27-Aug-2001 -- I decided to make my first confluence visit close to home. This one is easily visible, but not so easy to reach.
I started by renting an ocean Kayak from Mountain Equipment Co-op. I also purchased a cute little Garmin Etrex GPS at the same place. I forgot to bring my roof racks, so I slid the kayak into the back of the truck. I drove down to Tsawassen, on the Canadian side of the border, to a public beach about 1.5k from the border, where I figured I could launch my kayak. No problems there, although the kayak was a bit heavy to carry the 300m from the parking lot to the beach (Picture 2). I hopped in and started paddling towards the middle of the bay. After paddling for about 15 minutes, I stopped to take a bearing and realized 3 things: 1. it was getting windy, and the waves were picking up; 2. I forgot to put my rudder down, and had trouble controlling the boat; 3. I didn't really know how to use the GPS. I paddled into shore, through ever-increasing waves (up to 1m at this point), and landed near where the previous visitor had taken his picture. (Picture 3) I spent a few minutes getting acquainted with my new little toy (the GPS) and put the rudder down, and off I went. I followed the compass arrow and the display that told me I had about 2.6km to paddle. The wind and waves picked up even more, and I paddled harder and harder. I learned a fair bit about how to control a kayak in big water - mostly by almost flipping. The GPS got a good test of its alleged waterproofness (it passed), as spray kept coming over the deck and covering me. I zigged, and zagged, and took quick peeks at the heading and distance to keep me in the right direction. I could only look quickly, because if I stopped paddling for more than about 10 seconds, the waves would push me broadside, and then try to capsize me. I got to a point where the display said "25m", and decided that that was it, and snapped a few photos (Picture 1, 4). I'm not sure how the photos will turn out - I was using a non-waterproof disposable camera, which looked a bit worse for wear by the end of the trip.
From the confluence, my starting point was straight downwind, which was a bit of a blessing. I made excellent time getting back, and even managed to surf some of the 2m waves on the way back in.
Advice for anyone doing this, or a similar, confluence again:
- learn to kayak
- learn to use a GPS
- try on a calm day
- use a 2 person kayak - 1 engine, 1 navigator