Happy New Year!
If it wasn't for three things I wouldn't paddle as much as I do: 1) having a drysuit; 2) living a short walk to the water; and 3) having a lightweight kayak I can carry on my shoulder to the beach. So now I tend to just go out whenever I feel like it, without checking tides, currents, or the weather. What I learned today is that the problem with winter paddling is not just that it's usually cold, rainy and windy, but that the weather can change very quickly. This morning the sun was out and the water was calm and there was no wind. Like yesterday the tide was high, up to the bottom of the fishing pier. All kinds of branches and logs were floating in the water. I paddled a little over three miles to the Browns Point lighthouse and across Commencement Bay on to the Tacoma waterfront and then suddenly it started raining. Then the wind picked up to about 10-20 knots but luckily it was blowing north, so all the way home I had the wind at my back and following seas. At the part of Dash Point that faces west the water was pretty rough and I had to paddle through the clapotis that formed as the waves reflected off the beach. No matter how strong the wind is blowing here though the waves never get very high.