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Weekend action around IAH/Stonington


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A group of was in the Port Clyde area on Saturday looking for some protection from the 20+ knot SE winds, and even we "experienced" paddlers were having trouble staying together just paddling along the shore. Whenever wind picks up, group cohesion goes out the window, so to question a group in rental kayaks who managed to keep five of the six together for a 4 mile crossing in those conditions seems to be a bit hypocritical.

Researching the incident further, it turns out that the missing kayaker was actually the group leader, and the separation was caused my a "miscommunication". My assumption is that the miscommunication was either about where there final destination was going to be, or where they actually thought they were. Either way, why the rest of the group did not follow the leader to Fog island is unknown.

Here are some of my take-away points from this story:

1) Always be explicitly clear where your destination is, and what way-points will be used along the way.

2) Leaders should always be constantly looking around to make sure the group is staying together.

3) Group members should maintain contact with their fellow paddlers, especially if someone starts drifting away from the group.

4) Everyone should have and know how to use a VHF radio when paddling on the ocean.

5) Have a REALLY good understanding of what you are getting into when doing a 4-mile open ocean crossing in 20 knot winds!

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Five of us last July left Marshall Is. to return to Brooklin, about 13 miles journey. The day began with NE winds and gusts between 10 and 15K. By the time we arrived near Buckle for a break and some nourishment the wind had picked up to 29k. Proceeding afterwards to Opechee we decided to camp out until 6pm when the wind would diminish. The last 3 miles to our destination would be in a strong beam sea with breaking waves, the last 1.5 miles directly into the wind where progress would have been uncertain against almost 30k. By 6PM the winds did die down to a manageable 10-15k and we finished the day at dusk safe and tired. Five well seasoned paddlers where the most significant skill demonstrated was caution and discretion.

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We were nearby that weekend on Calderwood Island off the coast of North Haven (sort of between IAH and North Haven). The winds on Saturday were strong enough to carry some of our tents off the campsite and to fray a guyline of my tent as it was hitting a rock while vibrating in the wind all day. We decided not to paddle that day.

It was an anti Quixotic decision ;-)

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"Anti Quixotic decision" nice turn of a phrase.

I suspect it would have been quite the day going from IAH to Marshall.

RE: Calderwood

How did you get there and how were the campsites? This summer I stopped at the beach in the middle on the northerly side on way through Vinalhaven and North Haven Thorofare so did not see them.

Ed Lawson

Edited by EEL
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We paddled in from Brooksville.

We actually had somewhat of a hard time finding the campsites on Calderwood but did manage to find them. The northeastern site is good for 2 tents with a nice beach. The spot is marked by dry sea urchins on branches.

The southern site is quite a ways uphill from the shore, there is a way to camp on the footpath next to the shore there but it's not totally flat.

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