South Bass Basics
Posted by: emanoh on Jan-06-12 11:33 PM (EST)
Just to help clarify a few things about South Bass, I've listed some of our traditions below. Yes, this is a pretty unstructured event by design, but there is a long backstory as to how/why we've planned it this way. Mostly because of liability issues and having enough experienced, responsible and/or certified instructors/trip leaders. As paddlers we all assume a level of risk together and we look out for each other.
1. The Rendezvous weekend is always the second weekend after Memorial Day and everyone makes their own camping reservations.
2. Friday night potluck dinner is at 7 p.m. In the past we've held it at a specific camp site, but we moved it to the shelter house last year and it's a great spot with picnic tables and a roof for incliment weather. We always intended the potluck as the place people can meet and plan their routes for the weekend. Beginner paddlers usually start out by circumnavigating South Bass Island, intermediate paddlers usually make the crossing over to explore Middle Bass and the experienced paddlers usually link 4-5 islands into a 15+ mile outing with several long open water crossings.
3. On Saturday morning, we've always left en masse from the State Park Beach at 10 a.m. We paddle to the harbor in Put-in-Bay, regroup and pair off into beginner, imtermediate and experienced trips and then launch from there. It's really cool to see 100+ kayaks paddle into the harbor. It's even fun to play around Gibralter Island. It's a right of passage to paddle through the "doorway." If you go on a longer paddle, remember to pack a lunch and water. Sometimes paddlers spend the morning paddling and then end up back downtown for lunch or ice cream before heading back to camp. There is a small sand beach on the south side of the causeway to the monument or the other popular downtown launch is on the rocks next to the Boardwalk restaurant.
4. On Saturday Night, we usually walk into town as a group for dinner. Some paddlers do stay and relax at camp instead. Some stay in town to party and some head back to the State Park after dinner. In previous years I've hosted a campfire smore party at my site for additional socializing. Not sure if my site will host this year or not?
5. For paddlers who didn't stay out too late, I lead a breakfast paddle into town on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. Breakfast at Frosty's is the BEST. By the time we get back people are usually packing up to leave. We typically paddle back across to Catawba around 2 p.m.
6. Getting to the island happens in one of two ways, paddle or take the ferry. This all depends on your comfort level and ability. If you want to paddle over there is a group that usually leaves Catawba Island at the beach near the Miller Ferry about noon on Friday. Keep in mind that if you take the ferry getting there usually isn't a problem, but getting home on Sunday usually takes a while and you have to get in line early to get home. We are pretty picky on who paddles over, we don't typically have rec paddlers make the crossing, but if you're determined we can make accomodations to have experienced escorts. If the weather is bad the ferry is always an option. We've had paddlers who kayak over, but carried on the ferry for the return trip or vice versa. We've had people ride the ferry over,but paddle around to the state park. At Catawba there is free parking at the ferry. Paddlers usually drop their gear, park and walk back to the beach.
7. We also usually do a t-shirt for the weekend. Self admitedly we've had some cool designs and it's fun to see paddlers sporting t-shirts from previous years. We don't make a profit on the shirts and we sell them for cost, usually around $10. Once I get the design locked down we'll send out the design and collect orders.
In the past we've had 41 North out to teach classes, but people didn't really take us up on the opportunity in year 2, so that petered out. One year we also planned an on water scavenger hunt, but nobody, zero, zip were interested and wanted to just paddle. If anyone has any ideas, please toss them out.
Let me know if you have any additional questions, firstname.lastname@example.org