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Whether The Weather

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On: Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 6:29PM | By: Mel The Guide

Whether The Weather

Welcome, y’all, to Sunny  South West Florida. Well, maybe not so sunny. It’s hot, muggy, rainy. Sure, it rains here too. But that’s why everything is so green. We even get wind, and thunder storms. It’s been said if you don’t like the weather in summer here in SW Florida, just wait a little and it will change. So let me talk about some of this weather and what’s to do if you want to go kayaking or canoeing. First, let me say I love it! Why? Because I get off from work. Not too many folks like to go on tour in the rain, which sadly is their loss. I like it because I know how to deal with it.

No, I don’t go out in a thunder and lightning storm, but I do go out in the rain. As I write this, words from a country western song I like come to mind, “Rain is a good thing. Rain makes corn grow, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky.” Then I don’t go to work. Well, may be not, but it sounds good.

So if we got rain we got clouds. Aside from the Weather Channel and marine radio you want to be looking at clouds. Open the door and look up. What’s happening? Is it sunny, but getting dark? Clear blue sky but big puffs of cotton? Or may be just a wisp of clouds?

Clouds are the things you want to be looking at. What are they doing and how will they affect my day on the water? You have all kinds of clouds, but the ones you want to be looking for are the cumulus, puffy or cotton-like in appearance, alone or in a line or clusters. Most intense cumulus and cumulonimbus are associated with severe weather like hail, tornados and water spouts. Water spouts are intense funnel-shaped clouds that are connected to a cumuli-form cloud over water. Water spouts do not suck up water. The water seen in the main funnel cloud is actually water droplets formed by condensation. This area of South West Florida had a tornadic water spout on July 15, 2005 off the coast of Punta Gorda, caused by a severe thunder storm.

A thunderstorm is defined as convection that has at least one stroke of lightning that produces audible thunder. If you ever get caught in a thunderstorm, look for the anvil in the sky; it will point to the direction that storm is heading, in most cases. Then head the other way, or seek shelter.

If we have clouds it’s not too bad, but add wind, then that changes things. Wind in meteorology is often referred to according to its strength, and the direction from which the wind is blowing. Short bursts of high speed wind are called gusts. If the blasts of wind last only around a minute or so they are called squalls. When wind blows for a long time it is called a breeze, gale, storm, hurricane, and a typhoon.

Rain is liquid precipitation. Other kinds of precipitation are snow, hail, and sleet.

So it’s raining; are we going to hide inside and think about our next kayak adventure in the sun? Can you believe some folks do that? Not me; like I said before, I’m off, so I’m going kayaking. Sure I may get wet, but that’s why they make ponchos and rain suits. I like the ones called Frogg Toggs; they are like light paper but do keep you dry. I even have a set on my motorcycle. You can get any good one at Bass Pro Shop and it will work fine. Just don’t buy the heavy rubber ones; they don’t breathe and you will come back soaked inside just from sweating. Get a rain suit with a hood; some don’t have them. Put the hood up to keep the rain off the back of your neck. I also wear a Tilley hat with a brim to keep the pouring rain out of my face.

You can put your camera, keys, and binocs in a dry bag or a plastic jar. If you are going out to eat when you return, bring a change of clothes and a towel.

If you have a sit-in kayak you should have bought a skirt to keep out the rain and waves. If not you will be having sub races in the rain. Also a bailer pump, or a bottle with the bottom cut out to use as a scoop, and a sponge.

Some of my best paddles have been in the pouring rain. First there is no boat traffic. The launch areas are empty. The sounds in a mangrove forest when it is raining are so peaceful. Most of the birds are up in the mangroves seeking shelter. And the fish still bite in the rain.

I can try to tell you how to get out and have a good time in the rain but an American poet back in the 1800s who wrote Paul Revere’s Ride and many other well-known poems, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, said it best: “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” I pondered that thought and found it pretty profound. So if you are sitting home and it looks like rain, get out or give us a call and we will set up a kayak tour. Yep, in the rain.

Thanks again for paddling with Mel The Guide. Tours or rentals 941-661-8229 at Gulf Coast Kayak.

“Rain Is A Good Thing” written by Thomas Luther Bryan and Dallas Davidson. Copyright © Bug Music, Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Murrah Music Corporation, String Stretcher Music


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