Friday, December 10, 2010

Testing My Drysuit

The picture above is from last Sunday, a delightful still day with a temperature of about 33F. We launched at high tide, and stayed quite warm, enjoying the illusion of the reflected snowflakes falling up in the river. This photo is near the finish, I'd just gathered some trash.  You can quite easily spot how far the water has fallen.  What a pretty day that was!

After the paddle I decided it was well past time to test the drysuit, so I waded in.
It was easy to bob along, held up by the lifejacket and air trapped in the suit.  My hands are up attempting to keep the inside of my gloves dry. It was bearable, and I had no trouble swimming, but it was not warm. Optimistically, I’d worn water shoes in, so that my waterproof boots would be dry for paddles later in the week (hah!) My feet got quite cold quite quickly. But the good news is, when I got out, I warmed right up, except the cramped feet. So if I rolled or needed a T-Rescue I’d be all set. However, I would be in trouble if I was in the water too long, reinforcing our conservative winter paddling routine.

It was a useful exercise, and it makes me love my boots all the more. Next step, trying some actually rescues (In a pool or warmer water.)
Not right away, this is how the water looked on Thursday.
And forget trying to paddle between the ice. See how straight the tine red buoy was there? This is the angle it got to when the ice passed near it.
A blurry still from a film we're attempting to edit
The video below shows ice piling up on the shore, ice is a hazard at any squeeze point.

Despite the ice, I'm still optimistic.  It's supposed to warm up this weekend, one good tide cycle and all that ice could be melted or off in the ocean!


  1. Yup that looks cold. Nice to be outdoors though isn't it?

    The Average Joe Fisherman

  2. Hey Molly. Always use caution when paddling in very cold waters, wear your PFD, your dry suit and go with a paddling companion. I know that YOU know this... but it bears repeating.

  3. Mike, it does bear repeating, to always use caution with cold water. Now that I've waded into the water with the suit, I'm reminded that the drysuit is not a magic cure for cold, cold water is still inherently more dangerous. And definitely I don't want to skip any aids to a fast rescue; including drysuit, PFD and trained companion!
    Ryan: it was actually pretty reasonable, compared to 20 later in the week. But you're right, it was great to be out!