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Joseph Berkovitz

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    Marblehead, MA

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  1. I recently experimented with turning my boat upside-down only to find that there was plenty of room for Dan (feral as he is) to squiggle in and access the hatches from underneath. (The bow and stern of the Cetus protrude somewhat creating space below the deck when the boat is inverted.) But resting the food-containing hatch on a rock or stump might cut off this avenue and save a lot of trouble with rigging, clamping, etc. By the way... Dan... if you are ever hungry, you know you can just ask me for food and I promise I will give it to you if I have any.
  2. Thanks for the tips Nancy! I have always aspired to your food hanging abilities and, now, here are some tools to pick up and use…
  3. “Tom Morey: inventor of the Boogie Board wanted everyone to experience the ocean” https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/oct/23/tom-morey-inventor-boogie-board-dies i remember my first boogie board and the joy it brought to me. It was not very different from the freedom and happiness I feel in a sea kayak. A gateway drug to the ocean.
  4. [This is a report on the Beginner-Friendly Casco Bay camping trip.] This trip began by not beginning. Two days out, it became clear that we would probably be launching into 15-20 kt headwinds out of the south, coming right up the channels between the islands of Upper Casco Bay against the ebb current with a potentially violent cold front in tow. Not beginner-friendly, and also, not friendly. So Janet and I made the uncomfortable decision to defer the whole trip by one day, knowing it meant that Janet and possibly others would no be able to make the full trip due to work commitments. In the end, the roster had to be pared back to myself, Beth Sangree, Beth's sister Cora, Barb Ryan and Jody Harris. Sunday finally arrived and the weather was much better: sunny skies, and moderate northwest winds running at right angles to the islands. We would take it! We launched from the Brunswick town Merepoint ramp, which is occasionally open to overnight parking with the harbormaster's up front permission. The water was calm in this location on the lee side of Merepoint Neck... but where was Janet? We missed her! Our destination was Little Whaleboat Island, a beautiful island that today is private but will hopefully be purchased by Maine Coast Heritage Trust if they can raise the money - read more about this. The current landowners have always generously allowed visitors on the island, but they now need to sell. Who knows what the future owners will do? Please consider donating to MCHT to make this purchase possible: we all need to help preserve access to the Maine coast we all love. Our route ran like this: With the gusty NW wind, the segments in the lee of the islands were crystalline and calm as we paddled by the rocks of Upper and Lower Goose and stopped by both of The Goslings. But the two crossings were exposed to steep chop and a rear-quartering wind, particularly the second one from West Gosling to Little Whaleboat. Skegs were let down and there was some water splashing onto our boats from our right. But we made it, and unpacking ensued... We first had to do some reconnaissance to determine where the campsites actually were. There are two, one for 4 on a N-facing beach and one for 6 near the NW corner. The larger one seemed more spacious and suitable for the group although on this day it was definitely more windy there. It has a nice beach that functions at all tides and stone steps up to a fairly open bit of woods: From here we settled into the homey business of setting up camp: Before our drysuits were even off, Joe foraged a hen of the woods mushroom which Jody found growing on a beech tree right in the middle of our campsite: There was some puttering around and lazing. There were whitecaps and no one felt like getting back in boats. Later in the afternoon as the wind decreased, we explored the beautiful west-facing shore of the island with many incredible rocks and views: Monday saw us waking to another morning of northwest winds. We were not sure what the day would bring but we decided to explore southeast step by step, reserving the option of turning around at any point. Our route eventually wound up looking like this: Our first stop was along the shore of the large (not Little) Whaleboat Island, where one might never realize there was any wind blowing. This island is high at either end with a low meadowy center. We took a look at the group campsite that lies at the south end of the indented tidal area seen in the map above, where the island gets narrow. It looks nice, though quite grassy. We then crossed over to Harpswell Neck with the intention of checking out Basin Cove, a place I've always been interested in paddling near high water when one is not fighting a strong current at the constriction... After a bio break on the west side of the cove, we played for maybe 45 minutes or so in the rapidly building ebb current at the site of a former tide mill with a near-perfect clean eddy line. Then on to the seasonally closed Dolphin Marina for lunch on a tiny lawn: A few light showers