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  1. The winter months offer ample time to develop new skills and practice old ones! From rolling to rescues, you can redefine the limits of your current skill set and be ready for new, incredible adventures next summer. So, come on out and join us in a fun, supportive learning environment! Please note that space is extremely limited so be sure to register early. There are instructional spots and practice only spots available. The first session is on November 15th! Registration is easy at https://www.salemkayak.com/reserve/pool-sessions Please note that participants are required to wear masks unless on the water and encouraged to maintain social distancing while on the water. The number of spots available has been reduced from previous years to facilitate social distancing. Instructors will be masked and will instruct whenever possible in a socially distance manner.
  2. Always happy to find something new to add to my (nearly) fully-stocked gear loft, I found the need to purchase an insulated bottle for a hot drink, after devoloping a mild chill during a lunch break at the fall Squam trip. I stumbled upon this beauty that keeps drinks too hot for immediate sipping, but works great if prepped before retiring for the night (credit to Rob), for consumption pre-launch and on-water paddling. Truly a one-handed operation, a definite bonus feature. Not a tea or coffee drinker, but a perfect receptacle for my hot maple syrup (diluted of course) "cider". http://www.amazon.com/Thermos-Vacuum-Insulated-Stainless-16-Ounce/dp/B00K7CZHK4/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1420203182&sr=8-9&keywords=16oz+thermos#customerReviews Other additions to the loft in the past year are Luci solar light and kelty tarp poles. What handy gadgets/items have you acquired recently that I don't have? gary Note: As a minimilast consumer, I make the above recommendation with a small helping of reluctance.
  3. Lobster Buoy Campground hosted several groups of sea kayakers for the annual event. People arrived in dribs and drabs, the earlier arrivals paddling around Sprucehead Island in decent weather. The usual pot-luck gourmet spread out along 2 tables, and the large group enjoyed comraderie around a crackling fire. Saturday started with a little breeze out of the SW, as too many (someone counted 22 kayaks on the beach) commenced launching around 9:30. The NSPN/SMSKN group had broken into 2 pods of 7 or 8 paddlers. My bunch included Mike, Sandy, Kyle, Therese, Dave, Carolyn, and Bill. We adopted the "buddy" system and started our paddle as the fog rolled in. We thought better of hand railing to Dix with some of us strangers, instead employing Mike's mapping GPS. A quick stroll about the groomed paths connected us with a resident of this small community. While helping her with various pieces of luggage for her trip to the Mainland, she made us aware of the need to support MCHT's efforts to secure neighboring High Island into the fold. We decided to stay "inside" of the weather, and paddled the northern coasts of Andrews and Hewett, sans GPS, and made our still-foggy way to Bar for lunch. We met up briefly with Ed's group at northern Flag, his contingent traveling CCW. Ed and I had chatted a bit by VHF, just to keep track of each others' whereabouts along our opposite routes. After our lunch break, we employed the 3 Stooges "spread out" advice (a central navigator is flanked to her left and right by paddlers who spread out far enough to still see the most "central" paddler) on our way to #6 Nun. Of course we were dead on after our 1/2 mile, flatwater crossing, the same result later for hitting the "target" on Sprucehead. Of course now the fog began to clear, and we enjoyed a leisurely paddle back to the now-high launch/landing spot. Reservations for dinner at a Rockland eatery were honored by 9 (I think) of us, and by Sunday morning most of us had started for home, filled with memories of new and old friends, as is typical of this annual outing.
