9 06 2008

Last weekend’s paddle was pretty lame, a splash & thrash session on Cascade lake on Orcas.  We had gone up to get Karen’s boat & for a myriad of reasons, ended up not paddling until our short paddle Sunday AM.  Not have been on a real paddle for two weeks had me itching for some fun.

We met up with the other 12 paddlers at Netarts Sunday morning.  The day’s forecast was NW wind @ 5-10 knots, 1′ wind waves, west swell 5′ at 8 seconds.  High Tide was 11:48 AM.  We put in about 11:30 and paddled to the mouth of the bay.

Things had changed since everyone had been there last so we pulled out on a newly formed sand bar to survey the situation.  Since the tide had just turned, things were breaking a ways out.  We sent Fred, Dave & Neil out to check out the possibility of getting outside.  They reported getting summarily thrashed so we made the decision that since a few of our group were not reliable rollers, to stay inside and play in the surf.

Netarts has an interesting variety of play spots.  We began on the South side of the mouth playing in the smaller surf.  It got bigger the further south we went, though the north end of the south side was also interesting as the waves kind of come from two directions.  Lots of fun was had by all.  People picked their play spots depending on their comfort level.

After lunch, part of the group wanted to check out the north side of the mouth.  I chose to stay & work with Karen in the smaller stuff.  People started getting tired & decided to drop back to a supposedly forming eddy.

Don, Greg & I decided to join the others on the north side.  At this point the current into the bay was running strong and the wind had picked up to probably 10 – 15 knots from the NW, or directly into my face!  I charged out and kept a stong pace.  Greg was lagging some & Don was kind of hanging back with him.  The problem is that it was a lot of work to just hold my position so I charged on!  It took probably 15 minutes of solid paddling to get out of the current.  Now the fun started with the larger & irregular wave action.  Don had caught up with me & we could see the original 6 paddlers were now all on the beach.  By this point Greg looked not-too-comfortable in the swell so Don hung back.  I worked my way through the swell & breaking waves to the beach for a much deserved rest.  Standing on the beach, we saw Greg go over & come out of his boat.  Don was there, but no help due to the Surf.

After about 10 minutes of rest we all piled back in and made our way back to the south side.  That was a lot of work for not much fun!  The south side had filled in very interestingly though! The area over the large sandbar at the mouth became a sea of clapotis and rips.  What a fabulous place to practice maneuvering & bracing in conditions.  It was a pity Karen wasn’t there to play!

Everyone was spent so we let the current carry us back into the bay.  The group Karen was with had been practicing rolls & a few rescues and were also ready to head back to the put in.   A short paddle later about 4:30 we pulled our flotilla out of the water and called it a day.  A good time was had by all.  Conditions were about as predicted, though the wind did pick up after lunch.  This is a great and relatively safe place to play on an incoming tide!




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