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Essex Bay/Crane's Beach Tour


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Yesterday was probably the most fun day I've had paddling ever (mind you it was only my 4th or 5th time out on the ocean but it was still the best paddle I've ever had :)

We did a last minute SNG and ended up with a great group of people; Walter, Billy, Kevin, Peter, Bob, Deb, and me, launching at around 11am from Conomo Point. The weather was picutre perfect and we set off into one of the winding creeks leading to Essex Bay to practice our boat handling skills. Pretty much everyone but me has these elusive boat handling skills but I got some great practice in trying to do a bow rudder with some sense of grace (someone kept yelling at me to look at my watch but I didn't have one on so I didn't know what they were talking about :) but watching these paddlers move their boats effortlessly as I'm banging into marsh is an inspiration to practice, practice, practice.

We emerged from the creek into pretty heavy boat traffic crossing the bay but with the experience in our group we stayed together and crossed with no trouble landing on the back side of Crane's Beach without incident . . . The rest of us had PB&J's and granola bars but Walter of course pulls out gourmet sandwiches which as usual he graciously shared with the rest of the group . . .

We put back in after lunch and headed around to the ocean side of Crane's which was my first experience in surf. Two words: I'm hooked. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the surf and I learned more than I ever expected. Bob showed us all beach landings in surf - we got lucky with a perfect day with small waves which I'm sure wasn't as fun for folks like Walter, Billy, and Kevin, but it was one of those perfect days where despite our varying skill sets everyone seemed to be just happy to be out on the water. Deb as always the natural teacher shares the different experiences of all the paddlers she knows and always made me feel comfortable and encouraged. Kevin the ever adventurer was either upside down practicing his roll or in the surf . . .

After a couple of beach landing lessons from Bob, we all tried a few and then Billy, Deb, Walter and Bob practiced surfing backwards . . . I remember Bob upside down quite a bit :)

Kevin started catching waves and I gave it a go, but it was slim pickings for waves that day so Billy kindly sat facing England and yelled at me to paddle every now and then . . . just before heading home I heard a number of shouts to paddle and I cought my first wave got to brace and somehow managed to stay upright - now THAT was fun . . .

Everyone practiced their rolls and I don't have one yet so I practiced the bow rescue/eskimo roll. I even lost my first pair of sunglasses although Kevin was responsible for that and I hear I'll be getting a new pair soon . . .

If I had to characterize the day, I'd describe it as beautiful weather, good conversation including a few choice jokes from Billy involving a penguin and ice cream, learning, sharing, surfing, and I will always remember the booming sound of Walter's laughter which is infectious even if you didn't hear what the joke was . . .

I hope everyone had as great a time as I did . . . can't wait to get back out there . . . Saturday can't come soon enough!

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