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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. Yeah. I would consider other venues (it sounds like some of you out there wish it was not Riverhead) but I do not have access to a car tomorrow, so my choices are constrained to a single very local put-in. For those who would like to surf a bit - optional of course - we can work our way around to the Devereux surf break which comes alive in long period swell and midday will be a good tide level for that. Also, fact check: it takes no more than 15 minutes to get out of the harbor 🙂
  2. For an update on access to Little Brewster/Boston Light, please read:
  3. It's been known for a while that the Coast Guard is seeking a new steward for Boston Light on Little Brewster Island. Here's a link to a May 13 Globe article on the subject: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/05/13/metro/new-chapter-set-begin-boston-light-feds-seek-new-steward-historic-lighthouse/ On the Fire and Ice geology trip last weekend, we intended to visit Little Brewster — to see the rocks of course, not to visit the lighthouse (although that would have been nice). Bob and I had previously met some Coast Guard officers on the island in June, who had told us that all we needed to do was to call the CG the morning we wanted to go out there. So we did that on Sunday morning, and were told it would be no problem. Then I got a call back saying that the CG needed to check with the Park Service first. Then I got a second call back saying that the Park Service needed more lead time to approve a visit, and we couldn't go after all. Rather confusing! Today I spoke to the actual Keeper of Boston Light, whose name is Sally Snowman. She has a unique job in the Coast Guard, as Boston Light is the last staffed lighthouse in the United States (and also the oldest continuously used lighthouse). She is the 70th person to hold that position and the first woman. You can find out more about her here. Not surprisingly, Sally Snowman knows the score on what is going on. The stewardship transfer is happening because the charter of the Harbor Islands Park requires the Coast Guard to take care of the lighthouse as a landmark, not just as a navigational aid. But the reality is that the Coast Guard is not set up to take care of a historic structure that holds tremendous public interest. The immediate issue is that while the transfer is pending (i.e. until someone actually buys the lighthouse) there are a number of repair and restoration projects going on that pose some level of risk to visitors to the island in their unfinished state. The keeper herself is not even on the island at the moment while this work is going on, and there is no one to keep visitors safe. So to avoid taking any chances — I would translate this as, "to avoid screwing up anything by getting sued" — the whole island has been declared off limits to the public until the transfer takes place. To make things even more complex there are also 10 different stakeholders in Boston Light - CG, the US military, NPS, State Police, Mass. DEP, etc, and they all have their concerns. Sally told me she thought the timeline for the transfer would be 2 to 5 years. This does not affect any of the other islands in the outer harbor, because those do not have the same combination of agencies that are involved. So we can visit Calf, Green, the other Brewsters, and so forth. Just not Little Brewster.
  4. I should mention, this will be a shortish paddle. Off the water by 1 or 2 pm.
  5. Can’t make Thursday unfortunately. Enjoy!
  6. Tropical Storm Epsilon, currently approaching Bermuda, is forecast to become a hurricane as it slowly moves north and then east in the later part of the week. It's not supposed to get anywhere near us, but it will be generating some really nice long swell in the mid-Atlantic. By Friday we should be seeing 4-5 feet at 12 seconds. This is an opportunity to experience sea conditions that we don't see very often, the kind of long-period waves that are more common on the West Coast than the East Coast. The periods will probably be longest on Friday, but the swell from this storm continues through Monday. I plan to go out Friday morning from Riverhead Beach in Marblehead to explore and enjoy. This trip is not about rock gardening or rough-water adrenaline. It's more about observing and appreciating the beauty of this kind of swell. We can dial in a range of experiences by controlling how far we go into open water, and how close to the shoreline we place ourselves. So if you are not a rock or surf enthusiast, this trip may still be for you. If you are interested please sign up here: https://forms.gle/ofHofLcGsiiCxjZK7 Meeting time is 9 am. Please ask any questions on this thread.
