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Circumnavigating Gerrish, Sat 10/17

Jeff Charette

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Saturday proved itself to be a perfect day to kick off the cold weather paddling season. Temperatures would top out in the 50’s with a cold, brisk, wind out of the west. Eight hardy paddlers met in the nearly empty parking lot at Odiorne Point in Rye, NH. Pru, Cathy, Rob, Kevin, Mike, David M, and Dave C, and I gathered for a 10:30 launch.post-100710-0-92288300-1445215851_thumb. As gear was sorted and dry suits donned Cathy called out for a repair kit. One of the wrist gaskets on her dry suit tore as she was putting on the suit. With a little help from a few small pieces of gorilla tape, Rob and I were able save the day, successfully completing a temporary gasket repair. Cathy reported, at the end of the day, that the repair held up fine and her sleeve was dry. Success!

As we paddled out of Little Harbor and thru the breakwater we were greeted by flat, calm seas. With a brisk wind from the west this was to be expected. Crossing the Piscataqua we encountered a mild chop with wind against tide. We paddled over to Fort Foster for a planned meet up with Dave M (not to be confused with David M). We now completed our group of 9 with a trio of Daves.post-100710-0-92288300-1445215851_thumb.

With a mid-afternoon high tide we chose a counterclockwise circumnavigation. Heading along the coast of Gerrish we continued to encounter flat, calm seas.post-100710-0-92288300-1445215851_thumb. There was just enough swell for the group to enjoy a little rock play in a few spots. Kevin took advantage of this both to play in as well as coach a few paddlers in developing and improving our rock gardening skills.post-100710-0-92288300-1445215851_thumb.post-100710-0-92288300-1445215851_thumb.

After a brief debate to find the perfect lunch spot, we settled on a nice place, out of the wind, just inside Brave Boat Harbor. Credit goes to Kevin for finding the perfect spot. After lunch we had a pleasant paddle thru the marshes, for the most part sheltered from the wind.post-100710-0-92288300-1445215851_thumb.post-100710-0-92288300-1445215851_thumb. The highlight of paddling the marshes was sighting a flock of turkeys. There were few comments about an early Thanksgiving dinner. Hopefully someone will post a picture or two. As we exited the marshes, thru the culvert, into Chancey Creek we were met head on with the full force of the wind. As we came out of Chauncey Creek Dave M left the group and headed for the Kittery Town Docks, where he launched from in the morning. Crossing the Piscataqua and heading back toward New Castle we encounter a little bumpy water. Outside New Castle we spotted an inbound tanker, escorted by a large tug boat. Again, maybe someone will have a picture to post. As we rounded the jetty and paddled back into Little Harbor I suddenly felt like I had that tanker under tow. Did I mention the wind at any time? We were now headed straight into the wind. From this point on there would not be any conversation as everyone put their head into the wind and concentrated on forward paddling.

Landing back at Odiorne Point our group of very tired paddlers all agreed it was a wonderful day, in spite of the wind. Thanks to everyone for joining me and helping to make it a great day.

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Jeff, thanks for posting and organizing. It was a good day to be out on the water, despite the wind. Seeing almost everyone wearing gloves definitely indicated the start of the cold-weather paddling season!

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