Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stormy Weather Fun

Waking in the morning to the sounds of the Sea, I sit up in my bed and look out the back windows to the Sea roiling and boiling as the winds come out of the West. I pulled the blanket a little higher waiting for the sun to bring light to another day on Salt Cay. I always feel sorry for guests to the island who come down for a couple of weeks and have stormy weather when they are looking forward to basking in the Sun. With all the stormy days we've been having since we arrived shortly before Christmas it has been necessary to just get on it! It's a "cold" 70-75 degrees, not bad really...

Climbing out of bed, I slip into my flip flops for a walk to the back gate for a better look at the Sea. Definitely not a day for kayaking or swimming on the West side of the island! After a brief stop in the kitchen to start the coffee, I opened the front doors and windows (shutters and screens no glass windows) and had a look to the East over the Salinas. Not bad!! A quick bike circuit to the airport and back before sitting with my coffee (and Bailey's) to check emails.
Our friend, Arnie, stopped by to find out when high tide is (3PM) and we talked about going kayaking on the East side of the island in the afternoon... a plan developed... Arnie, Sonia and I would meet at 2:30PM to take the kayaks over to the Creek and out on the East side of Salt Cay.

South Creek has always been a large shallow inlet but since the hurricane dumped a lot of sand in it, it's very shallow even at high tide. We had to drag the kayaks quite a way out to get them into deep enough water to paddle. There are a lot of submerged rock formations all along the mouth of the Creek but fortunately the water was calm enough to be able to spot those. With Arnie in the lead, Sonia and I followed him out between the two rock formations you see in this picture.

Heading into the wind (NNE), we played in the chop and paddled North for about 20 minutes. We could see Whale Island ahead and thought about paddling over to it, but decided that it was just a bit too windy and cold. As I think about my friends back in the States trying to stay warm in 12 degree weather, I realize just how lucky I am to be able to be “cold” in 70+ degree weather.

We turned around and headed back toward the creek with the tide and wind… very fun! It was a matter of steering the kayak and letting the tide and wind take you back. Fantastic! There are three spots to enter the Creek… the middle spot is the best with the least amount of underwater rocks and is protected by the rocks on either side so that there are not many waves to deal with as you paddle back into the Creek. Coming around the rocks and surfing into the creek was fantastic!

The stormy day adventure was not over... because the high tide was still not very high Arnie, Sonia and I had to drag the kayaks over a sandbar to the far end of South Creek were the blue holes are. As we approached water deep enough to kayak we had to wade through the muck of the clam beds. Once in the water again, a turtle popped its head up to take a look at us... a school of small bone fish flashed past us, little crabs scurried about and a heron landed and started to poke around for an afternoon snack.

We were down opposite the old bird watching station (falling apart after the hurricane) and not too far from the osprey nesting platform. In fact, the osprey flew into her nest with a little fish to feed the two baby osprey while we were paddling around looking at the blue holes. After a quick paddle to the other side of the Creek we portaged the kayaks back to the trailer and finished our Salt Cay stormy day adventure.

As I was riding my bike home I realized that the wind had shifted again and seemed to be trying to come straight out of the North bringing cool air and choppy Seas on all sides of the island. What a great way to spend a stormy day!

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