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plum island sound

rick stoehrer

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several of us went and practiced in the warm waters afforded in a few of the cubby holes of plum island sound yesterday. for one, i needed to become "one" with the new boat (betty) and the customization of the seat. specifically, a friend cut out the seat and we foamed it up friday night and today was the proof to the pudding.

the day was bright and beautiful and full of promise and when we arrived at our particular little cove along the shores of the island, we had an audience of houseboaters and day sailors moored and anchored in the not so far off distance. it was an idyllic place; a blue skied, sunny day, the boats floating on the warm, calm water as the sunlight twinkled on the ripples of the surface all on one side and the other, a warm sandy beach backed by a wall of verdant foliage.

happily, the new seating arrangement was rather miraculous in the fit it afforded me in the boat! room for a bit of improvement - need to shave down the foam that acts as a stopper behind the seat and then perhaps some knee hangers but besides these minor modifications - oh, sweet mary! this is a craft to go and play in the &^%&* in! the mere thought of rolling was enough to materialize the reality and all the bogaboo's that accompany new gear and the dreaded "thoughts" (sheesh, a new boat, the paddle is not the magic toksook that finds the surface like a divining rod, the shoulder was repaired not all that long ago, how's janis doing i wonder? when was the last time i changed my oil?...all these things to think about and get in the way....) yeah, no room for those anymore! the graceful and almost immediate light of muscle memory shined into those dark corners of thought and self doubt and like snapping your fingers, they are dispelled. like yogi bera said "...half of this game is 90% mental..." or something like that....

so we rolled and braced and cavorted about with great relish until we tired of the practice and wanted to play in a little something.

and a little something was offered in the sound on the incoming tide - we played in a triangle of very confused water on the flood. quite a lot of fun! too confused to really surf for any distance but a fantastic place to practice your reflexive bracing and gives you a great opportunity to experiment and see if those "...little pretty strokes..." as derek once referred to the bow rudder, really work in some dynamic water. and they seemingly do, although, this really was probably the absolute lowest end of what could be considered "dynamic" by any reasonable &$^&$@%$ scale.

so as we played and braced and such, i was humbled by the fact that my fiancee (who started paddling this summer) has a remarkable sea seat! like our friend suzanne, i don't think she produces the critical protein that causes alarm while at sea...and while this is fully gratifying to be around and to see her grinning in the surf, it would perhaps be better if at least one of us had some dang sense while in these little boats....lord knows it isn't going to come from the crowd we paddle with!

we had lunch on the island, digging our toes into fabulously warm sand and then ended the day back at pavilion performing a number of stupid tricks while out, around, on top of and near the boats. crawling out and kissing the bow (despite some distraction as a "friend?" lifting the stern and trying to dislodge said kisser), cowboy re-entries (sure, not a useful or practical method at sea but along the shore in a cove - pretty cool) and then the grail of stupid kayak tricks - standing up unassisted and paddling to shore as a gondolier while singing "o so lo mio" we have yet to accomplish this, but soon my friends....soon.

we loaded, dressed and retired to choate pub for burgers and bass around a platter of onion rings. ahhh, perfection!

a great day, a great group and really what an august sunday afternoon should be all about!

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