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Joseph Berkovitz

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Everything posted by Joseph Berkovitz

  1. This poetry is so good, I think I just have to get one of those antennas.
  2. <sigh> looks fantastic and brings back some memories...
  3. Fire and Ice: Geology of the Boston Harbor Islands Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020 NSPN Trip Level 3 Note: This trip is at least 12 nautical miles in length, with exposed ocean portions, crossing a busy shipping lane, currents of 1 knot or less, and rocky beach landings. We will not cancel for rain or for moderate-water conditions. Big conditions or storms will cancel, and we will work out an alternate date. We paddle all the time in rocky environments, and the rocks all have a story to tell. Some of the stories are millions or billions of years old. But how often are we able to read and appreciate these narratives? This trip will allow paddlers to see, touch and understand the stories written in the geology of Boston's Outer Harbor. Launching from the Winthrop Boat Launch, our goal will be to visit Lovell, Little Brewster (subject to OK from the Coast Guard), Calf and perhaps Green Islands. The tide will give us an assist in and out, with low water occurring roughly at midday. Along the way we'll stop, examine and discuss specific land and water features, and find out what they have to tell us. Boston Harbor is an especially fertile place for such an exploration. It has been shaped by extreme events: ice ages, molten rock, tectonic rifts and continental collisions. We will view ancient bedrock features that reflect the formation and breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea, hundreds of millions of years ago. One of its pieces — “Avalonia” — eventually became part of Boston, including some of the harbor islands. Boston Harbor is also the only drowned drumlin field in the United States, with streamlined landforms of sediment that reflect the most recent ice age and the ensuing sea level rise. We will review the rough processes by which these landforms took shape, and are still being actively shaped today. Bob Levine (screen name: rylevine) and I are jointly organizing this trip. I would like to thank George Planansky for his many observations and thoughts that have informed my understanding of this area. To keep this trip safe we will be limiting the number of paddlers. Please sign up using this form and I will confirm with you via email (the form does not automatically stop working when the limit is reached): https://forms.gle/oKsoGYLLRTJuwVbV9 For a deeper introduction to the geology and history of the area, please take a look at the following National Park Service document, Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area: Geologic Resources Inventory Report. This report provides our reference for the geology content of the trip. http://npshistory.com/publications/boha/nrr-2017-1404.pdf Tidal Predictions at Deer Island Light: 2020-10-10 05:48 AM slack - 2020-10-10 09:06 AM ebb -0.84 2020-10-10 12:06 PM slack - 2020-10-10 02:18 PM flood 0.94 2020-10-10 05:54 PM slack -
  4. Let me add that Bob and I decided not to post this trip last night, so we concur on the conditions. Unfortunately I have plans on Thursday but it should be a nice day!
