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Jewell Island 2019, by the numbers


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0 - number of times I had used pogies before on a trip. Why didn't I think of this before? They work just fine on a greenland stick. Toasty hands!
1 - number of times I had used my radio for anything other than weather reports, until this trip. Seems that not everyone can read my mind to know where I am. 
2 - number of thermoses of tea I made in the evenings for first-thing hot tea the next morning. Thank you, Robert Folster, for the idea!
3 - number of bawdy limericks Peter Brady recited at the pot-luck meal. 'Nuff said...
4 - number of helpings I had of Janice's excellent tahini sauce, which recipe she promised to share. Okay, Janice, do share!
5 - number of people in our return-to-Bug-Light trip. Also the number of people who will probably swear along with me that there is no such thing as a "protected route" between Jewell Island and Portland. Also the number of ticks I found on myself or my tent.
6 - number of people smart enough to wait until afternoon to do the Jewell circumnav, after the wind had dropped. Turns out that hiking there is every bit as enjoyable as paddling there.
7 - number of stair flights, in the WWII tower, draped with bird poop but so worth navigating for the view from the top. Excellent for pouring boiling oil on marauding enemies, so I hear.
8 - number of dollars per day for parking at Bug Light, and so worth it. Thanks, Gary, for arranging it for us.
9 - number of emails it took to coordinate the launch. CAM model has its challenges.
10 - number of islands I can remember paddling past/to. Or possibly twice that. There are so many!
11 - approximate number of feet that airplane had for landing and taking off from the sandbar at low tide. How did he do that??
12 - number of directions waves were refracting in Portland Harbor. Oy.
13 - number of choruses of "Baby Shark" I sang to myself to get through those waves. Oy.
14 - number of times I tripped over that tent vestibule peg. Must paint it bright red...
15 - number of awesome people on the trip, who I hope graciously accepted my group-challenged paddling. 
Countless - number of times I marvelled at the beauty of Jewell Island and Casco Bay. Thank you, Gary, for organizing this trip! It was fabulous and I hope to return countless times.



My campsite at low tide.


Cliff at southern end of Jewell, on windy morning hike.


Janice and Lisa at Vail Island on our route to Jewell.


Amazing rockface of Jewell Island.


morning view from sandbar near campsite


Site 2, and central gathering place.

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I've always loved your trip reports, Kate, and this one is no exception!  Although I was hoping for a photo of the 12 way refracting waves in Portland Harbor.  And a video of you singing the 13 choruses of Baby Shark to get through 'em. ???


Edited by prudenceb
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The weather was indeed pretty raw on this trip, which made the island itself seem a happy place to be.  I enjoyed all of our paddles, starting with a Thursday night full moon  safari from Portland East End to Jewell with Kyle, Pablo, Karen,  and Yong ,  a Friday meetup at Vail Island  with Kate, Sherry, Janice and Lisa  on their way from Portland,  then a Saturday  trip around Jewell followed by a Cliff Island circumnav., and then our sinuous two-pod  slog  (mostly raw weather  and 12- knot headwind much of the way) back to Portland  on Sunday morning. Thanks, all, for being such good company!     Peter    

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Here is the  route two  groups (Bug Light group and Portland East End group)  took  from Jewell Island back to Portland on Sunday,  on local knowledge guru Kyle's advice:

 Trip goal: Get back to Portland , dodge the S wind where possible, with value added tour of the Little Chebeague/Long Island/Diamond Island area, new to many in the group.

The route was @ 10 NM.     


Edited by PeterB
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I hope #5 didn't sound ungrateful toward Kyle - I'm certain he pointed us in the best possible direction, given the conditions, including a welcome stop at Little Chebeague. I would have chosen more or less the same route myself, and the same fantasy of easy passage would have been dashed repeatedly.

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Dolphin Cove pod - how was your paddle to and from Jewell, in terms of waves and weather?

One thing we talked about in the trip planning workshop the week before the trip when we were looking at routes to and from Jewell was that with the prevailing wind from the SW, if there were predicted stronger winds later in the trip, you might be better off choosing a launch site to the north, gambling on a weak headwind on the way there for a stronger tailwind on the way home. I am in no way implying last weekend's weather did what was predicted - certainly not down here. Of course, every time I've launched from the north, I've had a headwind on both the outbound and return trips in addition to a longer drive, so maybe it's an unwinnable battle.

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Kate, thank you for the trip report. Reading it I could not help but be reminded of The Count from Sesame Street. I can see him holding up the big numbers now.

1- the number of hi-fives I give you. 

The exposed crossings of Lucksee and Hussey sound with a strong southerly that day did not sound or look enjoyable on paper. Glad you enjoyed yourself. 


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So where did you find the confused water on the way back?  Along Long I. and in Fort Gorges area?  I recall a stretch along Long that kicks up in a most unexpected place.  If the tide was ebbing strong and wind from the south, then Hussey would have had some potential for sure as well.  Some days there is just no easy way from A to B. 

Ed Lawson

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Confused water was  perhaps worst at the head of Chandler Cove heading into Little Chebeague Island: a slice of ocean where waves with longer fetch were  coming up Luckse Sound and reflecting off of Great Chebeague, also off of Hope and Long Islands.  Deer Point at the bottom of Great Chebeague was  a classic headland, acting like an anvil against which the hammer of the ocean was concentrated. Crossing from Long Island  to the top of Diamond was  windy and bumpy too , again the wind with longer fetch funneling up Hussey Sound, but with no significant reflection: just  windy &  bumpy for about 3/4 NM.  The area around Fort Gorges didn't seem bad to me but it may have been psychological as we were in the very last home stretch to East End Beach and thinking mostly about ramen noodles for lunch awaiting us .   

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The Dolphin Cove Pod fared well on the return although the sea become pretty snotty (to use a favorite Downeast Expression) after we left the shelter of Jewell Island and we were in for a "squirrely" paddle to reach the marina. Thankfully, there were warm chowders and blueberry muffins waiting for us at the Dolphin!

This was a great weekend of kayak camping despite (or maybe because of) the moody weather. Jewell Island is apply named: the coast offers a beautiful paddle and the trails lead to wonderful and surprising sites (thank you Gary for being an invaluable guide). I'm not much of a birder but we were given the opportunity to see a few beautiful specimen.

And the company was truly fun to spend time together (old and new acquaintances alike).

Here is a link to a few photographs to add to an already great collection: https://photos.app.goo.gl/yh4Tvu55mwHifEsQA

Thank you Gary for spearheading this adventure!

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My recollection is that Deer Point was a short but jumpity section of rebounding waves. The Long-to-Diamond crossing was long and very windy (snotty?!) but not confused. It was the final Little-Diamond-to-Bug-Light segment that was churned up by boat traffic, wind, and current/tide. Or maybe it was just because it was at the end of 3 days of activity and I hadn't had lunch (and no ramen awaiting me). We had a different route than Peter's group - perhaps they had some wind-shadow from the mainland as they got closer? It reminded me of how it gets around Hull gut in the summer when there are ferries, fishing boats, sailboats, and all manner of other craft squeezing through from Outer to Inner Harbor, and the water is every which way.

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From Fort Gorges to East End beach was a sharp right hand turn so we were now with  beam -to -rear quarter wind and waves, and little boat traffic that I can recall (again, I may have been preoccupied with thoughts of ramen ) :  not a bad ride at all and I can see how Bug Lighters could have had a worse time of it from there with continued headwind, boat wakes,  tide, and no prospects for ramen.   

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