Training for open water crossing

Sean and I have an opportunity to go on a special journey in a few months.  We are keeping it secret for now, but we will be giving you updates on our training to get into shape for the adventure.   Our goal is to be mentally and physically ready to cross greater than 30 miles of open water.

Saturday 9:30 am to 8:30 pm

I loaded my Chatham 17 with what I think I will be using during our future three day open-water trip.  The overall weight of my camping kit is around 25 to 35 pounds.  Without food and water my camping gear is only 20 pounds.

In my day hatch I carried lights for night-time navigation, a dry-bag with a warmer hat and shirt, blood oranges, nectarines, chocolate covered raisins, Reese’s Pieces, dried salami, pumpkin cookies, and four liters of water.  On my deck I had a spare paddle, 3 liter hydration bag, paddle float, G.P.S., and chart.

My float plan was to leave from Dunedin Marina and paddle south for 15 miles towards Travestine Island then paddle back to the marina.  As a part of my plan I sent a picture text to Sean and my wife every three miles (every hour).  Even with the changing winds and currents through the inter-coastal I kept a good pace averaging 3.5 miles per hour.  Although, I did have to slow down to adjust my layers while on the water due to the changing winds and cloud cover; I also took three 20 minute breaks to stretch the legs.

When I saw the marina and looked at the G.P.S. I discovered that I had shaved off a half mile on the return.  For a moment I entertained the idea of paddling past my starting point to make up the distance.  Well, that idea lasted one paddle stroke and I paddled to the beach.  Sometimes the mind overcomes the body and other times the body wins. LOL.

*   *   *

I learned four important things on this 30 mile journey…

  • Waking up in the morning and being motivated knowing I was going to paddle 30 miles was not easily done
  • The first 5 miles were the hardest.  I was stiff, and unsure of my endurance
  • The final hour of paddling was daunting.  I wanted to get out of the boat
  • Being alone in a kayak for eleven hours is a surreal experience.  No paddling buddies to entertain or to motivate me to push on.  Every sound alerted me.  And two days after paddling my abdominal muscles still feel like I did more than 1000 sit ups.

And guess what, I am looking forward to my next 30 mile paddle in two weeks.

– Jeff

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