were coming through but the wind seemed lighter now. We hadn't seen much chop for a few hours. We decided to head out to the end of Upper Flag and assess conditions for crossing Broad Sound to reach Eagle Island and the Peary residence. When we got to Broad Sound, it seemed unexpectedly peaceful. The wind had largely wound down. We decided to go for it, and headed over to Eagle where we landed and made a circuit of the island on a beautiful loop trail. When we chose to head back, it became clear that the planet had tricked us. The NW wind promptly sprang back up from near zero to 12 knots at around 4 pm. Well, like it or not, we had to fight our way back via the lee of whatever islands were available. The crossing of Middle Bay to Whaleboat was probably the hardest. But we all maintained good spirits and we knew we would make it back, despite some less than comfortable conditions along the way—I don't think the chop was much over 1 foot, though the headwinds were discouraging. It was good to get back to camp and some hot food. Our dinner spot was in a sheltered mini-beach adjacent to our campsite beach, with some nice ledges at chest height for setting out food which we dubbed The Buffet. Beth broke out the Luci Lights and we dug into some very well deserved food. Sleep came quickly although we could hear the wind gusting all night. There was some ongoing discussion about how far to go in protecting our food supplies given what we'd heard about raccoon activity on Gary's recent trip. I think in the end we all went the vestibule route, and there were no problems. Perhaps this wasn't the wisest. Maybe there are fewer raccoons on the less-visited Little Whaleboat, or perhaps our location meant the wind did not blow food scents inland where the animals could pick up on it. Either way, we luckily did not lose any of our precious goodies. The next morning's sunrise was spectacular: It hurt to leave our island redoubt. But we had to. The wind had decreased a bit overnight, and we had a mostly peaceful journey back including a visit to an oyster farm where Beth and Barb had a nice chat with the folks tending the oysters. The final crossing from Upper Goose to Harpswell was probably some of the rougher water on the trip but we knew what to expect and it was over quickly. Unpacking and returning ensued. Thank you to everyone for making this such a lovely trip! It was truly the highlight of the early fall for me and I believe we all got a lot out of the experience. I know I learned lots from watching what everyone else did, and there was a lot of good information-sharing along with the shared joys of paddling and visiting a beautiful place!
  5. Trim gaskets only as a last resort since one tiny screwup can magnify into a tear. Better to leave it stretched out on a saucepan bottom when not in use. if one absolutely must trim, use a razor blade on the gasket while stretched out as per above, don’t use a scissors.
  6. I’m grateful myself for all the people who came to WLPs and made this season such a good one. Lots of new faces and familiar faces too! If you have gear for cooler weather, look for occasional postings throughout the fall and winter. We keep going whenever conditions permit joe
  7. Neither Bob nor I are available to organize the final (scheduled) Wednesday Lunch Paddle of the season. There's no reason someone else can't, of course. But this post at least explains why nothing's happened yet. If someone wants to step up and make it happen, by all means, please do!
  8. Yesterday's event of Sept. 25, 2021 was an exciting first! NSPN and Salem Sound Coastwatch collaborated on organizing a cleanup of town-owned islands in Salem Sound including Coney Island, North Gooseberry Island and South Gooseberry Island. The cleanup was huge fun and, while the volume of garbage was not so huge, we collected valuable data using the Ocean Conservancy's Clean Swell app. For now, at least, you can visit these islands and see nary a plastic bottle or beverage can. (We did not collect fishing gear due to legal and safety concerns.) The cleanup was originally conceived by myself and Bob Levine before the season began, when we were watching someone pick up trash at Nahant one day. Who better than sea kayakers to clean up a bunch of islands? We had the idea to involve Salem Sound Coastwatch and make the most of both organizations' visibility and connections to the community. Things moved rapidly forward from there. At first we thought we would transfer bags and large objects to a waiting power boat, but the logistics of this were complex and very conditions-dependent. The eventual plan involved paddlers picking up, bagging trash, and stowing the bags in their kayaks, with large objects to be optionally placed in a pack raft and towed back to shore. Our trash collection odyssey began at 10 am on Marblehead's Riverhead Beach with a team including: myself, Bob Levine, Prudence Baxter, Janet Lorang, Don Martin, Mike Habich, Ricardo Caivano, Pat Donohue, Shari Galant, Beth Sangree, Nick Pearson and Rich Zwiercan. From Riverhead, we headed out to Childrens Island. There was virtually no wind but once in open water, it was obvious that some long 2-foot swells were moving around. Beautiful conditions to paddle in: We went through the gut at