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Swimming in the Gooseberries

bob budd

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Arrived to a light fog and spitting rain at Riverhead Beach. As we left the house at the time we had meant to arrive we were greeted by the bulk of our participants. One of us was running behind, later to be blamed on roads out, but there was little surprise at the tardiness.

Welcomed a new member into the fold, conducted a beach briefing, and we were off through the maze of moored boats. A flat lay before us, even for this time of year. Still after the last couple paddles slogging ahead and sailing back I can't say I missed the wind. At the base of Marblehead Light, we reassembled and headed for the tower on Children's Island. As we reached the island the shoals loomed out of the fog and the land behind us disappeared behind the curtain.

A bit of passing through narrow rocks but otherwise a pretty tame passage around the island. Hello to the fisherman and his red-headed young mate and around the back side, thence to Eagle Island. On this leg we drew close to but veered toward the Gooseberries where only a few weeks past we swapped boats.

The Gooseberries failed to produce any pinnipeds and we settled for lunch in th south-facing beach on the northern island. After lunch I found that those round rocks, battered tirelessly by the seas to near spherical dimensions, provided little friction. A slight tug on poor Rodni and down she went, some twenty yards into the sea, neatly depositing my paddle at the shoreline. A good time to practice swimming with paddle and reentry.

On we went around the seaside of Baker's island, where some rock play ensued. Nothing serious there, as helmets were not in attendance, and then we made for the cut at Misery Island. Upon reaching the beach dressed with the rotting hull, we took a few to the backside for the view of the harbour. Though we could barely see the nearest land, the quality of the view was evident.

On we went to Eagle Island, the retraced our steps to Children's. From there we tried to catch the level two crowd, but we found only sand on Brown's Island. As we passed the last of the moored boats a few of us practiced our rolls, then headed to the beach.

Having asked before and not taken advantage of the opportunity, I slipped into Walter's Assateaque for a quick spin. While Dee's Currituck was toooooooooo small, this boat was definitely toooooooo big. As I began my sweep, I felt my butt slide across the seat and slam into the side of the boat. Perhaps the Currituck without a whisp of seat.

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