Monday, September 12, 2016

Weather: A Little Respect, Please....

This is a brief tale of our 10th, and briefest outing yet -- and why it is important to respect the weather. Particularly in Florida. Particularly in the middle of tropical weather season.... We started with the best of intentions, knowing that rain is predicted for the rest of the week, but only a small chance this morning. The skies looked great when we headed for the Saint Johns with a plan to paddle north and explore some of the residential canals and small creeks along the east bank. The water was glassy smooth when we arrived...

Kay waiting for me at our launch point after unloading..

We are out for all of ten minutes when we noticed the cumulus clouds building rapidly in the southeast, though it was difficult to tell what direction they were moving in. Thankfully I have a decent weather radar app on my cell phone (carried around my neck in a waterproof case -- see our earlier post "Beginner's Gear"). I removed the phone from the case and checked the radar app. Several small storms hard popped up and movement was directly toward us. So I redirected us back toward our launch point where it would be possible to make a quick exit if necessary. It was necessary. After the ten minute paddle back, I rechecked radar and the small storms were growing and continuing a path strait toward us...

Deceivingly peaceful skies at our launch point. The trees hid the oncoming storms from view.

I figured we had about ten minutes before the rain started, so we headed in, and none too soon. As soon as we were out of our kayaks the light rain started. I finished loading the boats just seconds before the skies opened up in ernest. We were fortunate that there was no lightening yet -- that hit just as we returned home -- about a 10 minute drive.

The view from our driveway when we got home.

My kayak getting a nice rain bath and since on the roof of our truck. Kay's rides in the bed.

As soon as we got home I removed the bow line from my kayak, racked on the roof, and loosened the straps (did not remove them in the event of strong winds with the storm), flipped Kay's kayak bottom-side-up in the bed of the truck, then let mother nature take care of washing the river from the boats with a powerful Florida deluge that lasted about 40 minutes. Here is the radar shot at that time -- the river is totally obscured by reds and oranges. We really did make the correct decisions, and got out of there just in time...

The moral of the story, especially if you are paddling in Florida during the summer through mid-autumn: Keep your eyes to the sky! Check before you go. Check when you arrive. Check after launch unless you are certain that you have clear paddling that day. Yet another novice's lesson: respect the weather... See you again soon!


  1. Glad you made the right decisions and are safe and sound. Up here, in the great white north, they say that if you don't like the weather, just wait five-minutes! Unfortunately, it can mean the difference between life and death, or, at the very least, the difference between a great day or a miserable one.

  2. You did a great job of documenting the experience, from "all clear" to "uh-oh." Lightning on the water is truly something to be avoided!