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  1. 9_14_2022 West Beach, Beverly to Graves Island, Manchester. 10:15am - 3:00pm. LT 8:32am -0.2ft HT 2:49pm 10.4ft. Tidal range 10.6ft, ¾ moon springs. Participants: Ricardo, Prudence, Mike, Fred, Sue, Sue H, and Bob L in Castrato Explorer. >10kts W wind, gusts to 25kts. Air temp 75F. 1-2ft long period swells, wind chop, sunny. The ground track for the 7nm trip is shown in Figure 1. The location of the coasteering run is circled on the chart. Figure 1: Ground track for the 9_14_2022 paddle. Mola Mola sighting at black star, coasteering run circled, and wind direction indicated in blue arrow. The group launched at about 10:15am from West Beach into warm west winds. Temps were peaking at a balmy 80F inland. It was sunny in the morning and turned partly cloudy in the afternoon. Perhaps the last summer-like weather for the season. The goals were to combine rock gardening with a mid-day coasteering run. Coasteerers Ricardo, Sue and Bob had helmets, gloves, climbing shoes, and at least three mil neoprene wetsuits. Water temps were about 65F, although we noted a large (~10F?) variation in water temperature as we paddled along the coast. After rounding the Ram Ledge in Manchester, we had excellent rock face runs along Gales Point, into Lobster Cove, and out to Pickworth Point. The 1-2 foot swell was perfect, and the following west wind was nonexistent in the nooks-and-crannies – as we expected. That would be appreciated on the return. On the out-bound run we scoped out many excellent rock formations for coasteering, including the NSPN Ledge and Rock off Pickworth Point. We also circumnavigated Rock Dundy and checked out a deep crevasse on the north side that would be good for climbing. As we were returning into the lee of Singing Beach we were pleasantly surprised by a visit from Alex Debski. He was between jobs for his diving service company, ABC Diving, and stopped by in his motorboat. After catching up with Alex, we paddled along the beach for more rock gardening to Graves Beach and out into the wind to scope out the Graves Island coastline. The stretch between Singing and Graves Beaches offers unique sheer rock faces that continue to Gloucester – including Rafes Chasm. The “Avalon Terrane” rock formations and crevasses are perfect for coasteering. The rocks are rounded vertical and horizontal slabs with deep narrow chasms. The rock faces have small well-placed hand and foot holds allowing climb-outs that appear miraculous from a distance. This is distinct from the “Nahant Gabbro” on Nahant and the outer islands – also great for coasteering – but more sheer, dark, spiky and less “friendly”. As we approached the west side of Singing Beach, we encountered a large Mola Mola. We were able to paddle very close, nearly on top of the fish, and Mike noted that it was surfacing to attract birds to eat parasites on its skin*. While the Mola Mola was not at all concerned about us, the desired birds would stay away due to hovering kayakers! We moved on. After crossing back to Ballarock Cove for lunch, the coasteerers decided to suit up and head for the terrane along the eastern shore of the cove. The coasteering section is indicated in Figure 1 and shown in detail in Figure 2. Ricardo, Sue and I started walking through the ledge, but it quickly became obvious that it was easier to swim. We were grateful for the safety kayakers Prudence, Sue H, Mike, and Fred. The first goal was a deep long chasm that we had passed earlier and decided was too narrow for a kayak (#3 on Figure 2). I’ve eyed this slot many times in the past. It is only 2-3 feet wide, yards long, with high walls and very deep water. The slot is overall highly protective; but concentrates swell energy into a focused vertical wave that runs its distance. We had only 1-2 foot 10 sec swell outside, very reasonable for a kayaker, but the big ones concentrated into a 3-4 foot traveling wall of water in the slot. It looked menacing. However, the wave is vertical, not horizontal, so the effect was just a gentle rise and forward push. It does not break until exiting the slot. This would be a good starting point for coasteering! On the way to the slot, we found perfect hand/foot holds to climb up rock faces. These are shown in #1 and #2 on Figure 2. The ledge skirt was small, so it was easy to jump out into deep water. I think we got up to around 10-15 feet above the water. As noted above the climbs look difficult due to the small hand/foot holds; but the holds are plentiful, and it is easy to navigate upward. The climb starts with a hand hold on an incoming swell, a quick gathering in for the foot hold, and then holding on, hoisting, and moving up or holding tightly for the next swell. Vertical rock faces are far easier than horizontal ledges. If I slipped, my plan was to push out from the face to clear the ledge skirt. The fall would not be difficult. As it turned out, nobody fell, and we had exhilarating jumps into the water. As Ricardo, Sue and I entered the slot, I was amazed at its depth below and the beautiful view to an open ridge of sky far above. Occasionally, that big swell would be seen coming in and we would yell “incoming!”; but for all the visual drama the wave just pushed us gently up and forward – aiding in our progress. Midway, at the front of the line, Ricardo found a small climbable section and managed to get about 5-6 feet up the interior rock face. He then jumped dead center to the slot. I thought it was gutsy, since there was a ledge skirt on either side of a very narrow opening. Reaching that location, I accepted the challenge, climbed out, and plunged into very deep water just adjacent to the skirt. The jump area in the slot is shown in #3 on Figure 2. The traveling wave in the slot did break at the exit so required us to wait for a small wave and a gentle push out. After exiting the slot, we swam along the rock face into a basin #4. The 1-2 foot waves, while less consequential in a kayak, can have very significant impact at the swimmer’s level. This is particularly true in shallow basins and ledges. After experiencing just this condition and enjoying the sloshing rides in basin #4, we swam around the headland to basin #5. Here I discovered a completely unexpected tunnel (circled on Figure 2)! In many kayaking traversals of this rock garden, I had never seen what I was facing at the water level – a tunnel of approximately 20 feet or so with a small, yet passable, triangular entry right at the base of the ledge. On the drain I could see light at the other end. It appeared that the exit was also passable. I exclaimed to Ricardo to come take a look. As we stared at it, I mentioned that despite being flooded to the roof on a swell, the tunnel was passable. I wondered out loud what would happen if I got stuck in there. Ricardo looked grim, then smiled and said, “You will die”. We laughed just as a big swell came in and swept me back toward the entry. Ricardo looked alarmed as I disappeared in the water and said later that he thought that I may have been swept in. He could not see that I was positioned so that was impossible. Well, traversing that tunnel was above today’s paygrade, and anyway would require examination of the exit; and possibly entering through the exit side first to test for a push out. We decided to leave it for next time and move on. The next slot is shown as #6 in Figure 2. This is a known slot that is passable in a kayak at very high water. We flushed through and back on swells. I went feet-first through, but my leg got caught on a rock and the ride was bumpy. We decided that it was better to run through head-first. In a flowing current of green water (not breaking) it was possible to keep your head up away from the rocks, and it just seemed easier to direct the push through. After #6 I went onto a ledge at #7 that had a little more action. It was fun to get pushed around with one footers flowing over the shallow table, but a larger set came in and it became chaotic. I briefly lost control in the sloshing and felt a sharp pain in my left leg. I was wearing only Body Glove shoes for a good climbing grip, and foolishly left the bottom of my wetsuit pantleg unzipped. Big mistake. My feet were swept over some sharp rocks or barnacles, and I got a nasty scratch exactly in the opening of the wetsuit. Lesson learned. The larger waves (really no more