  5. You are VERY WELCOME! It is a great pleasure to create opportunities to get on the water. Let's have more of them.
  6. With regrets, neither Bob nor I are available this week to organize the Wed. Lunch Paddle.
  7. Barbara Warren of Salem Sound Coastwatch has been moderating a series of public presentations by consultants to the town of Marblehead, on how the town might adapt to climate change and rising sea levels. These presentations are interesting and some of the plans, if they come to fruition, may in time affect our activities. They also offer a window on what other towns in our area are faced with, and some of the options for responding. This latest one is the most concrete yet and, if you skip around to the interesting parts, is worth checking out:
  8. Sept. 9, 2020 People:Joseph Berkovitz, Sue Hriciga, Prudence Baxter, Robert Levine, Phil Morrow, Jane Cobb, Patrick Donahue, David Mercer, Douglas Cooke Launch: 09:40; Land: 14:50 Conditions: fog clearing to partial sun with high clouds, air 65 F, water 68 F, wind 4-8 kt SW -> SE, swell 2-3 feet @ 8 sec Tides: 10:38 AM low 1.83 ft. 4:54 PM high 8.55 ft. Distance: 12.1 nm Route: Pavilion Beach Gloucester to Salt Island and back Track: https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/b95f6a97a5d7ee8ed00d2e3339f9b43a/?layer=gaianoaarnc We parked in and around the small lot at Pavilion Beach. At this hour on a weekday there was absolutely no lack of on-street parking nearby. Just before the paddle, fog was thick on Gloucester Harbor but already lifting to reveal a slightly hazy seascape with a SW wind of perhaps 10 kt raising chop on the water. We launched at 09:40 and headed out to the end of Dog Bar into the wind. But as we rounded the breakwater around 10:15, the wind seemed to die and never really came back to the same extent. What ruled the day instead were the powerful swells hitting the rock gardens of Cape Ann, and they made for a glorious day. The waves were mostly around 2 feet but were interspersed with short sets perhaps twice as high, and seemed to build throughout the day. Those short powerful sets were something that definitely bore watching out for, completely transforming features whenever they chose to arrive. Some of us played in or near the rocks, some paddled further offshore. We kept an eye on each other. Eventually we arrived at Good Harbor Beach, around 11:30. At the beach an hour after low tide, conditions were great for surfing. Some got a few rides and then headed for lunch on the remaining bit of beach on Salt Island, while others hung out for more waves and joined the lunch crowd later. At Salt Island after lunch, a non-paddling incident took place involving some people outside our group. 3 young boys maybe 9 or 10 years old waded over to the island, unaccompanied, and disappeared to the other side to engage in some young boy antics. After a while, a woman in a bathing suit holding a cellphone turned up, the mother of one of the boys. She was worried that they would not realize how fast the water was rising and might be stranded on the island or attempt to swim back. One of our group volunteered to help her get around the island to look for them while a couple of others paddled around the island to determine where they were (they were immediately spotted climbing on rocks on the other side). The boys were escorted over land back to the landward side of the island while the mother was gingerly helped down from the summit and they all waded/swam back together — the water was very warm and in this area there was no surf. The whole episode took perhaps 20-25 minutes; we left Salt Island around 12:30. Then we worked our way back to Dog Bar the way we had come, but at a higher tide level and with many consequent changes to the rock features. For the most part there were more accessible slots and areas to work with than before, although in some cases with less protection from outer ledges and so forth. Lots of fun in any case. We arrived at the mouth of the harbor around 14:15 and were back at Pavilion Beach just under half an hour later. All the wind and chop had disappeared and it was just beginning to feel a bit hot for the first time.
  9. It’s nice as a place to visit but it feels pretty close to Owls Head. There is a dock on the island and people from the mainland visit it fairly often during the summer I highly recommend Muscongus islands. They are quiet and more remote feeling.
  10. I just corrected the date from Sept. 7 (today) to Sept. 9 (Wednesday). Thanks DavidM for catching this
  11. This L3 trip of 12+ nautical miles will be led by myself and Bob Levine from Winthrop Boat Launch to the Boston Harbor Islands, looking at interesting geological and historical features while we enjoy the beautiful setting. Please click on the link below to view the full post with details and a link to register:
  12. Please see the following calendar entry for information on the Skills Practice session on Sunday Sept. 20. It was going to be surfing-related, but we have repurposed it to deal with current since we have nice tides that day and beaches may still be crowded. A signup link is available in the calendar. https://www.nspn.org/forum/calendar/event/1291-skills-practice-paddling-in-current/ (Bob and I have also cancelled the Surf Zone session from 9/19/2020 and will be doing surf practice at a later date in the year, probably in October.)
