Jailhouse to Toilet Bowl Beach, October 9th 2008.

John Boeschen complains that enough women donít come on the Thurseve Paddles. Or that many come once and never come back again. This Thursday evening we had two female carbon based units come along: Megan, who is a regular now, and Kim Paterson. Kim immediately acquired a nickname: Keltic Kim. It took me years to get a nickname!

The conditions started out calm at Jailhouse Beach and got rougher when we paddled out into the wind and tide. I started catching surf rides on the wind waves and pulled ahead of almost everybody else. Almost everybody except for John and The Mayor. It has long been a puzzle to me why a young whippersnapper like me has to sprint to keep up with the old geezers on the Thurseve paddles. Iíve been joking that I have this to look forward to: Getting older but faster. One explanation is that all these guys are marathon mountain bicyclists and are in better shape than most of us whippersnappers. But today I found another reason: Experience. John has been on The Bay so often in so many different conditions that he has learned to surf the wind waves. Thatís how he pulls ahead so easily!

Some of us landed on Toilet Bowl Beach early, others circumnavigated the island. On their way around they ran into a Coast Guard boat. The Coasties didnít hassle them, just checked to see if they needed rescuing. Sorry to disappoint them. We all collected on the beach and settled in for an evening of eating and drinking around the campfire.

Tug built the fire behind a large driftwood log to try and set up a windbreak. The wind continued to blow all evening (and all night) and blew the flame back around into the log. The flames found cracks in the log and burned through them to jet out the up-wind side! By the time the festivities were winding down this log was burned half way through. John and Tug picked up the ends and dunked the log in the ocean to put it out. We didnít want to be responsible for setting Red Rock Island on fire. Several days later, Angel Island did catch on fire! A few of my friends asked if the Thurseve Paddlers had been on Angel Island that evening and wondered if it was our fault.

When everyone left to paddle back in the dark, I stayed on the island and set up my tent. I watched the last coals of the fire, picking up some (with tongs) and tossing them down in front of the waves on the beach. Finally I buried the last of them and went to bed. The wind blew all night long and was still there in the morning to make my paddle back to my car a workout. You can see Johnís version of the evening here, but as usual he puts words in everyoneís mouth that we donít remember saying.

All text and images Copyright © 2008 by Mike Higgins / contact