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(Belated) Report and Photos of Calm Odiorne - Gerrish Day 8/9/14


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Odiorne to Gerrish and Around, Saturday August 9, 2014

Nine of us gathered, a last minute rush of sign-ups, for a Paul Sylvester-initiated trip to circumnavigate Gerrish Island. I always enjoy this paddle. In the past I've experienced bumpy waters, swells crashing against the rocky coastline, wind, lines of surf created by the off-shore shoals to the east of the island, and crossing the entrance to Braveboat Harbor. Dodgy crossings of the Piscataqua with seas confused by wind, waves, and boat wakes going every which way. Oh, and once a migration of monarch butterflies that fluttered about my boat. But on Saturday, all that there was was sun, camaraderie, and the calmest water I've seen out there. A day when a quick run to the Isle of Shoals would have been easily accomplished. We could see the islands hazy out on the horizon, but they did not beckon.

We had a plan, and a timetable. Paul was apparently under threat of some kind of domestic dust-up if he wasn't off the water by 2 pm, so we gathered at 8:30, and after a beach briefing that covered two possible routes, one longer than the other, launched at 9:08 on the dot.


It was high tide, so no problem paddling the short route over the submerged sand bar out to the jetty. On calm seas.


We gathered up to cross the channel, hit the jetty on the north side. On calm seas.


Then headed out to Whaleback Light. On you guessed it calm seas.








A bit of texture by the lighthouse.


Then calmly over to a rocky bird covered island.


A few us of donned helmets for minimal rock play and one spot to try and catch a wave breaking at the north end of exposed rocks. But they weren't really necessary. Indeed, the moment when I was most glad I had a helmet on my head was when out of the blue (sky), all of a sudden, those of us closest to the rocky coast were buzzed and I mean buzzed... by a little yellow airplane flying so close that I thought it was going to land or crash - on top of our heads. That sucker was close! And so quick and unexpected that there was no time to pull my camera out of my pfd to get a shot.

And on into (calm) Braveboat Harbor, which on this day was guarded by a line of surf that was perhaps eight inches high. (Yes, I've said it before, about my speed!) Those taking the most advantage of it were a couple of stand up paddleboarders.

We stopped for launch.


Launched again.


Threaded through the marsh (dodging paddeboarders, canoeists, and people in a beautiful motor launch that garnered a number of admiring comments from our crew, but which managed to lodge itself into the mud (clogging up the channel for everyone else) several turns later

The greatest excitement in the marsh was Pablo's experience of having his not-so-trusty Werner carbon paddle basically explode (his word) in his hand while he paddled the (yes, calm) marsh. Leaving one blade snapped in half.


Weird! I mean, sure, break your paddle against the rocks or surf, but in the creek out of Braveboat Harbor?! I think Pedro will be writing a note to Werner about this. But Pedro's experience made me think of the number of times on mellow paddles that I didnt bother with an extra one. Had there not been an extra paddle in the group (and of course there were many), it would have been a long tow back to Odiorne! So: lesson learned. If I'm going anywhere, even somewhere where one couldnt possibly lose or break a paddle, I'm bringing a spare.

Onward through the marsh.


Through the culvert.


Paul reminisced about the old days in NSPN, when Bob Burnett was wont to flood or capsize his companions boats, and where trips on dicey days lead to dramatic trip reports. And then we were back to the Piscataqua. Where at 12:30, there was very little boat traffic surprising on this spectacular, bright, inching-toward-end-of-psychological-summer day and the crossing was easy, andcalm.

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As was the paddle back inside the breakwater. Where we stopped for a time to carry out Paul's suggestion that those who wanted to could try doing a wet exit without using the grab loop. I have reported on our efforts in Leon's grab loop posting on the general forum. We may well have provided amusement for the scantily clad, beer guzzling power boaters partying-down on shore. We practiced rolls and wet exits and cowboy scrambles. The water was just fine. A refreshing dip for half of us. Didnt take pictures because my camera was soaked.

And then we calmly paddled back to the launch, arriving minutes in advance of Paul's 2 pm witching hour. Only one of us managed to get stranded on the sand bar at the turn.

Thanks to Paul for organizing, and to Blaine, Rob, Connie, Judy, Pablo, Beth and Mike for an unusually mellow (one might even say calm) day out on the water.


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Great pics!

You inspired me to do this trip the following day, Sunday. Launched from Kittery town docks, up the creek, around Braveboat to Little Harbor, returned via The Pasacataqua. The current under the bridge next to WENTWORTH By the Sea created standing waves and was raging so hard making it nearly impossible to get through.Progressing inches at a time, Andy and I made it through.


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Thanks to Paul for organizing, and to Blaine, Rob, Connie, Judy, Pablo, and Mike for an unusually mellow (one might even say calm) day out on the water.

and Beth too.

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As always, a great report and great photos! I am sorry I missed out on this trip. I particularly enjoyed seeing paddlers who were not in dry suits! OMG, I have not yet paddled this year without a dry suit. I really do need to get out on the water and have some fun in short sleeves and a bathing suit!


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