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Circumnavigation of Castle Neck - Sept 3 - Beautiful!


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Bob Clough, Jamie Doucett. Al Moore, Pierre ?, and I launch at 9:30 from Pavilion Beach, about 2 1/2 hours before high tide. A large group of the self-named “Kayak Chicks” (informal group) was debating whether to do the route in the same direction we were (outside Castle Neck first) or start with Fox Creek. As we launched they asked about the NSPN and there were any women in it. We assured them that we had many women and would have not attempted this trip without their permission (smile).

We rounded the southeast end of Crane's and entered Essex Bay in about 90 minutes after paddling against the tide but with the help of cooling, brisk wind. Water conditions varied from light chop, to confused water, to steep waves (2 feet?), to circular sections of flat water surrounded by confused water (anyone know what causes this. Overall conditions on this leg where middle level three.

Just before the rounding, a kayaker caught up to us. It was Dave Cross, a new member of NSPN, who said he had been late at the put in. In fact, he saw the KayakChicks offshore and thought it was us. When he caught them they told him our group was ahead. Either we are really slow or Dave did a very impressive job of catching us. Must have been the latter.

We stopped on the inside of Cranes just beyond the crowd of beached powerboats for a break. Then Pierre earned 3 gold stars for suggesting we head across Castle Neck River to Hog Island so we could paddle the west side to avoid the strong head winds going up the river would entail. Great choice. Beautiful paddle. Highly suggested.

It was a fun paddle up narrow, winding Fox Creek. It was hard to believe how fast some of the powerboats moved through the widening, but still narrow channel. We stopped for lunch about 1 / 4 mile before the Hay Canal near the remains of a dock. Old pilings and concrete blocks suggested it had been more than a casual morning. As we paddled out, we asked a couple in a motorboat anchored nearby if they knew the history of the dock. They said it be a shipyard in WWII where PT boats and landing craft had been built!

We all too quickly landed back at Pavilion Beach after a wonderful, varied day of paddling. The circumnavigation of 11 miles took about 4 hours including one stop and lunch. Besides tidal decisions, it is clear that paddlers need to make sure that the conditions on Ipswich Bay along Crane’s Beach align with their experience.

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