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Portland July 13, 2002

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I was told this was my "reward" for sprinting at the end of the trip and being the first person on land. So here goes. 17 boats launched from the public beach at the Eastern Promenade into Portland Harbor on Saturday morning, 15 singles and 2 tandems. I thought conditions were perfect. Some guy in the back of my boat felt they were a bit tame. Or maybe that was lame.

We lined up and headed across the channel to Little Diamond Island, passing Fort Gorges where we planned to stop on the way back. Quickly passing Little Diamond, we then paddled along the coast of Great Diamond Island on a compass heading of 245. The original plan was to cut between Great Diamond and Cow Island, but once we spotted Cow Island, we decided to circumnavigate it also. An enthusiastic group of Level 2 paddlers were we. After a few cooling bow dunks, onward we went.

Once we got around Cow Island, we were greeted by a nice cooling breeze. We stopped on the northern tip of Cow to stretch our legs, then paddled for another half hour or so to Diamond Cove for our lunch stop on the beach there. After I was duly reprimanded for NOT bringing chocolate chip cookies, we packed up and paddled down the eastern side of Great Diamond with beautiful rocky shores to enjoy on our right and Peaks Island homes to view on our left. Oops--make that on our starboard and port sides.

We politely yielded to the ferry boats in the area and could tell those passengers would rather be in our fun little boats than in theirs. One overturned kayak was quickly rescued by Bob Baldridge while the other boats rafted up with a leader and waited until all was well.

Completing our circle around Little Diamond, we noted the fort was sinking! This was going to make a stop there difficult. As it was 2 p.m. and high tide, however, we were able to land on the northwestern side of the fort and explore for a while. That guy in the back of my boat (maybe I should say OUR boat) remembered the group's stop at Fort Gorges last summer. It took some in that group a while to leave and he ended up pulling another boat thru some mucky, not-so-fragrant mud. We didn't make that mistake a second time.

A final channel crossing back to the beach along the Promenade rounded out the day. Looking across the water to a beautiful green hill while crossing a channel isn't half bad. In fact, I remarked to another paddler that it'd been a 5-star day. He said only one thing would have made it better--chocolate chip cookies! I'm sending him my recipe.

Many thanks to that guy in the back of the boat, Lisa, Richard and Peter for a great trip!

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Thanks to all of the trip leaders and people who made this trip so great. I still think that chocolate chip cookies would make any trip better and I’ll be sure to bring some next trip.

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