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Surfin' (PIum Island) USAaaaay, 9/13


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Nine souls paddled out from Pavilion Beach at 10:15 AM in search of predicted 3-5 foot swells, surf and adventure in Ipswich Bay. We ferried the incoming current to the tip of Plum Island, with many tantalizing surf lines visible out in the bay.

Adventure proved elusive at first, however. As we chased each break, it seemed to recede or disappear, sometimes providing a small ride in as many as three directions at once, but more often leaving us scratching our heads swearing it was right here five minutes ago. Well anyway, we were out paddling on an increasingly beautiful day, and that's what counted. It was great just to be bouncing around.

Finally, noting that the distant break lines off of Plum Island seemed more enduring, we headed up the coast. Once again the breaks seems to recede north as we chased them, but finally we caught up with some decent, though limited surf... and rocks too. Gingerly working around the rocks, several of us got good bongo rides onto the beach, while others cruised back and forth practicing braces or just enjoying the conditions. What is it about a kayak that makes it fun to get several tons of roiling salt water smack in the face?

We landed on the allowed southernmost beach of Plum Island, with Al getting the best ride so far. After lunch we enjoyed some familiar fresh pineapple and Suzanne's yummy coffee cake. Lucky she didn't instead make that chocolate cake with gooey icing, since the pan spent time upside down!

As we looked out on the beach, we noted to our delight that some nice, spilling surf had formed while we dined, and there was plenty of it away from the rocks. OK, let's go! For another hour we surfed, took more facefuls of soup, braced, launched in surf, combat rolled and bounced around a lot more.

Though it was only 3:00, three of us had to go. So the other six decided on a quiet end to an exciting day with a paddle up Plum Island Sound to the yacht club, against the ebb, and then turned around to fly with the current back to Pavilion. As we packed up, Jim Fessenden pulled onto the beach, slightly weary from a solo circumnav of Plum Island. It seems there are many ways to have a good time in a kayak on a gorgeous September day.

Only three of us stuck it out for a PPPO in Ipswich, but it was a beaut. First we stumbled into the posh dining room for Zabaglione's Italian Restaurant, eyeing the elegant linen, table settings and wine bar, while they warily noted our t-shirts and shorts smelling of surf and sandals dripping sand. Ummm, we are closed right now, and besides we are full up with reservations. But not to worry -- try our cafe around the corner; same kitchen.

Perfect. There ensued three orders and three home runs, followed by three forks with a voluptuous four-layer chocolate mousse cake with a strawberry and whipped cream on top. Unfortunately no cameras were present. As Peter plied the giggling waitress with compliments, we decided this is forevermore ~the~ place for PPPO in Ipswich. Christopher, why didn't you tell us?! Say, is there a spot for information like this on the NSPN web site?

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Searching for waves and loving the search!

I wrote this off line and David had posted when I went on, so more to read! I made minor edits only so there is some repetition.

Through serendipitous means two groups of paddlers conjoined to form a group of nine. The intrepid players were Christopher Godfrey, David Lewis, Deborah Dempsey, Susanne Pritchett, Marjorie W, Chris Cotter, Richard Najarian, Al Coons, and your humble narrator, Peter K were gathered together. We took off from Pavilion Beach to the southern corner or Plum Island. The initial trip across the bay was placid though there was a bit of current. The whitecaps visible from the shore soon came up on our bows and the fun began. We played in small breakers, some luckily got a ride or two. Then as the tide came in it became apparent that the higher water level meant that no more rides were to be had in that location, but we could see good looking waves to the north and further out. Just a couple of hundred yards. So we went after them. When we got there, it was obvious that we needed to go further north.. Arriving there, we needed to go further north again, perhaps a quarter mile or so, Meanwhile there was another success or two on the inside break. But there were rocks there and a paddler ended up on one; no problem! To the beach, relaunch, and onward with a smile. Coming to the area further further north we saw it full of rocks. Back to trying to cajole a ride out of the inside breaks. More paddlers on land (but on the beach this time). Was that me bracing shoreside on a one foot breaker at shoreline? Oh well at least I didn't swim. Just got out of my boat while it was on its side. All back in their boats for more play.

Then lunch time. Suzanne baked and shared a delicious coffee cake with buttermilk (now a must for the Christmas party), David brought fresh pineapple, snickers bars were in evidence.

Then back out. The area to the north was now submerged in at least three feet of water. A mild zoo of breaking waves, oddly mixed seas, and there is Sir Godfrey happily playing. I donned helmet and made likewise. Soon capsized, then rolled up grinning.

After that, Christopher gave a class in using a small shore break to lean about surf (as indeed he had during the entire navigation of Plum island). Bracing, turning, side surfing. Boats were bumped by overenthusiastic folks and it was immediately decided to spread out. Smart, that!

Our group split up after about 5 hours at about 3:00P.M. Some paddlers went straight to their cars, some enjoyed going a bit of the way up the Ipswich river on the swells, attempting to overturn each other's boats, playing spin the Pintail, ferrying across the mild current in 6 inch standing waves and other kayak sports.

All in all there were probably 4 wet exits. All assisted re-entries were handled well by both the swimmers and the assistants. The work done shows.

For the P.P.P.O., three of us ended up at the best restaurant I have been to in many years. Send me checks and I will tell you where it is.......

OK, that wasn't very nice. Zabaglione's Café in Ipswich, corner of main and market. Very informal, costs averaged $27 for a feast. Incredible food and selection and do not even look at the pastry case. The mousse cake David mentioned had the most incredibly concentrated rasberry sauce, chocolate sauce, Zabaglione sauce and a hint of a mint sauce that would have been totally over the top except that all af the sauces were in harmonious quantity. Lunch would be a treat and quite reasonably priced. BTW the waitress did not giggle; she smiled.

I will make two safety notes: 1. Bring a helmet for play sessions whether you think you need one or not. You will be tempted! 2.Spread out well in surf. That one-in-fifty wave which catches you broadside might be more powerful that you think!

Thanks to all the participants especially David and Christopher who organized this fun day on the water.

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Saturday was a blast.


Once we found the spot, it was waves, waves and more waves. It was extremely beautiful and at times it was very weard. Waves were rolling at us from two directions at once. You really had to be on your toes (so to speak).

The best was when two breaking waves have you in pincer. It was like being in a boxing ring with two opponents attacking at once. Punch through or over one and then immediately brace for the next one that wallops you on the beam. A real hoot. HUGE smiles from everyone as we yelped with enthusiasm.

One exception...you shouldn't smile while a wave smacks you in the face. Wait till it passes....then you smile and yelp with glee.

It was a real thrill to play with a great bunch of wave hounds.

Many thanks to David for organizing the trip and to Christopher and Peter for coaching us on the fine points.

A word of caution...........playing in the waves is very addicting!


Living to learn.

Romany White, Blue trim

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Coaching!, did you catch me coaching? No Christopher did that work. I may have called a wave or two; if I didn't think I was in the right place to catch them, why shuld they go to waste?

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