Upsides of attending the Door County Sea Kayak Symposium:
1) Really great people. I am always amazed at the quality of individuals that kayaking attracts. The whole Wagon Trail was full of paddlers in various stages of wetness (bone dry to skank-dripping neoprene), skill level (never seen a kayak to having circumnavigated Ireland), and age (eight to eighty literally). The one quality that did not vary was the warmth of their smiles, the hugs and high-fives, and the fact that everyone looks beautiful and radiant by campfire light. It is the most flattering of all lighting, I believe.
2) Really great paddling. The weather was interesting this last weekend. Really interesting. The winds were sometimes wicked, and the direction was almost arbitrary. 15-20 gusting to 30 from the south created some really tasty waves and swells that challenged quite a few beginners. I was lead guide on one trip with 25 novices, and going with the wind it took every ounce of restraint not to catch the 4-footers and just ride them all the way to Cana Island lighthouse. I showed remarkable restraint.
One of my favorite moments was when I stayed back with Frankie, a novice paddler who would qualify for AARP membership, refused a tow three different times as she paddled into waves over her head. I convinced her she was safe enough with me there to rescue her, so she said she'd keep plugging away. She did, and I couldn't be more proud of her.
3) Door County Bakery and a thing called Corsica Bread. It is to die for. It is worth dying for. I have never tasted bread so good outside Italy. We ate five pounds of it over a three day period and burned it off paddling.
4) Getting the Cetus wet. I received my Cetus on Tuesday, a week ago tomorrow, and it went straight onto the van. I hadn't paddled one since last year at the Symposium, after which I ordered one immediately. After a year wait, here she is.
Carbon-Kevlar hull and deck...strong, light, and fast. Totally predictable in following seas, surfs like a champ, fast in rough water, and comfortable to boot. I can't say enough good things about this kayak. She did get some nice scratches on both the deck and the hull, so she's broken in nicely.
Oh yeah...she's pretty too.
Things that were not so good:1) My xD card. It went pfffftt, taking 120 really great pictures with it. I did not bring my laptop so I could not download them every night. My mistake, it'll never happen again.
This is why I still have film cameras.
The neighbors think the neighborhood is starting to look like a tenement.