Childrens/Cormorant and crossed to South Gooseberry. Once there, it became apparent that landing while perfectly feasible was still not trivial, as swells were wrapping completely around the island and impacting the typically more sheltered inside of the gravel shoal that tails off the island. A quick recon revealed that the outside of the gravel beach was actually a better and more predictable landing zone, with a lot of swash but little breaking action. About half the group landed, while others waited offshore — I had all the garbage bags and it was awkward to split off a separate party until the South Goose effort had gotten going. Also, I wanted to make sure the Clean Swell app was working properly and that we had a reasonable process for gathering up the trash. The general run of things was that a few "data loggers" had the tracking app installed on their smartphones and responsibility for counting the numbers of trash types by tapping buttons in the app. Others played the roles of trash picker-uppers or bag-holders, and called out each batch of found objects to the data-loggers who confirmed by repeating it back, kind of like cooks working in a short-order grill. It seemed to work. South Gooseberry is mostly washed over except for its high ground where there was not so much trash, so I left the island and along with the waiting paddlers we headed over to North Gooseberry, where there was 2-3 times as much land area and perhaps 2-3 times as much garbage. We landed and, while working, we could easily see the S. Goose team, who soon finished and launched into the rising waters to come over and meet us. By the time they had fully launched and landed on N. Goose, the North team had finished collecting beach trash and it was time for lunch. No, lunch did not solely consist of chocolate, but it did include chocolate: We decided not to use Beth's pack raft in the end as conditions were fairly rough and we did not really have that many large objects to potentially haul away. Post lunch we headed off to Coney Island via the tip of Eagle Island. Along the way, some tasty trash was collected from the water too by some highly motivated volunteers: Coney was our last stop, and it probably had the most stuff including a rough shelter built from a now-rotted tarp and scrap lumber, which Bob helped to dispatch: By the time Coney was done, we were running a bit late and we straggled back to Riverhead. The group became a bit spread out. At the end, we were able to pile up our treasure on the beach for one final garbagey goodbye: Home it went with us, fanning out to our various household garbage bins. It was great fun and a beautiful paddle besides. We're already plotting to do this again next year! [Thank you to Prudence and Don Martin for the photographs]
  9. To anyone who wants to attend: please register via the form whose link is given above, and take care to follow the ACA event waiver instructions carefully. Unfortunately I cannot keep track of people based on posts to this thread. The registration process alone determines who is in the event.
  10. The final Skills Practice Session of the year will take place Saturday 10/2/21 at 9 am. The location will be determined mid-week based on the forecast. The expectation is that this event will take place somewhere in the North Shore area. We have more venues open to us with the end of beach season. Topic: It's finally fall, and I would really like to end our Skills Practice season with some conditions to work with. This summer did not have a lot of wind and waves to offer, but I am hopeful for some combination of stronger winds, bigger sea conditions or surf. The location will be chosen to give us the best opportunity to work with what we get. There is no single long-range forecast right now, but for Saturday 10/2 one model suggests strong NE winds and the other one suggests large swell. Whatever's happening, we'll try to find some place that lets us achieve the right level (or, better, multiple levels) of challenge to practice in. Things we might consider working on include: * launches and landings in the surf * surfing on waves * boat handling and incident management in the surf zone * boat handling and rescues in wind and chop * reading the water in larger conditions Whatever we work on will need to be appropriate for the environment we wind up with, so there are no guarantees. It's October and the doldrums are over! Registration and Insurance: NSPN insures participants and facilitators through the American Canoe Association (ACA), similar to club pool sessions. This protects everyone involved. If you’re a regular ACA member ($40/year), you can fill out an annual online waiver once for all skills practices, and merely provide your ACA member number on each signup. Non-members have to pay a $10 ACA event fee through the NSPN Store, and fill out an ACA online waiver for each session. The registration form is here, and will walk you through the insurance steps (links are provided to the ACA and NSPN websites as needed). https://forms.gle/4jGLX2DShWvv2ZNT6 We will be limiting the size of this session to about 12 participants (not including the facilitators). I will append more info to this thread as more becomes known. Hope to see you there! Please PM me with any questions you may have.
