Sunday, January 06, 2008

Three Amigos

For me, winter paddling is all about the weather. I have no desire to head out in sub freezing temperatures but a 40 degree day is more than enough to get my attention. So when Joe suggested a Boston Harbor paddle as an option for Saturday I checked the forecast and my schedule (in that order) and got excited. I contacted Eric to find out if he had a preferred day. Boston is “sort of” in our neck of the woods so I didn’t want to do it if he couldn’t. It was his preferred day. Then Joe posted that he was feeling a little bit under the weather and maybe Sunday would be a better day. I asked Eric if he’d be OK if it was just the two of us. We agreed that would be fine, we’d just stay inside of Hull. But I also said to him that if we were going I suspected Joe would feel well enough. He didn’t disappoint me.

Initially the forecast for Sunday was actually a little warmer. But my weather mantra is “don’t pass up a good day for want of a better day later”. Too many times I’ve said let’s wait for the better day only to have the forecast degrade. Again, the weathermen didn’t disappoint me.

So Paul, Joe and Eric showed up at Hull Gut. We had posted and did not know if anyone else would arrive. I didn’t expect any of the RI crew because they feel they need to have their passports to cross their little state border. But I thought that maybe some of the north shore paddlers that sometimes join us in the summer would show up. It turned out it was just us three. The conditions we perfect for a relaxing paddle so 3 was fine.

I suggested that our course include circumnavigating Pedocks Island but Joe insisted it was boring. So we all agreed to head towards the outer islands with Green Island as our destination. We headed out with the tide and a light wind pushing us. We managed just under 5 miles in the first hour and were at Green well before we were hungry for lunch. The Graves loomed off in the distance but we couldn’t land on graves comfortably and it was winter so somehow we managed to show good judgment and head south towards Outer Brewster Island instead. With a little instigation from me, Joe started the process of sneaking through a skinny passage in the rocks. I chose the second passage and rubbed my bow a bit. Joe took a different line and awkwardly scuffed his beam. Eric learned from our mistakes and made the passage perfectly! We found no good landing spot on this island, nor Middle Brewster, so we headed towards Boston Light.

We had not seen any seals around Green Island. We did see rocks that looked like perfect sunning spots. We assumed that maybe there were none to be found. But we were surprised when a friendly group of about 6 checked us out as we passed between Outer and Middle Brewster. We paused to observe them and discussed how we probably scare them because we look like 17 foot sharks from below. However, in the water and at their distance they seem comfortable.

We pulled up on the shore of Boston light for lunch. I located a comfortable rock facing SW towards the sun. As we started to eat our lunches the sun slipped behind a high cloud haze and the wind died. The lack of sun, the cold rock under our butts, and the cooling down of our bodies from stopping paddling combined to chill us all a bit. It’s heeding little clues like this that keeps us cautious and not doing things like paddling out to The Graves. Had one of gone over out there it would be two hours back to the put in.

The three amigos talked about our jobs while eating lunch. Had it been warmer I could have sat on that rock for hours. It was profound how different work is for the three of us. Yet each of us finds satisfaction in what we do. (And each of us enjoy immensely being out on the water in early January.)

Back on the water the wind picked up a bit. It was always gentle but without the sun it had a cold feel. We headed directly back to Windmill Point. As we passed through The Gut the tide was just finishing its ebb. Eric felt compelled to continue his discipline of doing at least one practice roll. This day it was just one roll but he did it.

We packed up our stuff, changed into dry cloths, and sought out the nearest coffee/pastry shoppe. I think we earned a little snack.

1/5/2008 10.5 miles round trip. Air 40, water mid 30s, winds gentle WSW.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2008 Paddles

The Paddles of 2008

1/5/2008 Boston Harbor Outer Islands
1/12 Oaklawn Beach to Patience Island
1/13, 1/20, 2/10 Ricka Rolling Practice
2/3 Narragansett Town Beach to Bonnet
3/30 Kings Beach to 1st Beach Newport
4/19 Jamestown/Brenton Point
5/11 Oaklawn Beach to Patience Island
5/25 Quonny Pond Practice
6/29 OSA to Prudence
7/4 RICKA picnic paddle
7/12 Westport Paddle
7/20,22,23,25,26 St Laurent / Saguenay Quebec
8/16,17 Deerfield River WW Class
9/8 Hull, World's End to Pedocks Island
9/13 Sakonnet Point Training
9/20 Stone Bridge, Tiverton
10/4-10/5 Freeport-Jewel Island Maine
10/11 Deerfield River Round 2
10/15 Westport River Rip
10/18 Lake Chauncy Roll & Rinse
10/26 Charles River/ Barking Crab
11/1 Padanaram to the Dumplings
11/15 Stone Bridge/windy paddle
11/29 Bay Campus

32 Days