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Portsmouth & Brave Boat Harbor, Saturday AM


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At @ 9AM on this most glorious of summer days, a trio of perhaps the finest paddlers in the history of self-propelled travel (Rob Hazard, Judy Whipple, and myself) embarked from the familiar (free) ramp, opposite the (not-for free) public boat ramp on Witch Creek, near Odiorne Point.

We quickly made our way through the jetty into outer Portsmouth Harbor where we were greeted by 2-3 inch seas, crossed to Whaleback lighthouse and thence to White Island, and traveled along the south coast of Gerrish Island to the mouth of Brave Boat Harbor. At this point it was the mid-to-latter half of the ebbing tide, so water was rapidly exiting Brave Boat, creating a land/seascape unfamiliar to me, as all my other trips there had been timed to catch the high tide. Sandbars and shallows were appearing everywhere, our hulls were often tickling the beige- colored bottom, and our exploration of the harbor became more a search for water than anything else. We stopped for a snack on a gravel beach, greenheads were present but not intolerable. We made a brief foray up the winding channel which leads to Chauncey Creek, but quickly ran out of water and turned around.

On our way back to Odiorne we connected with Ross and an out- of- town friend, who had originally planned to join us but had launched later than we. Rob & I were now helmet-clad, so we played in the rocks along Gerrish; the water visibility was excellent; this’d a been a good day for scuba divers. The ocean was calm, so rock play was very tame.

We then retraced our route, parted company with Ross and friend halfway from Whaleback to Odiorne, as they had put in someplace to the north of us, and returned to our put-in ramp, and a surprisingly tolerable low-tide mud trudge to return the boats to their respective car tops.

Throughout the day, evidence of NSPN was everywhere : On my way up I-95, I saw a familiar black SUV with surfski on the roof, careening in the opposite direction; surely Ms. Landrum on her way to make trouble somewhere to the south. On the water, we spotted a lone paddler in the distance , not far from White Island, busily paddling in the opposite direction to us. The boat (white-ish with red trim, probably a Q-boat), paddle (Greenland) The hour (morning) , and the tides (high around 8AM, it was about 10:30 at this point) suggested Mr. Attenborough doing an early morning Gerrish Island circumnavigation. Back at the parking lot, sleuths Judy and Rob identified a trio of NSPN autos belonging to Gwynn, Crangle, Hutchinson et al, surely off on a secret mission somewhere. We speculated that a crossing to the Isles of Shoals would be the only special op that would sustain the stout hearts of this trio on this day of tame seas. We wished all as fine a day on the water as we enjoyed, and headed off to tend to our terrestrial lives.

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..."our terrestrial lives", mine beginning with a shower and a long NAP!

Good job, Peter!

My personal souvenir of the trip is an amusing pattern of bright red oval dots on the top of my thinly upholstered cranium,left by the sun beaming down through the drain holes in my helmet. My wife suggests that next time I go out I should use SPF-40 sunblock for haircream!

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Ah what detective work! But, alas, you were sooo wrong as to the destination! An impromptu paddle with Bill, Gerry, Rick C. and Scott. Turned out we barely left the Piscataqua... we stayed in the river and played in traffic under the bridges:) Figured nothing much was happening on the outside so why don't we fight the current and go up river at max. Loads of sunshine, quiet water and rolling practice in the current.


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