The first thought – can I actually do this at 50? I would be the least experienced paddler – by far. Plus the distance. I am in great shape but had never paddled more than 5 nautical miles of open water or more than 7 total. This would be 18 nautical miles with 2 short breaks. Not making it wasn’t an option.
The second thought was more of a realization – I would be paddling in conditions, at some point, beyond my skill set. That was followed by realizing I would be the least experienced paddler on this adventure. That meant some risk, but also plenty of opportunities to learn the way I do best – by the seat of my pants!
We left Olympia about 0930 (I use a 24hr clock to make it less confusing, something tied to my survival skills – don’t confuse anyone who could save you.)
All the concerns were gone. They no longer mattered. The launch went smoothly. Paddling out we had good weather. There were a few grumblings about wearing too many layers as it was warmer than expected. The first 6 or so miles to Boston Harbor were easy. Mostly on a slack tide, little wind, and no waves. I felt good when we hit the beach for a quick break.
Back on the water it was a bit chillier, though still pleasant. Without much current, the paddle to our lunch stop wasn’t difficult, but I started to feel it at the end. I was tired and had a bit of trouble maintaining proper form with my forward stroke. The last one to land, I definitely started thinking ahead and began to wonder if I would hold up the group.