After a perfect paddle from Sandbridge VA to Cape Henry we were positioned to cross the Chesapeake Bay.
Checked NOAA weather and radar. Winds were 5-10 south ,Skies Partly sunny. We were focused.
As we paddled away from the safety of land we knew it would be 12 nautical miles to Sunset Beach VA,near Cape Charles.Nothing we haven’t accomplished.
At about the 1 hour point the wind switched. 5-10 perfect south became 25 ish from the east. Seas built so rapidly the only thing we could do was press on. Being miles from land the seriousness of our situation became apparent.
My mind took over and I was calm. The radical un organized seas became 4,6,7,8 foot cresting and breaking waves. It’s hard to explain but I felt so ALIVE.
At this point I was going through our exit strategy. 3 or 4 mile to our west sat the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Getting there was going to be a full speed push,but I was confident and focused.
It was a very demanding technical stretch of water. Things were going as well as could be expected…….UNTIL ~ The biggest cargo ship we’ve seen came into our path at about 15 knots.
At this point I knew our day was over. We needed to make it to the break water at the bridge.
As I went under the bridge the current and waves were like nothing we’ve seen. Will and I in my opinion had just completed the hardest paddle of our odyssey.
I did not feel defeated. I felt alive. Not like an “I survived” alive; more of an I’m alive because of the calmness and focus I was able to tap into.
Now what though? It’s a bridge with no way to get onto it. A small center console fishing boat was also in the area. After Will and I spoke about the situation I asked them for assistance.
They also were amazed at how fast the weather changed. Remember it was suppose to be a beautiful evening.
The guys in the boat continued to fish in the shelter of the break water while Will and I went over our strategy.
Our boards were longer than their boat so it was going to take a great plan to get them on the boat first of all. Then how do we prevent them from getting destroyed on the way back?
Fully loaded we made our way back to VA beach. A trip that should have taken 10 minutes by boat was closer to 45 minutes in nasty seas.
We had a destination in mind .Our friend Bill and Anne called ahead to a hotel on the Bay and our hero’s beached their boat and left us on the beach.In all the excitement we never did get their names. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
I know 4 people who are going to have a hard time reading this. Mom,Dad and Mr. and Mrs.Rich. I promised them that I would watch Will and He did the same. So thats what we did. Thanks Will.