  13. This week's Wednesday Lunch Paddle is on September 9, 2020. We will meet at 9.00 am at Pavilion Beach, Gloucester for a 9.30 am launch time. Covid-19 paddling: on this trip we will strictly observe social distancing and MA state recreational boating guidelines for the pandemic. Please research and respect all regulations that apply at the time of the paddle. In particular, we will stay at least 6 feet apart, minimize sharing docks and ramps with others, and wear face masks while off the water in public use areas. We also employ an online waiver to avoid passing around a physical piece of paper. You must register using the form link below to be sure that you're actually on the paddle. Location: Pavilion Beach in Gloucester (not Ipswich!): https://goo.gl/maps/YJyzx7w3uiZNYPdJ8 Parking: There is a small free lot on Western Ave (MA route 127) directly on the beach, but for a group of our size it's best to drop boats at or near this lot, and then find a parking spot nearby on Western Ave. On a Wednesday morning spots should be easy to find. Beware that there are one or more spots adjacent to the little lot casually marked "Vendors only" and you will receive a hefty ticket if you park there. Registration: To attend, please register using this form which will also add your information to the float plan: https://forms.gle/TqfXaFKnoTUhviMg8 You must be a paid-up NSPN member to join this trip. Your signup information will only be shared with other participants. Predictions: Wind 5-8 kt SW changing to SE, overcast/partial sun 65-70 F, seas 2 ft swell @ 7 sec. Gloucester Harbor tides: 2020/09/09 Wed 10:38 AM 1.83 L 2020/09/09 Wed 4:54 PM 8.55 H 2020/09/09 Wed 11:16 PM 1.47 L When/what: We will meet at 9.00 am and launch at 9.30 am sharp. We're thinking of taking a left out of the mouth of the harbor this time and heading up the outside of Cape Ann going to Salt Island off Good Harbor Beach. This trip doesn't have a specific level: we'll determine the route based on who shows up, what people want to do, and what the environment wants to do. All properly equipped members are welcome: please bring boats with rigged deck lines, bulkheads, spray skirts, and dress for immersion. If you're not sure you have a safe vessel, please get in touch with us and ask. NOTE: The Wednesday Lunch Paddles are cooperative adventures, not guided trips. Each participant is responsible for her/his own safety.Don’t assume the trip initiators are smarter, stronger, better at rough water, more attractive, or more skilled paddlers than you are. For more information, see this description of our trip philosophy from the NSPN web site. We encourage paddlers to make their own independent decision about their comfort level with conditions at the time of the paddle. Please PM me if you have questions or if you haven’t paddled with me or Bob before. Hope to see you there!
  14. So sorry to read this. I almost did it to myself the other day but someone noticed the loose line as I was pulling away. I wish you swift repairs!
  15. Bold Coast 2020 Trip Report People: Joe Berkovitz, Bob Levine, John Monroe, Janet Lorang, Prudence Baxter, Barb Todd, Yong Shin, Vick Marciulionis, Cath Kimball Photo credits: Yong Shin Thursday, Aug. 27 We arrived at the Sunset Point Campground over the course of the afternoon and evening. Not surprisingly given the events of the year, it seemed to be running at maybe 40-50% of capacity, but it was as clean and well-managed as ever. The campground is on a peninsula that juts out north into Johnson Bay, and courtesy of a low over Labrador the NW wind was a fine 15+ knots or so when we arrived with nothing in its way. So we had a few setup and cooking challenges, but skies were clear and the wind was expected to die overnight. We didn't plan our trips quite yet. Everyone knew that Tropical Storm Laura would be arriving over the weekend, restricting our options somehow. We hoped the weather picture would become clearer overnight. We were all disappointed not to be able to explore Canada on this trip due to the travel restrictions, but knew that there were plenty of other great things to do... Friday, Aug. 28 Bailey's Mistake to Bog Brook Cove and back (12.5 nm) Launch: 09:30; Land: 15:30 Cutler tides: 2020/08/28 Fri 07:27 AM 12.92 H 2020/08/28 Fri 1:36 PM 1.31 L 2020/08/28 Fri 7:49 PM 14.17 H (Note to others on the trip: Please post pics for this day, I don't have any!) Friday looked like the surest shot for a trip on the coast, with a much-diminished WNW wind and seas around 2 feet. Air temp was in the 60s, water in the low 50s; drysuits or dry pants/tops were worn by everyone as I recall. We opted for a sort-of-tidally-assisted