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HE called back!!!!!!!!


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Ah the wonder of cell phones. Since Our Founder has been so evidently lonely and missing us and the great NSPN traditions, we (6) placed a call to the NW Commander from our lunch spot on Misery today. Alas, we got his voice mail. We did not get through because Deb ran the battery down making calls to the East coast. Bob reports that he will have to wait until next year to start the PTDP trip tradition out there, since forecast winds made for a no-go this year.

Somebody needs to get out there soon and paddle with this guy before he goes totally NUTs, or moves back here. (Tremble, tremble, tremble.)

It was a great day on the water: nice fog, drizzle, etc. = we had the place to ourselves. Jonathan really knows how to string a tarp.

Thanks to NSPN friends for helping me through my new boat jitters, and only laughing a little when I capsized on the boat ramp at the end of our lovely annual post-Turkey day trip to Misery.

Liz N.

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Despite somewhat gloomy weather, six of us launched from the Manchester boat ramp enroute to Great Misery Island. At the launch time, about 10:30AM, it was warm for late November with no rain but a little fog. Manchester Harbor was deserted with a sea of empty mourings inside and just outside the harbor. The fog was just thick enough to shroud Baker's Island from view, but Misery was quite visible.

In search of a little extra exercise we decided to paddle out around House Island. There was a little bit of swell on the far side, but nothing to write home about. The rain started on the approach to Misery Island. Since I had never paddled to Misery from this direction, and there was increasing fog, I got a little confused when the group started heading clockwise around the island. When we reached Cocktail Cove I realized that I wasn't confused about our location and approach, I was confused about where the group was planning to land.

Liz and another member landed and started to set up the tarp while the rest of us did a circumnavigation of the Islands. About halfway around I could start to feel the results of not paddling much during the last month.

By the time we joined back up with the rest of the group, the rain had gotten pretty heavy. The tarp was set up over a patch of ground under some trees, so the grass and pine needles were quite dry. We stripped down the top halves of our wet dry suits, added some fleeces and windbreakers, and settled down in our cozy little shelter.

After paddling with NSPN for a little over a year, I shouldn't be surprised to see that nearly everything being consumed and shared looked nothing like leftovers. Hot, homemade soup and crackers with a smoked mackerel spread made us look and feel quite civilized, despite the location and conditions.

Halfway through the meal, Liz came up with the idea to call Bob. Unfortunately, he wasn't "home". We put the cell phone on speaker and left a message from all of us.

The wind started to kick up the tarp as we finished up. The shoreline was now almost completely obscured by the fog. The one member of the group without a compass set off leading us on a direct route back to Manchester Harbor. My compass showed his heading to be 10-15 degrees farther east than I would have gone, but I decided not to say anthing. About 5 minutes later we passed a lobster buoy and I realized that we were drifting northwestward. Our "leader's" chosen direction included a ferry angle to compensate for the current.

After we entered the harbor, a tennis ball that we found on Misery became a source of amusement for the group. (I've got to practice throwing things while sitting in a kayak.) Things started to get more mischieveous when the fastest paddler in the group started to spin each other member in turn. I tried several times to get him back, but on the second try he stopped short and the bow of my boat ended neatly in his grasp. Since Bob wasn't with us I was totally unprepared for what came next.

After quickly manuevering his boat into a 'T' formation with mine, he grasped my decklines and started to capsize my boat. He caught me with one hand off my paddle. Since I had been using pogies, I had to grab my paddle about six inches closer to the blade for the brace. I managed to stay upright for 5 or 6 braces on alternate sides, but the last one wasn't quite enough. I found myself already in a setup for a roll with my head above water which meant two things - I had some extra air in my drysuit, and my butt was not in the seat of my boat.

After a big breath, I reached under for the coaming, pull myself back into the boat, grabbed the paddle again and rolled up. My first salt water combat roll! Bob may not have been there physically, but he was definitely there in spirit (except that Bob probably would have held my deckline down to keep me from rolling up as he did in August.)

At the take out, Liz decided to start a new tradition at NSPN, a member who is buying a new boat should buy a round of beers for the pod that accompanies the maiden voyage. This suggestion was met with much approval. One member who is reputed to have the largest fleet in the club mentioned that he was glad this tradition wasn't started years ago.

Dee Hall

Impex Currituck, Blue over Smoky Ivory

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