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Jim Snyder

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About Jim Snyder

  • Birthday 10/15/1952

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    Kayaking, cross country skiing, road biking

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  1. Today is the 5th anniversary of my first seakayaking experience. I'd been paddling flatwater for a while and decided if I wanted to get out on the ocean safely I should take a lesson. I booked a time with Charles River and showed up at their shop. I have to say the instructor who showed up didn't look the part, but he turned out to be Bob Levine. The rest is history. Huge thanks to Bob and all the others who have helped me along the way. If I tried to name you all I'd surely leave someone out but you know who you are. The experience with NSPN has changed my life and I am forever grateful.
  2. Some history of Brave Boat Harbor from Paul Sylvester's 2016 post: Brave Boat Harbor Posted on August 21, 2015 by Dianne Fallon Kittery Point, Maine — I dip my paddle in the water, push the kayak into the channel, and glide away from the causeway. I’m paddling into the marsh, heading out to Brave Boat Harbor for high tide. At least once each summer, I paddle these quiet waters, squeezing my trip in between the tides and the rest of life. Even though I’ve paddled the marsh many times, I always feel on the brink of a discovery that might be significant, even if only to me. Back in the 1600s, Brave Boat Harbor was a significant discovery for the explorers and early settlers who first came here. The shallow harbor provided safe anchorage from the angry Atlantic. But the entrance is narrow, and the surf makes passage tricky. Hence, only brave boats dared to enter. Today, I am floating level with the marsh grass on anincoming moon tide. The astronomical high tide gives me longer window to explore the marsh, but typically I count on three hours around the published high tide (e.g. if high tide is at noon, I can set out at 10:30 a.m. and plan on returning to the causeway by 1:30). I’ve learned the hard way that if I linger too long in Brave Boat Harbor, I will end up scraping mud, or stranded. The marsh is close to home, but feels remote and wild. I spot a kingfisher, skimming across the grass and up into the trees. A family of snowy egrets wades on the flooded plain. In the distance, the surf thuds at the harbor’s entrance. A great blue heron lifts off along with a snowy egret. The egrets, once a source of plumage for ladies’ hats, were on the verge of extinction but now are common site on the marsh. They are here not by accident, but because thoughtful people took action to conserve the marshes on Maine’s southern coast. This marsh isn’t wilderness. As I navigate the series of S-turns towards the harbor, I can see the occasional house on its perimeter. But this marsh, officially designated as the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, offers refuge both for me and the birds and animals who dwell or pass through these waters and grasses. Fewer than a hundred years ago, the marsh was a domestic landscape. For three centuries, horses and oxen dragged people and tools across these spongy fields so that farmers could harvest the grass for animal fodder. In the channel, human-made rocky paths once allowed animals to safely cross the mucky bottom. Then, during the Gilded Age, when droves of tourists began flocking to Kittery Point and York Harbor, workmen sunk pilings deep into the mud of Brave Boat Harbor to build a trolley trestle. For fifty years, the Portsmouth, Kittery and York (PK & Y) Electric Railway delivered vacationers from the ferry landing on Badgers Island in Kittery to York Harbor, with the clattering trolley cars traversing the marsh eight times a day during the summer months. The PK & Y electric trolley doing a run from Kittery to York Harbor on the trestle built across Brave Boat Harbor (New England Electric Railway Historical Society). This hand-drawn map shows the routes of the different trolley lines in Kittery and York, including the PK & Y line that hugged the coast and then crossed over Brave Boat Harbor. The trolleys ran until 1923, when the new Memorial Bridge facilitated the rise of the automobile (Seashore Trolley Museum Collection). As my paddle pushes the kayak forward, the vegetation changes, with less saltwater grass and more of the sedge-like salt meadow grass that was harvested for hay. The current stills as I approach the harbor. I push the boat around another bend and into the flooded pool, the still water tinted pink from the clouds above. Even though I’ve been out here many times, this moment of gliding into blue emptiness of Brave Boat Harbor always feels exhilarating. Black cormorants roost on the line of rotting pilings. The birds stand with their breasts thrust forwards, their necks held high, as if standing at attention. At the harbor entrance, between Rayne’s Neck and Sea Point, small waves crash. Relatively few kayakers venture out here. On this day, I spot a three or four others, but on the rocky beach, I eat my lunch in solitude. The remnants of the trolley trestle falling into the marsh. Almost 100 years have passed since the trolleys stopped running. The pilings won’t last forever. Many have withered to anonymous stumps. People who aren’t familiar with the marsh’s history don’t know where they came from, or why they are there. A few older folks in the region still recall riding the trolley as small children, but in a few years, all human memories of a bustling Brave Boat Harbor will disappear. Here, these shorter pilings sit on a solid bed built up to support them. The bed usually forms a low barrier but was flooded during the full moon tide.