route from Bailey's Mistake in the general direction of Cutler, expecting to have lunch and turn around at appropriate places based on the group pace. With such a beautiful coastline, a fast pace really doesn't let you fully enjoy the rock walls and many crevices and slots to play in. We launched at comfortably high water at Bailey's. (We noticed and later were told that the deserted falling-apart spec house at the end of the road has now been repaired and purchased by someone or other.) Our route took us first past Balch Head to Haycock Harbor for what has become an annual ritual viewing of a sunken sailboat that is gradually decaying. (Recap: according to local hearsay it's the second sailboat to be sunk in that location; its wealthy from-away owner lost a previous one in the same way and then bought a new one, only to moor it and then sink it in exactly the same place.) On a personal note, I stopped to talk to a family in a log cabin on Haycock Harbor where my family stayed on a vacation 30 years ago. These people turned out to be the daughter-in-law and grandkids of the person who bought the cabin after I stayed there; we had never met. It was nostalgic and fun to meet them as that was the visit when I first fell in love with the Bold Coast. The conditions were very agreeable and we kept playing and noodling along the rocks to the big cliffs of Eastern Head, and then across Moose Cove to a lunch stop on the gravel beach. A family left the beach just as we arrived but we did not see other folks after that. It was a beautiful, peaceful and appropriately-distanced lunch with an unmatchable crystal clear view of Grand Manan in the distance. Some mare's tails formed in the west, possibly an indication of things to come tomorrow. Near the point outside the beach, some ebb current could be felt in a weak mini tiderace but otherwise we seemed well away from the influence of the ebb which could be seen flowing more strongly far out in Grand Manan Channel. After lunch we went a bit further to the next cove along, Bog Brook, where we stopped and got out of our boats for a bit of a stretch. At around 1:30 this made sense as a turnaround point; the tide was also turning. To the extent that the flood might be assisting our return, it would now do so. (After a few trips I now think that the flood is more of a factor along this coast than the ebb, although there are still many back eddies.) On the way back we crossed Bailey's to play around Jims Head, a spot which always attracts some fun swell. We caroused (but did not carom) among the rocks, slots and cavelets in the bouncy water, while Bob wishfully looked up at the slanted rock face that I know he will one day jump off of. Sadly, the jump was not to be this particular day as time and tide were not on his side. Then back to the put-in at Bailey's around 3:30 pm with the now 10+ kt wind in our faces. Unlike last year, it was not dead low when we landed: another plus for doing this trip with midday LW, the opposite of what we've done in the past. Saturday, Aug. 29 Sunset Point Campground to Eastport/Dog Island and return (14 nm) Launch: 09:00; Land: 14:00 (16:00 for Lubec Narrows group). Eastport tides: 08:31 HW 17.3 ft 14:48 LW 1.6 ft Currents between Moose and Deer Islands near Old Sow eddy location: 09:20 SBE 13:24 max ebb 3.17 kt 142ºT 15:50 SBF The forecast called for TS Laura's remains to hit Downeast Maine directly, around the middle of the afternoon, with E winds spiking up to 20 kt and higher, seas building to 5 feet and rainfall around 1 inch. The sunrise this morning was lurid: However the morning looked benign otherwise, with clearing skies and almost windless. We weren't comfortable going on a trip outside and maybe being caught in the onset of the storm, so we decided it would be a good Cobscook day allowing us to launch and land directly at the campground with no cars involved. Our plan was to head to the Eastport area and see a part of the coast we have never visited before, and try to get near the site of the famous Old Sow Whirlpool (http://www.oldsowwhirlpool.com/ — of course, the largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere has its own website and an "Old Sow Whirlpool Survivors' Society"). We wanted to get to the whirlpool area around max ebb, on the advice of some website and on our sense that interesting stuff generally happens at max ebb. (We didn't do a lot of careful research on the timing, since our schedule was pretty constrained by the storm and the whirlpool idea was kind of improvised on the spot.) The first leg of our trip had us launch around 9 and then head up Seward Neck to the site of some underwater turbines