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Portsmouth 7/18/15


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Forecast for this day called for rain to diminish through the morning with a chance of afternoon thunder showers, winds of 10-15 with gusts up to 20 knots, and 2 foot seas along the coast with 3-5 foot seas off shore. The plan for the day was to keep an open mind as to where we would go and what we would do, with options to practice boat control and maneuvering in the wind, working in current under the Wentworth bridge and/or Piscataqua, playing in rocks along the coast, boat handling in the slightly larger sea state than last weekend, and rescues in any of these locations. Well, that was the plan.

The morning rain was a definite, and took it's time to diminish as it seemed to actually rain harder as we all arrived and got ready to go. The rain ended as myself, Cathy, Kevin, and three Daves launched from Odiorne and paddled up to the Wentworth bridge to play in the flood tide eddies created by the bridge supports. On our way, we took note that the wind was not as strong as forecast, although we might have some protection from the land as it was a south wind, so we would just have to wait and see. Once at the bridge, the boat traffic was minimal, so we pretty much had the spot to ourselves to enjoy as long as we wanted to. For Dave Carroll, this was a new experience, and he took to it well. Cathy learned some new tricks, and he rest of us just enjoyed working on some rusty skills or didn't enjoy leaving a little gel coat here and there. Cathy was the first to say she was ready to move on, but actually was the last one to reluctantly leave this enjoyable play spot.


We decided to paddle around New Castle, so headed up through the inner islands (with a clothing stop as the sun actually tried to make an appearance) and out to the Piscataqua, which was flooding near max and providing some usable back-eddies to help us down the shoreline. That is until we hit Fort Point which, if I look at the currents table, ah yup, we hit it at max flood right on the nose! The main river was flooding at 1.4 knots, but the point probably had somewhere around 3 knots of current racing around it. If there had been a northerly and/or westerly wind, that would have been a proper race, but alas the wind was from the south (as forecast) and relatively light (NOT as forecast), we all made it through just fine and decided to stop for lunch at a beach just around the corner.

After lunch, we discussed the remaining day, and Dave Merriman, on only his third paddle after knee replacement, preferred to end earlier rather than later. We decided to split up, with Dave Mercer and I meandering back to Odiorne with him, while the other three planned to head out to Whaleback Reef to experience the not-so 2 foot seas (more like 1 foot or less) that we were experiencing. However, some surf action and alluring rock play had the Whaleback group following us along the shoreline, and shortly catching up with us. It would seem that the shore proved just as tempting as the reef, and we all continued to paddle along together until Kevin and I found an interesting spot behind some rocks with surfing waves around them, and Cathy sat outside looking somewhat interested. We joined her and with Kevin's help, all three of us went in and hung out looking at how the rocks dissipated the waves, and discussed our exit strategy before moving on.

Once back inside the harbor, Kevin and Cathy wanted to head back to the bridge to see if the ebb had begun for more play. I went to check on the three Dave's who were just inside the breakwater, apparently all working on their rolls. Dave Merriman was perfectly fine heading back by himself while the rest of us joined Cathy and Kevin at the bridge. The end of the flood was still running, so we had a little more play, although not as much as previously. One scary moment occurred when a sculler paddled under the bridge and right into some lines of people fishing off the bridge. We heard one line snap and the sculler stopped, apparently having gotten hooked. Kevin raced out to check on him, lucky to find it was only his shorts that got hooked. With the flood taking it's time to end, and knowing that it would still be hours before the ebb got going strong enough to enjoy, we decided to call it quits for the day and headed back.

As a final note to the weather for the day, the possible late afternoon thunder showers never showed up. so the only parts of the forecast that were accurate was the morning rain and the direction of the wind. Oh well, we all still had an enjoyable day on the water playing in the currents and rocks. Thanks to all that joined in, and hope to see everyone on the water again real soon.

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Thank you Robert and Kevin for guiding me into those rocks by the break wall. I think many people might look forward to that area just north outside the wall, but I have always given it a wide berth (sometimes too wide; sorry Robert). It may have been a feeble attempt, but it was nice to put myself someplace I've always been scared of.

And Pru that pink is my new North Face rain jacket. Not exactly kayak gear, but it kept me dry!

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