  3. It was already pretty hot with very little wind as we assembled in York Harbor. Present: Jim Snyder, David Mercer, Mike Habich, Sandy Blanchard, Bill Harter, Tom Ennis, Barbara Ryan, Bob Levine, Dana Sigall, and Ricardo Caivano. It turned out to be a good mix of those looking for trouble and those looking to avoid it. This worked out fine as there were always places to travel deeper water without much risk. The predicted one foot swell was a little deceiving, as it piled into the shallower waters of this beautiful coastline it managed to build, break and crash on the rocks. Here's our track: We worked our way out through a mild flood current to check out the Black Rocks guarding the north entrance to the harbor. We then crossed over and worked our way south, looking for safe passages through the rocks. I think Mike decided to pass on this one: There were some nice small waves inside Brave Boat Harbor to practice on. They did result in a couple of capsizes. Not mentioning any names. This was followed by lunch and more surfing. \ Bob found a nice wave breaking in some shallows. This one got past him... But he got a nice ride on the next one. I was looking for nice safe zones to sit and watch the action... But sometimes I didn't have enough patience to get out smoothly. No pictures for that. It was nice to see the WLP venture up to Maine. I think everyone had a good time. If you have good pictures, please add them here.
  4. Ricardo fills this trip at 10. See you tomorrow.
  5. As Bob and Joe are unable to commit to this week's WLP I am filling in. Hopefully they'll be back next week with more thrills! This week's Wednesday Lunch Paddle is on August 25, 2021 at York Harbor . Please be there no later than 9:30 am and be ready to get on the water at 10 am. If you need more time, please come before 9:30. Location: There's a designated drop-off on Harris Island Road and free parking around the corner on Lilac Lane. https://goo.gl/maps/r4j3LLutmxmBc7Fy5 Registration: I will bring a waiver/float plan to sign. You must be a paid-up NSPN member to join this trip. Your signup information will only be shared with other participants. Weather: Winds southerly 5-10 kt, mostly sunny low 80s, seas < 2 ft. Tides: Slack before flood 9:06 am HT 2:03 pm Slack before ebb 3:54 pm 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 if you have a safe vessel or gear, please get in touch via PM 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.
  6. There was no fee and I got the feeling the stop off at the station was to confirm we weren't riff raff. This was before covid, you should call and see what they say. (781) 581-1212 There's not a lot of parking there. Fisherman's beach across the bay has more, also free.
  7. Bob Levine and I launched from there a couple of years ago, I believe in the off season though. I made advance inquiries and talked to the Nahant police. They gave permission but wanted us to check in at their station on the way out. It's a very nice place to launch, lots of options in both directions.
  8. In my opinion the best charts for kayaking are the ones you make yourself, tailored to the scale you want and area you anticipate paddling in. Joe Berkovitz recently did an excellent workshop on this using free software: I often print my own on waterproof 8X10 paper but if you find those too small, Fedex will print 11X17 waterproof and Staples will print and laminate. I'm sure others will too. Here's an example: Odiiorne_to_Rye_Ledge.pdf
  9. I have found Seals to have excellent customer service, if a little slow sometimes. It wouldn't surprise me if they repaired or replaced your skirt at no cost.
  10. If you got closed out of the WLP and want to join me out of York Harbor tomorrow, pm me.
  11. https://globalnews.ca/news/8073308/australia-jessica-fox-kayak-condom/
  12. Ok, I know it's a monkey, not a whale but it's my thread. https://paddlingmag.com/videos/monkey-attacks-kayaker/
  13. This is first in what Jeff Charrette and I hope will be a series of IOS trips with transport from Jack Farrell of https://www.seacoastmaritimecharters.com/ designed so that there's a full day available to explore the islands. Present for this trip: Jim Snyder, David Mercer, Beth Sangree, Jane Cobb, Dana Sigall, and John Harkey. Predicted conditions were morning fog lifting throughout the morning, very light winds and seas of 2-3'. We launched from Isles of Shoals Steamship Company at 8 am. The fog was pretty thick with visibility under 1/4 mile but Jack's radar was on and showing vessels in the vicinity. The trip takes about an hour and the river was really ripping towards low tide at 9:30. We got organized on the float at Star Island and launched directly into Gosport Harbor. Because visibility was still low, we decided to make a close to shore trip around Star, Cedar, and Smuttynose, thinking the fog would lift soon. Once on the ocean side the rocks were pretty active but noodling was possible here and there. Here's a typical Dave Mercer picture... We had an incident to manage off the Star to Cedar causeway. I had tucked in behind a rock, watching smaller waves come in to the opening in front of me. After observing for a bit, I decided to proceed out. I paddled through some smaller waves directly into the break but they kept getting bigger. Just when I thought I was out, a big one loomed. Observers tell me it stood me up vertically, then I was getting surfed backwards fast. I kept hoping to get into a position where a brace might help but it was all too fast. Eventually I capsized and made an attempt to roll up but wasn't locked in well and pretty much just fell out. The rescue was a little tricky but Dave managed it well, with an assist from Beth. Sorry, no pictures. We continued on around and landed for lunch at Haley Cove on Smuttynose. We met island volunteer Amy and her daughter and had an enjoyable lunch talking with her about island history. After lunch visibility was improving so we crossed over to Appledore to circumnavigate. The contrast between calm places and chaotic ones was striking. It's so much easier to take pictures of calm! Coming south off Appledore we decided to tag the bell buoy that guards the entrance to Gosport Harbor. The plan was to take a selfie of everyone at the buoy but by the time I got organized the current had taken me off a ways. By this time we were seeing some sun and blue sky. We continued on to visit Lunging and White Islands but no landings. Arriving back at Gosport, we had some time left so we headed back to Haley Cove for some rolling practice and goofing off. By now it had filled up and turned a beautiful green color in the sun. Pictures just don't do it justice. Beth decided to swim the 1/4 mile back to the float. Please add pictures! Jeff is planning to do this trip on a weekend this summer and I hope to do it again in the fall.
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