Setting the alarm for 3:25am is not my favorite. But we had a seven mile paddle and one hour drive to the ferry we HAD to catch, so you do what you’ve got to do.
It was really dark, since the moon had traveled elsewhere. The stars were so pronounced and beautiful.
We took down our campsite, remembering our clothes line and food bags in the trees. It was difficult to load the kayak in the dark because of the uneven rocks and our limited lighting.
My headlamp is pathetic and unfortunately the only one working. Alex’s headlamp mysteriously died, even fully charged. We’ll check the bulb when we get back but there was no convenience store in Desolation Sound so that would have to wait. We have a very bright lantern so we set that up as best as we could for lighting, but lanterns like to be hung up, not on a rock. Our emergency flashlight came in handy (thanks mom!) but it’s slower to load when you’re holding a light too. All in all it only took us two hours between waking up and launching, despite the lack of lighting.
Thankfully by the time we launched the sun was thinking about waking up, giving us enough light to see the water right in front of us and enough contrast to see the big land masses.
The water was calm for the most part, with random swirling currents in a few spots, making it difficult to keep straight.
As the miles passed the sun came up higher and turned into a beautiful morning.
We quickly loaded our car and made the drive to the first of two ferries, grateful to make it on our planned ferry to not have to get into town sooo much later.
While driving we left the windows down. There’s something about spending four days outside that makes you want only fresh air. That and the salty sweaty neoprene smelling up the car.
We got back to Seattle with enough day light to rinse our gear off and pick some fruit and veggies from our garden.
3 thoughts on “Dawn paddle ”
Ugh, 3am…bleah. Been there done that. No more. Although camping on a barrier island and getting up in the middle of the night to do some moon appreciation is fine.
Or paddling the backcountry of same island…
Paddling across Tom’s Cove in the dark, stopping on a sandbar at 2am to rest… throwing out an anchor, snoozing in the cockpit and waking up when the boat starts rocking as water comes up under it, pulling the boat up some more, snooze, rock, pull boat up… then realizing your sandbar has got really small and you are running out of land.
So you paddle on, in the dark, able to see a billion stars and a thin dark line of barrier beach/marsh grass. Exhausted, with a compass course and that thin dark line ahead separating you from the open sea… and the steady blink-blink, blink-blink of the Assateague Light.
I will never laugh at an inspirational lighthouse poster again…
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Oh man, that’s what I was afraid was going to happen! A night of trying to sleep in the cockpit. I’m glad you found that light, especially with the open sea so close, yikes!
I think it’s hard to understand what it’s like to be out in real nature without a true safety net without experiencing it. It can be scary but also something perhaps everyone should experience?