Up the bank at high tide

Stories of (interesting, funny, bad, sad, happy, etc.) things that have happened while paddling. Post your links to your blogs as well.

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Location: Vancouver Island, Canada

Up the bank at high tide

Post by PJohanson » Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:03 pm

Had an excellent day trip in my Lagoon the other day, when the sun was shining and there was almost no wind. After racking my knee three months ago, it's nice once again to have a knee that bends and straightens! I launched at Cooper's Cove and went round the shore of Sooke Basin. The basin is a salt-water lake almost closed off by a spit at Sooke River, then a two-mile passage to another spit and beyond it the Juan de Fuca Strait.
Sheltered from big storms, it's a nice place to paddle. The wind picked up over the next two hours as I inched my way along the shore. The Lagoon is not built for speed, but it does cover distances when I am patient.
Eventually I was passing the mouth of Sooke River as the wind increased enough to make some little choppy waves and whitecaps. There are a number of private docks along this part of the shore, but not much shoreline offering a place to land, particularly at high tide.
Just as the choppy waves got a little bit rougher than I'd like, I came to the dock at the end of a road I know. One sunny afternoon a year ago I'd walked down the steep road to look at the dock. That was at low tide, and I noted then that beside the dock was a little weather-beaten wooden stair that hung about six feet (two metres) above the water.
Now, from the water, I could see that wooden stair was within reach. It took some grunting and stretching, but I managed to get out of my Lagoon and onto the old wood steps. You can bet I kept a tight grip on the painter -- a bit of rope tied to the front handle of the kayak.
Now I had to get that kayak up six vertical feet of slippery stair and through a gap just big enough for me between the dock ramp post and a tree.
Could I push the kayak up ahead of me? Nope.
Could I lift it on my shoulder and carry it up the steps as I do on level ground? Nope, this stair was basically a ladder and I needed both hands.
Could I just go on another mile to Whiffen Spit where the shore was suitable for landing? Not if the wind kept increasing as it was.
Could I lift the kayak by the painter up to the dock? Yes!
I made the boat a bit lighter by putting the folding luggage roller and my drybag up first onto the dock, then I tied the painter to the rail and climbed up. Yes, it was a slippery climb with one good knee but the other one held up just fine. Once on the dock I untied the painter and lifted the Lagoon carefully. No jerks or swinging -- the handle really isn't designed for this purpose!
It took careful pushing and pulling to get the Lagoon up that stair and between the dock post & the tree. There's a streak on the front deck now, from the tarry post. All my boats get stained by rubbing on tarry docks and floats, but I really can't complain. Stains like that are a sign the boat is getting used in more exciting places than just a sandy beach.
Once on shore, I wiped down the boat, deflated it, and folded it back into the carry-bag. The wind was taking on a real chill, but that didn't matter a bit now I was off the water. Three yacht owners came by, one at a time, and admired the kayak before heading to their own boats tied up at dock.
Then one yacht man came back, and as he was leaving offered me a ride up the steep road. He brought me all the way home a mile down the road, too, which was a kind thing as it began to rain a bit. A nice day!

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