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Wed. Lunch Paddle #11: 8/5/2020 @ Stramski Beach

Joseph Berkovitz

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Route: Stramski Beach, Marblehead -> Great Haste -> Little Misery I. -> Bakers I. -> Grays Rock -> return
Launch: 10.05; Land: 14.15
Distance: 9.7 nm
Conditions: Sunny, air 70 F, wind 5-10 kt SW -> S, water 62 F (colder!), swell 1-2 ft @ 6 sec
Tides (Salem Harbor):
    7:11 AM  low -0.07 ft.
    1:27 PM high    8.68 ft.
    7:18 PM low 0.86 ft.
Track: https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/e422257b3d2890c815a2fbbc1956bacd/?layer=gaianoaarnc
People: Joe Berkovitz, Bob Levine, Rick Crangle, Amy Chiuchiolo, Patrick Donahue, Sue Hriciga, Dana Sigall, Mike Habich, David Mercer

[10.05] We launched from Stramski Beach, a new place to try out in Marblehead in the wake of the new parking fees being levied on nonresidents at Riverhead Beach. It is closer to Peachs Point than Riverhead, so perhaps more convenient if one is heading across Salem Sound, but parking is much tighter. There are two lots and the larger one (25 cars?) is a 3 minute walk from the beach, while the smaller one (10 cars) is pretty close to the water. There was a slight breeze on the water which was a relief because the land was heating up pretty fast in the hot sun. 

To avoid the ferry we headed towards the day marker at Great Aquavitae ledge, as we had about another 15 minutes before the ferry headed out of Salem. Or so we thought - we could see the ferry at its berth across the harbor. We made the ledge pretty quickly [10.20]. It was evident there was not going to be much in the way of post-Tropical Storm Isaias conditions making its way into this part of the sound: the water was fairly quiet, just light wind waves and gentle swell. We continued towards Great Haste, reaching it after paddling about a mile [10.37]. Bob said he had not noticed the ferry leave Salem, which was a little disquieting since we saw the boat actually in Salem and I thought I had seen it arrive while we were getting ready to launch.

Passing Great Haste, a number of us noted that the water suddenly became much colder and the breeze felt fresher. (The water temperature readings at Boston Buoy took a real dive during Isaias, perhaps due to wind wave mixing of the layers?) Then a longer paddle took us to Little Misery [11.20]. Some stayed out and played in the rocks as there was the usual fun increase in ocean energy around the Miseries. I was starving and landed along with Rick to eat lunch. Others arrived pretty shortly and we had a peaceful and pleasant lunch in the shade until leaving for Bakers I.

[12.15] Out around the outside of Bakers we encountered much more active conditions with incoming swells standing up on the many submerged rocks, various slots to play in, and lots of wind waves and chaotic reflections. In short, entertainment! [12.55] Headed from the south tip of Bakers towards Pope Head and Eagle Island. This area had some rideable swell at times but nothing substantial. The wind felt like it was shifting to SSE or SE around this time as we neared slack.  The group split around Eagle [13.20] with some taking the rough outside and others the inside.

From here it was a longish paddle back to Naugus Head and then the put-in. Along the way we passed over the barely-submerged Coney Ledges [13.40] where a little more wave-based entertainment was available to push us back towards Salem Harbor.  Again we noticed we had not seen the ferry at the expected time and wondered if it would surprise us. Another check of the website revealed an alert that I had missed the first time: the Salem Ferry had been cancelled due to Isaias! So no ferry to worry about today. We headed back to Stramski at a leisurely pace. [14.00].

PS: It's great to have David Mercer back paddling with us again!

Edited by Joseph Berkovitz
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3 hours ago, Joseph Berkovitz said:

Charging for Riverhead started 2 weekends ago and was a shock.  I am not sure what the fee collection situation is like at early hours or during the week though. 

So the old "We can launch a boat for free, right?" line doesn't work anymore?

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