Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Water's Not Fine

Nice spring we're having. Summer birds in wintery trees. Sunny days on freezing cold waters.

I got out for a paddle yesterday on Lake Massawippi. Some fishers were out on the sun drenched surface, but not a soul was prepared to go for a swim. Good thing too, because the water was freezing, it's icy cover only having disappeared on April 22nd.

I was dressed for a swim, but the calm conditions meant it wouldn't be likely. My hands were frozen by the drips running down my Greenland style paddle. I'd forgotten just how cold water can get and still be liquid!

Hopefully others will not be seduced by the sun's heat into an early swim without wearing proper gear. In their favour however, one of the progressive steps to freezing to death is the sensation of burning up with heat. An interesting 'serves-you-right' reaction I suppose. One of the body's little ironic tricks.

I'm still staying in my kayak. For now.


Unknown said...

Nice new header Michael! I hadn't noticed it before. We've got a balmy 15 degrees up here today and great riding weather. It looks lousy down there!

Richard Hayes said...

Amen, amen to your cautions about cold water, Michael - far too many people just don't take cold water seriously enough, and a few sadly tend to end up dead in our neck of the ocean every year.

These deaths are routinely described in the media as "drownings". In fact the major hazards to life are actually cold shock and hypothermia. Apart from kayakers, virtually no one here, except for the scattered wet-suited PWC rider and a few insane surfers, wears any thermal protection - the sea temp right now is about -1 C (bergs around, after all), and that's lethally cold.

Drysuits, lots of fleece layers, cold water hoods, gloves, a complete change of clothes in a drybag - and be cautious as a cat - that's the ticket, until the water's warm enough to tempt you to go for a swim in bathing trunks.

I hate being wet, I hate being cold, and I'm absolutely certain I'd really hate being wet and cold and dead...

clairesgarden said...

brr, its warming up here thank goodness. there can still be a frost at night sometimes.