than two feet) continued pounding over the shallow ledge; and this caused a very challenging climb-out. Much harder than the rock faces. I eventually managed to crawl, not climb, out onto a rock that was probably 4-5 feet above the water level. Standing at #8 I was initially going to jump but could barely discern lighter coloration in the water as it drained. I think it was deep enough, but that set off alarms of a possible ledge. In an abundance of caution, I worked my way off the rock and just stepped into an oncoming swell. Ricardo and Sue were already swimming back and I started in that direction as well. I managed a nice climb-out and jump at #9 before following them into the original slot #3. Now experienced with the slot dynamics, it was a relaxing passage for us before the final swim into the beach. High-fives all around for Ricardo, Sue and me – and a heartfelt thank you to the safety kayakers. The scrapes on my leg were painful but just superficial – a good reminder to wear heavy-duty high socks with the shoes, and fully zip the wetsuit. It is for more than just warmth! Figure 2: Overview of Coasteering from Ballarock Cove. White line is the track, red stars are jump locations, the location of the tunnel is circled, and numbers refer to basins, slots, and jumps mentioned in the trip report. Back in the kayaks, we had a delightful rock gardening run to Gales Point with very high springs water. The venerable NSPN Rock was just a bump over breaking waves. By looking at the treetops, it was clear that the coastline was providing water-level lee from the west winds – a fact that had motivated the paddle plan. As we rounded Gales Point, it at first appeared that winds had died down. Perhaps we had escaped the expected slog from Gales to West Beach? Unfortunately, as we moved into the open area of Manchester Harbor, sustained winds and gusts increased. We’ve seen worse though, the air was warm, and the sun emerged occasionally from the clouds that had arrived during the afternoon. It was a very pleasant paddle past Chubb Island into West Beach. We landed in high water at around 3:00pm. Thanks to all the participants! PS. Coasteering is a sport combining swimming, rock climbing, jumping, and diving. As seen in today’s session, participants experience unique environments and water dynamics at the interface of the ocean with rock faces, slots, ledges, and basins. The kayak has an important role in providing accessibility to island coasteering, and for safety. With or without safety kayakers, a nearby fully provisioned kayak is useful for the safety and comfort of coasteerers. We are currently in the three-mil weather regime dictated by water and air temps. Five mil wetsuits will be preferred later in the fall. *PPS. Note on the Mola Mola. More than 40 species of parasites may reside on the skin and internally, motivating the fish to seek relief in a number of ways.[5][25] One of the most frequent ocean sunfish parasites is the flatworm Accacoelium contortum.[28] In temperate regions, drifting kelp fields harbor cleaner wrasses and other fish which remove parasites from the skin of visiting sunfish. In the tropics, M. mola solicits cleaning help from reef fishes. By basking on its side at the surface, the sunfish also allows seabirds to feed on parasites from its skin. Sunfish have been reported to breach, clearing the surface by approximately 3 m (10 ft), in an apparent effort to dislodge embedded parasites.[26][29]
  2. Wednesday Lunch Paddle at West Beach, Beverly. Meet at 9:30am for launch at 10am. We'll pick an appropriate route based on conditions and the group's preference as per the usual improvised process. On this trip, depending on the interests of the participants, we may include coasteering and/or snorkeling pods. Coasteering involves rock hiking near the water, climbing, climb-outs, swims and jumps. Wetsuits (at least 3mil), climbing shoes, gloves, and helmets are strongly advised. There have been three or so private coasteering sessions among NSPN members so far this year. Here is a link to a trip report from a session last fall: Snorkeling is, well snorkeling...Fins, goggles, snorkels, gloves and etc. Wetsuits are also good depending on duration in the water. Here is a link to a trip report from an earlier WLP with snorkeling: I have some extra gear for coasteering and snorkeling. PM me for special requests. To join the trip you must be a paid-up NSPN member, and have signed the club participant waiver for this season. Your signup information will only be shared with other members on the trip. Covid-19 paddling: this trip requires paddlers to be vaccinated/boosted against Covid-19 and symptom-free, as rescues or first aid may require close physical contact. Trip level: WLPs do not have a specific level. All properly equipped members are welcome: please bring boats with rigged deck lines, bulkheads, spray skirts, and dress for immersion. For this trip a helmet is recommended also. NOTE: The Wednesday Lunch Paddles are cooperative adventures, not guided trips. We encourage paddlers to make their own independent decision about their comfort level with conditions at the time of the paddle. 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. Windy is showing 2ft 4 sec waves, W winds 15kts, gusts 20-25kts, temps 70-75F, sunny. Please PM me or post here to sign up. I will generate a paper float plan with respondent's names, numbers and emergency contacts. Please include that information in the response. Hope to see you there!
  3. Kate, Interesting, and nice photo. Thanks for the information! Bob
  4. Has anyone paddled Digby Peninsula in Nova Scotia? Topography shows even higher elevations than the western coast of Grand Manan; but possibly set back. Looks like an interesting area.
  5. We saw this, especially the first day on the ebb along the SW corner. Overall, as with the Bold Coast, depending on the currents you could either hit the "escalator" on the outside or run back eddies between headlands on the inside. Long Eddy Point on Northern Head is aptly named. Hitting the opposing back eddy there on the approach to Money Cove was a memorable lesson. On the eastern side of Grand Manan the currents around the islands are much more complex. I agree with Tom and was struck by the similarities to Wales. The long western coast has huge headlands (larger than Eastern Head on the Bold Coast and repeated). As in Wales, you are forced to navigate by assessing headland and bay curvature, topography, and spillways for water that appear on the chart. Combined with the currents and conditions, it is a great training or assessment area for 5*. Confederate flags are gone now. The Dark Harbor folks were very friendly, and one provided guidance on the “dead tide” not reaching the landing. A careful assessment of the previous evening’s high-water mark and predicted upcoming high showed he was right. Yet, I parked up the hill - not wanting to be reminded of the variability of water level forecasts by seeing my car in the harbor on the return.
  6. We will meet at 10:00 am and launch promptly at 10:30 am. The launch is at Fishermans Beach in Swampscott. Registration: To attend, please respond here or PM me. To join the trip you must be a paid-up NSPN member, and have signed the club participant waiver for this season. Your signup information will only be shared with other members on the trip. Predictions and Plan: NOAA Forecast is ENE wind 5 to 7 kt becoming ESE in the afternoon. A chance of showers, mainly after noon. Seas around 1 ft., 55F, Magic Seaweed - Nahant, 1.5ft 6 sec waves. Tentative plan is to Nahant Beach then out to East Point, Nahant. Covid-19 paddling: this trip requires paddlers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 per request of the trip organizers, as rescues or first aid may require close physical contact. Trip level: WLPs do not have a specific level. All properly equipped members are welcome: please bring boats with rigged deck lines, bulkheads, spray skirts, and dress for immersion. NOTE: The Wednesday Lunch Paddles are cooperative adventures, not guided trips. We encourage paddlers to make their own independent decision about their comfort level with conditions at the time of the paddle. 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. Please PM me if you have questions or if you haven’t paddled with me before. Hope to see you there!