  4. Come out and camp/paddle during the most pleasant season! Home Base will be Lobster Buoy Campsites in S. Thomaston, Maine, gathered at the Group Site ($10/head/nite). Arrive Friday, leave Sunday. Paddling options abound: NE to Owls Head, SE to Muscle Ridge, or SW to Port Clyde. Typical pot-luck evening buffet (proper attire please) for those so inclined to participate. Post interest here, PM, or RSVP on calendar posting. See inaugural trip report beautifully captured by Pru: http://www.nspn.org/...?showtopic=8956 gary
  5. Hi Folks, If you've been longing to kayak along the shores of Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor in summer this is a great opportunity. This trip is also being offered to the NE Seacoast Paddlers and other groups so you can RSVP there if you'd like or email or PM me for more information. We'll be staying at the Oceanside Hotel & Resort in waterfront rooms. The resort has a private beach that overlooks Frenchman's bay and we can launch our kayaks right from this beach. Check out the event posting on NE Seacoast Paddlers and hope you'll consider joining us. http://www.meetup.com/NESeacoastPaddlers/events/221615216/ Happy Paddling! Neil
  6. See calendar posting. Like last year, we'll plan to launch from multiple locations. Post preferences here, then coordinate /communicate details with members of your pod. Before signing on to this trip, please ask yourself "Could I do this trip alone?" PM me with any ?????? you may have. gary
  7. Skills Development/Improvement Workshop Georgetown Island Area, Mid-Coast Maine Friday, Saturday & Sunday, May 29-31, 2015 Rocks and ledges, surf, tidal currents, fog (if we are lucky), navigation and incident management are all on the table! Whether you want to put your skills to the test or tune up your skills in the coastal environment we will have FUN! This is a training for you, so don’t be bashful – let us know what you want to work on and we will try to meet your needs. As always, conditions are weather dependent, but there are plenty of places along the mid-coast of Maine near Georgetown Island to find something of interest to paddle. We will be using the AMC Knubble Bay Camp for lodging (space is limited), meeting and gathering. Knubble Bay is a great location that will give us access to several different nearby launch sites, including Five Islands, Reid State Park, Popham Beach, as well as from the docks at the camp itself. Coaches: John Carmody, Caroline Zeiss, Carl Ladd, Russell Farrow, John Ozard Only a few spaces remain for lodging at Knubble Bay Camp. For further information contact: [email protected]
  8. Skip report; go straight to slideshow: https://plus.google.com/photos/104527482892165688266/albums/6062416108708979217?banner=pwa Having completed yet ANOTHER best-ever Sea Safari, buddies Bearded Recluse and Solo Wanderer had best consider changing their monikers! As always, these brainchilds are hatched in the depths of winter, with details scrutinized over and over. Sadly, our other paddling buddy Pru had to bow out because of her land-based (typical) kayak accident. A multi-day "loop" trip was planned in the MDI area that would include many of the must-see locales that had accumulated on my bucket list. When asked by Rob why the trip was to proceed counterclockwise (CCW), I had no good answer, other than to say it feels RIGHT to keep the coast on my LEFT! Route for the entire CCW trip: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445869 The Wooden Boat School was kind to offer overnight parking and a convenient ramp; we launched nearly on-time @ 1230 to a 5-10 NE, and a late flood tide (HT=1447). We bee-lined easterly to Naskeag Point, then on to Pond to check out the MITA site. The still-steady NE wind and tide guided us around western Swans, and we headed for the visible building charted as the lighthouse to Burnt Coat Harbor, where we tucked into the lee for a needed rest. A short paddle from there brought us to our home for two nights-Big Baker, with its beautiful needle-laden cozy campsite in a spruce grove. I was feeling a little disjointed after a long first day! Route for day 1: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445831 Clear skies greeted us on day #2, and we pushed off with plans to spend the day on Marshall, the largest uninhabited island on the eastern seaboard. At the get-go we were a bit “at sea” getting our bearings, an apparent "ledge" between Harbor and ___ not indicated on the chart. The "ledge" morphed into an obvious commercial fishing enterprise, a string of huge pens enclosing jumping and rising salmon, fed through a series of pipes from the mother barge at the western tip. We enjoyed the last bit of lee