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Level II to the Ocean 7/17

Dee Hall

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After paddling from Lane's Cove to the Salvages to Thacher's and back to Lane's Cove with Rick, Jeff, Jill, and Gerry, Rick and I put our loaded boats onto our vehicles and raced over to Back Beach to meet an eager group of strong level II paddlers who were ready to take their skills to the next step, the unprotected ocean.

Rick and I were late, and the participants were patiently waiting even though I had failed to return any of their phone messages due to lack of cells between Lane's Cove and Back Beach. We had 4 participants and 4 leaders, a good ratio. Since the day was beautiful, parking was still a challenge at 4PM, but we managed to wedge everyone's cars in somewhere.

After a quick beach briefing, we launched without incident and headed out towards Straitsmouth Island, which we found out was pronounced as if it rhymes with splatsmouth. We practiced our first channel crossing at the mouth of Rockport Harbor, then continued along the shoreline towards the Gap (the strait, not the store.)

There was significant traffic in and out of Rockport Harbor and through the Gap. Our second channel crossing was shorter and a bit less organized as we paddled through and then across the Gap. We started a circumnavigation of Straitsmouth Island, making it wide at the east end to avoid the various boomers there. We took out in a seaweed covered cove about 3/4 of the way around the island to snack and swap stories. However, the group was fresh and the day was waning, so we decided to extend our trip to Whale Cove.

Whale Cove was a bit tame, so after brief discussion we continued on Loblolly Cove. What little swell there was there was creating some surge among the rocks at the entrance to the Cove. The leaders demonstrated how to brace on the surge and the participants jumped right in to give it a try. We had one minor incident where a plastic boat ended up in an improbable position on a rock for a few seconds before capsizing into the water below. Another participant towed him out of the surge and performed a 'T' rescue in the flat water behind it.

The group played a bit more in the surge before heading back to Rockport via the coastal route. Excited talk of future trips to Thachers and the Salvages and surfing at Nahant accompanied us back showing that the group's taste for the ocean had definitely been enhanced by the trip.

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