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Joseph Berkovitz

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About Joseph Berkovitz

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  • Birthday 09/03/1959

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    Marblehead, MA

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  1. Joseph Berkovitz

    Bold Coast / Fundy / Cobscook 8.2 - 8.5.19

    On another relevant side topic, since this trip featured some close kayak encounters with whales, folks may be interested in this recent PBS Nature episode. It kicks off with a near-fatal episode in which a humpback breached and almost landed directly on the narrator’s kayak, clobbering it with a pectoral fin. A few inches difference would have resulted in death. While this piece is more about whales and their behavior, not about how dangerous they are, perhaps we should consider being more circumspect in future years? https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/the-whale-detective-5nsii3/20808/
  2. The following article is a fascinating window into the science of finding people and objects lost at sea, pioneered largely by one oceanographer working for the USCG who recently retired. A great read. https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-15/lifesaving-coast-guard-scientist-reflects-on-government-service
  3. Joseph Berkovitz

    Rock Gardening near Boston

    The granite Northeast MA coast all the way from Nahant to Rockport offers superb rock gardening. You can get virtually unlimited amounts of rock-knowledge paddling the neighborhood coastline with other NSPN members. RI is fine indeed, but no need to go that far unless you want to check it out. Looking for a club trip near Boston with rocks? Look no further than this recently posted trip:
  4. Joseph Berkovitz

    Misery Island

    I am sure that cancelling was a good call. The NOAA buoys are another great resource in decisions like this. Links to Boston Harbor Entrance and Mass Bay below. Both of these show 16-20 kt S winds with seas 3.6 feet at 5-6 sec - in other words very steep and nasty wind waves that can pose a real challenge for staying upright if you’re not used to these conditions. And they will be strongest on the N side of Salem sound where the fetch of water swept by the wind covers more distance. http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=44013 http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=44029
  5. Joseph Berkovitz

    Misery Island

    Unfortunately I have commitments both weekend days, or else I’d love to go!
  6. Joseph Berkovitz

    Bowditch Ledge - Nav. Marker Down & History Behind It

    I just noticed that the NOAA chart 13276 has been recently updated to include the temporary floating markers that bracket Bowditch Ledge. See comparison below. Oddly, the chart still show "RW Bn" where (at least, last time I looked) there is nothing. I wonder if this is because there are plans to actually rebuild the daymarker?
  7. Joseph Berkovitz

    Lake Umbagog 2019 Camping Trip: Oct 4-7

    There are likely to be vacancies on this trip. If you'd like to go, please PM myself and Gary York (username gyork) and we'll pass it along.
  8. Joseph Berkovitz

    Isle of Shoals trip - see new posting!

