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Jewell-May, 2024


gyork

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Posted (edited)
skip report, go to slideshow
 
Two pods of five and four paddlers, embarked from Cousins and Mere point, respectively, mid morning on Thursday. The larger, slower (had to tow the NSPN kayak filled with gear/food) pod 
IMG_4577.thumb.jpeg.5bde940dc09cb5b48d6e07eb9e30e6d3.jpeggot a late start and spent a leisurely time at their lunch stop on Crow. Upon finally arriving at the head of Cocktail Cove, we were advised to set up camp on site #1, as #2 was unreachable from the water, having suffered from Mother Nature's wrath from the multiple winter storms. Other sites, including the punch bowl (washed away!) could not escape the damage to their campsite approaches (see slideshow). After establishing our tent sites, we gathered around the fire, per usual, to enjoy the evenings repast.
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The next day called for seven of us to do a day trip, while the remaining two explored much of Jewell's charm. The wind was expected to be 10 kn from the east, so a shortish trip was to take us to 'Lil Chebeague to explore, continue to Long, and head back to Jewell. Of course, the washing machine off of Overset was engaged, and we made our way to the lee beach of Vail for a nice lunch. We favored a return route from northern Vaill to Jewell, but only came to that decision after taking a peek around the corner, where we were "greeted" by the predicted wind and 2 foot waves. We made a plan that C and J would lead the tight pack straight into the wind, and the slow slog back covered the 2 mile span in about 1.5 hours (1.33 kn).
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We gathered around the campfire once again, and shared the delicacies of potluck offerings, joined by Kyle and Joe, who had launched from EE Beach.
 
Saturday was a rest or workday for some, while five ventured over toward Eagle and back. Showers were predicted to start around six, so we started the fire early and supped. Right on schedule, the rain commenced, and we all gathered under the capacious tarp that Dan had so kindly prepared. Under the dry, cozy awning, we practiced sheet bend, bowline, taut line (midshipman's hitch), and trucker's hitch. Later, Dan, with his expert campfire cooking skills, revived some of the now–damp coals to generate a batch of mighty fine buttery popcorn.
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It rained lightly through the night, but stopped at dawn, just in time to pack up and paddle home, or part II  of the trip, with overcast skies and flat water, making for a relaxed paddle to our next destinations.
Edited by gyork
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Thanks, Gary, for organizing what was yet again perhaps the best trip ever!

My pod launched from Mere Point, being perhaps the first group to make use of the new parking area specifically for kayakers across the street from the boat launch. Please note that the main boat launch parking area is now only for trailered boats, and kayakers must use the 10 spots up on Mere Point Road. It's a short walk and a small price to pay for continued use of a great, free launch facility.

Our trip over to Jewell on Thursday was uncharacteristically calm - a lobster boat wake was the only thing we encountered above a ripple. As Gary's report details, that was to change in the subsequent days. With a strong East wind on Saturday and Sunday, we had easy sailing inbound, and paid the price on the upwind return to Jewell each afternoon. It was heartbreaking to see all of the damage on Jewell, Eagle, and other islands.

After parting ways with the main Jewell group on Sunday morning, a number of us headed to the Goslings for two more days of paddling. Karen joined us as we approached, having recently seen a dolphin on her solo paddle out from Mere Point. We found a bunch of downed trees on the Goslings and had a bit of work to do to clean up some of the tent sites. It also appears that the winter nor'easters may have washed away the bar that connects the Goslings at low tide. In the 48 hours we spent on the island, we never saw the seas part at low tide, and some felt that the entire "beach" area seemed smaller than what we remembered. It should be noted that the tidal swing was only about 7 feet during this trip (high tide 9 ft, low +2 ft) and I believe the last time I was on Goslings was during a spring tide. In any case, we're curious to hear from others who visit as to whether the bar re-emerges or whether it has been significantly altered by the storms. We felt particularly sorry for any poor raccoons stranded on West Gosling who weren't able to join the After Party scavenger hunt each evening, after we'd retired to bed, as they've done in years past.

On Monday we paddled up to Lands End on Bailey Island. The bravest of us all paddled through the bouncy gap between the rocks and Jacquish Island, and then paddled back to join us after nobody wanted to follow his lead. A few of us then went well around the outside of Jacquish, where the reflected waves conspired with the incoming East swell to keep the excitement coming at us from all points of the compass. After that excitement, we regrouped and headed for home. Once in the lee of the islands off Harpswell, we did a quick reassessment of paddling priorities and realized that Erica's Seafood (next to the Dolphin) was calling for a visit.

Thus restored, we headed back to the Goslings for a second night of socializing on the beach, a ring of chairs around a glowing bed of coals, with only the mournful cries of loons and raccoons to interrupt the peaceful solitude.

Tuesday morning, the wind had shifted to the south, and the fog was condensing on everything and everyone on the south and east sides of the island, while the picnic table and tents a few yards west were totally dry. It was another reminder of just how much of a difference all of the variable factors in the marine environment can make: tide, wind, dew point, that one patch of sucking mud on an otherwise solid beach. We lingered a bit to let the fog burn off and then set off for home.

 

A few photos from Jewell and the Goslings:

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  • gyork changed the title to Jewell-May, 2024

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