from the ledges between Harbor and Green before paddling head-on into the10-15 northwesterly and 2.5 foot seas. We opted for the nearest quiet landing, rather than suffer a big-surf landing (northern tip) or possible difficult paddle back to camp (SE Sand Cove). The two-mile direct crossing to Little Marshall just offshore drained 60 minutes from our day. Along our (CCW) 5-mile land trek we encountered expansive meadows, pebble beaches, spacious campsites (one with newish tent platforms), an abandoned airstrip, potable well water, and Marshall’s crown jewel, Sand Beach. By mid-afternoon, we had retraced our Route back to camp, and enjoyed a fine hot meal in the cozy grove. Route for day 2: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445838 With a big paddling day facing us on Day 3, we chowed breakfast, packed the boats, and shoved off (typically one half hour later than previous nights’ plans) for our trip to the Cranberries. Next in line though was Frenchboro, Long Island, and a possible sandy (chart) landing at Big Beach. Nearing the steep beach, it was clear that this was of the course-grained variety, with the average grain weighing in at 50 pounds! We had hoped to hike the MCHT trails (CCW) for a stretch, but the unstable footing (fully-loaded boats) and difficult access (we have since named this spot Big Be-atch) gave us a smart-attack and turned us away, but not before an extended search for the perfect rock for Pru. A 70 pound granite sphere fit the bill, but not my hatches. Luckily, Rob found room in his boat, which was sorely in need of more ballast, weighing in (estimate) at only150 lbs, pre-rock. We turned the corner into placid Lunt Harbor, parking at the gas wharf, followed by an ever-so-quiet walk along the cove road to the ferry terminal, gladly interrupted by two amorous felines and a newly-transplanted spouse (after seven years, she was not convinced this was "home"). After lunch and (flush) privy, we aimed for Little Black, explored its campsite, then snuck into the tiny opening of the magical “green lagoon” nearby. At length, via E Great Gott, we arrived at our destination after a 4-mile open crossing, gently aided by the 5-7k NW. Route for day 3: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445841 Day 4 was planned as a local day. A few sprinkles throughout the night and morning would be the only “weather” we experienced on the journey. Baker Island lighthouse (Acadia) was in our sights, and we beached at the small NW cove to explore the lighthouse (no entry) and surrounding history, including a quaint, shed-like museum. Next, off to NE Harbor, CCW, of course, Little Cranberry to port, past Sutton and a quick stop at the gas marina, but nobody home. We peeked around the corner, further into the Harbor, and beached at the public boat ramp, amongst a semblance of bustle. Two tourists chatted us up, and revealed they were from my home town! I have since run into Al at the Town Office; he didn’t recognize me out of my drysuit! The hunt was on for a restaurant meal, and we were pleased with the offerings from Colonel’s Restaurant and Bakery-good meals and a pastry for our “midnight” (8pm) snack later. This action shot is the only proof that we did, indeed, travel together! Since we had topped off the dromedaries at the visitor center, I felt safe to let Rob in on the bad news I was carrying-I had inadvertently left one of Rob’s filled 6L at Big Baker. I had carried it behind my back-band on day 1, but hadn’t realized my gaffe leaving Big Baker-I instead placed my 2L (filled @ Marshall) behind the seat. To my relief, Rob was quick to share his secret-he had scooped up the water sack when I wasn’t looking! Shouldn’t have been a worry to begin with, as we were carrying 26L between us! A quick stop at Islesford on the way back “home” found mostly closed stores, including the museum, much to our disappointment. Day 5: We were up at Dawn’s crack for our next leg-E side of MDI to Lamoine State Park in Trenton. This time Rob shared his version of “bad news”-3 to 5 foot swells, SW, with a period of 15 sec. I was happy to hear the report of light wind, ~5W, and was optimistic for our sojourn up the E side on a glorious, blue-sky day. The seas were gentle, and we enjoyed cautious play time off the rugged coast before a pit stop at the Bar Harbor public beach/ramp, where I was unceremoniously dumped in 3 inches of water! (Note to self: Must figure a way to get my too-long legs out of the cockpit before landing-quite a trick!). The town was hopping with throngs of tourists from an anchored cruise ship (~3000 passengers, by Rob’s estimate), as many as 5 ship-borne water taxis shuttling to and fro. Tourist season was far