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Jewell Island, May 2022


Dan Foster
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What can be said about this year's Jewell trip? Not much, apparently. Here's a belated trip report from my pod, which headed out two days earlier in an attempt to take full advantage of the headwinds from the north. :)

We launched on Tuesday from Cousin's Island, making our way to the reserved group site on MCHT's East Gosling. Along the way, Gary acquired fresh oysters from yet another local tidal farm, which provided plenty of amusement at that night's dinner, as we struggled to release them from their calciferous fortresses. The NW wind foiled our plans to enjoy the shell beach between the Goslings, but we decamped to the other side of the island and enjoyed a wind-free campfire with a view of Irony.

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By morning, the wind had strengthened and swung around enough to convince us to spend the morning in camp. Joe proposed a paddle-swim to Irony, and several of us plunged into the water for the 5-minute swim to our neighboring island, where we scrambled around the rocky ledges before swimming back home.

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A little bird tells me that another pod also planned to launch on Wednesday, took one look at the sea state, and opted for a PPPO (pre-paddle pig-out) instead. It was a rough day to be on the water.

Thursday's conditions provided a much nicer paddling window, at least until that pesky 1PM rain storm arrived, bringing soggy conditions which were later replaced by soggy, foggy conditions. We made it to Jewell in time to set up dry tents, but others paddled in rain or postponed their departure until Friday. It was a great afternoon to wear a drysuit on land! After a concerted group effort to gather firewood in the wet, we managed to get a fire going, which helped immensely. Charlie the island caretaker stopped by and provided tools and suggestions for ways we could help prepare the island for the upcoming season. Many NSPNers, most notably Gary, cheerfully pitched in for several hours of island cleanup, and the trails, water bars, beaches, and campsites were soon in tip-top shape thanks to their efforts.

On Friday, many of us paddled south to Junk of Pork and explored the slots on the outside of Jewell.

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Others explored, cleaned up trails, or went bird watching. The misty, foggy conditions throughout the remainder of the weekend made for some spectacular lighting, and several of the "islanders" reported that it was their best day ever on Jewell. Nancy's photography speaks for itself.

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On Saturday, one group headed to Peaks for wood-fired pizza, while I joined a pod that island-hopped over to Bangs. After lunch we decided to do some chart and compass practice, and in the time it took us to plot a bearing to Crow, the fog rolled in, making our practice session into a real-life navigate-or-else scenario. We hand-railed our way back to Jewell in the fog, bouncing from island tip to island center - watch, compass, and chart close at hand.

After another foggy, soggy evening around the fire, it was time to pack up and head home on Sunday morning.

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Our pod island-hopped through the fog to Sand Island, where we could hear the rumble of diesel engines from the mail boat and ferries running along Great Chebeague. Just as we were contemplating making a Securite call, the fog lifted, and we finished out the trip in windless, sunny conditions - a novel experience after five days of wind, rain, and fog!

 

Here's a link to more photos contributed by other members of the Jewell trip. If you were on the trip, there's a link in the PM thread to add your own photos if you haven't done so already.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/xhYP1FE45VdEmCv97

Thanks to everyone who came out to Jewell this year, and to Gary for organizing!

 

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