Rounding the south end of Rod Reck on our way to Toilet Bowl Beach, a young seal pup pops her head outa the water. She does a 270, spots us at the end of her arc, smiles, swims toward us.


Conscious of avoiding close encounters with marine mammals, Gandalf and I paddle the double away from her. She follows, nudges up against our stern. I’m not that familiar with seal pup behavior, but it feels as if she’s nibbling on our rudder.


The encounter’s short lived. Disappointed with the taste of the rudder, the seal pup moves on in search of better treats. I suspect when she returns to her nursery, tells of her adventures, her mom’s gonna give her an earful about swimming too close to humans, even when the humans are nice guys in kayaks.


The paddle from Bruno’s to Rod Reck was as easy going as our seal pup encounter. A wind blew at our backs the entire way, but we didn’t pay her much attention, didn’t much notice her. 


We do notice the wind after rounding Rod Reck’s southern tip and reversing our direction along the island’s east side to reach Toilet Bowl Beach. Could be she’s angry because we haven’t paid her enough attention.


The wind’s no problem on Toilet Bowl. The problem on Toilet Bowl is the spray skirt on Don’t Follow Don’s boat: he can’t stretch it off the coaming, the ring of wood that surrounds the boat’s cockpit. 


The spray skirt comes off with some effort, is pried off with the help of three sets of hands. Isn’t a surprise, the effort involved; it took three sets of hands back at Bruno’s to stretch the spray skirt onto the boat.


About that boat. She’s a used folding kayak that Dragon picked up for a song and a dance. A good deal since Dragon can neither sing nor dance. For you folding boat enthusiasts, the boat’s a Feathercraft K1.


That ill-fitting spray skirt isn’t the boat’s fault. That’s our fault for not having the correct sized spray skirt to begin with. 


The 2 quarts of water that spill outa the boat once the spray skirt’s off? That is the boat’s fault. Appears the cockpit coaming isn’t snuggling up tight against the boat’s fabric hull, leaving a gap for the water to sneak in.


And the sagging right side of the boat after the water’s dumped out? That’s the fault of a leaky air-filled rubber sponson that runs the boat’s length and keeps the fabric hull taut.


Dragon took possession of the boat assembled, didn’t see it folded up into its backpack carrying case. Don’t Follow Don knows Feathercraft K1 folding boats. Says once you get them working, it takes 20-30 minutes to either assemble or to pack away. 


“Whatcha think might be a problem gettin’ a used boat like this in shape’?” says Gandalf, who’s volunteered to get her in shape.


“Well,” says Don’t Follow Don, “pullin’ apart the metal poles that form the frame could be a problem. If you can’t pull ‘em apart easily, you might have to blowtorch ‘em to open up the joints.”


I have a noisy pedal on one of my mountain bikes. Tried cleaning it. Still noisy. Tried greasing the bearings. Still noisy. Tried replacing the old pedal with a new one. Couldn’t get the old pedal off the crank arm. Took the crank arm and pedal to two bike shops, they couldn’t pull them apart.


Last resort, I tried blowtorching the pedal off. Burnt my fingers, but the pedal didn’t come off. Finally put the new pedal on an old crank arm I found in a used bike shop. I hope Gandalf doesn’t burn his fingers or have to find a used frame.


That all said and done, Don’t Follow Don convinces Gandalf to paddle the Feathercraft back to Bruno’s, “get a feel for it.” Gandalf does, Don’t Follow Don in the double with me. Two quarts of water leak into the boat on the return paddle, the sponson deflates, but no surprises there.


The surprise is the wind, comes outa nowhere 2.5 miles from Bruno’s. The good news is all the boats handle the nasty conditions well, Don’t Follow Don and me in the double, Dragon in his single, Gandalf in the Feathercraft. The bad news is we have to handle nasty conditions.


Stats


Date: Thurseve, 8 April 2021.

Distance: Seven point eight nautical miles.

Speed: One point four knots.

Time: Five point five hours.

Spray factor: On the return.

Dessert: Oatmeal coconut cookies.

BTW, Our meal is green salad, smoked salmon, and spiralized veggies.