Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gulf Islands adventure Day 3

Sunday, August 19. It rained through the night. While the real rain rattled on the water and tent, all the moisture from my damp gear condensed on the underside of the poly tarp and rained back down on me too. The sewn-seam leaked badly, soaking the foot of the sleeping bag. Every now and again, a drop would land on my face, waking me abruptly! I'd sit up, take the sponge and wipe down the inside of the tent, shake loose the drops I'd missed then try to go back to sleep.
About 7:00, I was swaddled in wet clothes and a damp sleeping bag. I worried about the continuing rain and could not get a forecast for other than wind conditions. I doubted I could keep warm during the rainy day and even if I could, the next night in wet gear would not be safe. I phoned Diana and asked for a long-term rain forecast. That prediction said rain for that day and the following two. I made the decision to rug up and row to the launch ramp at Chemainus.
For the next hour and a half, I studied the chart, ate a hearty breakfast and packed all my wet gear. Once I removed the tent and rolled it up, the rain seemed to increase. I felt foolish as I rowed past the stares of the yachties, despite being as well prepared as I could be. One old man stepped out onto his deck and chatted about the old days. Days when he made his living working on the water in the rain. He saluted me with his coffee cup and I felt better; stronger.
No wind again, and just as well, as I was counting on the rowing to keep me warm. I crossed Houstoun Passage, keeping my eye out for big boats. One of them came dangerously close and as it approached, I stopped my rowing and even backed up a few strokes. There was no one at the helm.
Once I passed the top of Saltspring Island, the sun came out and a light breeze followed. I raised my sails, then had the bright idea of unpacking the sleeping bag and draping it over my chilly legs like some old man on a cruise liner. It would help dry the bag as well as warm me up! It was luxury itself to lie back and let the breeze take me along for awhile. But it was a short while. Back to the oars.
I rowed a total of 6 miles that day, but it was enough!
Though the trip was about half the length I'd planned, I was thrilled with the time I had! The boat is wonderful. My old body is able to row for some distances. The scenery is amazing. My support crew is just that - great support! What more could a man ask for?

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