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  2. I used to wrap tape around my paddle shafts to add some friction for my hands, but I learned quickly that the friction I thought I needed translated more into additional blisters than additional grip, so I took it all off. I do use the self-fusing tape that Nancy referred to, but only as high+low stops on each side to keep my hands in the proper spots, sort of like this: <=--|o|----|o|--=> Aside from the slip-stops the one thing I've done is apply some light scoring with very fine steel wool to the spots where my hands go -- just enough to scuff the finish and take the shine off, you really don't need much. Again you want to avoid creating blisters, because at say, even a slow cadence of 60 strokes per minute at a pace of 10 minutes/mile, that's 600 strokes per mile, times say a 10 mile adventure and you are talking 6000 strokes (3000/side) in 100 minutes -- any form of friction, even a few grains of sand or some loose threads of tape, can really eat away at your palms and fingers. Proper technique dictates that you shouldn't be gripping the paddle shaft too tightly, anyway. If you're gripping too tightly then your forearms lock up, your upper arms lock up, your shoulders lock up, your entire upper body locks up, and with everything seized you can't rotate, you can't balance/adjust, you can't breathe... So yeah, loose is good, loose is efficient, loose is fast, and keep the paddle shaft as clean and clear as you can Matt
  3. Yesterday
  4. Wayne and I have wrapped part of the shaft (where our hands are) with triangular silicone self fusing tape. It hardly adds bulk, but makes it much easier to hold. I was getting forearm strain from my death-grip on my Epic wing, but the tape has cured the problem and is holding up well (3 years now with no sign of needing to be replaced). -Nancy
  5. David M


    Hey Matt, I may take you up on this. Live in southern NH. In the meantime I recently purchased a new Epic Full Carbon Small-Mid Wing. I'm paddling it with a Stellar S16S and occasionally with my Cetus on exercise paddles. Love the paddle but it is extraordinarily slippery, especially compared with my Werner cf blades. I have experimented with surfer's wax but find it wears off rather quickly. Any thoughts? David
  6. w00t! You did great — and we didn’t get eaten by the sharks of Woods Hole — all in all a fun day out. If anyone would ever like to try a surfski in nice calm Nahant Bay I have an Epic V8 in my garage ready and waiting. I’ll be out of town for 10 days starting this Thursday but otherwise I’m happy to meet up anytime. Matt
  7. I posted here a couple of years ago about friends of mine who were paddling off Hermit Island (not far from Bailey Island). They said a shark came right up to them and was 6' - 8' long. Not a great white, but they weren't sure what it was as they were so scared they began paddling to shore as fast as they could. I've paddled around Casco Bay and often came across schools of fish flying at me followed by a couple of seals and I was always on the lookout for a fin or two, but never saw one myself.
  8. No. Numbers going up in MA. We're heading in wrong direction with metrics and ME will not welcome us until metrics in line with theirs. 🙁
  9. Is there any indication of when Maine's test-or-quarantine requirement for MA might be lifted?
  10. This coming Saturday 8/8/20 at 9 am we will be holding a Skills Practice Session on rock garden techniques. We will be practicing in learning-friendly situations that allow us to work on our essential skills of observation, analysis and paddling in rocks. The ancient Greeks understood the value of rock gardening: Socrates: Paddling in rocks is one of the noblest arts practiced on the water. Polus: Why should I care about paddling in rocks? Aren't they just there to hurt your boat? Socrates: Polus, sometimes you lack imagination. Reading a rock environment to identify and exploit the natural forces is a puzzle that exercises the mind and improves all of our paddling skills. Polus: But surely once you've been through a bunch of rocks, they're not interesting any more. Socrates: The shape of a rock environment constantly transforms, as the moon goddess Selene controls the ever-changing tide. And no two waves are the same. Polus: You're making this sound kind of... intellectual... I just want to have fun... Socrates: C'mon, Polus, get with the program. Playing in rocks is a total blast. It's way more interesting than open water! We launch from Pebble Beach in Rockport, MA: https://goo.gl/maps/8hWLUJqdb1sHzWC97 and park on the beach side of Penzance Road in the non-residents' area before you get to the sign with parking information. There is no fee. We ask everyone to pre-register for this trip using this form link: https://forms.gle/zycUpDLU6sG5T1X37 Conditions on Saturday are forecast to be perfect for this sort of activity: small, long-period swell and low wind. We will likely head north towards Straitsmouth, then out to Thacher. You must bring a helmet for this session. You should also bring a pair of gloves (for barnacles, not for warmth). This will be a longer session than usual because of the nature of the material and the venue. Please plan on being on the water until about 2 pm. Covid-19 paddling: on this trip we will strictly observe social distancing and MA state recreational boating guidelines for the pandemic. Please research and respect all regulations that apply at the time of the paddle. In particular, we will stay at least 6 feet apart and wear face masks while off the water in public use areas.
