The Jordan River Coin Toss

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I have heard the stories and seen the photos of what could happen during the winter on our local waters. We are past the mid point of January and so far, the weather has been rather benign with few storms rolling in. For me, this means that this new hobby of rough water kayaking seems more an exercise of study.

5:02AM, the first web page I look at is on the NOAA site for Station 46087. The data comes from the Neah Bay Buoy located at the western entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. An 8ft. swell is rolling in from the Pacific with a 17 second period. That would normally work however the swell direction this morning is southwest; meaning there will be energy lost as the swell bends around the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State to reach our nearest surf break, Jordan River on Vancouver Island.

The buoy is also reporting winds blowing east at 21 knots; that is unfortunately working against the swell. I pull up the Environment Canada website to confirm the easterly winds in the strait; Race Rocks E16 knots, Sheringham Point E13.

What to do? I noticed a nickel on the floor. Heads, I am loading the kayak. Tails, I go back to sleep.

7:53AM, Reuben, Ben D. and I arrive at Jordan River. We actually have two swells rolling in this morning; the predicted wave energy wrapping around the U.S.A and sets coming in from southeast (from winds in the middle of the strait).

Wave theory can wait; there is a practical session to enjoy.