  7. Bill, Yes, that is the put-in. There was a portable toilet there last season. Bob
  8. We will meet at 10:00 am and launch promptly at 10:30 am. The launch is at West Beach in Beverly. Registration: To attend, please respond here or PM me. To join the trip you must be a paid-up NSPN member, and have signed the club participant waiver for this season. Your signup information will only be shared with other members on the trip. Predictions and Plan: NOAA Forecast is WNW wind 12 to 15 kt. Sunny. Seas around 2 ft. Windy.com showing similar winds and gusts to 26kts, 4% cloud cover, 55F, 2ft 3 sec waves. The tentative plan is to paddle along the Gales Point-to-Singing Beach ledges and rock face wind shadows. Covid-19 paddling: this trip requires paddlers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 per request of the trip organizers, as rescues or first aid may require close physical contact. Trip level: WLPs do not have a specific level. All properly equipped members are welcome: please bring boats with rigged deck lines, bulkheads, spray skirts, and dress for immersion. NOTE: The Wednesday Lunch Paddles are cooperative adventures, not guided trips. We encourage paddlers to make their own independent decision about their comfort level with conditions at the time of the paddle. 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. Please PM me if you have questions or if you haven’t paddled with me before. Hope to see you there!
  9. "I was lookin' for lee in all the wrong placesLookin' for lee in too many (rock) faces" 1_9_2022: Thurston Point, Gloucester to Halibut Point, Rockport. 10:00am-3:00pm. Relentless sustained 20kts SW winds and 30kts gusts. Temps 44F, 1-2 ft waves, LT 10:30am 0.9ft, HT 4:52pm, 9ft, tidal range 8.1ft half-moon neaps. Alone in Margarita. Ocean was brutal yesterday from Thurston Point in the Annisquam River to Halibut Point. I wanted a challenge and got one. The ground track is shown in Figure 1. It was all about searching for wind shadows in nooks and crannies but none were available northeast of Folly, southwest of Lanes, southwest of Hodgkins (Davis Neck), and the Annisquam mouth. Outbound was fine, and I did get some rides on following waves; but they were also a little destabilizing. On rounding Folly Point, I came face-to-face with a young seal with a badly lacerated back. We surprised each other simultaneously, and it quickly jumped in. It did not look like a shark bite. The poor creature was probably hit by a propellor and somehow survived. Halibut was wind shadowed and I did some easy slots and ledges. On the return I was nearly toppled by stunning gust near Folly that seemed to come directly from the cove base. Lunch and a break were in the narrow slots on Davis Neck outgoing and coming back. These were chosen carefully but there was some concern about the boat blowing away while launching and landing. Figure 2 shows a deep slot on the SW side of Hodgkins where I had lunch. I obviously planned lunch on the NE side of Davis; but this slot was entirely covered with soft seaweed and had an easy ledge to lift the boat onto. The wind facing sides of the slot were pretty high at 11am, so wind was blocked on three sides. Returning I stopped in a slot on the NE side of Davis Neck, shown in Figure 3. From this vantage point, it was possible to see the wind shadow edge extending northeastward from the headland. The haul outs required methodical planning and execution so as not to lose the boat! During the last phase of the trip, I had to paddle near the grasses in the Annisquam wind tunnel to upriver of Thurston Point and then drop down on a ferry crossing. The grasses provided an unexpected relief from the wind. Figure 4 shows the track in the Annisquam. The flood current helped a little. I did an on-side Margarita roll in the howling Annisquam mouth to cool off before hitting the grasses. The Margarita is an old Impex Assateague. Her width, large volume, and deck shape make sloppy rolls unacceptable. She will make lazy paddlers swim, for sure. I was glad that my roll succeeded but, if there were other paddlers, it would have been a good opportunity to self-rescue after a wet exit. The wind and wind chop would have made it challenging. Total distance of 11.25nm. Figure 1: Ground track for 1_9_2022 trip. Figure 2: Lunch slot on SW side of Davis Neck. Wind shown in Red. Figure 3: Break slot on NE side of David Neck. Wind shown in Red. Figure 4: Ground track along grasses in Annisquam River. Wind shown in Red. Track in white. 1_19_2022: Lanesville to Goose Cove to Halibut, Gloucester and Rockport, 10:30am – 3:30pm. Bob L in white Explorer with Ricardo C. HT 12:10pm 10ft, LT 6:33pm -0.1ft, tidal range of 10.1ft, springs 7/8th moon. 44F, 1-2 ft swell, 20kts SSW wind, 35kts gusts, high clouds. This was a paddle for a little distance and the challenge of paddling in wind. It was also the only Winter Weather Window (dubbed WWW) this week, and likely the following week as well. Figure 1 shows the ground track for the 10.54nm trip. The trip to Goose Cove started south from Lanes at about 10:30am. Ipswich Bay had wind chop consistent with 20kts sustained SSW winds – a nearly due headwind a little distant from the coast. You could see the scouring of winds and gusts on the surface creating well-defined “wind eddylines” at the boundary with shadowing rocks. We took advantage of the high water to paddle hard against the rock ledges and faces. Progressing to the inevitable headland, we would push out with sweep turn concentrated on the kayak bow. It was then a slog back into the coastline. The hardest paddling was SW of Lanesville and after Davis Point. These locations are obvious in Figure 1. It was possible to rest with calm water and air in the rock wind shadows. We took advantage of every opportunity for this! At one point we discussed the wind retard which, for a headwind, is about 10% of the wind velocity. The 20kt sustained winds were slowing us to around 1kt. A 30kt gust would essentially stop a 3kt paddler, and that did happen in some of these gusts today! We encountered severe beam winds after Annisquam Light and then on crossing to Goose Cove. These areas also had 1-2 foot concentrated chop that came in on the beam to side-slip the boat. It was intense paddling. We reached the Goose Cove bridge at slack before the ebb, and entered to briefly visit Fred G. After at most 10 minutes we returned to the bridge and saw a significant ebb current already forming. This is consistent with a small pond having a narrow opening. While one might expect the ebb to persist as the bunched-up water in the pond empties; one would also expect flow to start out just as the ocean level falls. This little bridge is a surprisingly good location for practice paddling in current (thanks to Fred for reminding me of this a few weeks ago). The return across the mouth of Lobster Cove and the Annisquam Yacht Club was in brutal beam winds due to the wind-tunnel effect of the Annisquam River. We found some relief by paddling behind the yacht club docks. By looking down at the grasses, it was obvious that a strong ebb was also pushing us along in the shallow recesses. Once turning the corner northward at the river mouth, we just flew up to the lighthouse cove and entered the Squam Rock Land Trust beach for lunch. I thought the winds had subsided a little as we continued on the outside toward Lanes; but that may have been just the normal suppression of effects in following winds. We were able to ride the waves forward on the fast run north. We entered Lanes about 2:00pm, and I decided to continue alone up to Halibut Point. My estimate of an additional 90 minutes was dead-on; <30 minutes to “fly” to Halibut and noodle a bit and an hour to make the return. After the fast run up to Halibut, in excited anticipation of a forecasted 4ft 6sec swell, I found the swell to be much less. It was nice to round the tip in the wind shadow and ride some waves onto the ledges; and there was a surprise set that came in at about three feet to demonstrate some of normal Halibut drama. There was no subsidence of the winds on the return, and the water was much lower to create more separation from the wind shadowing rocks. I did manage a nice passage in gentle swell on the Folly Point ledge; but it was a followed by a mile or so of direct headwinds until Sunset Point and into Lanes. I landed at about 3:30pm after a quick practice roll in Lanesville. The WWW was very meager this week, but Ricardo and I managed to grab a few hours of good solid paddling. Figure 1: Ground track for 1_19_2022 paddle. Approximate wind vector in blue, ground track in red.
