On the recent survey along the south coast of Afognak we used kayaks for transportation, but unlike the past few surveys this time we had a 'hard shell' as well as the usual inflatable kayak. Jeff brought along his own kayak. It was fun to see how they compared. They are actually pretty similar in a lot of way. I was surprised to find the inflatable was similar in speed to the hard shell.
On this survey all was well on the water until the last day when we entered Afognak Straits between Whale Island and Afognak. We were on the home stretch to Afognak Village and the tide was just starting to come in. And suddenly we were paddling upstream in a river. Stop paddling and you went backwards fast. The current was easily flowing 4 or 5 miles per hour.
We thought about waiting for high tide and floating the last part on the ebb when the current would be with us - but that meant waiting until evening. And so we paddled it. After all it was only a mile or 2. ... .. My technique was to dart in and out of the eddies along the shore. I'd go full 'sprint' speed in bursts around the points. Jeff tried paddling out in the middle were the current was constant but not quite as fast as at the points along shore. He did not need to sprint but he had to keep up a constant high rate of speed. Either way it was a slog.
It was a HUGE relief to round the corner to Afognak Village and get out of the current!
|The Narrows - Note that the tide is floating the eel grass in the wrong direction|