clapotis, from the greek

Posted by George on May 27, 2004

"To knock the clap out of". I could be wrong; my Greek is a little rusty. I went paddling on the Missouri this evening. Can't tell you just how much I was looking forward to getting out of the office and on the water. A little breeze, mild waves. I headed south, along the city river front, and a mile into the paddle, I encountered some nice rolling waves. Love paddling in those,with the waves breaking over the deck. That was great for the next mile. At the railroad bridge, I decided I'd head across the river and paddle the west side, about a half mile / 3/4 mile crossing or so; I wasn't even a third across, when the wind came up, then switched direction. NICE rolling waves, but more than I wanted in the middle of the river. I switched course, decided to head back. But now I had following waves, combined with a new set of waves, at 90 degrees (to me and the following waves - ya follow?) as I paddled back to the marina.

First off, it was really fun. I had waves hitting me from every direction, and it was a real kick. But remember your science on wave form and function? Positive plus a negative cancels out; two negatives give ya a pit; and two positives give ya a real big wave, which is fine hitting you head on, but not so (dry) hitting ya side on. That first big splash into the cockpit was a real .... lets say eye-opener. I've not 'needed' a spray skirt until now. (I know, I needed one). (I'm looking at the one LeeG mentioned elsewhere, for 'warmer weather).

Secondly, I got a lot of practice with bracing and corrective strokes. I'm tired. I mentioned earlier I was 'outashape' after this winter. It's all coming back to me. Lots of fun. As an aside, I'm always amazed at the wildlife I see out paddling. And the wildlife is always surprised to see you (quiet, sneaky craft, those kayaks). The carp seems to love that rougher water; quite the color variety with carp, too. I've never thought much of them, from a fishing perspective, but they're actually rather graceful, in the water. Saw a few walleyes, briefly. And a larger fish, I believe a Northern Pike, also just a brief glimpse. There were a couple of furry critters that splashed ahead of me; at first I believed them to be muskrats, but I got closer a second time, and they were beaver. Only about a foot long, tail to tooth, which probably makes them juvenile beaver, eh? And one 'slapped' the side of my yak (JD beaver?)Anyhow, that's my river report. Later