  10. 12_27_2021: Puritan Rd to Egg Rk to Nahant E Point to Dread to Off Rk. 10:45am – 2:45pm. Bob L alone in green Explorer. LT 11:09am 1.1ft, HT 5:20pm 8.9ft. Tidal range 7.8ft, neaps, half-moon. 35F. 5kts NW wind. 1-2 foot moderate period swell. The goals today were to check out local slots and rock faces, and to get in a little winter distance paddling. The ground track is shown in Figure 1. The calm conditions and low water provided an opportunity to assess the water levels for which various slots and passages are active. Because of the low water, the gardening in Nahant was mostly riding rock faces, ledges, and a few short slots defined by isolated rocks at headland edges. The launch was around 10:45am from Puritan Road, Swampscott. The crossing of Nahant Bay was a little chilly in >5kts WNW wind and temps <35F. The stingy sun was behind high thin clouds. I arrived to Egg Rock at about low tide (LT). The waves were 1-2 foot and moderate period. These provided an excellent opportunity to ride rock faces in the gut and down the south side of the island. The gentle conditions were perfect for timed capture of swell energy around headlands. I also ran a small northern low-water slot, which is not remotely possible with more severe waves. The slot location is shown in Figure 2. Assuming the run was at LT, the water level was at today’s LT baseline of 1.1ft above the Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) chart datum. Next was the Spouting Horn on Saunders Ledge in Figure 3. Despite the mild conditions, breaking waves here were sufficient to push a kayak onto the Horn ledge. The outer wide passage, shown in Figure 3 between the Horn and the back ledge, was entirely out of the water. Figure 3 also shows the deep Saunders Ledge slot that was also dry. However, it was barely possible to run the Back Passage, a small “creek” separating Saunders from the mainland. I was there about 30 minutes after LT, with a tidal range of 7.8ft. By the Rule of Twelfths*, this suggests a rise of 7.8/12ft = .65ft in the first hour after LT on a baseline of 1.1ft over MLLW. Consequently, the estimate is that the Saunders Back Passage can be run at 1.1+.65x0.5 = 1.4ft above MLLW. By referencing “passage depths” to MLLW it is possible to determine availability of a slot from the data in the Tidelog for any day and time of the year. This is useful information. For example, there have been situations where it was unwise to approach the Spouting Horn in rounding Saunders Ledge so having the Back Passage was desirable. The insert in Figure 3 is from the chart showing a (2) over the back of Saunders Ledge. This is the drying height of the back ledge referenced to the MLLW chart datum for soundings. A tiny passage through the back ledge is likely not as high as an overall drying height on a large ledge, hence drying height is a more conservative estimate when available. That is why it is useful to assess slots and passages from the kayak, preferably in very calm conditions, to develop an understanding of passability. Finally, all these numbers and rules of thumb are approximate so we only ever get a rough estimate. Figure 4 is a summary of chart datum definitions. Sometimes drying heights are referenced to LAT (Lowest Astronomical Tide) and land heights to Mean High Water (MHW). Figure 1: Ground track for 12_27_2021 paddle. Figure 2: Egg Rock low-water northern slot circled. (LAT 42o26.055’, LON -70o53.808’, low tide, 1.1ft above MLLW). Figure 3: Saunders Ledge Passage, Slot, Back Passage (LAT 42o25.467’, LON -70o54.453’, 1.4ft over MLLW), and Spouting Horn. Figure 4: NOAA referenced depths. Chart depths based on Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW), land heights on MHW (Mean High Water) and drying heights on MLLW. Sometimes drying heights are based on Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT). Also note that the liberal state of MA has private ownership to the MLLW, whereas most states, including TX, have ownership to high water. At this point, around 11:50am, I entered the East Point pocket cove for a quick lunch. It was an opportunity to study some of the seams in the diabase gabbro. By examining some of the cleaved seams, I thought I saw ceramic rock coverings similar to the primordial volcanic layers on Lubec’s Quoddy Head. Chilly overcast skies and fear of hypothermia dictated no further geological exploration today – to be continued on a later trip! Hopping back in the boat, I headed to East Point. The Matador slot was completely dry. It probably required another 3-4 feet of water before passage. I was there an hour after LT so, by the Rule of Twelfths, there was 1/12*tide range of depth over today’s baseline of 1.1ft. That means 1.1+1/12x7.8 = 1.75ft over MLLW. Therefore, we need at least 1.75+3.0 = 4.75 feet over MLLW to run the Matador. Despite the lack of a passage, the Matador headland provided a wonderful ride into the south rock face. This would not be possible in normal conditions. I paddled to the back of the Matador – an area we called the Ricardo Waterfall during the November 18th coasteering session. It was a ledge today instead of a connection to a waterfilled Matador basin. Nevertheless, a small “Ricardo Waterfall” was still active on the ledge. The Matador is shown in Figure 5. Due to the ability to ride very close to the rock edge, the runs along the south rock faces of East Point were excellent. There were also a couple of headland rocks with slots that allowed timed passage with low probability for catastrophe. I carefully examined the Subterranean and QUAD passages. The Subterranean looked promising from the east end, but had rock blockage on the west end. I went to the back of the east end and noted the upraised “bench” which was probably three feet above the water. Last summer, in a high-water attempt at running the passage, I had been swept over that bench by a swell. As intimidating as the bench was, an adjacent narrow passage was possible today. The west end is often the entrance to the Subterranean, and either-way would have to be passable. I estimated that another foot of water would allow the boat to get through. From the hour one analysis above, that implies >2.75 feet over MLLW is necessary to have a passable west end on the Subterranean. Although it contained some water, another foot was also necessary to clear an overhung area in the QUAD #2 Slot. The QUAD #1 Slot had a large rock on the base of the slot. Waves were riding up to it today, but there was nowhere near sufficient water to carry a boat over. It looked like two more feet were needed for a total of >3.75 feet over MLLW. The QUAD and Subterranean slots are indicated in Figure 6. While the big three; Matador, Subterranean, and QUAD were dry, I did find an excellent low-water, low-conditions slot on the Shag Rocks. It is shown in Figure 7. I’ve known about this slot for a while, but rarely try it. Conditions on the Shag Rocks often make it impossible to run complicated slot paths because there is no safe zone. Today, I was able to run the Shag T-slot in both directions shown in the figure before returning to the southern rock faces on East Point. After rounding the Matador headland on a swell, I paddled back across to Egg Rock. Because of higher water, the low-water north passage in Figure 2 was more vulnerable so it was necessary to time the swell in order to cross it. Figure 5: Matador Slot (LAT 42o25.202’, LON -70o54.148’, >4.75ft over MLLW), Headland, and Ricardo Waterfall. Figure 6: Subterranean Passage (LAT 42o25.067’, LON -70o54.235’, >2.75ft over MLLW) entrance and exit, and QUAD Slots #1 (LAT 42o25.037’, LON -70o54.252’, >3.75ft over MLLW) and #2 (>2.75ft over MLLW). Figure 7: Shag Rocks low-water T-passage. (LAT 42o24.880’, LON -70o54.383’). I then padded north to Dread Ledge on the Swampscott side of Nahant Bay. It was about 2:00pm so my exploration of Dread and Galloupes