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gloucester - full moon and phytoplankton

rick stoehrer

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This past Friday at 7:15 or so Suzanne, Christopher, Janis and I launched from Greasy Pole with a destination of nowhere….which we figured would bring us out along Normans Woe and as far down as Marblehead or anywhere between.

As we danced our boats along the rocky shore, I thought how nice it was to be back in a boat and to not worry about my shoulder….healing nicely. Christopher, Suze and I played a little game of chicken with the boulders as we took what fun we could from the gently breaking swells. As Christopher regaled us with a made up rendition of “Master of the House” from Les Mis., we suffered nary a scratch in the “toothy bits” and it offered a great opportunity to practice boat control and all the little things that make the difference between “blah” and “wee!” Getting most of our forward momentum from the swells as they broke, we practiced our rudders, hangs and draws along the rocks as the sun set to a beautiful day. Looking out over my recently repaired shoulder to see Janis smiling and paddling along in the swells this evening after only being in a boat half a dozen times was even more exciting!

We paddled past Kettle Island as the sun set behind Magnolia and onto Graves Island. We brought the boats high ashore and broke out our dinner and headlamps and bug juice and a rigged the kayaks/pfd’s with glow sticks. We had our dinner (chowder from the fish place across the street from Greasy Pole) and watched as the last of the sun lingered and finally disappeared behind the mainland.

After some discussion over exactly where the moon would rise and not coming to a consensus, we launched into the night….and lo, there she was, low on the horizon. Apparently when we landed, we didn’t take the little rise in the middle of the island into account but now we could see her - full and blood red, the moon was a sight to see. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and as red as she was, there was a fair bit of light cast. To our further joy, the water was swirling and gleaming with every stroke of the paddle with tiny neon lights; a speckled sea parting around us as the phosphorescent phytoplankton blipped off and on as the boats were headed home. It was beautiful and we were in a river of much of it til almost Ten Pound Island.

Paddling back to port and looking out over the darkened sea with the moon light softly glimmering on the swells to see the silhouette of your friends and the one you love is a pretty wonderful vision. I am very glad to have the memory!

We landed at 11:15 or so and were jazzed from the sublime perfection of the last several hours upon the water.

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