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Muscle Ridge weekend 2015


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Lobster Buoy Campground hosted several groups of sea kayakers for the annual event. People arrived in dribs and drabs, the earlier arrivals paddling around Sprucehead Island in decent weather. The usual pot-luck gourmet spread out along 2 tables, and the large group enjoyed comraderie around a crackling fire. Saturday started with a little breeze out of the SW, as too many (someone counted 22 kayaks on the beach) commenced launching around 9:30.


The NSPN/SMSKN group had broken into 2 pods of 7 or 8 paddlers. My bunch included Mike, Sandy, Kyle, Therese, Dave, Carolyn, and Bill. We adopted the "buddy" system and started our paddle as the fog rolled in. We thought better of hand railing to Dix with some of us strangers, instead employing Mike's mapping GPS. A quick stroll about the groomed paths connected us with a resident of this small community. While helping her with various pieces of luggage for her trip to the Mainland, she made us aware of the need to support MCHT's efforts to secure neighboring High Island into the fold. We decided to stay "inside" of the weather, and paddled the northern coasts of Andrews and Hewett, sans GPS, and made our still-foggy way to Bar for lunch.


We met up briefly with Ed's group at northern Flag, his contingent traveling CCW. Ed and I had chatted a bit by VHF, just to keep track of each others' whereabouts along our opposite routes. After our lunch break, we employed the 3 Stooges "spread out" advice (a central navigator is flanked to her left and right by paddlers who spread out far enough to still see the most "central" paddler) on our way to #6 Nun.


Of course we were dead on after our 1/2 mile, flatwater crossing, the same result later for hitting the "target" on Sprucehead. Of course now the fog began to clear, and we enjoyed a leisurely paddle back to the now-high launch/landing spot. Reservations for dinner at a Rockland eatery were honored by 9 (I think) of us, and by Sunday morning most of us had started for home, filled with memories of new and old friends, as is typical of this annual outing.

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It was a productive day for polishing/practicing skills for paddling in fog as well as just nice paddling during the times the fog lifted. Gliding along shores in the fog can be a very neat experience. At the same time realizing how disorienting it can be to paddle in the fog if you do not watch your compass can be sobering. Our litle group mostly navigated by a series of "on the fly" decisions. You can do quite a bit of navigating with a finger and a chart. The one I remember most was at the end when we realized while off the SW end of High that the bearing to the N end of Oak would take us back to the beach. For once the radios served a practical purpose as without them we would have missed you for sure.

Hopefully it will continue to be a meeting of paddlers from various clubs even it it results in a large group. I believe there is value in seeing how others approach paddling. And perhaps more paddling in nearby venues as well. The Mosquito Head/coast and the islands off Port Cloyde and Friendship certainly worth a day each.

Ed Lawson

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