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Joseph Berkovitz

Wed Lunch Paddle 7/1/20: Devereux/Swampscott/Riverhead

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Route: Devereux Beach, Marblehead -> Whales Beach, Swampscott -> Marblehead Neck -> Riverhead Beach
People: Joe Berkovitz, Bob Levine, Jane W Cobb, Prudence Baxter, Ken Koellner, Mike Habich, Rick Crangle, Elizabeth Neumeier
Launch: 10:30a; Land: 3.00p
Tides: HT 8.36a 9.3'; LT 2.37p 0.2'
Distance: 10.3 nm
Conditions: light wind < 5 kt, light rain -> partial sun, air 68 F, water 68 F, seas 2-3 ft swell @ 10 s
GPS Track: https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/86b5fbc9ce79744bc6e392b877bd59f0/?layer=gaianoaarnc

image.thumb.png.9d14fd72210d4912030bc11676bb4b55.png

We launched from Devereux Beach in 2-3 foot dumping surf with the intent of heading south along the coast as far as Swampscott or perhaps Kings Beach in Lynn. The launch was not a big challenge as there were many lulls in the waves but provided a good opportunity for everyone to practice on a beach where the break zone is tight and narrow and right up against the beach. At this point the day was very gray and misty with dark and white clouds moving around, sometimes ominously. No thunder could be heard, however, and the radar didn't suggest anything terrible coming our way, so off we went.

Next was a trip down the Marblehead/Swampscott coastline, along the rocks and stony beaches. Once out of Devereux the swells amplified a bit in the many coves along the way. The water was too high and the waves not quite big enough to do any surfing in these spots, though. It was more of a cliff-handrailing paddle. The weather began to alternate between drizzling and clearing, and we could see rain falling on the Nahant peninsula in the distance.

We arrived at the dramatic point where Off Rock and Dread Ledge create a real rock-scape and attract a lot of swell action. Here we considered landing for lunch on the back of Dread Ledge itself, which is certainly doable, but the softer sand of Whales Beach seemed more attractive to some, so we paddled over to it and landed in more dumping waves, although ones that had a considerably longer runout over a shallow pancake beach. Lunch was eaten, as is required on every WLP!

For the return leg we first paddled out to the back of Dread Ledge once again, where Bob and I took brief breaks. After launching from Dread the sea suddenly broke out in a long huge set of roaring swells next to me, although I was sheltered from them by some ledges. I went over to where Mike was waiting behind a slot next to a large rock; this seemed like a marginally better environment. Eventually the set wound down and we paddled through the slot and rejoined the rest of the group. From there up to Off Rock where an entertaining narrow slot was now exposed by the tide and some nice swells were running through it. From there up to Ram Island as a gathering point for the whole group. It was quite sunny and pleasant by now. The group elected to run up the outside of Marblehead Neck and down the harbor for a final home run into Riverhead. This final run was really enjoyable and featured some big (but non-breaking) waves standing up on the shoals at low water just west of Tom Moore's Rock.  Finally back to Riverhead just a bit after low water.

I did not take any pictures but maybe someone else did...? Please post if you have them!

Edited by Joseph Berkovitz

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Really wonderful paddle.  I unfortunately didn't have my camera with me, so all my pictures are in my head - where they are came out perfectly: clear and focused!

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