that were not visible at high water, but it was a pleasant paddle along a wooded shoreline with some nice views and wildlife. The ebb was just beginning to build. At our turnaround point, we headed out into the channel and rode the building ebb down to the overhanging cliffs of Shackford Head where we stopped to look around: n to Estes Head. Since we would have to come back around this point during the later part of the ebb, we wanted to check carefully that there was an attainable eddy here. It was thin, but it was there. We proceeded up to Eastport in the increasing gloom. The sun was gone but as yet there was no rain and little wind. Eastport from the shore looked partly a ruined complex of decaying marine buildings, but a somewhat lively main street with many people fishing from the pier and an outsize Paul Bunyan-style statue of a fisherman. Continuing on to the Dog Island light, we kept an eye peeled for a whirlpool or anything like it. Barb noticed a pair of bald eagles on Dog Island, one adult and one juvenile, which temporarily scotched our plans to climb the island and get a good view of the channel between Dog and Deer Islands where the Old Sow was presumed to hang out: People including myself were now quite hungry as it was maybe 12:30, so we stopped at a beach for lunch. Then back to Dog Island. There was certainly a strong current running. Some folks hung out in an eddy in front of the island while Bob, Janet and myself climbed up to the now eagle-free island to get a view from a higher point. No big whirlpool! Just some interesting and chaotic eddy lines with the kind of smaller moving whirlpools you usually see. A nearby homeowner carried on a shouted conversation with the three of us about the Old Sow. He said it normally appeared at high tide. "Hmmm", we thought to ourselves. I said, "so, I guess we missed it by a few hours". He said that was true, we were several hours early. "Hmmm", we thought again, as low water was several hours away. We moved on, without attaching any great credence to his information. We got off of Dog I. quickly as the water around it was rapidly disappearing. Bob and (I think) Yong went out into the channel to take a closer look at the rough water out there, while I stayed with the rest of the group and we began moving back towards Eastport in what amounted to a large back eddy. (Bob, maybe you could give us a description of what you saw in the channel?) More thorough research has since pointed out that we were looking in exactly the right place, but the wrong time: The Old Sow typically appears at max flood, not ebb (possibly what the guy meant), and even then it is not at all a sure thing. Sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not. One thing we do know: at this time, it was not. We paddled back towards Estes Head, aware that the ebb in this area was rapidly disappearing. It had begun drizzling at lunch, and in the west rain was starting to obscure the landscape. The breeze was picking up and the sky was a solid overcast. We decided to not bother working around Estes back up towards Shackford, instead going for a direct crossing to Treat Island and then back to the campground. This worked well enough; there was still a southward ebb from Cobscook towards the Lubec Narrows, but it was pretty small. The opposing wind was becoming a much bigger deal than the current. At this point the group split and Bob, Vick, Yong and Cath went off to investigate the Lubec Narrows at slack building into early flood: The rest of us decided to get to camp before the storm truly hit for real. We just made it in time. The final 1.3 nm crossing from Dudley Island to the campground was straight into the rapidly building wind, rain and chop. It seemed to take forever. Finally we arrived just as a real torrent began to dump from the skies. Boats were carried in the rain. Now the new challenge was: how to get into dry clothing in the now-horizontal downpour? It took a while, but somehow we managed it. Prudence and Janet fled to town rather than try and cook. Vick and Barb decided to forego the rest of the trip and drive to their respective dry Maine homes in a completely reasonable decision. The rest of us hunkered down in our tents or under the shelter. I did not want to leave my tent for the first hour of the downpour, and I will forever be grateful to Cath for passing me a cup of wine (and airdropping some unexpected tangerines) through the ventilation gap of my tent. I had hot soup for dinner, which was perfect, and my tent thankfully survived the night without leaking. I think everyone who stayed made it through the night without getting soaked. Sunday, August 30 "The