This past weekend was SK102, a kayak skills training weekend put on by the Chesapeake Paddlers Association. The event is held on a club member's land on Lake Anna, VA - a beautiful piece of land with docks and a boat house, taken over for the weekend by about 100 tents and kayaks of every shape and color. His place is on the warm side of the lake, with water temperatures of about 75 degrees this past weekend. How can one side of a lake be warm, you ask? Simple - just fill it with the cooling water outflow from the North Anna Nuclear Power Station! It makes for a great place to be in the water in April for kayak lessons - and everything glows in the dark, too...
The original plan was that Carole and I would both go down for the weekend, but a social commitment meant Carole couldn't go at all. Then I had to travel all week long, which meant I would have to miss the Friday night activities. Next, other commitments meant I had to be back Saturday night - so I basically left Ashton at 5 am to head down to Lake Anna and left Lake Anna at 4pm to head back. A total of about 250 miles driving but it was worth it. On the positive side: this way did allow me to avoid the Friday night I95 South morass.
I ended up taking Wet Exits and Basic Strokes in the morning and Rescues in the afternoon, both taught by Cyndi Janetzko and Kingsley Chan. Both instructors and both classes were great, but the afternoon rescue course was particularly good. I wasn't really sure I'd be able to contort myself to actually corkscrew back into the cockpit on a T Rescue, let alone a paddle float self-rescue but both went great. Of course, the water was warm, there wasn't much wind and there was lots of advice around - pretty much optimum conditions.
At the end, my practice buddy and I decided to to a few more T rescues and while I was in the water as the rescue-ee, he fell over while lifting my boat to empty it - and we were both in the water. Cyndi leaped on the opportunity to teach us another type of rescue - I forget the name, but the other guy held both both boats from the water. I climbed on top of the surprising stable combination and got in my kayak, then held his and he did a "Tina Turner" entry. Voila - we were both back in the boats. Pretty cool.
Thanks to CPA for a phenomenal event, I wish I could have spent more time. I also wish I took more pictures but I was having too much fun on the water.