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Kayaking with

bob budd

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For something a little different three of us joined several members of a Gerrish Island-based rowing club. Dee and I arrived promptly at 10AM and were soon joined by five members, two with their dog "Bailer" who came to retrieve their boats for the season and three who ended up in the water with us. The third kayaker arrived last, within expected margin of error, and completed the set.

Having been chilled at rest in a wetsuit and paddle jacket on the Cape a month ago I wore my dry suit for the first time of the season. Though it got a bit warm now and then, I prefer to roll and/or scull than shiver. This also provides the opportunity to get accustomed to the cold water should such contact come without warning.

A quaint boat house lay a dozen or so railroad tie formed steps from a four-car parking lot at the roadside just over the bridge. A large number of various incarnations of single occupant open cockpit shells were found inside and outside the boat house. My first thought was that it is an act of some bravado to travel on the ocean in an open cockpit and facing in the direction of where one has already been. I would also that craning one's neck to look behind would quickly grow tiresome. Some of the boats did feature hatches large enough to supply a camping trip and the long shafts on the oars made these boats much faster than our kayaks.

Launching from the dock at water's edge we quickly passed the lobster restaurant any who have circumnavigated Gerrish Island would remember. I must admit that after having launched more than once from the inner harbour it is much preferrable to miss the industrial scenery therein. At this time of year we saw few motorcraft. As we reached Wood Island one of our group went on alone travelling inland, leaving the five of us to lunch on White Island.

Whilst on the island we were joined by Jed Luby and Paul Sylvester. No sooner had their bows touched the water's edge than they continued on their way, perhaps they were spooked by the strange boats.

After lunch we headed up the coast but the rolling swell proved more than one rower felt dressed to continue through. Though willing to return alone with the radio we gave her, the other rower returned to the harbor's mouth with her. After rounding the second rocky shoal we became concerned with the safety of the situation and returned. Our third kayaker, being much the fleeter, was soon well ahead of Dee and I. In each other's boats, I found the Currituck a bit on the petite side for my butt, by now spoiled by two custom-built seats.

We eventually met the other two as they rounded the bend at the mouth of the harbour. Dee and I took a moment to swap back into our boats, then the four of us made a bee-line for the Isle of Shoals. Not in the mood for the trip out and back at this late hour, we soon turned around and returned to the boat house. Though it was a rather short and uneventful day, I enjoyed meeting new members of the paddling community and their strange craft.

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