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The delights of Cohasset were so many...


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... that the group split up to enjoy more of them. More on that later.

On September 27, we held what is probably the first official NSPN paddle out of Cohasset, or at least the first in a while. Given that, the trip was billed as a sampling of Cohasset's paddling attractions, and that's what it turned out to be.

In a fairly dense fog, we paddled out of the inner harbor and across the broad tidal shallows that, above mid-tide (which it was) are a great place for kayaks, up to the edge on the marshes off Scituate Neck. We practiced our navigation skills in the fog -- aha, that's where we are on the chart; oh yeah, then what's that big stone tower on shore right behind you?! We pondered how the delightfully eerie paddling in fog can be, especially with no lobster boats to bother us in the shallows. We rounded Strawberry Point to the east and looked for the beach of Leslie's family property near Minot beach. We found it, but there were significant swells and surf from a distant hurricane, so we decided not to land. Despite the fog, we caught a glimpse of the coastline heading down toward Scituate, and resolved to return someday to taste those tidbits too.

But they were not our objective for the day, so we turned back west to cross the broad harbor mouth, arriving soon at the entrance to Little Harbor where there was reputed to be an exciting tidal rip. Indeed there was, about 5 knots of excitement flowing into Little Harbor, which is really a tidal pond rather than a harbor. After playing for a few minutes and realizing that it was a little more than we had bargained for on a level 3 trip, the main group decided to head farther west up the coast and return later closer to slack. A small subgroup at first wanted to stay behind and play, but they changed their minds, and caught up with the main group in time to land on Sandy Beach. That's Cohasset's town beach, and is off-limits to kayakers during the summer, but it was deserted for us that day, so we landed for lunch and a landlubber's view of Little Harbor across the road. That whetted our appetite, so we lunched and launched and headed back to Little Harbor, coasting in on the last vestige of flood current.

Little Harbor lived up to its press as one of the picture-postcard-iest tidal ponds in New England. After paddling around to oooh and aaah the scenery, we gathered up to decide what to do next. The fog was now gone and a glorious early fall sun reigned, so some wanted to head out to storied Minot Light, the I Love You light for its 1-4-3 flashing pattern and dramatic history. But the swell was a caution, and there was still much else to do, so we broke into two groups.

One group headed out of the harbor with Scott to the Light, and mine stayed to play in the now ideally exciting ebbing rip at the harbor mouth, learning about ferries, eddies and proper current edging from Marjorie and Peter. We then paddled back across the main harbor for some more intense exploration of the marsh. After failing to find the Northwest Passage through the twisty turny marshways, we backed out into the main harbor just in time to see the returning Lighthouse explorers approaching in the distance. (Perhaps one of them will relate their adventures -- I was with the rip and marsh group.) We tarried to join up with them, and paddled back to the finish of what all agreed was a terrific paddle, hopefully to be followed by many more in the area.


PS: In fact, some of us are doing the Cohasset to Strawberry Point to Scituate leg this Saturday, October 25. See the main message board for details soon.

PPS: Some notes on driving to the put-in and parking... The instructions on the NSPN web site to the Parker Avenue launch ramp (taken from a popular guidebook) are a bit inaccurate, and together with the shortage of posted street signs, can make finding the place a challenge. I'll try to update the directions soon, but meanwhile, if you go, be sure to locate it on a map first. Only one person got lost on the way.

Parking is fine if you observe the following suggestions. In season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) unattended parking at the put-in is restricted to local sticker-holders. But you can call the Lightkeeper's Residence (781-383-1433), a nearby community function hall, in advance, and unless there is an extraordinarily large event that day, they'll give you permission to park in the grassy annex at the back of their paved lot, a short walk from the put-in. Out of season, it's OK to park at the put-in, but there isn't room for a lot of cars, so if your group has more than about 5, it's probably best anyway to call and use the Lightkeeper's residence. In any case, don't double up cars in the trailer spots. We tried that and the locals left polite but firm notes on our cars asking us not to. Finally, don't park on Parker Avenue as suggested in the guidebook and current NSPN directions, since it's residential and bristling with no-parking signs.

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