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Nahant-Marblehead, 1/25/03


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On Saturday, Andrew, Alex and I set our sights on a trip from Nahant to Marblehead and back, a cruise I?ve always wanted to do. I was quite doubtful that we?d be able to get to the water as I figured that the area around Nahant would be iced up. South of Nahant, it was all ice but thankfully, on the north side the sea was clear. Andrew and I arrived around 11 AM and had a leisurely breakfast in the chic Dunkin? Donuts Café at the Nahant put-in as we waited for Alex to arrive from Maine. After she arrived, we got the boats loaded up on the beach. By noon, we were just past low tide so we had quite a carry to the water. There was quite a bit of ice at the high tide mark and so I just dragged my boat over the frozen terrain like a sled dog. The conditions were quite good though: sunny, temps in the 20s and a fair breeze from the SW.

After one of my patented beach launchings (i.e., getting pushed broadside to the waves and having to reset myself several times on the beach before getting past the breakers), we were off to Marblehead. Alex had a slight problem with her skeg being frozen up but after a few minutes in the sea water, it unfroze thankfully. We were directly downwind and so it was just a joy zipping along with the wind pushing us ahead. I am really starting to enjoy my Romany Explorer. It picks up the waves very easily and thus, with a few strong forward strokes, I can surf down these small breakers, cackling with glee. In fact, we were all in high spirits as we paddled/surfed the 5.5 miles to Deveraux beach.

We chose a spot to land where the beach was not too steep as there were some modest waves breaking. I was very fortunate to get on the beach and out of the boat before I had trouble (my landings are generally worse than my launchings). Andrew?s landing was a bit. . . less than graceful. And of course Alex landed effortlessly with no trouble.

After a relaxing lunch in the sun (complete with a few conversations with folks on the beach wondering how crazy people like us could be paddling in the cold weather), we set off for Nahant. It was a bit challenging getting back as we were in the teeth of the wind but the most uncomfortable aspect of the journey was having to paddle directly into the setting sun. My retinas were complaining the whole way from the sun reflecting on the water and so I just focused on the waves 4 or 5 feet in front of my kayak. By the time we arrived at Nahant, we were at high tide and so we landed amongst all of the ice and snow on the beach. It was quite an experience paddling through the slushy seawater: I felt like I was landing in the Arctic somewhere. But it was just a beautiful journey and a great day to be on the water.


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"...less than graceful", you're too kind.

notes to self:

1) don't ride to the beach on the first wave of a set.

2) take the dumping second wave like a man and stay in the boat.

3) don't attempt to get out the boat before the third wave, it's faster than you.

4) smile at your grinning friends from your supine position and pretend you meant to do it that way.

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