would be at the second hour after low tide. The NW wind had dropped and the sun briefly appeared. The sky to the east was clearing. Dread Ledge is a spectacular rock garden. The major features are shown in Figure 8a, including the Daymarker Ledge, Inner and Outer Guts, and the largest island of the Ledge. The Dread Ledge Daymarker Passage is almost always unpassable due to conditions, but today I was able to gingerly cross from a south entrance that had about a half foot of water. From the Rule of Twelfths, two hours after low tide has (1+2)/12 = ¼ the tide range of water over the baseline. Consequently, we have 1.1+1/4*7.8 = 3.05 feet of water over MLLW as an estimate of the Dread Daymarker passability depth. Figure 8b shows the Daymarker Passage. Continuing onto Dread Ledge itself, the back and front passages in Figure 8c were already under water and passable. It was a happy circumstance that the two Inner Gut Tables were barely awash at almost exactly two hours after LT, indicating a table height of 3.0 feet over MLLW. In big conditions these Tables in Figure 8c create enormous turbulence covering the entire Inner Gut. During a recent storm, I spent 45 minutes trying to figure out how to cross the basin because of the conditions introduced to the Inner Gut from the Tables. An estimate of water depth and wave height on the Tables provides an indication the penetrability of breaking waves into the Inner Gut basin as well as whether the breaks are dumping or surging. Figure 8a: Dread Ledge. Figure 8b: Dread Ledge Daymarker Passage. (LAT 42o27.379’, LON -70o53.687’, 3.05ft over MLLW). Figure 8c: Dread Ledge Back (LAT 42o27.484’, LON -70o53.701’) and Outer Passages (LAT 42o27.491’, LON -70o53.667’), and the Tables. (Outer, LAT 42o27.552’, LON -70o53.662’, Inner, LAT 42o27.585’, LON -70o53.656’, both awash 3.0ft over MLLW). The Rule of Twelfths suggests that in the next hour there would be a depth increase of 3/12 to 6/12 times the tide range, or 1.95ft to 3.9ft of water. During this time, I visited my favorite Galloupes Point and Off Rock passages, while running rock faces, ledges, and headland rock slots in the calm conditions. It is important to emphasize that low amplitude moderate swell provides a unique opportunity to capture wave energy in rock gardens - with a high probability of returning with an undamaged boat! Figure 9 shows one of my favorite recent discoveries that I call the Pool Slot – due to the presence of a pool at the overhead mansion. If you can get into the south entrance, the slot provides a strong push to the north exit. On exiting the “water slide” it is better to have the boat on a severe edge and allow the water to turn it outward. Looking at probably >3 feet of elevation around a dry crevasse, I was reminded today that this slot is passable only at high water. Moving east, the next Galloupes slots in Figure 10 sit under another structure that looks like a pavilion. This one has an array of tall windows visible from Nahant, so provides a public service to weary kayakers looking for landmarks without bothering with the compass and chart. Both the Outer and Inner Pavilion Slots were passable when I arrived. These slots can be very tricky in conditions. Water bunches up on the east side of the Inner Slot to present a broad “waterfall” into the basin. The Outer Slot concentrates swell energy and can be surprisingly powerful even in low amplitude swell. I was probably here halfway into the third hour so had 4 feet of water over MLLW. The Outer Slot was deep, and the Inner Slot had probably a foot of water so just barely passable. The next slots to the east of the Pavilion Slots are called the mini-Subterranean shown in Figure 11. They sit under a large complex under construction. I think they are condos or apartments; but from the water look like a professional building of windows topped with a strange middle-eastern looking cupula. Despite a low water level causing a very tight overhang, I tried the mini-Subterranean Slot from the west entrance. It was barely passable, and I managed to repeatably catch my paddle on the overhang. Gentle swell penetrated and I was concerned about getting the hull stuck in the basin drain while fooling around with my paddle so decided to back out and exit through the front of the passage – another interesting slot. Later, on the return from Off Rock, I was able to pass through from the east entrance. Galloupes rock faces and headland rock slots from the mini-Subterranean Slots to Off Rock continued to provide excellent runs in gentle swell. It was almost impossible not to exploit the swell energy if you paddled close in. The South Off Rock Slot in Figure 12 was completely underwater at a tidal depth estimated to be about five feet over MLLW. At low water the slot has a wonderful concentration of energy into the Off Rock Gut, but can also drive a kayak against the rock face. Today I was paddling my green Explorer that had been severely damaged in this slot about five years ago. I made a mental note to return to the South Off Rock Slot earlier in the tide cycle to record its height above water and thereby reference it to MLLW. The wider North Off Rock Passage was open for business at five feet over MLLW. I was able to get a nice push into the Off Gut. The return to the Puritan road put-in was a delight. Virtually windless up to Lincoln House Point and very calm. I saw large freighters heading for President Roads into Boston. One of them appeared to be moving quite fast, and I thought I could see a bow wave. I wondered if that wave could hit Galloupes; but if so, it was either very diminished or nonexistent. I was cheerfully greeted by a bicyclist on the rock face edge across from Dread. I pointed out that it may be difficult proceed further to the ledge islands, but the rider noted the bulbous tires on the bike. Hmm, another mode of coasteering! A practice roll at Lincoln House Point and a quick take-out at Puritan Road completed a perfect winter-time paddle. Total distance of about 10.7 nautical miles. Figure 9: Galloupes Pool Slot. (LAT 42o27.721’, LON -70o53.545’, high water). Figure 10: Galloupes Inner (LAT 42o27.806’, LON -70o53.415’, 4ft over MLLW) and Outer (LAT 42o27.783’, LON -70o53.408’) Pavilion Slots. Figure 11: Galloupes Mini-Subterranean Slots (LAT 42o27.841’, LON -70o53.371’, >4ft over MLLW). Figure 12: South (LAT 42o27.879’, LON -70o53.138’, mid to low water) and North (LAT 42o27.932’, LON -70o53.105’, 4ft over MLLW) Off Rock Passages. *Rule of Twelfths: Over a six hour tide cycle, hourly changes in depth are 1:2:3:3:2:1 x tidal range/12. Postscript: Straitsmouth Island on 12_30­_2021: During another trip a few days later on 12_30_2021 I was able to visit the extraordinary Straitsmouth Table a half hour after low tide. The Straitsmouth Table juts out east of the island and in conditions creates tremendous curling and surging waves. The adjacent Straitsmouth Passage and south facing coast have nearly perfect gardening and rock/ledge runs. The top circle in the left-side of Figure 13 shows the area of the Table. The Tidelog of 12_30 had a tidal range of 11ft. By the Rule of Twelfths, the water had risen 0.5*11/12 = .46ft. Conditions were rougher than 12_27, but I estimated that the Table was 3-4 feet higher than the water. Consequently, at LT it was probably 4 feet. The springs baseline with a quarter moon was at -0.4ft, below MLLW, so the estimate is a Straitsmouth Table about 3.5 feet above MLLW. The lower circle on the left side of Figure 13 and on the right-side image show a continuation of the Straitsmouth Table into the very challenging Straitsmouth Passage. When I ran the passage from the north end today, the rocks to the right were just barely awash. From the analysis above, that suggests a level at MLLW. Figure 13: Straitsmouth East Table and Passage (42o39.797’, -70o35.185’, Table at 3.5ft above MLLW, Passage at MLLW).
