Well, it had to happen! After such a great run weather-wise, today was one of those days we should have just done something else!
With a big storm front coming thru on Thursday evening, and another at about 3am this morning the weather reports were conflicting, some said light winds some said strong winds…. Well we found out which ones were right.
Well, we hit the river at KOM at around 8am with the temperature in the high teens and the wind around 15-20km/h. It was not too bad
and made our way the few km around to Lock 3
And again inside the lock chamber
We dropped down 3.8M – the highest drop so far. Now the astute would notice that we are sitting inside a concrete bunker, that is protected all around – but the wind was playing havoc – and yes, even in the lock chamber was showing it’s effects.
It is always a bit special as the doors open and we see what is waiting on the other side. Again, it still looked OK.
But at this point we were certainly noticing the wind was stronger than earlier. It was not the millpond of the earlier days, but still nothing to worry about.
We kept going down to the Overland Corner boat ramp.
After we hit the river again, we were directly into a bit of wind, and we see our first cliffs that are not the distinctive red we had become accustomed to seeing – the first of the yellow cliffs.
As we progressed along the straight the wind and fetch were getting a bit stronger – and within about 1km, Brad had pulled away a little from me and after passing a red buoy in the river, then passed it again as I was blown backwards! – yep, I thought I was paddling forward, but the GPS was showing 2km/h while I was going backwards in the wind! I decided to pull over and make a decision as to what to do.
When I checked, It was about 25 minutes to paddle just over 1km!
The photo doesn’t do it justice – the wind was well over 30km/h and gusting probably to 40+ and more than several times I was burying the front of the boat under the fetch (Fetch – the waves generated by wind on a river or lake).
Brad noticed that I was not with him and he had stopped on the other side of the river about 500m downstream. He came back to where I was and we literally watched the water for a while to try and decide if it was abating or increasing – and hence go on or turn back.
Well, it did die down and we hit the river again and made another 1.5km or so before the gusts were again increasing and we stopped, yet again.
Yet again, the photo doesn’t really show how strong it was – and we were about 1.5km from making a turn in the river, but I was right on my limits in these conditions and no matter what we have to consider our personal safety above making the distance.
If you look at the rushes you can get a bit of an idea about the wind, they normally stand straight up, not bending nearly to flat!
With the wind still blowing in the 30km/h+ and then the gusts even stronger, we made the call that the 3km back to Overland corner was probably the right choice today.
Of course, Brad, who is an ocean paddler loved it! wind at his back and rolling waves to “surf” he was loving it! But, I was feeling a little on edge and it still took a bit of effort to keep the wind to my back and not take an unplanned swim!
We made it the 3km back in about 20 minutes – what had taken us about 45-50 minutes of paddling into it!
Conspicuous by their absence we did not see a single river marker today.
This part of the river – especially the high red cliffs we could just see is what I remember from this part of the river and something I was really looking forward to!
Well, the weather reports for tomorrow are for winds under 10km/h – so lets hope we can get back out there and get more than another 15km down the river tomorrow.