    Hi Paul — I’ll be heading cross country by 9/21 so I’m afraid I have to drop out at this point. Have fun! joe
  9. WLP #17 Track: https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/d528aa98868b7fb79a56cc73154e0de6/?layer=gaianoaarnc People: Joe Berkovitz, Bob Levine, Jeff Charrette, Phil Morrow, Sue Hriciga, David Mercer, Jim Snyder, Mike Habich Route: Lanes Cove -> Andrews Point -> Rockport/Back Beach -> Straitsmouth I. -> Andrews Point -> Lanes Cove Distance: 11.4 nm Conditions: Sunny becoming cloudy/light showers, winds 5 -> 13 -> 5 kt SE, seas 3 ft @ 8 sec HT: 9:56a (8.7); LT: 3:54p (0.4) 10.35a: We launched from Lanes in sunny, calm conditions with the plan of heading right and making our way to Andrews Point, then deciding where to head from there. The uncertain timing of the arrival of a cold front and torrential rains was a factor. Some NOAA warnings had this time at 1 pm, although the radar showed this to be not at all a sure thing. 11.00a: Rounding Halibut Point, there were some dramatic breakers and stand-up swells (as per usual) and the SE wind really picked up. Some of this was merely losing our lee from the sure, but looking at the buoys later it seems the wind actually did increase a lot around this time. After making our way to Andrews, the idea of crossing straight to Straitsmouth or the Dry Salvages against the wind and chop didn't seem universally appealing. We decided to head to Granite Pier for lunch instead and then reassess the weather. There was a good hour of hugging the rocky coast and enjoying the rough swell/chop combination hitting the boulders and cliffs next to us. 12.00p: Granite Pier had a very slippery ramp so we headed for nearby Back Beach in Rockport. This is a nice fine-sand beach with bathrooms that are open during the season, and no swimmers were there (not much parking in that area of town), so it was kind of a perfect lunch spot. Upon landing we had some shelter from the wind and the sun was still out. Checking the weather, it seemed that any precipitation was 2-3 hours away, and there was no particular wind warning, so 6 of us decided to round Straitsmouth next while Jim and Jeff peeled off to head back more directly to Lanes Cove. 1.00p: We crossed Sandy Bay to Straitsmouth. 1.25p: The next 35 minutes were a stretch of rough and tumble water (but no capsizes) since we had exposure to the ocean, with occasional long swell plus a good solid fetch of wind chop from the SE. Lots of wave-breaking ledges to avoid and reflections flying back at us off the island. Plenty to absorb one's attention! 2.00p: A brief break on the new boat ramp at Straitsmouth for some of us -- they are building some sort of wooden shed at the top of the rock steps there. Then a direct crossing of Sandy Bay all the way to Andrews Point. We covered this 2 nm stretch in a little under half an hour. With the wind, chop and occasional swell helping us out we were doing around 4.1 knots at times. 2.30p: Andrews Point and the home stretch back to Lanes. Conditions had moderated hugely, with much less wind and chop. The swell seemed to be diminishing quite a lot too. 3.15p: We landed in the light rain that was just beginning and a little bit of gentle wind. The weather was right on time! Thanks to everyone for a wonderful end (or maybe not?) to this season's WLP series!
  10. Joseph Berkovitz

    Wed. Lunch Paddle #17: 8/28/19 @ Lanes Cove (LAST IN SEASON)

    I have been looking at the FC also this morning. My read on it is that we have a good chance of avoiding it altogether and the timing of the precipitation is quite uncertain. It looks like the winds associated with this are likely to be gusting not sustained. My thought is to get out on the water, but not put ourselves in a position where we might get caught out by the weather. It’s a well-defined front and we can watch the radar as the day progresses and not get into any committed situations.
  11. Joseph Berkovitz

    Wed. Lunch Paddle #17: 8/28/19 @ Lanes Cove (LAST IN SEASON)

    Sure, we can have more. I just won’t be able to help organize them since I am leaving town mid Sept.
  12. NSPN Wednesday Lunch Paddle #17 takes place on August 28, 2019, a Wednesday. This is the last W.L.P. of the year! You wouldn't want to miss it, would you? Really??? We will meet at Lanes Cove in Gloucester at 10:00am on the Duley Street side of the cove. https://goo.gl/maps/GNwTMjNBSZQmeEZj7 Predictions: HT: 9:56a (8.7); LT: 3:54p (0.4). Forecast is mid 60s F, sunny, light S winds building to 12 kt SE, seas 2 ft @ 9 sec. When/what: Let's meet at 10 am sharp, and ready to launch around 10.20 am. Then we'll have a beach briefing, make a plan together based on what people feel like doing, and get on the water, hopefully around 10.30 am. The launch location should give us plenty of wind/swell protection at the outset of the paddle; we'll decide where to go based on our group discussion (which will continue after we're on the water!). 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 rigged boats with deck lines, bulkheads, spray skirts, and dress for immersion. 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. A waiver/float plan will be created at the launch, so there's no need to commit in advance. It's always 100% OK to show up, decide you don't like the conditions or the trip, and opt out. If you're interested in coming, it's nice if you let us know by posting on this thread. There is no calendar entry for this particular trip. Other conversation (including stating your interest in going) can also happen on this thread. Looking forward to seeing you there! 
  13. Joseph Berkovitz