  11. Note: this trip is closed now and the venue was moved to Riverhead.
  12. Last Wednesday myself, Bob Levine, Barb Ryan, Jody Harris and Ricardo Caivano had the pleasure of paddling the Gloucester/Rockport coast between Lanes Cove and Andrews Point. As mileage goes it was not a lot of distance, but this trip packed in some really great experiences. The weather and sea state predictions were interesting, for starters. This was the first day on which Hurricane Larry's swells (generated in the mid-Atlantic) would reach the East Coast of the US, with waves of 1-2 feet and a 16-second period. We were expected to have a mild sunny day along with a stiff south wind 12-15 kt which had been blowing since early morning and possibly increasing through the day. Thanks to southerly wind chop combining with the swell, we expected that seas in Sandy Bay off Rockport would probably be on the rough side once we passed Halibut Point. We did not count on going all the way to Rockport and had planned to perhaps turn around and lunch at Annisquam Light. Our launch commenced with a slight mishap as Ricardo's Mazda locked itself with the keys visibly inside, in a fit of evil behavior that was never supposed to occur. The Gloucester Police helpfully connected us with a towing company who turned up (after Bob flagged them down when they were about to leave having failed to go to the end of the street). The towing guys deftly broke into Ricardo's car with zero damage (if he wants to, he can explain how they did it below) and liberated the keys as well as all of his paddling gear. We wound up leaving no more than a few minutes after our planned launch time of 10 am. The weather was indeed beautiful at Lanes, where the conditions seemed near flat. Visibility was perfect. Then it was on towards Halibut Point. Once we were near Folly Point it was clear it was that large swells were affecting us with long, graceful, powerful rhythms of water piling against the shore and washing back. Care was required and exercised! A large set — invisible in open water — suddenly broke in large curls near the point ahead of us. The height of the swells varied quite a lot. At times we saw what looked like a big field of breaking waves off the point, then it would quiet down. Eventually, as we reached the point, the picture became clearer. Sets of long swells that were larger than average were breaking very close to the point, with sizable lulls in between. Just past Halibut Point, 1 to 2 feet of very steep chop kicked in from the south wind running up waves in Sandy Bay. Bob timed his way carefully next to the point, while I accompanied the rest of the group around the area of occasional breakers. Past Halibut we could see Andrews Point, and we decided to take on this next leg to see what conditions would be like should we choose to paddle down to Rockport. Andrews Point itself was the scene of magnificent crashing waves from the huge swells, and adjacent Hoop Pole Cove to its north was surging and draining as the waves alternately filled and emptied. Although the swell was reported as only 1.5 feet, the very long period was taking the water level up and down in the cove by a large multiple of that height. Making our way around Andrews Point we continued a short while in washing-machine conditions from the wind waves, the swells, and reflections from the rocky coast. The wind chop was almost at a right angle to the swells and it was hard to see the swell except where it piled up or broke. The group decided to turn around rather than go down to Rockport and then return in conditions that would likely be a few notches bigger (and become a following sea). Back past the points we went, Bob almost having a close encounter from an outlier wave that snuck up behind him. We decided to have lunch at the beach in Folly Cove since it was a high spring tide at that very moment and we'd be able to avoid the usual slippery rocks there. After lunch it became an entirely different paddle. With the high water and the amplifying swell, Folly Cove and the coast all the way back to Lanes became the perfect venue for low-velocity rock gardening among the many ledges and slots, playing in the long swells that behaved more like rhythmic currents than up-and-down waves. Pourovers were never easier or more languid, with 8-10 seconds to work with an incoming swell. It was hard to believe this ocean was the same chaotic one we'd just experienced on the outside. We slowly played our way back to Lanes, arriving at about 2 pm.
  13. It's a shortie, 7-8 nm. You can always lengthen it by going to Milk Island or including more of the Cape Ann coastline.
  14. I'm bumping this thread up again to clarify what is happening, since the plans have finally come together for the cleanup. - We will be putting in at West Beach in Beverly at 10:00 am. We are definitely cleaning up North Gooseberry Island, South Gooseberry Island and Coney Island in Salem Sound. The mid-tide situation in the late morning is optimal for landing on these islands. Even though this is turning out not to be an effort that requires lots of people, I will try to keep it open to a sizable group as it is also a fun outing, besides being useful. It is a Level 2 trip in good conditions. - We may also work with residents of Tinkers Island to help clean up its beach, but that is not clear yet. If we do, the put-in for that piece of the effort would be Marblehead. - There is not really a large volume of trash on the islands, so we will be hauling plastic trash back in our kayaks in kitchen-size garbage bags, and disposing of it at home as household trash. Fishing gear will be left there for legal and safety reasons (too bad, since it's the majority of what's there). - We will be using an app called Clean Swell from the Ocean Conservancy to track what we are picking up in a global database. So even though we aren't picking up mountains of trash, this information is still helpful to scientists and organizations trying to understand the worldwide distribution of ocean garbage - Coastwatch will not be participating on the ground but has been providing logistical support with the Salem harbormaster (Salem owns these islands) and we will do a joint press release with them afterwards. If you want to come, please sign up with this form: https://forms.gle/ngZDaRKuC2AauRCY9. The signup form is the only way I will be tracking who is on the trip and who is not. I can't keep track of replies on a thread. (Nick and Ricardo: you have not signed up yet. Prudence: you signed up a long time ago using the form.) Salem Harbor Tides: 2021/09/25 Sat 08:36 AM 1.11 L 2021/09/25 Sat 2:49 PM 8.99 H 2021/09/25 Sat 9:05 PM 0.67 L 2021/09/26 Sun 03:19 AM 8.19 H 2021/09/26 Sun 09:17 AM 1.45 L 2021/09/26 Sun 3:30 PM 8.77 H
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