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Playing Hookey Trip


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Yesterday's record temperatures could not be resisted. New NSPN member and fellow Gloucester resident Rick Issaacs joined me in quitting work early to see what has changed on the Annisquam River since my last visit.

We launched from the Corliss Landing state boat ramp (actually from the more kayak friendly embankment to the right side) just before 4 PM - peak temperature in Lanesville: 80 F. As we were leaving, a threesome in a canoe (looked like Dad and daughters aged 11 and 14) were returning. It was hard, but I managed not to nag them about their life jackets lying tossed in the bottom of the canoe rather than being on their bodies.

We headed down toward Lobster Cove and quickly discovered that we were not the only ones with the "let's grab our boats and paddle" fever. Several other kayakers (all with PFDs - ALL RIGHT!) were on the river. Everyone was in a great mood. Friendly natives waving from shore. Friendly fishermen waving from their boats: Yes. Really.

There was a beautiful swam, only one - I wonder where the mate was - near the entrance to Goose Cove. A new houseboat was under construction in front of the Annisquam Market. I hopped out at Lobster cove to adjust my footpegs. Sorry Mr. Sabin and Mr. Woo, but I cannot paddle with them shortened to rolling class length. My feet went to sleep in about 5 minutes!

Very little motorized traffic. The few powerboats were actually traveling at the speed limit. On the return we crossed over to Wingaersheek Beach and followed the sand bar. It reminded me of how much harder it is to paddle in shallow water so we moved to deeper water.

Several fishing boats were heading in - in a business-like way. We were tying our boats on the cars at 5:50 PM when the first blast of cold air hit. The fishermen undoubtedly had their weather radios on and knew exactly when it was due to arrive.

As I tied I watched: three boys (ages 9, 10, 12 perhaps) in a canoe, wearing pfds, trying to make way against the incoming tide current and the wind. The gusts were blowing them backwards. The youngest was leaning over the front paddling with his hands to try to help the oldest move them forward. UGH! I was thinking "maybe I should put my boat back in the water" when the winds subsided enough that they made some headway. An adult woman (Mom?) came out onto the deck and they were yelling back and forth. The boys were almost home. I relaxed.

A short discussion with Rick about my anxiety level and how kids growing up by the sea and their Moms have a different comfort level with these things.

So nice to be back on the still crystal clear water after a winter off. Perfect day. Perfect timing. Breathing perfect air. Counting our blessings that we get to live in such a beautiful place.

I returned home to find every piece of paper from my desk blown all over my office, and a 30 degree drop in temperature. Ah well, good sleeping weather as they say in Minnesota.

Liz N.

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