Sunday, June 10, 2012

The other Bay Campus

The other Bay Campus: Great Bay, New Hampshire

Keri and I were looking for a relaxing paddle where we wouldn't feel the need to get all dressed up in wet suits or dry suits.  We've been talking about Great Bay for a long time and the time was finally right.  We launched from Adams Point (Durham, NH) at the University of New Hampshire's Jackson Estuarine Lab.  We also drove by Chapman's Landing in Stratham NH, the opposite end of the bay.  Both sites looked like you'd never be shut out due to crowds or parking issues.  We launched and returned at about 2 hours from low tide.  I can imagine at dead low there could be some mucking required but we had no trouble. 

The area was very pretty with a surprising amount of "green" and surprisingly few ostentatious McMansions.  It is protected water... sort of.  You can do a two mile crossing if you'd like and we experienced the 3 mile fetch in 20 mph winds.  But what Great Bay is really perfect for is poking around little coves and marshes.  The water was already pretty warm.  There are significant shallows in the bay and I'm sure it would make a great warm water practice spot in the summer. 

And then there are the currents.  Great Bay empties through the Piscataqua River to the sea.  It also has 7+ foot tides.  Where we paddled is the broad open Great Bay.  We could see a tidal rip right of Adams Point but we didn't put ourselves in it.  There are definitely opportunities for excitement at the Piscataqua end.  We are saving that for another day when the water is warmer.

6/9/2010 Air temperatures low 70's, winds West 10-20,