We're back at Body Boat Blade, on Orcas Island, Wash. with our friends Shawna Franklin and Leon Somme. Shawna and Leon recently released a new Sea Kayak Rescues DVD, filmed by Bryan Smith, a dramatic and instructive guide to assisted- and self-rescues in flat, dynamic and rough water. Some of the filming was done in Deception Pass, a place we've long heard about and were looked forward to visiting.
|The Orcas Island ferry dock before dawn.|
Getting there meant catching the 6:45 a.m. ferry so that we could arrive during slack tide. The day's max ebb was going to be 7.1 knots at 1:08 p.m., and we wanted to have time to play in the building current before experiencing the full force of the ebb.
|Shawna and Seth paddling toward the bridge.|
Compared to Chicago, the air and water were warm--both in the mid- to upper 40s. We paddled past cliffs and barnacle-covered rocks, noticing how the bull kelp indicated the direction of the current. We stopped in an eddy near the bridge, where the eddyline was growing stronger by the moment.
|The group arrives in the eddy.|
We spent the better part of the day here, practicing eddy turns and ferries as well as rescues in the current. As the current built, so did whirlpools and overfalls downstream. We tried to ride the upstream tails of the whirlpools to reattain lost ground, and sometimes just rode them around in circles.
|Shawna spins on the eddyline.|
|Seth uses a crossbow rudder to turn as he reaches the green water.|
|Sharon rides the wave at the top of the eddy.|
|Leon executes the "deep diggity dig."|
|Alec rides a wave.|
We spent most of the day in this one spot. As the current diminished, the features changed. Eventually it was time to return to our cars, load up and head for Anacortes, the town with the ferry dock and plenty of pubs.
|Back at the beach at the end of the day.|
There's a quote from Isak Dinesen in the Body Boat Blade shop: "The cure for everything is salt water...sweat, tears, or the sea." As we traveled back to Orcas in the dark, we felt cured indeed.