Easternmost Paddle in the United States" Carrying Place Cove around W. Quoddy Head and back (4 nm) Launch: 11:30; Land: 15:30 Cutler Tides: 2020/08/30 Sun 09:29 AM 13.19 H 2020/08/30 Sun 3:35 PM 1.01 L We awoke from the stormy night to still, damp and foggy conditions. Appearances were definitely deceiving, as we were in the middle of Laura's low pressure system. As the system moved away towards Newfoundland, a cold front was forecast to sweep through the region bringing ripping 15+ kt NW winds (again!) and dry, sunny weather. The marine zone forecast had 5+ foot seas. Prudence, Janet and John were fairly decided on hiking this day, but the rest of us (now down to myself, Yong, Bob and Cath) decided to drive to Quoddy Head SP with the hikers and take a look at what the water was actually doing, then decide. We got a bit of a late start, but got to the park around 10 am. We decided that Quoddy Head with its high cliffs and general NE/SW orientation was giving good lee and the swells seemed more in the 2 foot range near the shore. There was a rough looking tide race between the lighthouse and Sail Rock as the ebb was going pretty good. So we decided to paddle. But from where? At first we had discussed going from Bailey's east towards Quoddy and then back, but that would be a long haul with a potential strong headwind all the way back if the lee did not pan out on other parts of the coastline. On the drive to the park I had spotted what looked like a public trailhead leading to Carrying Place Cove, a beach just to the west of Quoddy Head, so we decided to scout the trail and see just what kind of carry it might be (after all, it worked for the original inhabitants of the area)! In fact, it turned out to be a very smooth and grassy quarter-mile trail perfect for a boat on wheels, with a reasonably generous roadside parking area. So that was our new plan: launch from this cove and immediately paddle east around Quoddy Head, then come back and possibly do an out and back in the other direction if we felt like it. (Bob and Cath separately scouted a nearby road to another part of the same cove, but it sported unfriendly No Trespassing signs.) Once we got on the water at 11:30 or so, it became apparent that conditions were just about as perfect as a Bold Coast cliffside paddle can get. There were chunky 2-3 foot swells coming in from the remains of the storm, but with the offshore wind direction (and a lot of lee from the cliffs) only minimal wind and chop. So many dramatic slots, walls, ledges, pinnacles, coves... with the amazing high landscape looming above it all. This is always my favorite stretch of the Bold Coast, but this time was perhaps my favorite experience of this favorite stretch. We slowly played, threading through dramatic gaps in the rocks, marveling at the landscape. A hiker far above took this photo of us from the coastal trail: At Sail Rock the tide race had disappeared and we went around its tip, then turning back towards the main headland. As we rounded the easternmost point in the US near the lighthouse, the NW wind finally hit us. We turned around and had lunch in an intimate pocket beach below the Coast Guard Trail, inaccessible from the top thanks to vertical cliffs rimming the beach. Bob found some very interesting rocks that we are still trying to puzzle out the nature of. Finally we made our way back. The wind seemed to have built and/or changed direction, there was much more chop, and I felt we were fighting the building flood current although it was hard to be sure with the much rougher water splashing around us. Working our way back around Quoddy, the coastline became more west/east and conditions became rougher and rougher. The last bit before turning the corner into Carrying Place was flat-out paddling into the wind with chop and swell and reflections everywhere. This time, it felt fun, although I can think of trips when it definitely did not. Maybe it was the scenery and the good company and the bright weather? Anyway we made it back to the beach, which turned out to be a pretty OK landing spot even at low water. Wheels helped us once again, and we all hauled ourselves over the trail back to our cars and to our very, very windy campsite where we used our cars to create a windbreak around the shelter so dinner could be cooked. The hikers rejoined us, and we had a festive end to this year's Bold Coast Paddle. This was a good one. Can't wait until next year! In the meantime, I hope others who came on the trip will add their own photos and personal observations. Bob and I would like to thank everyone who joined us for their companionship, energy and a lot of great paddling! ... . . . j