  7. GPS Track: https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/22be62e1125d6863f4c4a315528c608a/?layer=gaianoaarnc People: Joe Berkovitz, Bill Harter, Brian McCormack Conditions: wind < 5 kt ESE, sun with high clouds, air 45 F warming to 65 F Launch: 10:00; Land: 14:20 Distance: 10.3 nm LT: 8:41 (-0.6 ft); HT: 15:01 (8.15 ft) Although Paul unfortunately could not join us as planned, he posted a great set of directions which led us to have a truly enjoyable day on the water, in this area that none of us three had explored before. We set out from Hilton Park on Dover Point, which is a free facility with an ample parking lot and a well maintained boat ramp. We launched a bit after low water, at slack before flood. This day was a spring tide so the current would definitely be on the stronger side. We began with a long trek downriver against the building flood, mostly remaining in the many eddies on the Maine side of the river and occasionally moving towards the shore to avoid stronger current. This area is placid and very mild and there were few obstructions to worry about. The fall colors were beautiful and the initially frigid morning was rapidly heating up. Around 11:15 approaching a rocky point in South Eliot ME marked by daymarker R "4" (Schiller Station), we began to encounter a strong eddy current pushing us forward and could see a sharp eddy line at the point, a sharp constriction in the river.. We came around the point, attaining a very narrow eddy on the other side adjacent to a strong flood current at 3-4 knots. This seemed like a good turnaround point for us given Paul's advice to get back up to Dover Point before noon. We got out into the current and rode it back upriver, staying just inside the channel. GPS tracked our speed near the point at 6.5 knots, confirming the current estimate since we were paddling at around 3 kt. We arrived back at Dover Point around 10 minutes before noon, positioning ourselves to scope out the General Sullivan Bridge before running the current under it. It was hard to see exactly what was going on under it, it seemed fast and rough but not chaotic or threatening. After going under the span just N of the central channel, we turned around and played in the current and eddies. On the northernmost span, now near max flood, the most fun spot was between the two northernmost pylons where there was a cool hydraulic standing wave with wave trains to either side, with a V-shaped eddy behind that let you creep right up to it and get on a wave. Presumably at this point in the cycle the water is just a little higher than a rock or ledge - explaining Paul's advice to get there before the water got too high for this effect to go off. In the current to either side of the eddy I’m guessing it was 4-4.5 kt based on paddling effort. The max flood prediction was for 5.33 kt at 12:04 pm. From here we ran up to Goat Island for our lunch spot. The north side of the river was a large eddy that ran against us; the current is mostly on the south side where there is a sprawl of moored boats. Arriving at the island, the currents do strange things around it, bending this way and that way. We landed at a beach on the north side where an eddy current moves in a slow circle in a small cove. Goat Island is a truly great hangout spot with a great view of some interesting currents and eddies between it and Fox Point. We lounged a bit in the sun and foliage, then launched and headed to the current we'd been watching. There are a set of ledges here which generate eddies that are nice and well-defined, and the current is less aggressive (1.4 kt max flood at 13:03 on a spring tide). This would be a great spot for a future Skills Practice on current. There is lots of room to spread out and play, not so much boat traffic, and Goat Island is right nearby as a place to chill out and regroup. We swooped in and out of eddies for maybe 20 minutes or so, then headed back via the south side. For a while, that is... eventually we found ourselves paddling against the main current which was still quite strong. We crossed back north and then had to attain the put-in on Dover Point by running up under the bridge. The former play spot no longer had an eddy now that the water had risen, we were close to HW at 14:00 or so, and we actually couldn't sustain the speed needed to get all the way up in the middle of the main current — I'd like to say it was still running well over 4 knots so we don't sound like wimps. So let's say that it was. Anyway, we got around the point by hugging the bridge abutment, which itself required a strong effort at a few crux points. At the put-in, the water was almost at the very top of the ramp. A great paddle in a great area. Now we have to explore it on the ebb!
