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waves and wind in Salem Sound

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Today, just after the strike of noon, five NSPN members started into Manchester Harbor under overcast skies. Despite it being almost November, the harbor is still nearly full of boats on moorings. Still, the harbor was nearly void of any man-made sounds. The soft splash of our paddles was drowned out by the gulls and wind.

As we left the shelter of the harbor, 15 knot winds hit us in the face. We met another, lone NSPNer coming back from Baker's Island. He recommended the south east corner of the island for some waves. After a quick diversion through one of the gaps to the left of the mouth, we headed into the 3-4 foot chop coming from the southeast.

The chop was the highest any of us had seen this year, a welcome respite from the mild swells of summer. Since we were heading directly into the wind, our course was straight, although slow. The main channel into Salem Sound seemed very wide, but a complete lack of boat traffic made our time spent crossing irrelevant. Once into the lee of Baker's we quickly picked up speed.

As we stopped paddling and started talking the group unconsciously rafted up. As we very slowly drifted towards Beverly, a lone head between the swells watched us silently. When we got close enough to be certain it was a seal, it quietly submerged.

The group proceeded counter-clockwise around Baker's. Most of the homes were shuttered, and not a soul was seen. Sure enough, the tidal rip at the southeast corner produced some confused seas. Unfortunately, the wind and chop had diminished noticeably, so we probably missed the most interested conditions for the day.

On the east side of Baker's we paused for one in our group to eat a sandwich (well, of course it was me!) Then we continued around and headed to Little Misery Island. A very pleasant lunch was had on a grassy slope on the lee of the island, however, evaporative cooling and lack of activity drove us back to the boats before long.

The trip back to the harbor was fast with the wind and waves at our backs. A few of us managed to catch a couple of rides, but the waves weren't high enough to keep us going for very long. Halfway into the harbor a light rain started, but by the time we were changing out of our wet gear, it had stopped. PPPO at 7 Central.

Dee Hall

Impex Currituck, Blue over Smoky Ivory

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