from over in Bar Harbor that day. The local police offered the Downeast Delicatessen up the road for good eats, and he was spot on-fast-food pace, but quality sandwiches, enjoyed on the grassy knoll overlooking the Harbor, as we waited for the incoming tide to cover Bar’s bar. The remaining leg to Lamoine State Park was uneventful (terminally sluggish into the wind), though we enjoyed the cliffside “Ovens” on the north shore. Just as we neared the end of a lengthy walk to the Park check-in booth, the attendant backed out of the doorway, locked the door, and muttered “good night”-a fine Howdyado! She soon softened to our charming personalities, and offered 1 of 2 sites near the water, still a long walk from the boats. “Could we pretty-please set up our tents on the grassy picnic area near our boats? We’ll be gone before the Park opens.” “No-those are the rules. But if you don’t have cash, don’t worry about it. BTW my name is FRED”. Hmmmm… We enjoyed lengthy coin-less showers, hot meals, the company. Route for day 5: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445850 As each day rolled on, we were gaining efficiency with boat packing, and we launched at last night’s pre-agreed time. On flat seas we eased over to the bridge connecting the mainland. We had envisioned an expansive structure, but was surprised to encounter a <100’ long X 21’ high bridge that is the gateway to the second-largest island on the E coast, welcoming 2.5 M visitors annually, home to 10K. Our plan for the day was to check out the 3 little MITAs scattered about Bartlett Narrows. The northernmost “Hub” was first in line: easterly, seaweed landing, ledgy, and a single, nest-like, 1-tent site, surrounded by windbreak shrubbery/trees. We were surprised to find little current at the narrowest of the “Narrows” on the late ebb. Johns was next, seaweed landing, small area for a tent or 2 in the grass near the grove. We enjoyed lunch on Jolly N, in the shade on this warm day, and watched the separated rental kayakers part further, both of us surmising what a tedious job the leader must have. Our “hike” for the day would total <100yards. Our last crossing kissed N Hardwood, and we CCW’d N Tinker for the most glorious campsite ever, mid-island, arriving early afternoon, to warm sun, rest, and clothesline duties. Route for day 6: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445854 We would have liked to loll about the campsite the next day, but Muscle Ridge was calling us, so we launched before 7, cruised through the ledgy area about Flye (HT), landed @ 0930, and made haste to Muscle at the same time Dave drove in-12:30. Route for day 7: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445857 A spectacular trip, perhaps my best yet! Thanks to Rob for being such an excellent companion at every step. Link to Rob’s pix: https://picasaweb.google.com/TippyDazey/MDI2014?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMDb8a7noOWLeg&feat=directlink TAKE-HOME NOTES: WATER: We estimate using 20-24L for the trip. Re-supply points include Marshall (iron, cloudy, but tasty: 44.07.332N 68.30.514W), NE Harbor (visitor center), Bar Harbor (?anywhere), and Lamoine State Park EVACUATION PLANS: Frenchboro (flush privy), Baker (Acadia; two-holer), NE Harbor, Bar Harbor, Lamoine DON’T EVEN THINK OF LEAVING HOME WITHOUT A WAGBAG OR THE LIKE (http://www.lowes.com/pd_367048-1703-KH550_0__?productId=3474867 )AND USE IT! ROUTE SELECTION: Travel CCW whenever you can-your trip will be easier. FOOD: Breakfast: oatmeal, usually, hydrated at nite (last am breakfast stolen by raccoon during a 5-min night-time beach gathering), granola bars. Lunch: PB&J X 4 (3 of which were eaten on the last day (#8, for breakfast, lunch, and supper), Amato’s Italian (day #2), restaurant when you can find it! Supper: Indian fare pouch (1/2 package added to grain [hydrate in am]; risked poisoning (really?) by eating second half 3 days after opening), box soup. Root vegetables cooked with grain included carrots, beets, and yams-kept very well. Snacks: Almonds, granola bars, Dove chocolate squares. CELL RECEPTION: Rob (Iphone5) had clear reception on ALL the islands. I, on the other hand (I4), was continually teased by Ms. Verizon, the texting green status bar always falling 1mm short of “sent”. OTHER: My “40-degree” synthetic bag will be left behind on a similar-season trip; a 35-degree mummy will take its place. Last, but most important: Thank you MITA and MCHT for providing beautiful, restful temporary “oases” for this multi-day sea safari. If you are not already a member, I hope this report inspires you to make a contribution to these and/or other organizations to ensure these still-wild places remain so.