  11. 11_18_2021: Dolliber Cove, Marblehead to Marblehead Neck. Rock gardening and coasteering. 11:30am – 2:30pm. HT 10:22am 10.1ft, LT 4:40pm 0.3ft, tidal range 9.8ft, full moon, springs. Participants: Bob L in white Explorer, Joe B, and Ricardo C. 65F air, about 55F water, sunny, 10kts S-SSW, 2ft 3 sec waves. This was a rock gardening paddle and coasteering run. Marblehead Neck has a typical north shore granite coast with vertical rock faces, a long dumping rocky beach, and multiple small covelets. Through many hours of rock gardening, we have experienced rock features at different water levels and sea conditions. We have also named them and become conversant in a north-of-Boston rock gardening “lingo”. Figure 1 shows a satellite photo of the southern section of the coast including some of these features - the Devil’s Pinball, a triangle of shoals extending from the coast to Tom Moore Rock; the thumping Devil’s Knuckle Cave; the Rhino Horn; and ending at the Food Court rock garden, so named because it provides a diversity of rock faces, slots, and passages. Figure 1: Named features of the southern section of the M’head Neck coast. In pre-paddle discussions we determined that, while temperatures were warm, the predicted SSW to S winds of >10kts with gusting to 20kts suppressed our enthusiasm for coasteering. The water is still a toasty 55F, but exposure to a stiff wind in a wet wetsuit will quickly chill a coasteerer. Yet, figuring we might find lee behind headlands and in covelets, I decided to gear up again for coasteering. That meant 5mm + 3mm farmer johns with a 3mm jacket stuffed into the wetsuits; hoodie, 3mm gloves, and heavy socks inside my boots. Because of planned kayaking before and after the swim, I also had my pfd and spray skirt over the neoprene. The pfd was warming as it pressed the neoprene jacket against the wetsuits; but it impeded my ability to swim in the ocean more than the neoprene alone. Thanks to a suggestion by Joe, I solved that problem with another paddling accessory – namely the paddle! We launched at about 11:30am from Grace Oliver Beach into Dolliber Cove. It was immediately clear that the winds and gusting were much less than predicted. The 2ft 3sec waves created active rock gardens along the east side of Brown’s and Gerry Islands. We ran our usual spots along the eastern and southern edges of Brown’s and the outer rocks off Gerry; and then crossed over to M’head Neck. The rock gardening down the coast was surprisingly good despite the short period waves. High water meant mostly running along rock faces and some wider passages. After running the dumping beach, we stopped at the Knuckle Cave and entered to enjoy the thump and reflected back-splash. We continued down to the Food Court and ran the usual slots and passages. I then hauled my boat out onto the back ledge and started a coasteering run by swimming north from the protection of the Food Court outer ledge. Joe and Ricardo kindly offered to act as safety kayakers. As in the case of the previous run off Nahant, the waves were only about 2ft. The difference was that, at 3sec, the short period created a lot of confusing activity near the rocks. It was harder to ride swell along the rock faces as we had done before. Figure 2 is a shot of me swimming as waves impacted the ledges. It was very slow going, but the multiple layers of neoprene definitely kept me warm. Overall, I was in the water for about 45 minutes for this run, and only felt a little chilly on the return paddle in a tailwind. Waves occasionally pushed me against the rock faces. I either felt the drain or saw them coming and was able to turn so my feet were toward the rocks. Figure 2: Coasteering the M’head Ledges between the Food Court and the Knuckle Cave. I finally reached the Rhino Horn and managed a hand hold on an incoming swell. There was just enough of a step to lift up and then step onto the Horn. This is a landmark feature for us M’head rock gardeners. It was very satisfying to stand on the Horn, rest for a bit, and enjoy the incoming waves. Figure 3 is a shot of me taking a break on the Horn. Much of the granite in this area is very smooth, without barnacles, and has less of the slippery sea weeds and algae. This may be due to the severe wave action, as there is often an intensification of wave amplitudes in this southern stretch of M’head Neck. From the Horn it was obvious that I was not going to make it to the Knuckle Cave in a reasonable time. I had kept my pfd on for warmth, but it slowed swimming considerably. After I jumped back in, Joe suggested I use his spare paddle to speed things up. It was a great idea. Figure 3: Taking a break on the Rhino Horn. The back ledge of the Food Court is to the left in the figure. The run from the Rhino Horn to the Knuckle Cave was much more enjoyable with the paddle. From habit, I swam backwards using a back paddle stroke. The problem with back paddling is that you cannot see ahead to the emerging rocks. Next time, I’ll try the forward paddle-swim. It was still very exciting to be in waves breaking on the rock faces, but also less of a struggle to maneuver in and out from the rock ledges with the paddle. I arrived at the Knuckle Cave and entered paddling forward with feet toward the back of the cave. It was hugely entertaining to ride the waves up to the thump and then flush out on the reflected wave. I emerged to the lip of the cave and threw my paddle to Joe. Getting a hand hold here was not easy. I was careful to orient my body so that when the waves pushed me off the hold, I was swept back into deep water, and not against another rock. After three or four attempts I managed to get a good hold on an incoming wave, hold on as it drained, and then crawl up the face. Looking at the situation afterward, I think I picked the one spot where it was possible to climb up the Knuckles. Figure 4 shows me declaring victory at the crest of the Knuckle Cave. Figure 4: Signaling Joe and Ricardo from the crest of the Knuckle Cave. The Knuckles are to the left in the figure. It was tempting to leap from the crest, but the tide had been running out for a while; and so not at all wise. I retraced my steps back to the lip, waited for an incoming wave, and jumped backward into the water. Before jumping, I was able to look down through the water to where the ledge protruded outward. It was easy to see a good spot to jump. Joe returned his spare paddle. Because of the lengthening time in the water, the lateness of our paddle, and also not to stretch the patience of my safety kayakers; I decided to back paddle all the way to the Food Court. I was still encountering ledges; but tried to steer out from them instead of purposely sweeping up the rock faces. This was a period of hard exertion; but Joe helpfully noted that the exercise probably kept me warm. I finally reached the Food Court, pulled my boat down from the ledge, and returned to rock gardening with Joe and Ricardo. Paddling back in single file along the coast, we all found some excellent rock face runs and challenging slots. The 2-3 footers did not have the broad mountains of water you see with long period swell, so the punch was less intense. This allowed for some experimentation on slots that were difficult but with less potential for catastrophic force. On the return to Dolliber, we ran the eastern coast of Brown’s Island and the southern coast of Peachs Point before returning to the Grace Oliver Beach. Figure 5 shows our ground track and Figure 6 has my coasteering run. Total distance of about four nautical miles on the paddle and a mere .28 nautical miles on the run. Figure 5: Ground track for 11_18_2021 Coasteering paddle. Figure 6: Coasteering run track for 11_18_2021 coasteering run from the Food Court to Knuckle Cave and back. Post-Paddle Note: This is the second coasteering/kayak session; and probably the last of the season as temperatures will be dropping. I think coasteering is a viable sport that combines naturally with kayaking. In the Nahant report, I mentioned the need for safety kayakers, and the possibility to reach inaccessible coastline features with kayaks. Today there was a benefit of using a paddle for the swimming segments of the coasteering runs. A coasteering/paddling team could trade off the safety kayak and coasteering roles, and the safety kayaker could also hand off a paddle during the swimming segments of the run. As the air and water warm next season we will be posting more coasteering/kayaking sessions. Thanks to Joe and Ricardo!
