It was a gorgeous day to take a walk down by Lake Estes. You can still see all of the snow up on the mountains, while it was fun to see the kayakers out on the lake. It’s starting to feel a bit like summer.
I was walking around Lake Estes the other day when I saw this man putting his kayak in the water. It was the middle of June and the air temperature was about 70 degrees. The water temperature, however, was in the 40s. It comes straight from the melting snow in the mountains.
He had on shorts and a t-shirt and a PFD strapped on the bow of his boat. If a gust of wind came by and he went over, he didn’t have a chance. Hypothermia would set in within less than 2 minutes. There’s no way he could get to shore and there were no other boats on the lake.
Remember your boating Safety Rule: Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. He should have had a dry suit on, or at least a full wet suit. It’s better to sweat a little than to die.
And ALWAYS wear your PFD…if he went over, there was no way he would be able to get his PFD off his boat, put it on and zip it up. You should ALWAYS wear your PFD…you never know what might happen out on the water.
I went sailing with a friend of mine many years ago…we were both very good sailors. A gust of wind came by and the boom flew across the boat, hitting him in the head and knocking him out of the boat and into the water. He did not have a PFD on. Luckily he was still conscious and I was able to get him. The only thing he lost was his prescription sunglasses. Ever since that day, I have never gotten into a boat (and I am an experienced boater) without my PFD. It’s not worth the alternative…
I just thought with summer coming and the water still being so cold, a few safety rules might help. Enjoy your time on the water, but please be safe.
When we lived back east, Phil and I frequently saw the Glossy Ibis down at the shore where we went sea kayaking, usually foraging for food in the shallow ponds. They are such magnificent birds, resembling a dinosaur-like bird, especially when they were flying.
A couple of weeks ago we saw a White-Faced Ibis foraging for food in Lake Estes. They are very similar to the Glossy Ibis but live in different areas of the country.
The Ibis are very distinct-looking with their dark, chestnut plumage; long, down-curved bill; long, dark legs, white feathers like a facial patch; greenish lower back and wing feathers, and dark red eyes. They use their heavy, sickle-shaped bill to probe the mudflats for aquatic invertebrates, amphibians and other small vertebrates. They are only an occasional visitor to the Rockies on their way to the Great Plains and Great Basin to find a suitable breeding site.
We couldn’t get too close but I tried to get a photograph so that you could at least see its coloring and the shape of its huge bill. They are beautiful birds, aren’t they?
Sometimes it gets so windy here in Estes Park that we wonder just what the wind velocity is or how many mhp the gusts are. When we used to ocean kayak we were always aware of the winds and how strong they were. Phil would always use the Beaufort Wind Scale to determine the wind velocity to see if it was safe to paddle that day or to head home if the winds really kicked up while we were paddling.
It’s really easy to use. As the wind picks up, you can tell its mph or knots by looking at a flag or at the waves on the water.
1: 1-3 mph: Light air rising, smoke drifts, wind vane is inactive and small ripples appear on water surface.
2: 4-7 mph: Light breeze, leaves rustle, can feel wind on your face, wind vanes begin to move and small wavelets develop, crests are glassy.
3: 8-12 mph: Gentle breeze, leaves and small twigs move, light weight flags extend and large wavelets, crests start to break, some whitecaps.
4: 13-18 mph: Moderate breeze, small branches move, raises dust, leaves and paper and small waves develop, becoming longer, whitecaps.
5: 19-24 mph: Fresh breeze, small trees sway and whitecaps form, some spray.
6: 25-31 mph: Strong Breeze Large tree branches move, telephone wires begin to “whistle”, umbrellas are difficult to keep under control, larger waves form, whitecaps prevalent, spray.
7: 32-38 mph: Moderate or near gale, large trees sway, becoming difficult to walk and larger waves develop, white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown.
8: 39-46 mph Gale, winds, twigs and small branches are broken from trees, walking is difficult and moderately large waves with blown foam.
9: 47-54 mph: Strong gale, Slight damage occurs to buildings, shingles are blown off of roofs, high waves (6 meters), rolling seas, dense foam, blowing spray reduces visibility.
10: 55-63 mph: Whole gale or storm, trees are broken or uprooted, building damage is considerable and large waves (6-9 meters), overhanging crests, sea becomes white with foam, heavy rolling, reduced visibility.
11: 64-72 mph: Violent storm, extensive widespread damage and large waves (9-14 meters), white foam, visibility further reduced.
12: 73+ mph: Hurricane, extreme destruction, devastation and large waves over 14 meters, air filled with foam, sea white with foam and driving spray, little visibility.
Next time it’s windy, take a look at a nearby flag or the waves on the water and see if you can determine the wind speed wherever you are. We were driving by The Stanley Hotel a few days ago and took a picture of the flag blowing on top…we thought the winds must be about 19-24 mph. I wonder what the winds are today?!