  11. The east side was crowded over the weekend. Downtown BH was busy late sat. afternoon. Lots of masks and protocols but in reality people get close. Strange to see couples hiking and biking uphill with masks on when they are not near anyone. I kept my mask handy and used when near others. There is cheap lodging and the campground was 1/3 full but more came on the weekend.
  12. Last week
  13. Hi Midtempo, have a look at Jones landing, Gloucester. Parking is available and you are launching into the protected waters of the Annisquam. Its not Essex Bay but its lovely. Stay in the back side or paddle just out of the mouth to the light house for a little "taste" of Ipswich Bay. You can't land at Wingearsheek Beach but there are sand bars further up where you can get out and stretch. I think you can launch on any tide though it may be a bit of a walk at the ebb- I recall the bottom beyond the ramp being hard rather than shoe sucking mud so still manageable. Maybe others can weigh in on that? Be aware there are currents, especially over the shallows near the mouth but that is also true of Essex Bay. I was out today and can report the Greenhead threat has subsided for the season.
  14. This week's Wednesday Lunch Paddle is on August 5, 2020 at 9.30 am. Important Note on Conditions: This week's paddle will likely take place in the immediate wake of Tropical Storm Isaias. Current forecasts (still not very reliable) suggest the storm will pass through quickly during Tuesday night, with peak winds of 20-30 kt SE and peak offshore seas 4-6 ft, after which the wind will veer S -> W and drop substantially in speed to < 15 kt. The exact track and intensity of Isaias is hard to predict though. Seas in Salem Sound and the ocean may still be rough Wed. morning, but we have chosen a very sheltered location in Salem Harbor from which to start. The idea is to avoid exposure to ocean swell for launching and landing, and proceed into the sound and seawards with care, exercising caution, good observation and good group communication to stay within the group's comfort zone. We will go only as far as we are comfortable going! We do not expect to cancel this trip due to conditions, unless road travel itself becomes unsafe, or we don't like what's happening at the put-in. You can monitor Isaias at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ and keep track of the latest NOAA forecasts at https://marine.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-70.83217&lat=42.51042#.XycLg1BKiHF (note that this is an offshore point forecast and Salem Harbor conditions will likely be much smaller). Covid-19 paddling: on this trip we will strictly observe social distancing and MA state recreational boating guidelines for the pandemic. Please research and respect all regulations that apply at the time of the paddle. In particular, we will stay at least 6 feet apart, minimize sharing docks and ramps with others, and wear face masks while off the water in public use areas—no exceptions on mask wearing except for a medical reason. We also employ an online waiver to avoid passing around a physical piece of paper. You must register using the form link below to be sure that you're actually on the paddle. Location: Stramski Beach, Marblehead. https://goo.gl/maps/JZW9MQVKSyMxuhPq7 (it is on Stramski Way off of West Shore Drive. Although Google Maps cites an incorrect Pitman Road address, it appears to give correct directions, so good enough!) Parking: Don't be fazed by the apparently residential nature of the street: drive past the first parking lot and keep going to the end. Go past the second parking lot, drop off your boat and gear at the turnaround at the end of the street, then try to park in the second lot which is smaller. If that doesn't work out, there is a much larger lot a few minutes walk away from the beach further up Stramski Way. The lots are open to non-residents and there is no charge for parking. Given the weekday and the lousy weather we hope that there will be few cars there. Registration: To attend, please register using this form which will also add your information to the float plan: https://forms.gle/RwFSfKHH9UKNuRHZ8 You must be a paid-up NSPN member to join this trip. Your signup information will only be shared with other participants. Predictions: (see note above for weather and seas) Salem Harbor tides: 2020/08/05 Wed 07:11 AM -0.07 L 2020/08/05 Wed 1:27 PM 8.68 H When/what: We will meet at 9.30 am and launch at 10.00 am sharp. We're simply aiming to be out in whatever conditions exist, paddle safely, and enjoy what nature is doing. This trip doesn't have a specific level: we'll determine the route based on who shows up, what people want to do, and what the environment wants to do. All properly equipped members are welcome: please bring boats with rigged deck lines, bulkheads, spray skirts, and dress for immersion. If you're not sure you have a safe vessel, please get in touch with us and ask. NOTE: The Wednesday Lunch Paddles are cooperative adventures, not guided trips. Each participant is responsible for her/his own safety.Don’t assume the trip initiators are smarter, stronger, better at rough water, more attractive, or more skilled paddlers than you are. For more information, see this description of our trip philosophy from the NSPN web site. We encourage paddlers to make their own independent decision about their comfort level with conditions at the time of the paddle. Please PM me if you have questions or if you haven’t paddled with me or Bob before. Hope to see you there!
  15. josko


    Huge thanks to Matt Drayer for an impromptu surfski lesson this morning.
