No late-afternoon crowd at Bruno’s. No sign of Beatrice, no sign of her Black-Crowned Night Heron band. Only folks down by the concrete launch ramp are three foil-board wind surfers, just off the water.
“How is it out there?” says Gandalf.
“Windy!” says one.
“Lively!” says another.
Not too much later, “Whataya wanna do,” say I to Gandalf, the two of us in his double, paddling out the harbor.
“Not sure,” says he. “Let’s head out to Buckwheat and Chard, see what we see.” Heading out to Buckwheat and Chard’s wet, messy, an effort, the wind blowing abeam of us, whitecaps breaking over the length of the boat, spray over my head.
Don’t Follow Don’s late to launch, catches up at Buckwheat. “We headin’ to Rod Reck?” he shouts over to us. “Ebb’s good for that.”
I look crosswise over my shoulder at him. “Ebb’s okay,” I say, “but the wind’s not our friend.” Don’t Follow Don’s not as bothered by the wind as I am; I figure it’s because he’s much younger than me. He’s not even 70.
What we do is paddle the backside of Buckwheat and Chard, then angle away from Rod Reck toward The Sisters.
A sensible course change, wind and waves our friends in this direction. We wing-ding along for the next 1.5 miles, hydrogliding, riding windwaves, cruising at speeds approaching lickety-split.
After threading Grindle’s Needle—Grindle one of The Sisters, Myrtle the other—we turn back toward Bruno’s, face the same punishing conditions that pummeled us going from Bruno’s to Buckwheat and Chard.
Party Beach, our intended destination, lies 1.5 miles northeast of Bruno’s. Even if we don’t wanna go to Party Beach, that’s where we takeout, a series of good sized shore break pushing us onto a narrow beach eaten up by a high tide.
I feel the need to bellyache. About the incessant wind. Yeah, it’s fun when she’s your friend, but …
No, I’m not gonna bellyache. Bellyaching isn’t gonna help. I’ve got to think about this logically, think like a scientist.
Here’s what I’ve figured out, what my theory is. I hypothesize that a wind dome is locked in place over the bay, just like that heat dome that roasted the Northwest last week.
Fact is, the bay’s wind dome is more like a cage, the wind trapped inside, no way out. Mornings, she’s okay, the bay’s a big place, lotsa room to roam inside the cage. As the day wears on, she becomes frustrated, aggressive, violent. By evening, she’s in a rage, throws a tantrum, rattles the cage trying to escape.
That’s where we are on Party Beach, the wind rattling her cage.
Here’s my theory, borne from past observations, field study: the wind, child-like by nature, cannot sustain a tantrum, will soon exhaust herself to the point of collapse and sleep. If we wait long enough on Party Beach, she’ll fall asleep, the waters will calm, and we’ll have an easy return paddle to Bruno’s.
Don’t Follow Don fills the time while we wait with tales of his adventures paddling down Idaho’s Cellway River last week.
There are easy days and hard days. “On the third day,” says Don’t Follow Don, “I faced three rapids: Green Eggs & Ham and Son of Ham. I knifed my way through Green Eggs & Ham, but choked on Son of Ham.”
The fourth day was Moose Juice, but we don’t hear the exact outcome of that close encounter. Couldn’t have been too bad ‘cause Don’t Follow Don’s here, telling the tale.
The last day, paddling down Wolf Creek, Don’t Follow Don pole vaults through the last rapid—he goes airborne, his stern lands on one wave, his bow on another, he hangs upside down in his boat between the two.
“I manage to roll up,” he says with audible pride. “Don’t even get my face wet! I’ve never done that before, probably won’t again.”
A grand move, but with consequences. “Tweaked my shoulder pole vaulting that rapid” says he. Adds the shoulder is still troubling him tonight. Gandalf takes mercy, gives Don’t Follow Don the Wizard’s Cure, acetaminophen.
Bolstering my initial hypothesis, the wind does not outlast Don’t Follow Don’s tale of adventure. She’s fast asleep before he can say Green Eggs & Ham.
The proof of my theory this evening’s late-night calm, I’m ready to hypothesize a wind-abatement solution: When the wind revives in the morning refreshed and calm, we need to reach out to the child in her, pat her on the back, praise her for not acting out.
Here’s how we reach out to the child in her. Before shoving off Party Beach, we leave the wind a half full, not half empty, box of See’s Chocolates, add thoughts of calm and cage-free bliss.
Looking forward to next Thurseve.
Date: Thurseve, 1 July 2021.
Distance: Five point eight nautical miles.
Speed: One point two knots.
Time: Five hours.
Spray factor: Oh yes.
Dessert: See’s chocolates.