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Gerrish Island to Braveboat, coming full circle once again....

Kevin B (RPS Coach)

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This seems to be a year of completing fateful circles in my life. As I've only been paddling for not quite two years now, it seems apropos that these circles be completed now. I wrote some time ago about my experience on a recent Merrimack SNG. So yet another finished itself on Sat. as ten us set out from Kittery Point. Initial conditions were benign as we rode the tide out and generally remained so if you wanted them that way. No wind, but the outgoing tide exposed wonderful rock gardens and ledges, among which most of us played. For those tending toward a more cautious paddle, they could remain out in the long swells.

Dodging in and out of rocks, I saw generally big smiles among those attending, whoopees from the likes of Deb after successfully navigating a tumultuous shallow area, showing all that she has incredible bracing skills. Gilly out for only the fourth time in her new-to-her Explorer confidently dealt with the 2-4ft swells, most of which she has seen little of while paddling around Salem. Judy (I'll let her tell you about her fun;) ), Ross, Mary, Rob, Bob, Peter and Scott all tested their limits at different times. I'm obviously forgetting many specific instances where paddlers demonstrated their skills, but you get the idea that all were having fun extending their comfort zones.

We headed up the coast of ME, spending our time poking in and out of rocks, surfing when possible and generally having a great time. After lunch within the protected waters of Braveboat, we paddled out into some good surf, where Deb, Ross and myself played for a while. Yours truly had a great bongo ride from a 3 1/2 footer for about 60ft :) More of the same on the way back as the waters built around the incoming tide. Watching those I paddled with deal with sets of 4+ feet with ease was inspiring. Watching G attack them head on with a "whoopee" as she disappeared down the back of the wave was a hoot. Arrival back in the calm waters of Kittery Point left all satisfied with a great outing on the water. You really can't beat the rocks and surf in that area :)

So why the full circle? Well, a little over a year ago, a group of very good paddlers took a newbie out in these waters, which to him looked like buildings pushing towards the shore, when in fact they were more like one foot confused chop. He was nervous, being in a very tippy P&H Sirius for the first time in open water, and even though he tried not to show it, they knew. They talked to him, gave him pointers, and generally made sure that they kept an eye on him for the entire paddle. Now, that paddler, who hadn't paddled that area since, and who organized the SNG in those very same waters, became the watcher and the adventurer, keeping an eye on those in the SNG (not that they needed it) as well as the waves coming into the rocks amongst which he played. Nervousness replaced by confidence, newbie by experienced. For those new paddlers out there who may doubt they will develop, they shouldn't. Time, drive and experience will have you doing things you only dreamed about on the water. From watching to doing is quite a short step...

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Many Gerrish Island trips are timed to circumnavigate, closer to high tide. This trip, on the falling tide, (we probably stopped in Brave Boat at dead low tide) was great because many more rocks were exposed all along the way, and with that steady swell, there was lots more action in the rock gardens than at high tide. Also, better surf at the entrance to Brave Boat Harbor.

Thanks, Kevin, for initiating this fine outing.

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Agreed . . . Kev, great trip and I think everyone can say they had a great time . . . your trip report is also very touching and I remember you showing me one of the pictures of that first trip you took out to that area . . . .

I stayed out of a lot of the big stuff as I'm still getting used to the Explorer . . . what an amazing boat though . . . the swell was great out there and she just rises and falls without a care in the world. It was a more relaxing paddling day for me than the excitement for some of the others with whom I'm always thoroughly impressed - Deb I saw you get into some impressive rock gardening, and Judy takes the cake for loss of gelcoat :) Kev, I think I saw the top of your helmet that day, and that's about it :)

Even taking a break for lunch was amusing as we realized we looked like an NDK commercial (I think there were 7 or so Explorers of the 10 paddlers that day??) Oh and I wish my camera hadn't died before I could get a picture of Rob H. totally asleep with a half eaten sandwich in his hand :)

Great day, great paddle, great camaraderie . . .

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