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Portsmouth 7/5/14


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Only a week late posting this, but it has been a busy week!

Just two of us, Andy and I, met at the Odiorne mini-spot with a forecast for strong winds. I have launched here quite a number of times, and never have I seen the water like this:


Our biggest concern was watching a father/son team load up a fishing sit-on-top and struggle to launch into the wind. We thought we might need to keep an eye out for them if they got into trouble. Whether they did or not, we will never know, because once we were on the water, we never saw them again.

Paul Sylvester offered to meet us at the beach by the break wall, so we pointed our boats in that direction and - oh yeah, it gets shallow coming out of that launch. Really shallow! I mean, get-out-of-the-stupid-boat-and-trudge-over-towards-the-channel shallow!. Once we (finally) made it to the beach, the three of us peaked over the rocks to see what 20+ knot winds and 4-6 foot sees looked like. Um..... flat? I don't get it, but there were no waves breaking against the large granite blocks! Looking out to Whaleback light, we could see evidence of swells breaking on the island and shoals, but the sea just in front of us was surprisingly calm.

Since the wind was blowing off shore so hard, we decided not risking a sailing trip to the UK and paddled into the wind all the way up to Four Tree Island for a lunch stop. My lack of paddling over the past year showed when Paul (training for the Blackburn) and Andy (apparently also training for the Blackburn without knowing it) left me in the dust (can you do that on the water?) and patiently waited for me to catch up, taking advantage to critiquing my forward stroke as I battled the wind. Ugh - really guys!!

With lunch (and a much needed rest) complete, we took a short ride on the Piscataqua side of Peirce Island, apparently to practice boat control in following wind-waves-against-current. Not easy, but we got the idea. Once back into the bay, Paul left us to head back to his launching point, while Andy and I practiced rescues in the wind. We identified the value of how a loose boat will drag when upside down, and a right-side up boat will be snatched away from you just as you tantalizingly reach it in a desperate swim.

At one point a power boater called out to us to ask, "Are you guys good with handling those kayaks?" Hmmmm........ I start to wonder how we actually answer that? Compared to the large groups of tourists paddling about in 12' buckets, we are pretty good. However, if you want to compare us to some of our colleagues, then a real discussion could be at hand. It only took Andy a half second to say "Yeah, we are pretty good with them. Do you need help?" He instantly summoned all of the expertise he has gained from the decades of knowledge that the club offers to its members in order to quickly, efficiently, and safely rescue...... a bobber. Yeah, one of those little red and white plastic fishing thingies that cost $3.85 for a bag of ten - and those are the expensive ones! Job well done, Andy.

With that excitement over, we decided to move on towards the Wentworth bridge and see what fun we could find in the flood under the bridge. Even though the current was moving pretty good, the wind from our backs was actually able to overpower the current at times. We found what fun we could in ferrying across the eddies, and even attempted to play in a tide race that was struggling to make something of itself.

With holiday weekend responsibilities looming, we headed back to Odiorne to pack it in for the day. It wasn't a big mileage day, but fighting the wind was a really good challenge to make it feel like a long day. Thanks to Andy for joining me, and thanks to Paul for keeping Andy company while I tried to catch up!

Edited by Bearded Recluse
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