After a short discussion on shore before heading out we acknowledged that the wind was blowing offshore, and was forecasted to increase to 30 knots. We decided to stay close to shore. I thought some experience in the wind would be good for the least experienced of us, since we are planning a trip in the deer group in the spring, and we have no idea how his kayak handles in the wind. We left Oak bay marina and headed south along the shoreline. No problems, all three of us were comfortable with the conditions. As we rounded the point at the gulf course, we made a choice to head toward Trial Island. The wind was in our face, and the waves quite manageable. The wind increased in intensity, and we decided to turn around. In the process of turning around, one of us had such a difficult time that he got pushed further away from shore, where the waves were larger, and growing. I was concerned that he may be close to going swimming so I paddled to him, and at that point he was not comfortable enough with the waves and winds to get broadside of the waves to paddle towards the shoreline. Since we were getting pushed towards the Chain Group, I decided to raft up with him and let the wind push us to safety. The third kayaker, who had managed to stay close to shore, could not see us well enough to know if we were still dry and ok, so he called the Coast Guards, who came within minutes with a full crew. They did a great job; Very professionally done.
Lessons learned again:
Don’t forget radio
Don’t take an inexperienced paddler in offshore winds. Practice paddling in wind when you will get blown towards shore, otherwise things can get out of control way too fast.
Have a spare paddle, always. You never know when a beautiful one can decide to slip away.
See a demonstration of my kayak clothing in this video