  8. People: Joe Berkovitz, Bob Levine, Brian MacCormack, Nancy Hill, Jane Cobb, Dana Sigall, Pat Donohue, Pablo DeTorres, Dan Foster, Shari Gallant Launch: 0955; Land: 1530 Distance: 12 nm Conditions: flat calm -> ESE 10 kt, partial sun, air 56 F water 58 F, light wind waves 1 ft Tides at Boston Light: 6:36 AM low -1.13 ft 12:50 PM high 11.66 ft 7:09 PM low -1.81 ft This twice-rescheduled version of the trip finally took place today in near perfect weather and sea conditions. There were a few issues, some expected and some not. The 8-day delay flipped the tide cycle on us, so we were (as predicted) fighting some current on the way out at near max flood. Also, the Coast Guard had mistakenly told us to call them the morning of the trip to get permission to land on Little Brewster, but it turns out that the National Park Service has to approve this and they need more lead time. So we had to leave that off the itinerary—which given the current situation, was maybe not such a bad thing. About the trip, though. We got to see some great geology on Lovells, Great Brewster and Calf Islands, and with the high water midday we were able to get very close to a lot of the coastal features, which is harder with the optimal tide cycle providing low water. Hopefully we will get to do this again next year with folks who could not go this time. Here are some pictures. Lovells Island: Boundary between argillite bedrock (below) and diabase sill (above) on Calf Island: On the way back at Deer Island:
  9. Unless the forecasts are based on small or unstable features, ECMWF and NAM/GFS usually converge on weather 2-3 days ahead. Often the timing and intensity will remain a bit different between them though, and of course they can either/both be wrong even concerning the present moment! It’s worth looking at why they disagree, when they do, because it tells us something about the degree of uncertainty. Windy makes that easy to do. In this case ECMWF thinks a huge low pressure storm system will form off VA coast on Friday and zoom up our way on Saturday. GFS doesn’t predict any system at all for the same period. So it’s not just that they disagree in wind intensity: they disagree about whether a huge weather system will even exist. The NOAA Forecast Discussion mentions this discrepancy and then says, “Have low confidence in the details after Friday due to significant differences [between the models] in the mid level flow.” And that’s what Windy can’t give you but NOAA can: expert human judgment. Windy offers access to two wave models, WAM (based off of ECMWF) and Wavewatch3 (off of GFS, and it seems slightly more accurate to me). I use these for open water forecasts only, since for surf conditions on a real beach Magic seaweed is best. MSW tweaks those models with their own expertise.
  10. Probably launch around 9 or 9.30 so we can warm up in the building current. Details forthcoming.
  11. Trip details can be found here:
  12. This Level 3 trip will launch from Hilton Park near Dover Point NH on the Piscataqua River. It's an opportunity to play on the river in flood, probably hopping eddies on our way downriver and then working our way back. Joining us [drum roll, please] will be "river mentor" Paul Sylvester who gets on these waters very frequently and knows his way around. The currents will definitely be somewhere from 3 knots up, with some ability to decide how spicy we would like our meal to be. While this trip is not suitable as an introduction to paddling in current, it should be a great opportunity to revisit and improve our current game! The float plan registration link is here (this thread is for Q&A and trip info, not for signups) https://forms.gle/8xM2qALAes8A4bwu6 Since the environment can get messy I will be keeping this trip smallish, probably 6-8. Here are the NOAA current predictions for Frankfort Island: Time (LST/LDT) Event Speed (knots) 2020-10-19 12:06 AM flood 3.61 2020-10-19 03:30 AM slack - 2020-10-19 06:12 AM ebb -4.01 2020-10-19 09:30 AM slack - 2020-10-19 12:06 PM flood 3.71 2020-10-19 03:48 PM slack - 2020-10-19 06:48 PM ebb -4.39
  13. Jim - That is only the ECMWF forecast. The GFS forecast shows a pretty nice day. Windy does not produce just one single forecast - it gives you access to multiple forecast models. This is great because it lets you compare models and know when they agree and when they don't. For GFS predictions see: https://www.windy.com/42.345/-70.864?gfs,2020-10-17-09,42.529,-63.203,4,i:pressure,m:ePXaec8
  14. This trip has now been moved to 10/17 due to high winds today.
  15. 10:17 is the rescheduled Boston Harbor geology trip (thanks to today’s wind) so any other day would be best.
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