  16. 31 July 2020 Friday Forecast NNW wind 5 to 8 kt becoming E in the afternoon. Mostly sunny. Seas around 1 ft...this was about right. HT 9:15A 8.6' LT 3:06P .7' Gaia didn't track today, but tracing the chart afterwards has us at 9 nm for the day. Tim Roberts, Sue Hriciga, Mike Habich Tim wanted to do about 12 miles, ideally on lumpy water. I suggested Granite Pier - Straitsmouth - Salvages - Thacher -Milk and back, since we don't get there often enough. Millions of other people chose to go to work instead of paddling, so it was three to sea. Granite Pier was peaceful with lots of parking...bring $12. We launched before 10. As we passed the pier, we stopped and matched what we saw with the charts to get our bearings. Sue noted that even on such a calm day the shoals NE point of Straitsmouth would be active. We crossed to the tip of Bearskin Neck, and went along the coast and crossed to Straitsmouth. Indeed the point was delightfully active, promising opportunities for play. Sue rounded the corner and headed down the coast. I could see where the day's plan was heading, but said nothing. We found passages and slots, and took our time watching the sets, evaluating routes behind the rocks, and testing our speculation. Near high tide the passages were many, but full of barnacles. Once we got to the south end of the island I noted that we'd left the Salvages and a boring crossing behind; no one seemed to regret. Crossed back to the coast and investigated Whale Cove and Loblolly Cove. Before crossing to the dock on Thacher Sue pointed out the channel markers, hard to see. I suggested using the house behind the ramp (our target) as a transit. As we crossed, we could see that we were being set to the south by the falling tide. We hauled boats to the top of the ramp and off, and had lunch among the views. We dared the gulls on the handrails of the boardwalks, and toured the island to see the railway and whistle house, but the lighthouses are closed this year. Lots of tempting swash on the outside of the island. We launched and proceeded clockwise around. Near the north end, we started seeing harbor seals breaching and bottling, Seals everywhere, looking back at us. As I rounded the point there were six seals looking up, all so close I could have bopped them on the nose with my paddle...but I was outnumbered, so held my fire. Again, we explored every nook and cranny on the outside. Reaching the south tip, we looked across at Milk. It was 2:15 by now, so we chose to forgo Milk so we could revisit Straitsmouth at lower tide with better upholstered rocks. Either the passages weren't as good with lower water or we'd had enough fun, so a faster visit this time. Crossing back toward the pier we saw a junior sailboat race organized, but not making much headway in the light wind. One of the crews was practicing rolling, but with a different technique than we use. Back to now a busier ramp at the pier and packed up. We agreed that having just the three of us made for a great day exploring the coastline, with no one on deadline. Millions of people can be wrong.
  17. Is this still available? Is it a LV model for smaller frames or would it fit a guy?
  18. I am dredging this topic to remark on the Island Road launch in Essex. I was just there on Saturday. Although there appear to be about 12 spaces available around there, it's clearly posted as "sticker parking only" for Essex residents. So this is not a viable alternative for launching within Essex Bay and shouldn't be suggested. I continue to launch at Farnham's instead without incident.
  19. I will add that I just spent hours in Essex Bay and along Crane Beach on Saturday, August 1. I did not encounter a single greenhead until I attempted to kayak in 6-inch creeks during low tide, and I had to drag my kayak occasionally. This was due to my own poor timing and unwillingness to wake up very early to take advantage of the highest tides. (My kayak can actually float in as little as 3 inches of water.) During normal kayaking and beach, I did not see any greenheads. I was heartened by the good reports on the Twitter feed for Crane Beach about the greenheads, and they were right, there are barely any anymore this year. I encourage anyone who wants to kayak deep into the marshes to do so.
  20. I just got back from MDI. Fortunately even with MA license plates, I had no problems with anyone. Things were notably less crowded...although I was staying on quiet side of the island. As for Covid testing, I'm fortunate to be a Cambridge resident and was able to get a free PCR test...with results back in 24 hrs!
  21. I was at Cranes for several hours today and was surprised to see only ONE green head.
  22. Perhaps eight years ago, a paddling friend and I were within feet of a large shark (approximately half as long as my 18 foot kayak with 12 inches of fin out of the water) under the Onset Ave bridge in Onset, MA. When I got home, I identified it as a bull shark, based on the shape of its fin and head from above. It did not display any aggressive behavior, which had a nice calming effect on us.
  23. Maine is requiring a PCR covid test - my local test site can do those tests but results could take up to 14 days. Maine requires a negative test within 72 hours. How are people managing this? Thanks! Sherry
  24. Yesterday 7/31/2020. I paddled down the parker river from newbury kayak. Paddled the back of plum island to sandy point. Spent much of the day there before paddling back with the tide and saw maybe 3 greenheads all day.
  25. Were you brave enough to kayak in Essex Bay, Annisquam, Hampton Harbor, Great Marsh, or other area salt marsh? If so then please give a report on the greenhead fly situation and when you went. Every year is different and their decline is supposed to start shortly.
  26. Thanks for the heads up on Lynch Park. As an alternative, this summer I've successfully done the Manchester boat ramp in Manchester Harbor instead. Parking is either for Manchester residents or only for two hours for non-residents. But launching there is open and free for all and no COVID restrictions. You can park for free for longer than 2 hours at the nearby train station. It's a five minute walk each way.
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