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St-Augustine, my first regatta

March 17, 2011

March 16, Ste-Augustine (North Beach campground)

I woke up in my primitive campsite after a full night of sleep. I was not bothered by bugs and the night was not particularly cold. I needed the rest. I was in a much better mood than the previous morning.

I called North Beach campground to make a reservation. I wanted to be there before the wind turned. I covered a lot of miles in very few days, getting to North Beach would add to that. While making the reservations, I did not realize just how far the campground was.

Like the previous three mornings, I started off pedaling since the wind was absent. I launched at 8, the current was against me but it was much more manageable than the previous morning and it turned in my favor at around 10. As I go north, I will have to take the tides into account since they will become more and more important. Until now, I could simply ignore them. The ocean passages will increase in appeal but the seas will be less and less likely to be calm or even safe. Already, the area in front of Ste-Augustine is called high energy, meaning the seas are often rough. I’m used to these sorts of conditions but up north I rarely try to navigate 30 miles in a day between two places I’ve never seen before.

Until now, the only time I could have done an ocean passage was between Smyrna and the inlet past Daytona. It would have been an excellent call since I had the current in my face all day. The conditions were favorable but I wanted to pass through the city. The great perk of the intracoastal is that you get to see more things. From the ocean I would have seen a few hotels and water towers. The advantage of the ocean passage is speed, less boats, not having the current in your face. The disadvantages include not seeing much, being more exposed, having to deal with waves, no stopping possibilities, having to calculate precise times of exits and entries according to the tides and some detours since the sleeping places are on the intracoastal and would often require some backtracking. Let’s face it, the intracoastal with all the sleeping options, the safety and the added scenery is quite often the better choice. I still have a long way to go and many ocean passages may make a lot of sense but it hasn’t been the case yet.

As I pedaled with the current, without wind, it became apparent that the campground was a lot further than estimated. I expected about 24 miles but it was more like 30, and I was not moving fast at all. The prospect of not making it was more than I could bare, so all day I worried about my speed. That is not the sort of thing you want to do on a trip like mine. Perhaps making distant reservations is not the best idea but how can I ever get a break if I don’t, especially during the spring break?

I finally got to Ste-Augustine inlet. The city and the marina are very pretty. It was quite a scene.  As I passed under the bridge leading to the inlet, I landed in the middle of a sailboat regatta. Sailboats were going in every directions waiting for the start signal. In a regatta, the boats have to pass the marker only after the signal. This sounds easy but they cannot stay still at the line. They have to sail in circles until the signal and somehow be first in line at the right time. It is very, very difficult to achieve and accidents often happen at the beginning of regattas. That’s because sailboats are not very manoeuvrable under full sails, even with a good crew. Now imagine for a minute, a stupid sailing kayak passing through the mayhem… I chose to go around them. It was quite a sight.

  1. WOW what an amazing journey! Its like I am there, wish I could be !!

  2. Ryan permalink

    Sounds like an awesome trip. Keep up the paddling and posting! Its very interesting to read ur posts and think of all the navigation u have to do.

    • The navigation challenges are coming. If I choose to go inland in Georgia it will be very challenging. On the other hand if I go ocean side, the timing of the tides will get interesting.

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