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November's Mellow Paddle - Odiorne to Gerrish - 11/9/14


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November’s Mellow Sunday – Odiorne to Gerrish Island and Back 11/9/14

Some NSPN members have been on amazing expeditions to amazing places this year and written trip reports that have allowed the rest of us to ride along from our couches. Which makes it harder to write about a one day trip in our own paddling backyard in mid-November where nothing of special note – other than enjoying the gift of being out on the water when no one else was – happened.

As one who has been shore-bound, living the reality that Most Kayaking Accidents Happen on Land, I was particularly eager to get out on the water…any water!!...once my orthopedic hand doctor gave the OK…which she finally did last week. I was under strict instructions to do nothing that would jeopardize my still healing broken thumb – so no rolling, rescues, rocks. Just paddle. Good enough for me!

While the NOAA graphical forecast was mostly an angry magenta for winds and seas, as is often the case the day did not match the forecast. Maybe if we’d been out at the Isle of Shoals it would have, but where we were we saw neither 20+ knot gusts nor two to four foot seas. Instead, softish winds at our backs from the southwest, and the sea with just a bit of texture. My wish for a mellow paddle to take the thumb out for a test drive was answered.

Ten of us gathered at Odiorne – after phone calls to both the Rye Police and the Seacoast regional office of the NH Parks and Recreation Dept. to ensure that we would not be locked out of the lot – around 10 am on Sunday. Overcast and mildish, but November nonetheless, we dressed for a cold weather paddle (which had some of sweating when we ultimately headed out). The boats were reading to go before we were:


Our motley crew posed:


Cathy modestly hid from a close-up:


Jeff showed off his new “bring on those rocks!” confidence:


Mike appeared, on land at any rate, to be a bit dubious about the whole operation:


But the group – Cathy, Jeff, Mike, Doug, Nancy, Wayne, Bill, Gene, Kate and I – stopped milling around precisely at 10:30, the planned launch time.

Bill immediately started paddling his boat weirdly. (Maybe I’ve just forgotten what options there are for seating?)


The route out to Little Harbor was deserted. All the moorings were empty. Over the entire day, we ended up seeing a grand total of three moving boats, the first a fishing boat that passed us before we got out of Little Harbor.


While the original plan had been to head south toward Rye Beach, Doug proposed a change in plans to take advantage of the tide and the excellent weather, and so we turned north rather than south, heading for a Gerrish island circumnavigation.

To the lighthouse!


For most of us it was a familiar route, but Kate had somehow never gone beyond this point.

Jeff held the sky on his head to keep the rest of us safe.


It was a nice sky even without Jeff’s intervention:


There was a nice little swell that took us to Wood Island, from whence we crossed over to Gerrish.

Along the rocks:

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Nancy seemed to catch waves whether she was looking for them or not:


At Braveboat Harbor, Doug found a perfect one footer (!) and surfed on in.


We lunched. Kate’s outfit showing that perhaps she’s been paddling solo for a little too long…


The rest of us:


And some unwelcome visitors, who were not pretty on pink.


Doug was welcome, but a little scary!


And after swatting the flies for a half hour or so, we pushed off to make sure we’d have enough water underneath us through Cathy’s favorite paddling place, Chauncey Creek. See how enthusiastic she looks?


I love this area in the fall. We don’t have to share the area with paddle boarders or motorboats. Instead, there is the beauty of New England in late fall:

post-101481-0-08858200-1415649624_thumb. post-101481-0-21810800-1415649667_thumb.

The tide was flowing against us, but we bubbled along.


Back and forth, to and fro, we snaked through the marsh until we emerged near the culvert, where Doug passed the time awaiting the slowpokes among us going back and forth through the culvert, where the current gave a nice ride in the direction we were going in.

I paused to give the resident boating polar bear a special greeting, one polar bear to another, and soon we saw the third boat of the day (the second having been some people sport fishing from their motorboat), a scull rowed by a white-haired woman whose easy strokes easily outdistanced even Doug, who gave valiant chase, but lost.

And greeting us as we neared the mighty Piscataqua, the sun. Here it comes:


We gathered up to cross.


What followed was the least disciplined crossing of a major waterway I’ve ever participated in – possible and fine when it appeared that just about everyone else on earth had stowed their vessels for the winter. Cathy and Bill took the opportunity to crash into each other and laugh hilariously every few seconds. Hey, guys, try that out sometime when the big boys are throwing confusing wakes in every direction.

An uneventful day, so Jeff decided he needed some rescue practice, and because it was such a nice calm day, Gene offered to help him out. Each did his part perfectly, while the rest of us gathered about, watching and chatting.

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And just about good to go:


By now, the day was definitely feeling like Late Fall Afternoon, the sun lower in the sky, and it was time to head back. Two people were silhouetted on the jetty. They watched us all come by and we shouted out a halloo! In the department of It’s a Small World, turned out that the woman was the original owner of Mike’s boat!


She’d special ordered it – it would have to be a special order to end up with a purple seam! – but found it too large for her, and sold it through Charles River C&K, where Mike snapped it up!

And calmly onward to the launch – one of those excellent days at Odiorne where one neither launches nor lands in the mud! Thank you tide! Thank you weather!

And thank you to all of my companions for helping make the mellow day on the water I’d been yearning for.

And might I add one last thing, in our midst…who knew?!...it turned out we had a real fashionista! post-101481-0-43172100-1415649803_thumb.


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