  12. 11_4_2021: East Point, Nahant Coasteering. 10:30am – 2:00pm. HT 11:07am 11.5ft, LT 5:28pm -1.2ft, tidal range 12.7ft, new moon, near perigee. Participants: Bob L in white Explorer, Jim S, and Ricardo C. 45F air, about 55F water, sunny, light variable winds, 2ft 10 sec swell. This was a test run of a coasteering session. The idea was to use the geography of East Point in Nahant to swim and hike the coast within a short distance of the cars. This short coastline is very challenging with long stretches of vertical rock faces, deep slots, horizontal ledges, and wave-trapping inlets. Ocean conditions are amplified along the unsheltered and protruding East Point peninsula. We first stopped at the Nahant police station to obtain day-passes to the Canoe Beach parking lot. The lot is small and the area is popular for diving and fishing so can definitely be full. We were lucky today. On arrival we walked into the Northeastern University grounds and a friendly guard directed us to the Lodge Park entrance. The three of us walked up the path to a lovely park that was the grounds of the Henry Cabot Lodge homestead. East Point/Henry Cabot Lodge,Jr., Memorial Park - Nahant - MA - Massachusetts Trails (mass-trails.org) The path overlooks the entire planned coasteering route, including the Matador, Subterranean, and the QUAD slots. Figures 1-3 show photos of these slots seen from the Lodge Park walkway. Figure 4 is a shot of the coastline from the Subterranean slot to Pea Island. In addition to scoping out the conditions and likely slots, the initial walk was to determine an evacuation route to the cars if there was hypothermia or an injury. Figure 5 shows a Google photo of the area. Figure 1: The Matador Slot seen from Lodge Park. Figure 2: The Subterranean Slot seen from Lodge Park. Figure 3: The QUAD Slots seen from Lodge Park. Figure 4: Pea Island seen from Lodge Park. Figure 5: The location of coasteering features at East Point, Nahant relative to Lodge Park and Canoe Beach. Ricardo and I were swimming and climbing, and Jim was the safety kayaker and photographer. I was wearing a 3mm wetsuit over a 5mm suit for 8mm total neoprene on my torso. I also had a 3mm neoprene jacket tucked into the wetsuits, and my paddling jacket (big mistake). I had a 3mm neoprene hoodie, 3mm gloves, and boots with heavy socks. Ricardo was wearing a 3mm full wetsuit (one piece) and a 5 mm hooded vest. He had neoprene gloves (5 mm) and (light) sneakers on his feet. In our post-session debrief, Ricardo felt that the thinner neoprene in his arms allowed easier arm movement for swimming. We were both chilled during the last 5-10 minutes of an hour-long coasteering run. The rocks were very slippery, and in retrospect I would have preferred the sneakers to my boots, although the boots were more warming. I also felt that the hoodie was insufficient as water penetrated to my neck even though it was tucked into my wetsuits. Ricardo’s combined hood/vest suit is much better. In addition to my normal hypo kit, I had a Bothy bag and hot water in the kayak. After returning from Lodge Park, we launched from Canoe Beach and paddled the short distance to the pebble cove, arriving around 11:00am, near high tide. As seen in Figures 6 and 7, after securing our boats, Ricardo and I swam into the surf near the southern shore of the covelet. We had decided to limit our swim to 30 minutes, with the idea to return for a quick lunch and then paddle out for kayak rock gardening. The conditions were very mild, long period two footers, but even so it became immediately apparent that we needed to be careful against the rock faces and ledges. The swimming was very slow, and I realized that for me part of this was due to the abundance of neoprene and the darn paddling jacket. It filled with water and hindered my strokes. Ricardo did much better. Ultimately, I settled on a weak dog paddle and back stroke; or more successfully just rode swells along the rock faces. After struggling somewhat, it finally occurred to me that the same dynamic that pushes kayaks along the faces also works for swimmers. It was efficient and more fun; and not that dangerous in two footers. You still needed to watch ahead to see how waves were impacting the ledge in front of you. Before reaching the Matador we hauled out on a headland. Ricardo has a lot of experience in ocean swimming and diving, and gave me some tips on getting out – namely wait for a big swell to wash you up onto the ledge and then quickly crawl to higher ground. Figures 8, 9, and 10 shows that process and our strategizing the approach to the Matador. Figure 6: Ricardo entering the water at the pebble beach. Figure 7: Bob entering the water at the pebble beach. Figure 8: Bob approaching the first haul out. Figure 9: Ricardo out, and Bob working into the first haul out. Figure 10: Ricardo and Bob strategizing how to get to the Matador from the headland. It took half an hour to reach the Matador! Our schedule was completely blown. Yet, the slot was amazing. As a kayaker, I’ve waited in the safe zone many times as large swells crashed to the back of the basin, and then snuck out on the drain – hence the name “Matador”. Figure 11 shows our approach to the basin. The surging swells caused significant current into the basin as we swam into the back wash. As seen in Figure 12, Ricardo calmly rode the current in the basin as the swells came in. Despite the turbulence and current, we were actually swept forward into the safe zone on the drain. By staying very close to the rock as swells wrapped around, it was possible to get a hand-hold on the Matador rock from the safe zone and climb up. Figure 13 is a shot of me declaring victory on the rock. In Figure 14 we are launching from the Matador rock to swim across to an adjacent opening. This required some swell timing but was possible with the long period swells. Both Ricardo and I climbed into the opening and came down on the other side. The entire operation was planned while we were on the Matador rock. The other side was a ledge with a significant waterfall on the drain. The ledges and faces on this side were facing south and the waves seemed to be amplified. We hung onto a shielding rock and watched as swells were crashing to the back of the ledge. Figure 15 is a shot of me cowering behind the shielding rock to consider the next step. There was no doubt that the larger waves were strong enough to propel a swimmer to the back of the ledge and through the slot back into the Matador basin. In itself, that seemed OK and possibly fun, but there was a very sharp protruding rock in the opening. Ricardo signaled that it was not a good idea to get caught on the ledge; and I agreed. He dropped into the ledge after a huge wave came in; and then went out over the waterfall. He literally disappeared in the down flow, and then came bobbling up a few feet away. It was a very slick maneuver, but I still had hopes of crossing the ledge by waiting for a small set and racing the ten second periods. The problem was in somehow getting delayed before climbing up the opposite side. That would be very bad. Instead of using the waterfall, I climbed to the lip of the ledge and jumped just as a large swell passed. I then swam across just outside the break zone of the waves coming into the ledge. The sequence of events is shown in Figures 16, 17, and 18. You can see the now-dubbed “Ricardo waterfall” on the left side of the figures. I reached a nice vertical face on the opposite side, was able to get hand and foot holds on a large swell, hold on during the drain, and then scramble up. Turning around, I noticed that Ricardo had already headed toward the headland in front of the Matador; so we were going back. This made sense, as we had used up our 30 minute allotment to just get to the Matador. I leapt off the face on a large swell and was driven outward on the drain toward Ricardo and Jim. Looking down, I could see exactly where to jump – basically a hole in the underlying ledge. We went back around the headland and back through the Matador. I was already tiring and was forced to use my kayak knowledge to ride swells around headlands and along rock faces. I stayed very close to the rocks, and tried to catch energy from the swells. This is seen in Figure 19. It worked well along the east-west running rock faces but not on north-south faces. As I reached a cove running north-south between the Matador and the pebble cove, I decided to climb out and walk along a