  9. Come out and camp/paddle during the most pleasant season! Home Base will be Lobster Buoy Campsites in S. Thomaston, Maine, gathered at the Group Site ($10/head/nite). Arrive Friday, leave Sunday. Paddling options abound: NE to Owls Head, SE to Muscle Ridge, or SW to Port Clyde. Anyone down for a full-moon nite paddle? Typical pot-luck evening buffet (proper attire please) for those so inclined to participate. Post interest here or PM. See inaugural trip report (part 3) beautifully captured by Pru: http://www.nspn.org/...?showtopic=8956 gary
  10. Skip report; go straight to slideshow HERE Despite my 5:30 AM start to Maine, I was worried that I would be facing the early flood tide up the Damariscotta, after the 1145 predicted slack at Cavis Point. The Damariscotta PD was receptive to my overnight parking X2 at the municipal lot, allowing an easy put-in at the paved/float launch site. Shoved off at 920 at lower ebb, aided by a 5-10 northerly. Numerous oyster farms beyond the launch reflected the thriving, resurgent industry in these parts. An overcast, random sprinkly, uneventful nine-mile paddle down the quiet waterway brought me to a quick, leg-stretching stop on _____, then a short paddle to Fort Island across the river. The pine-needle-laden open forest floor carpeted innumerable candidate tent sites. A privy and two nice landing beaches encouraged me to file away in my "future trips" folder. Paddling south beyond the constriction at Fort, I met more than a little resistance, the early flood winning the battle vs. late river ebb. Meandered down the east side of steeply-sloped Linnekin Neck to rocky Ocean Point, where owners/caretakers of seasonal cottages were “opening up”, hoping for a better weekend than today's off-and-on dreary weather. Rounded the corner, faced the now headwind, and set a course for 309 to Burnt I. light, then through Townsend Gut to my home for 2 nights on the Sheepscot. Not the worst landing by any stretch, but improvised, as always, with scroungable log rollers and vagabond planks. Polished off my Amato’s and chips, then settled in for a restful sleep, planning the next day’s trip. Day 1 route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6327903 As luck would have it, with only 2 days notice, Cath agreed to join me for the Arrowsic [a-RAU-sik]/Georgetown CW circumnav. She had left early from her Old Town home to launch at Knickercane in W. Boothbay, and was surprised to find John and Pru prepping for an on-water instructional/boat trial. They kindly escorted Cath to my seaweedy doorstep, where we exchanged air-hugs and goodbyes in short notice, splitting in opposite directions. The weather was calm/sunny and seas flat as we slowly paddled eastern Georgetown, through Five Islands (open weekends only; would be lucky to grab a lobster roll at Red’s the next day), then on to Reid, where Cath made a respectable landing /launch through the breakers for a quick stop. By the time we arrived at Fort Popham we were 1 hour beyond the predicted slack ebb of 1328. The current in our favor now, we rode the Kennebec to Perkins I. for lunch (day-old soggylicious Italian). We thought better of the idea to do the complete circumnav., as there is a 5-hour window of opportunity between the slacks at Popham and Lower Hell Gate, when paddling CW. We determined that an average paddling speed of 3.8 knots in the remaining 3-hour window we had was unreasonable, even if aided by the ?2 knot current. So we explored the beautiful campsite(s) and walked the trail to the lighthouse, stopped short by a massive spread of PIV before us. Back in the saddle up the serpentine Back River, headed for Hockomock Bay, a shore-side barn ”leaning towards Sawyers” (or moved to this launch spot?). Even with a chart and compass, this marshy route had us scratching our heads at one point beyond the bridge. Pity the stranger without any nav-aids! We arrived at Lower Hell just at slack, and landed at the pepply beach at Beal’s southern terminus to explore the beautiful (a recurrent theme!) campsites, snack, and privy (verb) With twilight nearing, we shoved off and rode the building current through Goose Rocks Passage, an ominous sea-born fog bank steam-rolling up the Sheepscot. We guesstimated 15-20 minutes for the darkening, fogbound, 1-mile crossing from Whittum to Ram, and arrived mid-island after 17 minutes of dead-rekoning at 70 degrees. Now fully dark, we tucked into the familiar easterly cove to jury-rig my compass light, then handrailed (occasional residential and bridge lights, thank you) over to Knickercane, to see Cath off safely by 10pm. Creeped back through the creepy fog to base camp, where a hot mug of soup and crusty bread topped off a very long, but spectacular day! Route of Day 2: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6327918 An uneventful overcast last day had me retracing my route back to the car, wind and current my friends, then on to Topsham to the Black Lantern http://blacklanternbandb.com/ for a good nite’s sleep before heading to Pott's Harbor the next day to launch for the annual Jewell trip.
