Monday, July 27, 2009

Paddling Together

Saturday’s paddle was a great mix of sun, sand, salt water, and members of two paddling clubs. My local paddling club, Carolina Kayak Club (CKC) is located centrally in the state. Needless to say many of us will do the 3 hr drive to the coast, if it means dipping our paddles in some salt water. Often coastal trips are weekend trips, but occasionally there is enough interest to make it a day trip, despite the drive.

This was going to be a nice social paddle, co-hosted by a few members of the Cape Fear Paddlers Association (CFPA). Many of us in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area left at 0'dark30 and met up with our coastal counterparts in Wilmington at a public ramp with easy access to the Intracoastal Waterway and the salt marsh trails around Masonboro Island.

(photo SandyBottom)

We were 11 paddlers from CKC and 6 from CFPA. Starting out a bit overcast, the skies cleared nicely as we crossed the ICW and meandered around some cuts in the salt marshes on the back side of the Island. A few miles later, we pulled off at a sandy landing and walked a couple 100 yards across the dunes and over to the ocean.

(Photos above and below by John Barrett)

Two paddlers portaged their kayaks over to play in the surf, the rest of us were content with sunning, swimming, body surfing, picnicking.

After a couple hours of fun and relaxation, we started paddling back before water levels got too low, but with a pretty stiff tidal current and headwind slowing us down quite a bit, and working to make us all stronger paddlers :)

Once back it was a rush to try and make the last hour of the 9th annual Wilmington Wooden Boat Show, hosted by the Cape Fear Community College, one of only 3 public boat building programs in the country. Well worth the rush. There were quite a few beautiful wooden kayaks on display, in addition to a skin-on-frame, and in progress Baidarka, and various other gorgeous wooden sailing and motor craft. The boat workshop at the school was also open for touring and viewing the various craft being built at the school.

The early evening was complete with a seafood dinner and cold beer right on the River Walk on the Cape Fear River downtown Wilmington. It was a pretty full agenda with lots of camaraderie, paddling, and fun for all. It will be very nice to have a great coastal resource in CFPA, and to make some new paddling partners at the coast.

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