Winter solstice is right around the corner and the late afternoon light is kind of errie.
My cold/flu/virus/tired-to-the-bone “whatever it is” seems to be waning. So I walked the 3/4 of a mile to the spot where I’d seen one stand up paddle boarder from my window. He was still there.
The tide was just starting to ebb so some of the wave’s punch was pulled back. BUT, there were surfers from one end of the beach to the other. The light kept slipping in and out of the clouds. One moment it was on the water, then on the hills, then gone. I sat on a piece of plywood someone had left on the rocks. I didn’t take the time to anchor it so I teetered and tottered a bit, which makes shooting video with a long lens a challenge. There was one guy on a fat orange board who caught one wave while I was watching. Mostly I was happy to smell the salt air and hear the hollow roar of waves crashing.
I got one shot of the scene as the light lit up the Rockaway Headlands. That was the last of the light, so I headed home.
The ocean is big today. It was bigger yesterday. The water is a good 10 degrees colder than it was in September. Fall is here. Winter is coming. I’ve been fighting a bug which has kept me from the water. But I still need a fix to overcome my hopeless addiction to the ocean’s charm. Whether it’s a walk on the beach or making a short video of the current conditions, it’s all about the ocean, its size, its smell, its moods.
It was a long day and the surf was outstanding, but I wasn’t near the surf until sunset. I still had chores to complete and no time to get my “real” camera so I walked in close to the shore and shot some SUP footage using my iPhone 6S+. The only paddleboarder in the water caught a couple of waves while I watched. Add a little music, a little creative editing license and voila. A short video. A very short video.
I paddled yesterday in conditions to my liking. The tide was low the wind was down, the waves were small and the crowds were gone. I caught a couple of waves, and those were fun, but the rest of the time I was sort of out of focus, off balance.
Enter yesterday’s post from Power of Presence titled “Paddle Barefoot – set your feet free!”.
The opening line “Paddle with an open heart and your mind will follow” gave me pause. The whole post made me ponder adding breathing to my SUP outings. And while bare feet are out of season for me, the whole notion of bringing a bit of consciousness to my paddling was refreshing.
I engaged with the author, and downloaded a paddleboarding guided meditation. More on that when I’ve gotten waterproof audio gear.
I lifted these lines right off his blog. What a great adventure.
“After a 4 1/2-month bicycle expedition around northwestern Europe, Joshua Sivarajah and his pint-sized paddling partner, Nero, weren’t ready for the adventure to end. So, they swapped bike for board, and embarked on a 1,777-mile journey down the Danube River—the continent’s second-longest river, nicknamed “Europe’s Amazon.” Photo: Joshua Sivarajah/ULI”
I found the site by looking for SUP sites, and sure enough he rides a SUP in some pretty interesting conditions.
As it turns out Joshua did some humanitarian work while on his trip by serving sandwiches for the Syrian refugee crisis. Check it out here.
Yesterday I read a blog post from Real Surfers. It was the first surfing blog I followed. For one the guy, Erwin Dence, has a great sense of humor, but two, which maybe is actually one, he’s a fantastic artist. The image above is from his web site. There’s more where that came from.
But yesterday wasn’t about Art. It was about waves, or better stated, the absence of waves. He and his buddies got Skunked, though it sounds like maybe there were some bitty waves. At the same time, my backyard, Pacifica, CA, had huge waves. Too big for me. I’m looking forward to our surf waning a bit, which it appears to be doing. Maybe the next swell will hit the northwest where Real Surfers is based.
But check out the drawings in this post. This is what drew me to Real Surfers
We’d heard about paddle boarding in waters where Manatees live and took a tour with Anik Clemens from Anik’s Perspectives. She’s lived in St. Petersburg, Florida the past 9 years and knows the SUP shops and venues for paddling. She took us to the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park where we put in for the 6 mile down-river paddle. She’d set us up with boards from the Kayak Shack that sat right on the water at end of the trip. We parked at the shack and got ferried, with our boards, to the put-in point at Weeki Wachee Springs.
The water was cool and clear. The surrounding jungle close. The river was teaming with small schools of Mullet and a smattering of Sheepshead thrown in for fun. Needlefish slipped in and out of sight while Anhinga and Kingfishers punctuated the trees.
We shared the river with a few tour boats, and some fun-loving folks who climbed a tree to a diving platform. As it turned out, Anik and our very own Donna were not afraid to take the plunge. Check out the video for a two minute look at our trip.
We’d found six Manatees by the end of the trip. The first one glided under my board like a ghost. Down river a pup scratched its back under a submerged log. My GoPro Hero 4 Silver captured most of the footage. Super Slow Mo thanks to iPhone 6S Plus.
The little one is Kyra, Anik’s lovely 4 year old daughter. Donna, Kyra, and Anik took a stab at singing Nimo’s song “Planting Seeds and Nothing More,” in front of one of the Weeki Wachee Springs mermaids.
If you like this post you’re sure to like our tour through the mangroves.