  11. Early reminder for those who need to secure the weekend for the best fun to be had, anywhere. Some may decide to linger into Memorial Day (Mon). See details on NSPN calendar. gary
  12. Though I don’t consider myself a trip-planning expert, I have taken several multi-day kayak-camping trips, many of them solo. The following planning items are by no means recommended as guidelines, but merely a log of my activity so far, in no particular order, leading up to a six-day trek to the Maine Coast. Much of that safari is taking place between my ears, in the months leading up to the voyage. Starting in JANUARY: -Spend too many hours poring over my E-library of nautical charts, my favorite sources being: NOAA booklet charts [http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/BookletChart/AtlanticCoastBookletCharts.htm] MITA (from which I can collect GPS waypoints that this program conveniently provides, and as a (almost) seamless compilation of multiple NOAA charts, from which I can save and print customized booklet charts on my IMac [command/shift/4]. -Print color charts, annotate and magneticNorthetize with spaces between lines of either 1 or 2M, depending on scale, then laminate eight 8X10” chartlets (4 laminates) at KinkoFedEx for 1.99 each. -Assemble list of geocaches in area to paddle. -Determine a reasonable launch site(s) where extended overnight parking might be accommodated and contact those parties (MITA, marinas, seaside lodges, harbor masters, local police dept or Town office) directly, opting for beach or ramp (vs. mudflats, wharf) launch if possible. Negotiate a mutually agreeable fee (our host has offered parking and launching privileges in exchange for help with chores-what a deal). IF OTHER THAN A SOLO TRIP: -Start inviting potential adventurers for the blocked-out (vacation days) multi-day trip, with a consideration of the optimal and maximum number and skill level of participants. -Seek volunteers for roles of Meteorologist, Navigator, Safety Officer, Activities Director, etc., as this is a CAM trip. -Suggest to participants to prepare as if this were a solo trip, and at launch site, whittle down (but not too much) redundant gear that might be considered communal: cookware, repair, first aid, flare gun, tents/tarps, saw, etc. -Share preliminary agenda and links to local knowledge with participants. -Obtain contact info (cell, E, emergency contact) from participants, compile spreadsheet with same, and leave as part of float plan with sig. others, launch host, marine patrol, local police, other. -Encourage participants to “reply all” to E threads, as indicated, to facilitate good group communication. -Continue reviewing charts and plan possible routes for each day, considering tides, geocaches, breaks with short hikes, MITA islands, town/state land with trails (and facilities [www.town.org]), potable water supplies, groceries, restaurants (this is NOT a wilderness trip), alternative camping (sanctioned and stealth), and bail-out locations. -Contact Maine Forest Service for _____ permits on eligible islands, a few days before launch. Record permit # on kayak deck with permanent marker. -Obtain tidal data for days/location of trip; record daylight tides on kayak deck with permanent marker. -Because distance from home to launch site is not short, secure overnite lodging in the vicinity, for an early launch on the anticipated long Day 1. -Consider possibility of ferry service, or other boating/shipping activity in area of paddling, and if YES, obtain a copy of schedule(s). -Contact Harbor Master, if applicable, for “local knowledge” about currents, areas of questionable passage from charts (?mudflats under bridge?), and general “rules of the road” for area visited. Another good source for this data is “A cruising Guide to the Maine Coast (Tafts and Rindlaub)” or “The Maine Coast Guide for small boats-Casco Bay (Rindlaub)”; may be possible to obtain via inter-library loan at local library. -Build http://www.soazpaddlers.org/phpBB-3.0.5/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=42 or buy http://www.lowes.com/pd_367048-1703-KH550_0__?productId=3474867 a LNT torpedo tube. Chose the latter-thanks Les. -Pre-program and label important waypoints (islands, aids to navigation, launch/landing sites, etc) into your GPS (fresh and extra batteries) and on charts, as applicable. Focus points on middle of islands; helpful coming or going, and you’ll be sure to “hit” your target. -What else? gary
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