddle has generated a lot of discussion. Please allow me to chime in and add something I believe is very important. First, to Dennis and Marc, you don't have to thank me. I believe we all should be prepared to help a fellow paddler in need when out on the water. In my L1/L2 class I spent and extensive amount of time on self rescues. Doing so gives me the confidence to paddle on my own with the right equipment. It is my suggestion that if anyone is not confident in their abilities in extreme conditions that we buddy up in groups of at least two, or establish a sort of leader/sweeper style of paddling. For swifter paddlers the leader and experienced paddlers can keep and eye on the front group. For the more relaxed paddler, like myself, I volunteer to always carry a radio and keep an eye out for those who fall behind. I believe we as members of the WKC should adopt this style of paddling to keep all skill levels safe. What do you think?

    January 21, 2013

    • Marc

      I agree with the leader/sweeper approach. This is the same approach that CPA uses on trips. I actually noticed that our group naturally did this with Patrick in front and with Pete laying back in a sort of sweeper role. It would have been better to have this all planned at the beginning of the trip so that everyone knew what to expect. It was also important that everyone was aware of everyone's abilities. I have practiced self and assisted rescues before. But I think being able to do self and assisted rescues are not enough to make me comfortable under those conditions. I takes a long time to inflate a paddle float and pump the water in a self-rescue. I certainly wouldn't want to be the last paddler in cold water if I'm just relying on that. Radios can fail and a whistle might not be heard.

      January 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Nail on the head, Darrick!

    January 21, 2013

  • Deke M.

    Well it certainly was a learning experience. My apologies to folks for being at the edge of my skill level with this paddle (while I had dealt with conditions such as this on a number of occasions, I alas had new and unfamiliar equipment so it made it a very different paddle for me). While this might be OK under normal circumstances (it's good to push to get better), alas as I was the organizer that being the case was in my eyes unacceptable. Thanks to Pete and Patrick for taking the shepherding duties over and thanks to Ben and Darrick for being willing to cut their trip short to help a fellow paddler.

    January 20, 2013

    • Claudine M.

      I agree. It's up to each of us to be prepared and alas I was not. Luckily nothing happened to me out there yesterday but I will be better prepared next time and I will also need to polish my "technique". So I will borrow that dry top that was offered to me yesterday by Darrick or was it Pete? And I will be wearing a skirt from now on. Phew. I am sore today.

      January 20, 2013

    • Deke M.

      I went from this to the pool session. My aches have aches :o)

      January 20, 2013

  • Julian K.

    Yikes! Sorry to hear about Dennis's capsize and rescue. Sounds like a rough ride with strong winds and cold water. Would love to hear more details and any "lessons learned" and takeaways.

    January 20, 2013

    • Dennis

      LESSONS CONFIRMED:
      - Dress for cold water immersion – CHECK
      - Take training in kayak recovery techniques – CHECK
      - Do not paddle alone in adverse conditions – CHECK
      GOOD FORTUNE/LESSON REFINEMENTS:
      - Carry tow line for emergencies – Thanks to Pete for having one and for knowing how to use it.
      - When possible, paddle in the company of skilled instructors and/or other trained enthusiasts – Again, I was fortunate to be paddling close to Pete, Patrick, Darrick and Ben. Control was maintained, risks were minimized, and all (including me) remained calm.
      - Improve bracing technique and rolling skills before going back into 2’ chop with a long tippy boat
      - Test dry bags as they age and buy a better replacement (after capsize, a small dry bag I had in the hull let in a quarter cup of water – just enough to kill my camera; ouch!)

      January 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Also, don't know if anyone mentioned it, but the line to Dennis' rudder broke. I wasn't there to see what happened but that's also something VERY unplanned and hard to prepare for.

      January 20, 2013

  • Darrick

    I enjoyed the high winds and 2ft chop. We have to do that again, but paddle much longer.

    1 · January 19, 2013

    • Marc

      That was exciting!

      January 19, 2013

    • Deke M.

      In truth, Darrick, all you and Ben missed was the "calm" part. You still got all the same exciting parts as the rest. :o)

      January 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Weather made it interesting!

    January 19, 2013

  • Dennis

    Many THANKS to Pete for assisting me through my first capsize recovery (outside of a classroom environment) and the initiative he took to tow my rudder-crippled kayak to safe harbor. AND MORE THANKS to Darrick, Ben & Patrick for their additional on-the-spot initiatives, help, and later transport of the injured kayak. My apologies to all for delaying or shortening the planned paddle agenda. I look foward to quick repairs and to paddling again with such distinguished and talented folk.

    January 19, 2013

  • Marc

    Still undecided. :)

    January 18, 2013

    • Deke M.

      Still looks good!

      1 · January 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Suggested Side trip: Are kayaks allowed in the tidal basin? It'd be nice to see the Jefferson Memorial from the water.

    January 17, 2013

    • Deke M.

      Alas, no. You can not actually get to there via water. As for portaging your kayak, it is not allowed as there is a vendor (of foot-powered paddle boats) that has exclusive rights to putting anything in the basin (and they are closed for the season so essentially nothing is allowed on the tidal basin for the cold half of the year).

      January 17, 2013

  • Deke M.

    No longer a "mixed paddle" (too windy for SUPs). Kayaks-only.

    January 17, 2013

  • Erik B

    Sorry - hand still healing... maybe next weekend.

    January 17, 2013

  • Marc

    I thought the Washington Harbor is the one close to Georgetown near Thompson's Boat House. Did you mean the Washington Marina?

    January 16, 2013

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