Sunday, August 7, 2016

Kayaking and Windsurfing in Pamlico Sound

Cape Hatteras is adjacent to two bodies of water - the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound. There are many opportunities for recreations in the water. Water sport was our main activity when we decided to vacation there. In addition to our favorite kayaking, I looked into a variety of other water activities  - surfing, windsurfing, kite boarding, sailing, boating  .... 

We started kayaking around 9:30am on our second day at Cape Hatteras from Ocean Air Sport by Spencer Creek - see the location marker in the following map. Paddling out of the creek, we turned left into Pamlico Sound, and against the wind. The sound is so wide here, ~  30 - 40 miles, it felt like ocean except that the wave is much smaller than that in ocean. Nevertheless kayaking in the sound was much tougher than in lakes. Lily was a bit nervous initially but calmed down quickly.  

We paddled along the shoreline. The initial portion of the shoreline is lined by beach houses with a couple channels. Vacationers on the shore waved to us and a couple of them chatted with us briefly exchanging pleasantry. 
area where we paddled
Pamlico Sound near Spencer Creek
We turned into a couple channels.  The water was much calmer there. It was pretty quiet: we encountered no boats in the channels, we only heard mowing at one house, saw buzzing at another. 

After two detours into channels, we paddled in unison toward the "big island", a small island a few hundred yards away from the shore.  Paddling in unison gave us a positive vibe and of course made the kayak moving fast. After one lap of  paddling counter clockwise around the island - a tougher route, we kayaked along the shoreline again. It is all green tall salty grass, beautiful but not much variation. We turned around when we  reached Gibbs point and finally found a small sand "beach" for a break near one channel's entry.

Around 12:30pm, we reached a "large" beach north of Spencer Creek with a tree that provided shade, the only shaded area along the shore, for our lunch break. Further north, the water along the shoreline was very shallow, our kayak got stuck a few times, I had to get off kayak to pull it into deeper water, and paddled away from the shore. Paddling in open water was not much fun because all one could see was water. A compensation of this trouble was that we encountered a big grey ray during one of the kayak stuck, I saw this large ray a few feet away from me and called Lily's attention. The ray momentarily paused a second or two, and then "fly" away gracefully. We also observed a windsurfing class from our kayak, which we would take the next day.

We returned the kayak around 3:30pm - we stayed on the water, in kayak most of the time, for 6 hours!! The longest kayaking we have ever had as a couple.

The next day, we went back to ocean air sports for our highly anticipated windsurfing class.

Windsurfing projects grace, beauty and the elegance of mastery of nature. It is really attractive to us. I was overconfident about my ability to learn windsurfing due to the recent experience with paddle boarding, Lily on the other hand worried about her balance on the board. After a lengthy land lesson, we finally headed to open water to practice, Lily quickly could glide on water with a raised sail, I, however, kept falling into the salty water.

The practice soon got into turning: jive - turn in the direction of wind, and tack - turn against wind. She could do that soon. I quickly lowered my goal - as long I could sail on my own, it was a success to me. I also changed my technique, instead of following the instructor's teaching exactly, I would do what ever I could to keep myself standing on the board with sail up. Soon I could sail transverse to wind - the very basics, and I could jive as well, though clumsily.

As the class was ending we were asked to sail to the dock - standing on the sail board with slightly bent knees, sail up, hands on the boom, eyes on a landmark beach house, Lily sailed in with ease. I followed in a similar fashion,  with some efforts, I sailed in without falling. Afterwards, we kept talking about how we could do better in windsurfing. Windsurfing will become our new favorite water sport soon.

wind surfing in Pamlico Sound

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