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fishers island

rick stoehrer

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we'll gloss over the getting out and getting back part. suffice to say, it's 5 miles or so off the coast of mystic in CT. and to get to race rock island beyond fishers (where all the mayhem is), you ferry glide across the last half mile channel in 6+ knot current on ebb (seem like ALL of long island sound goes through there) to get to the 300 hundred yard long by 100 foot (or thereabouts) eddy behind a very eerie looking lighthouse. think the adams family goes to sea.

from the eddy you look out SW and see the furious standing waves, swells and confused seas (6+ foot standing waves with the same delightful 6+ knot current) just a few short yards away.

so we gathered our courage, did a quick gut check and launched into this malestrom...paddle, brace, surf, repeat. one moment your chum (who is all of 10 feet away) is 8 feet over your head, the next he's 8 feet below you or you just can't see him. and forget about hearing one another, all you can hear is the sound of breaking waves and the grumbling/rumbling of water hungry for you to blow a brace. pretty cool. the water being so dynamic makes things interesting and if you don't have your sea seat and a brace by this point, this is not a good place to "work on it" there isn't all that much that's forgiving here. all i could do was keep giggling and singing the theme song from gilligans island...the part about the "...weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed, if not for the courage of the fearless crew the would be lost..." the farther we got into this very bumpy bit of water, the bigger it got...very, very exciting...time for more singing...

...did that and drifted down the 300 hundred yards or so and then really had to "punch" to get through the eddy line. rode and surfed that eddy line back to the lee of race rock light and then did the whole thing again.

after a few hours, we were pretty tired, ferried across back over to fishers island (again, fast current, rough water and we got a chance to surf against the currrent in ferrying back and to make a bit of headway against the race - pretty cool) and then skeedaddled over to the beach.

had a spot of tea, rested and chatted about what we just saw/did and then paddled back at a far more laconic pace than the paddle out had entailed.

in all, a great day in challenging conditions! many thanks to greg paquin down in connecticut for the local knowledge and introducing us race newbies to a great stretch of boiling water!

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i know, right?

although not sure we have a level for this:

fast pace

not very far

conditions like crazy

it was very intense.

i wouldn't put this in a category that we have for official trips.

one of those things where each is given the conditions, you are comfortable with your mates and then you go see what happens.

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joe -

the water is deep.

so rule #1 is pretty much don't bail !

barring that, rescues would have been a challenge. what we did was we had a couple in the race and then a 3 in the eddy essentially downstream keeping an eye on things ready to enter the race if things went south. we woulda worked it out but we ended up not having to do any rescues as everyone stayed upright and never left the boat.

one of the things we talked about afterwards at dinner that night was performing rescues out there and talked about doin them the next time we came back. next time...we'll see how that works out and i will post and we can all review. it's a far different world than paddle float in the harbor and it'll be good to practice this stuff out there.

have a great weekend !

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