Delaware & Hudson Canoe & Kayak Club

Bob Wilkie's March 11, 2001 Long Island SoundPaddle -
Stranded on Execution Rock!

Bob Wilkie Responds:
From: BW []
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2001 1:03 PM
To: Taterka, Bruce (NJ)
Subject: Re: Article

Well, first of all, I have paddled solo for years in the winter-time. What was different this time is typically I only do it in the winter if the water is completely calm. When I started out, it was comfortably choppy.

Secondly, I was listening to the weather reports all morning on the radio. The problem was they were not giving a detailed report. I will never rely on them again. They reported 6 mph winds, temperatures rising to the 50s and a POSSIBLE SPRINKLE in the afternoon. What they didn't say was that that possible sprinkle was the leading edge of a cold front accompanied by 13 mph winds with gusts to 28 mph and that the night was to be very cold.

Also, when I started out the winds were out of the north west. In any case, while I was finishing up my lunch on the Long Island side I looked over to the mainland and there was this huge wall of gray clouds which had come from nowhere. There was nothing gradual about this transformation. It went from sunny where I was to nothing but a wall of gray clouds heading eastward. It was after I was a half mile off shore, halfway between the lighthouse and LI, that the winds and waves became fierce. I only realized that I wasn't going anywhere once I reached the lighthouse. Once there, it was better to stay there than to go back to LI. I would have been just as exposed to the elements there, although I suppose I could have strolled a half mile to the nearest mansion and faced off with some guard dogs. But I am much more comfortable paddling with a big head wind than a big tail wind anyway. The wind and waves were so big there is not gaurantee that I could have headed straight to shore. I might have been pushed very far east. The island was definitely the place to wait for things to calm down and, if they didn't, to summon a posse.

Basically, I responded correctly as things unfolded. I am wiser from the experience and, except for when the police boat crashed into the rock, I loved the whole experience. I will now carry at least 6 flares, always have a spare paddle and extra clothes, make sure I get much more detailed weather reports from multiple sources and probably get a marine radio.

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