So we went out this morning to do our look see. We arrived at South Point Higgins beach around 7:15am. At the time things didn't look pretty and it still looked swimmable. However things quickly changed. We managed to launch both kayaks. After completing this I was all set to go; swimsuit on, grease on, goggles and cap ready. One of our kayakers paddled into shore and somehow unfortunately broke their paddle. Our other kayaker was just getting settled and assisting in getting a new paddle for the kayaker. After these tasks were completed, we all looked at the water. Within those short 15 minutes, the seas had stood up. The winds that we were expecting in the afternoon arrived in just that time. The winds were blowing 15 knots and were against the current this causes very confused seas. At this time the two boats made radio contact and decided that the weather was not going to cooperate with us today and the swim was aborted. Now began the challenging task of getting our kayakers safely back aboard the boats. Everyone was very professional and we all were back safe and warm within the boats in a few minutes. Then for the boat ride back into Ketchikan.
Here is what I've learned from this swim look see. I cannot control the weather no matter how hard I try. The boat pilot, crew and kayakers we have supporting the swim are very professional and know what they are doing even if this is the first swim that they are supporting. They know their stuff and will keep us safe. After aborting the swim we overheard a radio report from the ferry coming in from Prince of Wales island. The seas in Clarence Strait were standing at 5-6 feet tall. Much too dangerous for a swimmer.
Straits and Channels have "reaches." This is the distance that the wind has to travel to pick up speed. Our swim will be starting in Tongass Narrows where the reach is 16 miles. Not a very long reach and the wind was doing some good work of the water at the end of the narrows. Once getting across the Narrows we would be in Clarence Strait where the reach is 120 miles. Lots more power would come from the wind in this strait. Not good. It was a good call to postpone the swim for a later date.
I'm not upset. As I've said I can't control the weather. I can only be prepared to swim when the moment comes. Today was not that moment and we all arrived safely back into harbor which is the main goal of a swim. First and always first is safety. After returning to harbor we all gathered at Pioneer Cafe for a well deserved breakfast. Goodness the blueberry pancakes were good. The stories shared around the table were even more filling.
The next swim date looks to be Monday as this front is supposed to stick around today and tomorrow. Stay tuned.Tags: Alaska, Clarence Strait