Had the best sort of paddle yesterday afternoon: downstream and downwind. After 5 coats of varnish on the new boat’s hull, I needed inspiration for the final stretch. A lazy river trip down the James was the answer. It also proved a few things to me:
- our back braces were close to perfect save for some vertical adjustment needed to position the brace an inch higher.
- the wood slatted floor boards were not comfortable enough for hours on tails. Surprise! A pad must be added.
- nothing is slipperier, stickier, or oozes more than river mud. Getting our boats too the water without falling and/or getting stuck was a bit of a trick. Thankfully the islands we stopped at later were mostly sand. The recent high water had dredged all kinds of sludge up the banks. Boat ramps were useless. We had to find a bank where the grass gave enough traction to the water’s edge.
Our start put in on the very muddy banks at Maidens, VA and ended at Robious Landing Park where a good floating pier exists. The dock at Watkins Landing was missing. Perhaps the recent river swelling took it out. It was there a week prior to all the rain. This paddle along the James was almost 20 miles and we covered it with 3 stops in about 3.5 hours. To our benefit the river was moving fairly swiftly. I don’t know if there was a high water warning, health alert or both. We didn’t check, but we were alone save for 1 jet ski and 1 tuber the entire afternoon. Unusual along this stretch. We were joined by numerous blue herons, huge painted turtles, peregrine falcons, and one bald eagle. No pics of them regretfully. The iPhone and GoPro camera were never at the ready, but here are a few pics along the way.
Here is a short video through some off the runs between the islands along the way. Tomorrow: back to the varnish!