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Misery Got Company, Aug 24


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This is a late report; there’s something that makes me drag my feet when a teacher gives me the assignment to write up the trip…

On Wednesday Aug 24, the Gang of Four—Al Coons, Barry Kahn, Philippe Koenig and Tom Hirschfeld—left Riverhead Beach in Marblehead at mid-flood tide. We were in a spectrum of kayaks—Philippe in his Klepper, a strong solid collapsible fabric over frame kayak that will survive being dropped from a plane, fully loaded; Barry in his 14.5 foot Necky Mystic, Al in his Eddyline Nighthawk and Tom in a Chatham 16 with speed grooves in the gelcoat,

We headed into a 10 knot headwind with 2 foot swells; all the kayaks rode the seas easily. We kept an eye on the western horizon, concerned about the forecast of possible boomers, but the sky didn’t seem to have a lot of energy. We stopped at Cat Island to stretch our legs and snarf down some lunch; we were reminded by a camp counselor that it was private, then we headed through the Gooseberrys to a look at another private island, Baker’s.

The VHF crackled: a boat was aground on a rock between Salem and Marblehead and needed a tow; I glanced at my watch—dead-on high tide. Lousy timing for them!

Next, we paddled a quick leg northwest to the gap between Little and Great Misery, landed for a foot tour of Misery—a jewel, with lawns, ruins and lovely views.

We headed straight for Marblehead Harbor, watching off to the right as a rainstorm crossed south from Salem to Marblehead, traversing the neck just before we got to the level of Cat Island. By then the wind had quieted down and we didn’t get the boost we hoped for when we startled out into the headwind; oh well… A stinkpot raced out of Salem Harbor, trailed by a circling helicopter—possibly shooting some video footage? We managed to push our way into the view. On the way into Marblehead we passed lines of sailboats motoring out to a race course; we threaded our way past the yachts, back to Riverhead and home.

The company was great, conditions were interesting, traffic was light. A terrific day!

Tom Hirschfeld


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