Monday, April 05, 2010

Goose Creek Island Paddle N Party - Part 1

I’m not only all about hard core paddling. Sure I love to paddle hard, and long, but I can appreciate a nice relaxing recreational and social paddle/gathering as much as anyone. So when I read the trip description below, I decided it would be a perfect 3 day weekend at the coast.  Paul had some work he wanted to do on our sailboat, and of course there were the taxes, so he sent me off with good wishes.

Goose Creek Island Paddle and Party Fest
   Come join us in paddling the Pamlico Sound Estuaries; Jones Bay, NC Intercoastal Waterway, and side creeks near Hobucken, NC. We will camp at the boat yard on the channel leading into Jones Bay. There will be campsites available. Campsites will have a porta john and water at the boat yard.
   If you arrive early Friday, you can set out on your own and paddle that day. Bring your own supper Friday night and breakfast Saturday morning. Friday night there will be a party/get together with music in the boat yard. On Saturday we will do a 10-13 mile paddle trip from the boat yard out into Jones Bay and through Jones Island back around ending back up at the boat yard.
   Saturday night, supper will be included and we will have beer can chicken, fresh seafood and other foods. Also Saturday night there will be a party with DJ and karaoke at the boat yard. On Sunday breakfast will be provided at the boatyard. Cost will be $40 per person and this includes the camping, supper Saturday night, party with DJ Saturday night, and breakfast on Sunday.

The event was planned by Don Meece, a regular among the Lumber River Canoe Club, and Sampson County Waterways Association, and someone I'd wanted to meet for a long time. Though primarily a canoer and river paddler, Don's daughter and her husband now live on the coast in Hobucken (way down Eastern NC), and they had arranged this event with Shawn, the owner of Pate’s Boatyard, who'd set up a nice campground on his property.

Photos of Pate's Boatyard

I arrived Thursday night and planned a solo paddle Friday before the group was to arrive.  I was warmly welcomed by Don, his  wife Sandy, his daughter Chrissy and her husband John, Shawn, and a few of the local Island residents. Evidently Shawn's Boatyard is a bit of a community center for the Island, and clearly "the place to be".  Quite a few glasses of wine and lots of delicious steamed oysters later, I headed to my tent for the night.

I woke feeling great (surprisingly), and got set up for a long ~28 mi paddle circumnavigating Goose Creek Island. All part of some scouting for an eventual 300 mile WaterTribe North Carolina Challenge being planned for 2012. We'll have the 50 and 100 mile NCC this September 2010.

I gave Shawn my SPOT track URL to follow online.  Though I was very prepared for this solo paddle, and he was clearly quite surprised at the amount of safety gear I carried, there was some concern with 15 mph E winds. It was a long distance, and the Albemarle Sound is not always a tame place with it's large fetch. Part of my journey would also be on the ICW, and with the SnowBirds now starting to make their way back North from Florida, there can often be quite big waves from their wakes in the narrower canals of the ICW.

I left about 8am, into headwinds down Jones Bay. On the Sound, the swells were 1-3 ft with the large fetch, but I was making good speed and progress, occasionally popping my Pacific Action Sail when I could get a good beam reach.

The only picture I took during the paddle leaving Jones Bay

About 10am I stared getting the shakes and not feeling too well. I decided I was getting chilled, the water is still cold, and I was getting wet.  I beached to put on a jacket.  Unfortunately, I also started to realize this was more "late onset hangover" than anything else, and I started to get very nauseous and sick to my stomach.  The coastline of the sound here is completely undeveloped; there is little else but salt marsh, duck blinds, and an occasional nice sandy beach.  I continued heading North, figuring if I could make it thru a cut in Mouse Harbour and around into the ICW,  I'd more likely find a road and some help. (Shawn later told me finding a road didn't mean I'd ever find anyone on it :)  The whole Island only has a population of about 300.

As I entered Mouse Harbor, quite a bit dehydrated and weak, I spotted a small fishing boat going down a little creek. I decided to follow and ask him for help. I'm sure I surprised him, he asked if I was lost and I responded with "yes and more, I needed some help". Luck would have it that he had stopped at a dock which had a 6 mile dirt driveway, I could call someone to come get me. I managed to get Shawn's number. My fisherman was named Troy, he was a crabber, and hunting/fishing guide on the island, and was able to tell Shawn how to find me.  Troy left with his boat full of crab pots before Shawn came, but he warned me not to go walking down the road, as this area is pretty forested and full of Black Bears.

I was back at the Boatyard by 1:30, in time to start meeting the other paddlers who came down for the weekend. We were a small group of about 10 from out-of-town.

Luckily for me, I started to feel much better later that aftenoon, because the "Party" part of the weekend was starting, again.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Yikes, Dawn. For the grace of...