    Fort point channel kayak launch

    The parking situation anywhere around Fort Point Channel has become harder as the Seaport district becomes ever busier. If you want to get to the Inner Harbor, consider launching the Little Mystic Boat Ramp in Charlestown which usually has ample parking because it's in a rarely visited industrial area: https://goo.gl/maps/mBSRNm8hyPkveQJu5
  14. Joseph Berkovitz

    Bold Coast / Fundy / Cobscook 8.2 - 8.5.19

    I'll help hijack my own thread. The side-of-the-skirt release should really be a standard alternate wet exit technique (and at least some coaches teach wet exiting to new kayakers with this as a feature). It could be needed for all kinds of reasons -- loop tucked in, bottom too shallow, something else in the way. (I for one have tucked in the Snapdragon grab loop at least once because it is black and doesn't stand out like the bright orange Seals ones.)
  15. Wednesday Lunch Paddle #16: Marblehead rock play and Devereux surfing People: Joe Berkovitz, Sue Hriciga, Jeff Charrette Route: Riverhead Beach -> Marblehead Light -> Neck (outside) -> Devereux Beach -> return via Fort Sewall Track: https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/0765f1334a28e9444365a3e019f52f56/?layer=gaianoaarnc Conditions: partly sunny / cloudy, air 70 F, water 67 F, winds light/var -> SSE 10 kt, seas 1.5 ft @ 10 s LT: 9.41a (1.0); HT: 3.53p (8.6) Launch: 10.30a; Land: 2.00p Distance: 7 nm The trip this morning had looked a bit iffy, with severe thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon as part of a frontal system coming through. But the three of us decided to do it since the radar suggested we might have a substantial break before any storms arrived -- and indeed, they never really did (as of press time, which is 7 pm, a mere sprinkle of rain has occurred here in Marblehead). We launched from dead low tide at Riverhead; at least, one can safely drive almost to the water in this situation. We made a rough plan to keep the trip on the short and sweet side, going around the Neck and then investigating the mysterious Devereux surf break (with lunch on Devereux to follow). Conditions looked small to nonexistent until we got outside the Neck, at which point the 10-second swell made for some really good exploration of the many rock slots and fun spots -- large enough to provide real interest, but small enough that very few things felt off limits. From 11 to 11.30 we ran down the Neck. Then we found the Devereux surf spot. And it is a hidden beauty. How did we ever miss it all this time? Probably because it can be active while almost nothing else is happening anywhere on the beach (which was the case today). You can see it on the chart: about 1/3 of the way along the causeway from east to west, a shallow underwater spit sticks out from the beach, perpendicular to the incoming waves. It focuses all the wave energy into a narrow strip above the spit -- maybe 30 feet wide -- where the waves stand up and then spill beautifully all the way to the shore. The effect was a bit like Nahant on a perfect day (if Nahant were only 30 feet wide). The rides began several hundred feet offshore. I was able to ride the entire length to the beach over and over: perfectly formed, symmetrical spilling waves. Because the strip is so narrow, when you want to get off the wave, just move a few dozen feet to the left or right, and the wave is gone. The whole effect is incredibly focused, and it must have collected and added up energy from a wide swath of water since there were no swells visible elsewhere. Note for the future: despite the low swell, the surfing was great from (at least) 11.45 to 12.00. Being about 2 hours after low, this would give us a depth of 1 + ((8.6 - 1)* (3/12)), or 2.9 feet above MLLW. Directly over the break, I could see the bottom about 3 feet down. I am sure the long period was helping out a lot. We should come here when the waves are bigger and the water's a bit deeper. Lunch was eaten. Then an enjoyable but somewhat quicker return to Riverhead, to avoid any bad weather. We kept seeing clouds that look nasty in the distance, but thankfully they never made it to us!