Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Christening

FliesWithKiwiBird finally let me take out the (NotSo)WeeOne (6) for a long weekend kayaking expedition, in the Seda Tango tandem kayak we'd bought a wee while ago. Floatsome joined us in his solo Mirage, and we decided to spend three nights/four days camping on Shackleford Banks, as I've often regaled Andrew with stories of the wild horses I've seen there when I've solo camped. And it's just a beautiful island, eight miles long, wonderful fine white sand, gorgeous ocean views and clear night skies, and you can wild camp any where.

We didn't want to drive the three+ hours to Beaufort without testing Andrew out first, so had taken him to my local training lake--Jordan--for a 30 minute spin, just to make sure he wasn't going to baulk--thankfully we left with him begging for more.

We left from Harker's Island with a beautiful clear day, though a 5-knot wind against us, as was the tide. Fully loaded with gear and a lot of water, I'd often have to remind Andrew to keep paddling, as there were times we weren't making any head way! 9km and a few hours later we rounded the point opposite Cape Lookout lighthouse and meandered down the island to find just the right camp site.

The crazy thing I never get used to on Shackleford is that we're on the east cost of the US, but the sun goes down over the Atlantic--it's the odd shape/angle the island is.

Cooking dinner up for the first evening. Never thought I'd bring a sieve/colander away on a kayak camping trip, but I hate soggy pasta and it packs flat--a great find.

Lookout Bight in the background.

A view of behind the sand dunes looking east, and back to civilization. We counted 15 wild horses in the distance, seemingly munching on the sea grass.

Sunday morning, we paddled over to Cape Lookout Lighthouse, another sight high on Andrew's want-to-see list.

We wandered around and then over to the seaward side of the Outer Banks.

We returned to the camp site via an inside loop of Lookout Bight, to paddle among the 50 odd mostly yachts and a few launches moored for the long weekend. The night before we'd sat on the beach gazing at the mass of masthead lights--it looked like a scene from Tangled, when all the lanterns are released--stunning.

And this is sometimes how I'd see Andrew paddling... "Andrew, I really need your help about now." Amazing what a difference he would make!

And then a wild foal gamboled onto the beach, and back up to its guardians, Andrew chasing along below them in utter delight.

 Lovely sunny evenings...
We had planned to spend three nights on the island, but Monday morning around 0700 a huge bank of black headed our way from offshore. We quickly dragged our tents, full of gear, to behind a couple of sand dunes and within about 15 minutes we were each tent bound for over two hours as 35 knot winds and lashing rain hit us--what a racket! Nothing fazed Andrew as we played a few imaginary games and chatted away. It was so noisy that I couldn't even yell over to David to check how he was faring.

When we finally surfaced, after a fair bit of discussion we decided to head home. Tomorrow's forecast wasn't too hot, and a fair incoming tide would be much later in the afternoon. We also knew we'd gain lots of browny points, acting so careful, like.

It was a terrific paddle back, even with Andrew "napping" every now and then, with a slackish tide and 15 knot winds astern. With Andrew paddling we even hit 5.1mph!

It was a sleepy chappie on the way home...

But a happy one, who'd even lost his first tooth the day before...