Well I didn't make it all the way across and here is how it went down.
The Weather Forecasts
I had perfect weather forecasts all week for the trip. As the weekend got closer they were calling for storms Sunday night and I would be back 1-2pm on Sunday afternoon anyway if I went there and back. It turned out that the storms hit 11am on Sunday
When I got into the water very early Sat the conditions were sort of perfect, very sunny and a steady breeze. Taking everything into consideration it was sort of the perfect morning. I thought to myself if everything is perfect now and its pretty rough, what would it look like if it got rough??? This was the question of the morning for me
As I got a few miles out on the bay I had rolling waves 3-5 feet and very quick and close together so the AI would ski over one as it dove thru another. I was traveling in the 5-7 mpg range and did most of trip in about 2 hours. At some point during the trip I was taking rolling waves into the PFD and my chest. The conditions in the bay were extremely serious. The wind picked up around 20 or so and I had the sail trimmed and was still moving pretty fast. Like I said this still was pretty good conditions considering how bad it could get if a storm rolled in.
At this point I have decided to make it a day trip and started circling back to the launch spot. Some of the factors that turned me around were the fact that I wasnâ€™t with someone else, and I wasnâ€™t wearing a drysuit. I was wearing a 2 pieces dry system from MTI Adventurer wear, but I really needed a 1 piece dry suit the waves were crashing all over me. When I can get a few AIâ€™s together in September, I will attempt the crossing again, this time I will add 10 miles to the trip, so that I can travel north up the Delaware and circle around to avoid the mouth of the bay and the boat channels.
The scariest thing that ever happened to me on a kayak
During the roughest part of the trip I was moving along, getting absolutely soaked. The waves were breaking over the front, hitting the sail and I was having problems keeping the bow out on top of the waves. I was gong thru or getting close to edge of the channel and water was moving in from 2 directions. I saw the waves come together and burst, it looked like a washing machine, or if you ever white water kayaked, a STOPPER! As I came flying thru the waves the AI just stopped like someone grabbed the boat from underneath. It felt like I was in mud, really sticky and thick water! The AI was shaking, from left to right and the ama/aksâ€™s were going under water. As I was stopping I watched the bow of the boat stick right into the wave. I kept watching for the front of the boat to rise out like it does every other time the bow dives thru a wave. This time the bow was under water and the water kept coming down the kayak. I had no forward momentum and sail was making a ton of noise. I watched the mast mount go under water. I watched the entire area where the mirage drive is fill up with water as the water rushed over mounting bar. I was waiting for the water to drain thru the scuppers and it wasn't draining fast enough. Now there was a second there that I though I was in trouble and I would be swimming. The water kept coming in around me and I started to move around in the seat because the whole cockpit area was under water. The few items I had between my legs start floating away. You really have to imagine sitting in your seat and getting lifted up because the boat is below the water line.
Now I was nervous I got my feet on the mirage drive and was able to move the boat forward, as the boat popped back up.
I will tell you one thing about the Hobie Adventure Island, it is one strong boat. The AI is a means to create your own adventure and know that you can make it home under pedal power, sailing power or paddling. There isn't any other boat I would have used to make the attempt. Although, I didn't complete the round trip crossing. I feel good about the attempt. I did over 25 miles in one day, had a great time sailing and I learned a little bit more about myself
Here is some video from when it was nice out