Took the paddleboard out into the bay for the first time yesterday. Up til now I'd been at a local lake several times
and the harbor a few.
Pretty fun and nicely calm so that I didn't have to worry too much about waves throwing me into the water.
Thursday I went exploring to find a decent access point to the bay. We don't really have much in the way of sand beaches on the marina area downtown, probably since it isn't natural but is buildup from the fisheries that used to line the water. The edges that aren't commercial are rip-rap with gravel beach. There are also quite a few pilings left over from the fisheries and canning facilities so I had to worry about whether a launch point might have hidden obstructions.
Found what appeared to be an OK spot. No pilings that I could see which would allow me to paddle straight out to deeper water and a decent access trail that included flat piled rip-rap that could be used as steps. So yesterday at high tide, right around 6 pm, I headed over there. Got launched pretty easily, paddled out super slow while scanning the water for pilings (I am pretty paranoid right now as I took a header on a submerged rock in the harbor the other day. It was Titanic-ish when my board hit the rock that I could not see in five foot deep water. If there had been pilings around that rock it could have been much worse but as it was I and my board sustained a few scrapes and it was all good.)
Got out into deeper water and paddled west towards the end of the marina. Figured I would cruise over by the old pier that I've walked out to a bunch of times. It's a popular destination for walking and hanging out as it looks out over the sound to the west. Great for sunsets and just general relaxation. As I approached, however, I happened to look down into the water.
Now keep in mind that I'm pretty comfortable around water. I'm a strong swimmer, I've surfed for quite a few years, I don't get freaked out by water. The whole "what's beneath me while I'm swimming thing" doesn't affect me at all and I usually go for a quick swim after boarding or surfing, just to stretch out a little and enjoy the water. When I've been out on the board I've never worried about whether I fell in or not and so far, in the calm of the lakes and harbor, I haven't.
Ack! Dozens of the damn things. Moon jellyfish. I don't think they are harmful but now I'm freaking out about the possibility of falling in because I don't want to be swimming in a big bloom of jellyfish. Any idea how much harder it is to NOT fall in when you actually care if you fall in? Turning around with a bit of a swell coming in from the west rocking my board, paddling back out to the center of the bay where I hadn't seen any, although it turns out that I just hadn't been looking. There were, however, a lot fewer of them out there, and I paddled back to my launch point and headed home.
Will I go again? Of course, but I probably won't paddle out to the end of the marina where there are jellyfish blooms. Maybe I'll head across the bay next time and see what's on the north coast. Hopefully not more jellyfish.