  16. Max ebb + 20 kt offshore wind... I hope they find him.
  17. @Bob C the paddlers you saw parked at Pavilion yesterday were us 🙂
  18. Wednesday August 19, 2020 Wed. Lunch Paddle People: Joe Berkovitz, Nancy Hill, Jane Cobb, Mike Habich, Amy Chiuchiolo, Albert Coons, Prudence Baxter, Phil Morrow, Pat Donahue, Mike Hazeltine, Dana Sigall Route: Pavilion Beach/Gloucester MA -> Normans Woe Rock -> Rafes Chasm -> Magnolia Pt -> Kettle I. -> Gray Beach Track: https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/636bc90395565f54420abcb20653d543/?layer=gaianoaarnc Launch: 09:35; Land: 13:40 Tides: 05:54 AM Low -0.63 ft 12:08 PM High 9.31 ft 18:06 PM Low -0.06 ft Conditions: Sunny, wind 2 kt NW -> 8 kt SE, waves 1-3 ft @ 8 sec, air 68 F, water 70 F Pavilion Beach was an easy launch and free parking at 9 am was easy to find either in the beach lot or nearby on Western Ave. On the beach we talked about two major options: heading out of Gloucester Harbor either east and then north around the outside of Cape Ann to Good Harbor Beach, or west to Kettle Island and Magnolia. We opted for the latter and we liked the prospect of a nice tailwind on the way back. There were also many recent reports of whales in the outer parts of Salem Sound and we wondered if we might see one. [09:40] We headed across some light boat traffic coming out of the Blynman Canal to Stage Head, then hugging the western shore of the harbor sometimes playing in the swell piling into and out of the rocks. Although the swells were not huge they had some long-period power and there were occasional and unpredictable short sets of much larger ones. At Mussel Point we left the shore to head straight for Normans Woe Rock, where some of us got rides in an area where larger swells were breaking just off the southwest point. Then back over to the shore. [10:25] From here began a sustained Cape Ann cliff paddling experience, with one of the highlights being the dramatic area around Rafes Chasm. The underwater ledges here focus swells onto the cliffs and shelves, and there was some very outsize sloshing in and out and up and down. Mike in his Delphin was the only one to actually (and cautiously) go into the chasm for a little bit; right after he came out, a huge set slammed into the slot. [10:55] After paddling along Magnolia Point we decided to circumnavigate Kettle Island clockwise and then head to Gray Beach for lunch. Kettle was a delight with some high-drama ledge breaks to watch. A particularly deep and spacious slot on the southern tip got some attention from the group. We headed up the west side of Kettle and crossed over to land on the westernmost point of Gray Beach (which is part of Coolidge Reservation, a Trustees property; the rest of the beach is private). In service of staying the furthest from the few swimmers who were present, we landed in the place with larger surf than elsewhere. Not that it was actually big, but it made for some interesting landings and launches. [12:00] We departed Gray Beach to head back to Gloucester, skipping Normans Woe Rock on the way back and hugging the rocky shore instead. The tide began to ebb as we worked our way back and the swells seemed to have a bit less force, a bit less often. Finally just as we landed on Pavilion Beach, someone said, "look behind you!". Turning around, we saw that the bright, sunny day had turned into a dark gray ominous sky with approaching showers. The water was the color of cast iron and our anticipated tailwind was blowing straight onshore. A good time to arrive.
  19. There are no easy fixes, perhaps, but if every town "solves" the problem by reserving their public shoreline for use by residents only... what kind of situation will we have? It will no longer be a public shoreline. A $150 sticker for nonresidents does not anount to public shoreline access. Massachusetts established the first public beach in the United States in 1896: Revere Beach. I hope we don't wind up closing the last beaches in the state to the public in the wake of Covid.
