Winds of change
As the season switches from winter to spring, the winds of change blow fiercely. Lately, the wind has been gusting over 30 mph and creating white caps and 3-foot swells on the river. Anything not lashed down is at the whim of the wind gusts.
Today, I received a phone call from the Coast Guard. “Do you know anything about the boat drifting down the river? Looks like an overturned skiff.” I grabbed my binoculars and took a look around. I recognized the boat. It was my kayak. It must’ve blown off its rack on the side of the deck. “I’ll take care of it,” I told the Coast Guard caller. I quickly grabbed my rain-jacket and paddling gloves as I dashed out the door. As I slid my other kayak into the water, I wondered how the Coast Guard had noticed overturned boat in the river from their station on the creek. My question was answered when I paddled into the river. A large Coast Guard vessel came into view, looming over the lighthouse. It was the 840-ton cutterCatherine Walker awaiting a rendezvous with the local buoy tender. Dwarfed by the 175′ vessel, my wayward 14.5′ kayak bobbed in the wind-driven waves, gradually floating down river. With precise paddle strokes, I came along side the overturned kayak and tied a line to its bow. I towed it ashore, struggling against the wind and current. I rescued the kayak, but it did not survive unscathed. The rudder was torn off, leaving a gaping hole in the stern. A casualty of the wind, but nothing gobs of glue and duct-tape can’t fix.