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Bumbling about Cape Ann - 1 February 2005

bob budd

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Thanks to Rick Crangle for calling back with his assessment of Lane's Cove. Knowing him, he made the trip for our benefit.

Arrived at Lane's Cove to find a snowy and icy beach/boat ramp. Stopped the car and walked to the water's edge to find round semi-gelatinous ice floes separated by glimpses of water. Returned to the car, set the boat down, and parked. Somewhere in there Brad showed up dressed for immersion. I packed my boat as he did the same, then donned my dry suit and we were soon in the water.

The low tide had retained only soft ice floes that were easily pushed aside or in some cases cut in two. Finding cracks in the "ice", once I had some momentum the ice parted easily before me. Halting at the edge of the accumulated ice at the opening in wall Brad also had no trouble passing through and we set off towards Halibut Point.

Brad's skeg wasn't deploying so we paddled to Folly cove. There Brad discovered his taping job had indeed prevented any rain/snow from freezing the skeg in place. Unfortunately, the tape had done so itself. Sans tape we headed around Halibut Point and followed the rocky edge of the land to Granite Pier where we headed across Rockport Harbour to Straitsmouth Gap.

Along the way we both enjoyed the sound of the surf and the absence of droning power boats. There was ample water fowl including loons. Being from the Midwest, I was happy to see the loons that hid in remote lakes back home. Alas I never heard their trilling call this day.

At this point we searched for a landing. Passing a few opportunities at Straitsmouth Island and unaware of the small beached tucked away at the south end of the gap we headed into Rockport Harbour to the beach where the "kayak flower" is often seen in the warmer months. We snacked there and Brad provided a rolling demonstration for the onlooking restaurant clientele. With a whoop we headed out of the harbour.

At this point I found my hands were not keeping warm enough. After two on-water stops where I drew the fingers into a fist and beat the numb of the hands together we headed into Pigeon Cove to change liners. Though I had not further trouble with the borrowed liners, I suspect the new configuration of the dry gloves was the magic bullet.

I have been pulling the dry glove gaskets over the dry suit gaskets, a most difficult enterprise it is usually leading to assistance for glove #2. Instead it was suggested I tuck the tail of the liner underneath and slide the dry glove on with gasket inside the glove, easily managed solo. From there turn the cuff of the dry suit over the tail of the dry glove. While this may leave a small amount of the wrist exposed in full immmersion, I felt no chilling of the wrist due to water penetration paddling back, though my hands are in the water with each stroke.

Somewhat chastened by the difficulty with my hands and being only two my paddling became a bit more deliberate from here on. The day was indeed beautiful and we marvelled at the look of the ice spray painted to the shoreline structures and rocks. I would have enjoyed a more leisurely trip along the rocky coast.

At Lane's Cove I learned that a solid ice floe under one's bow does not split or slide away but rather leaves one more than a little unstable. Drawn in or set loose by the rising tide I was able to back off with no incident. The bulk of the ice floes were now not unlike large jellyfish in appearance and texture and provided easy passage to shore.

Pictures at http://www.kayakpics.com/gallery/album42 , none of my post-paddle hair.

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