  20. This week's Wednesday Lunch Paddle is on August 19, 2020. We will meet at 9.00 am at Pavilion Beach, Gloucester for a 9.30 am launch time. Covid-19 paddling: on this trip we will strictly observe social distancing and MA state recreational boating guidelines for the pandemic. Please research and respect all regulations that apply at the time of the paddle. In particular, we will stay at least 6 feet apart, minimize sharing docks and ramps with others, and wear face masks while off the water in public use areas. We also employ an online waiver to avoid passing around a physical piece of paper. You must register using the form link below to be sure that you're actually on the paddle. Location: Pavilion Beach in Gloucester (not Ipswich!): https://goo.gl/maps/YJyzx7w3uiZNYPdJ8 Parking: There is a small free lot on Western Ave (MA route 127) directly on the beach, but for a group of our typical size it will be necessary to drop boats at or near this lot, and then find a parking spot nearby on Western Ave. On a Wednesday morning spots should be easy to find. Beware that there are one or more spots adjacent to the little lot casually marked "Vendors only" and you will receive a hefty ticket if you park there. Registration: To attend, please register using this form which will also add your information to the float plan: https://forms.gle/iP9EwbRtNebMJHAi7 You must be a paid-up NSPN member to join this trip. Your signup information will only be shared with other participants. Predictions: Wind 5-8 kt NW changing to SE, sunny 65-70 F, seas 2 ft swell @ 8 sec. Gloucester Harbor tides: 2020/08/19 Wed 05:54 AM -0.63 L 2020/08/19 Wed 12:08 PM 9.31 H 2020/08/19 Wed 6:06 PM -0.06 L When/what: We will meet at 9.00 am and launch at 9.30 am sharp. One possible plan would be to head south out of the harbor along the west shore, hang a right and hug the coast towards a lunch landing on Magnolia's Gray Beach or Kettle Island. We did a variation of this trip in February and it visits a lovely stretch of coastline — about 10 nm. But there are other options. This trip doesn't have a specific level: we'll determine the route based on who shows up, what people want to do, and what the environment wants to do. All properly equipped members are welcome: please bring boats with rigged deck lines, bulkheads, spray skirts, and dress for immersion. If you're not sure you have a safe vessel, please get in touch with us and ask. NOTE: The Wednesday Lunch Paddles are cooperative adventures, not guided trips. Each participant is responsible for her/his own safety.Don’t assume the trip initiators are smarter, stronger, better at rough water, more attractive, or more skilled paddlers than you are. For more information, see this description of our trip philosophy from the NSPN web site. We encourage paddlers to make their own independent decision about their comfort level with conditions at the time of the paddle. Please PM me if you have questions or if you haven’t paddled with me or Bob before. Hope to see you there!
  21. So... it's time to play the ocean's favorite game, Conditions Curveball. After what seems like weeks (months?) of low wind and small waves, tomorrow midday is forecast to bring gusty NE winds of 15+ kt and wind waves/chop of 2-4 feet. We are not cancelling the session. If this does come to pass, as seems likely, we will adapt what we are doing to make best use of the conditions. We'll likely work on Boat Handling in Wind, which had its own session a little while ago but (in a previous curveball) had very little wind on the day it was scheduled. At the Riverhead end of the harbor, while it can be windy, the water is very protected from waves, and we can "dial in" whatever degree of conditions we want by moving towards or away from the mouth of the harbor. So, hope to see you all there. And if you don't like paddling in wind, maybe that's all the more reason to come! Weather watchers sidebar: this is all coming from a pair of counter-rotating high and low pressure systems that will create an eastward-flowing lane of wind and waves aimed at Massachusetts Bay. The fact that these systems are elongated along the east-west axis makes for a long, sustained fetch, building up the waves as they travel towards us. There is another low right behind this one and the high is staying put, so we will see NE wind and big waves for the next few days.
  22. If I may chime in here (without speaking for Mike): last Wednesday, one member of our party — I won't name them — did not wear a mask. Although many of the local beachgoers did not wear masks either, let's avoid this in the future. The town has seen an uptick in Covid-19 cases and the health board is explicitly asking for masks to be worn in public (see https://www.marblehead.org/home/news/maskupmhd). Let's do what they're asking us to do, it's not much. It's a bit late to redo this week's signup form, but next week I plan on including an explicit question asking attendees to agree to mask up on beaches and launch areas. Check the box if you want to go on the trip. If you prefer to assert your personal freedom to do whatever you want, that's totally fine: no contact no foul, and please find another group to paddle with.
  23. I’m not sure about the dirt area. Shari, Bob, what did you see there the other day?
  24. The state-controlled boat ramp lot at Lanes Cove is still ok for nonresident parking. Other areas there have been posted as temporary resident-only.
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