ridge down to the next ledge. The ridge is under the hill seen in Figure 19. It was a good idea to get out of the water in an area where the swells were not pushing us along. However, the endpoint of the ledge was getting pounded by waves and I was not sure I could safely jump from there. As it turned out, I was able to hold on while large waves came in, then make a leap into the back of a very large swell. The drain took me out and nearly around the headland to the final east-west running rock face to the pebble cove. I was beginning to get the hang of this! Ricardo and Jim were already coming out as I swam in. Figure 11: Ricardo and Bob approaching the Matador basin. Figure 12: Ricardo in the back wash of the Matador Slot. Figure 13: Climbing the Matador! Figure 14: Launching off the Matador to cross the basin. Figure 15: Cowering behind a safe rock after climbing out of the Matador basin onto the south facing ledge. Ricardo’s waterfall is to the left side of the photo. Figure 16: Planning escape. Considering using the Ricardo waterfall. Figure 17: Climbing out on the ledge after deciding to forego the Ricardo waterfall on the left side of the photo. Figure 18: Diving over and out to finally leave the south Matador ledge. Figure 19: Ricardo and Bob riding swells back to the pebble cove. The walkable ridge is under the hill on the right side of the photo. Ricardo and I were shivering slightly as we regrouped for lunch. I hit the hot water reserve; and it had an immediate effect of warming me up. We ate on darker sunny rocks at a wind sheltered location in the cove. It was past noon. We had been in the water for a solid hour – twice what had been agreed to beforehand. Yet, the layers of neoprene had kept both of us pretty warm during that time. After lunch we put our gear back on and decided to return to the East Point ledges for some kayak rock gardening. All of us went through the Matador and ran the rock faces down the south side of East Point. Figure 20 shows the ground track through the Matador, including tucking into the safe zone to time incoming swells. Conditions were nearly perfect for kayak rock gardening; but the 8mm of neoprene definitely impeded my ability to fine-tune the boat location, edging and direction to the swell. Nevertheless, I managed to run the Subterranean by timing swells, and we all ran the QUAD slots. The ground tracks for our runs through the QUAD are shown in Figure 21. We progressed down to the Pea Island and ran a slot on the Shag Rocks. Figure 20: Strategy for running the Matador slot with a kayak. Swells in red, ground track in white. Figure 21: Runs of the QUAD slots. Ground tracks in white, Swells in red. On the return, I could not resist trying to swim the Subterranean slot. Jim took my boat and waited at the exit while I swam in, as seen in Figure 22. Water was still high so the back of the slot was very turbulent. Before reaching the safe zone, there is a low rock face that the swells poured over. I knew this effect from kayaking the slot many times – including just a few minutes earlier - and stayed pinned against the rock wall as the water poured over. At one point, I used seaweed to pull myself through against the draining counterflow to enter the safe zone. This is a very small area, previously used with my boat, in which swells on the entrance and exit seemed to combine to cause a lot of up-and-down turbulence. It a useful area to assess the exit for incoming swells. I had been trapped in the zone for over ten minutes on a previous trip a month ago in larger conditions - unable to turn the boat around and not wanting to attempt a back paddle out. The ground track for the October kayak run is shown in Figure 23. The exit is very tricky with an overfall under a hanging rock face. Rounding the corner, today I swam in the overfall tight to this rock face to avoid an upturned rock bench at the rear of the slot on the east side. During my October entrapment, my kayak had been swept over that bench in one of my attempts to escape. I definitely did not want to hit it swimming! The western side also seemed to have less impact from the waves. After emerging from the overhang, I saw an opportunity to get a hand-hold on the rock face as I was lifted by a large swell. You can see the attempt in Figure 24. However, I fell off the face in the drain. The water was plenty deep and the rock face very vertical – both checked before trying – so the drop was easy. On the next swell, instead of grabbing at rock faces, I just let the swell deposit me onto a very small high ledge. It was pretty elegant; and I stood on the ledge to signal Jim to come in with my boat. Figure 25 shows me resting on the ledge. As Jim came in, as seen in Figure 26, I leapt off the ledge into a large swell and swam out to him. He did a quick T-rescue and we proceeded along the East Point ledges and rock faces back to Canoe Beach. On the return, we saw two diving flags with an instructor on an SUP. After a while it became clear it was a rescue class for scuba divers. Canoe Beach can be dumping but launching and landing today was easy with long period swell. We landed around 2:00pm, grateful for the opportunity to try a combined coasteering and paddling session. Our ground track for the day is shown in Figure 27. Figure 22: Bob entering the Subterranean Slot. Figure 23: Strategy for running the Subterranean Slot with a kayak. Ground track for an earlier run in which I was swept to the back of the slot over the rock bench. Ground track in white, swells in red. Figure 24: Reaching for a handhold on an incoming swell after emerging from the Subterranean overhang. Figure 25: Resting after being swept up onto a Subterranean Slot ledge. Figure 26: Diving out on a large swell toward Jim’s boat for a T-rescue. Figure 27: Ground track for today’s combined coasteering/paddling session. Some random thoughts on coasteering: First off, coasteering is very exciting and fun! I think that the procedure that Jim and I used to swim the Subterranean Slot is a model for combined coasteering/kayaking. The swimmer hands off his kayak to his partner, runs a section of rocks, and then the two kayakers switch for the next section. This ensures a nearby safety kayak and the opportunity for the swimmers to rest in their kayaks. There were some other take-aways, noted mostly by Jim. The swimming was very slow, and it would be better to have climbed out more and found suitable hiking routes. That would cover more territory, but increase the probability of injuries on the slippery rocks. Fins would definitely have helped, but they would have to be quickly removable for climbing. For me personally, I do not yet have the skill for coasteering in a race; but see how exciting that would be. It would be hard to envision coasteering in conditions much greater than the two foot ten second swell we had today. Having at least two safety kayaks would have allowed better incident management. Jim thought he should have had a throw or float bag. In retrospect the throw bag makes sense to pull a swimmer seaward out of trouble. I’ve practiced using my tow belt as a throw bag. It was also noted that having wind would have significantly increased the chance for hypothermia. Barnacles exist so thick gloves are important. If you get into this sport, they will need to be replaced often. Thanks to Jim and Ricardo! Looking forward to the next session.
  13. Joe, Check this out. We need to try this with a long-boat... Andrew Karr CHARGING Jaws 2019/20 - [Bodyboarding // Bodyboard] - YouTube Andrew has the record - ~60 footer. Bob
  14. Interesting. I have a few places in mind where we could land boats, walk across a peninsula and have a challenging coasteering session around back to the boats. Haul outs along the way would be necessary to warm up. Recent experience suggests that, with a 5mm wetsuit, a haul out would be advised at <30 minute intervals. I would not try with anything less than 5mm, and drysuits would be better. People bailing out from the session would then have just a short walk back. It could be a test of the idea? Bob
  15. This activity came up in a conversation with Joe. Coasteering - Wikipedia Never heard of it, but intrigued. Apparently a "thing". How about a combined coasteering/paddling trip? Leave boats at distant location, and take a coasteering run to the location and paddle back? Any interest? Thinking about some suitable runs. Bob
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