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Don’t let the rain stop your kayaking trip

June 6, 2012
Paddling with Mel The Guide , Pine Island Eagle

Welcome y'all to sunny, Southwest Florida. Well maybe not so sunny. It's hot, muggy, rainy. Sure it rains here, too. But that's why every thing is so green. We even get wind, and thunderstorms. It's been said if you don't like the weather in summer here in Southwest Florida. just wait a little and it will change.

So let me talk about some of this weather and what to do if you want to go kayaking or canoeing.First let me say I love it. Why? Because I get off from work. Not too many folks like to go on tour in the rain,which sadly is there loss. I like it because I know how to deal with it.

No, I don't go out in a thunder and lighting storm, but I do go out in the rain.

As I write this, words from a country-western song I like come to mind

"I like rain, rain makes corn grow, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my gal get all frisky." Then I don't go to work. Well maybe not, but it sounds good. So if we got rain, we got clouds.

Aside from the Weather Chanel and marine radio, you want to be looking at clouds. Open the door and look up What's happening? Is it sunny, but getting dark? Clear blue sky but big puffs of cotton? Or may be just a wisp of clouds?

Clouds are the things you want to be looking at. What are they doing and how will they affect my day on the water? You have all kinds of clouds, but the ones you want to be looking for are the cumulus. Puffy or cotton like in appearance, alone or in a line or clusters. Most intense cumulus and cumulonimbus are associated with sever weather like hail, tornados and water spouts.

Water spouts are intense funnel shaped clouds that are connected to a cumuli form cloud over water.

Water spouts do not suck up water. The water seen in the main funnel cloud is actually water droplets formed by condensation.

This area of Southwest Florida had a tornadic water spout on July 15, 2005, off the coast of Punta Gorda caused by a severe thunder storm.

A thunder storm is defined as convection that has at least one stroke of lighting that produces audible thunder. If you ever get caught in a thunderstorm, look for the anvil in the sky, it will point to the direction that storm is heading, in most cases. Then head the other way, or seek shelter.

If we have clouds. it's not too bad, but add wind then that changes things.

Winds in meteorology are often referred to according to their strength, and the direction from which the wind is blowing. A short burst of high speed wind is called gust.

If the blast of wind only lasts around a minute or so, they are called squalls.

When wind blows for a long time it is called a breeze, a gale, storm, hurricane and a typhoon.

Rain is liquid precipitation. Other kinds of precipitation are snow, hail and sleet.

So it's raining. Are we going to hide inside and think about our next kayak adventure in the sun? Can you believe some folks do that? Not me, like I said before, I'm off so I'm going kayaking. Sure I may get wet, but that's why they make ponchos and rain suits. I like the ones called frog toggs, they are like light paper but do keep you dry. I even have a set on my motorcycle. You can get any good one at one of the local shops and it will work fine, just don't buy the heavy rubber ones, they don't breathe and you will come back soaked inside just from sweating. Get a rain suit with a hood - some don't have them. Put the hood up to keep the rain off the back of your neck, I also wear a Tilley hat with a brim to keep the poring rain out of my face.

You can put your camera, keys and binocs in a dry bag or a plastic jar. If you are going out to eat when you return, bring a change of clothes,and a towel.

If you have a sit in kayak you should have bought a skirt to keep out the rain and waves if not we will be having sub races in the rain. Also a bailer pump,or a bottle with the bottom cut out to, use as a scoop ,and a sponge.

Some of my best paddles have been in the pouring rain. First there is no boat traffic. The launch areas are empty. The sounds in a mangrove forest when it is raining are so peaceful. Most of the birds are up in the mangroves seeking shelter. And the fish still bite in the rain.

I can try to tell you how to get out and have a good time in the rain but an American poet back in the 1800s who wrote Paul Revere's Ride and many other well known poems said it best, "The best thing one can do when it is raining is to let it rain." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I pondered that thought and found it pretty profound. So if you are sitting home and it looks like rain, get out or give us a call and we will set up a kayak tour . Yep, in the rain.


Thanks again for paddling with Mel The Guide. For tours or rentals, call Gulf Coast Kayak at 941-661-8229.



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