Sunday, March 22, 2015

A River of Ice and Two Crazy Guys

It was a beautiful day today. We just had to get out of the house. We went to the beach and found some ice:
Ok, so some ice may be a slight understatement:
The little dots on the right side are people. Click on the image to view the larger version if you don't believe me! The ice at First Encounter Beach in Orleans extended about 1/2 mile out into the ocean, and miles along the beach towards Wellfleet. Here's the view towards Skaket; usually, you can sail there from First Encounter in a few minutes:

At the end of the beach, the incoming tide creates a river of ice:

I have to admit that the below-freezing temperatures kept my desire to go windsurfing in check. But if you looked out beyond the ice, it sure looked good:
Yes,  that's a lot of white caps out there. It could have been a perfect spring day. But the weather ignored the fact that spring on Cape Cod is supposed to look different.

Well, just 10 miles to the west, at Corporation Beach in West Dennis, it looked different: absolutely no ice on the water! See for yourself:
No ice!

The forecast had called for wind in the mid-20s and "light freezing spray". Since Light freezing spray is very much preferably to heavy freezing spray, Jerry had called for a windsurfing session this morning, and PK joined him. I had thought about joining them, and put wetsuit and boots into the van, but I wanted to see the conditions first. Unlike Jerry and PK, I'm not a wave sailor. This is what I saw:
If you can barely see the head of the sailor, I'll call the waves head-high. Considering that Jerry in this picture was not even in front of the big waves, there were definitely some overhead-high waves out there! For some windsurfers, that's considered fun:
PK jumping, Jerry watching
Jerry jumping
It sure helps if you can jump on port! I can't. If I try, I usually end up practicing my waterstarts. Today was not a good day for waterstart practice. Air temperatures were around 28ºF (-2ºC), and the wind chill was around 13ºF (-10ºC). Jerry and PK both wore gloves, but came in every few runs to warm up their hands in a cooler with hot water:
I got cold just watching them, despite being covered in multiple layers of warm winter clothes. In the couple minutes that it took to warm up the hands, ice would build up on the sail:
Yes, that's ice on the sail and boom
On most windy days were I don't windsurf, I am unhappy about missing out. Not today! After standing on the beach for a few minutes, I was almost proud of myself for deciding not to windsurf today. Some of my friends say I'm crazy about windsurfing - but compared to these two guys, I'm definitely not! But they sure had fun - here are a few more pictures that the lovely Nina took:
Jerry demonstrates another use for switch stance sailing :-)
Duck hunting, Cape Cod style

Clew first sailing - another basic skill

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