For the last three days the temperature on DELMARVA was well in the 70s. Ah, perfect kayaking weather, except for the small craft warnings posted. The wind on DELMARVA can be relentless, so how do we make a decision on kayaking?
Here’s our completely unscientific, unprofessional process of making decisions to kayak on windy days,
Small craft warnings posted = no kayaking.
Wind speed predicted to be 15 mph or more = no kayaking. Choosing to kayak when the wind speed is over 15 mph is a mistake you’ll only make once.
Winds between 10 and 15 miles per hour = use your best judgement. In these conditions the winds are not friendly but can be tolerated. First, you stand around and debate, like we’re doing near Tobacco Island, VA. On this day the wind was predicted to be 13-14 miles, but several factors were in our favor. Our plan was to paddle on the inside of Tobacco Island reducing the wind affects, water temperatures were warm, and in this area the water is quite shallow. All of which meant if anyone capsized, they would not be in great danger. We chose to kayak, and ended up with a great picture of butterflies being buffeted by the wind.
On the East Wye River (pictured below on a calm day), we went kayaking in 13 mph winds one day and deeply regretted the decision. With the wind at our back we flew several miles up river, and then fought for every inch coming back. The broadness of the East Wye heightens the wind and waves. Inching our way back we tried to sneak from sheltered cove to sheltered cove with very little success. We learned our lesson.
Miles Island in Chincoteague Bay is one of our favorite kayaking locations. On hot summer days there’s always a cooling breeze, but oh my goodness the wind can quickly become your enemy in this area. One trip we set out with calm water and kayaked from the landing to Miles Island. As we started back the wind picked up and even landing to take a break became a challenge. It was a long haul from that landing spot across to the put in, but as usual our Tarpon 160i’s were their usual steady friend.
It appears April is ending on a cold windy note and it may be May before the wind dies and temperatures rise enough for friendly kayaking. Until then, visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kayakingdelmarva/ where we are posting pictures of our travels until we kayak again.
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