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Swimming in cold water...

bob budd

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...and other things I'd rather not do again.

Saturday was at least a 50 cent day. With inflation, I'd say it was a sawbuck day. The forecast wind never showed, that is until I returned on foot in the evening to traverse Castle Neck a second time.

An uneventful launch, wending our way over what was often dry or damp portions of the earth. We found Fox Creek quite full of water, enough to float a submarine I would think, and more water than would allow a stout log under the bridge.

The waters at the north of Crane's Neck had some of the customary breakers but the high water had erased the little swirly that forms at the mouth of the Ipswich. Two of our number sought a brisk pace to return for the weather chat and a third found his first outing in awhile a bit taxing so we stayed more or less together around the neck and down the outside.

More than one place had unusually good waves for surfing. Those of us who weren't in a hurry weren't eager for a wet afternoon, 36 degree water and all, so we passed on the opportunities. As we approached the south end of the neck an early breaker started to form to my left. I chose to out run it as it sought to wrap itself beside and in front of me.

Bad choice. The stern caught the break and turned the boat over. As I started to go over I prepared to roll up. Once capsized, I could not seem to find the top of the water with my paddle. The water temps were claiming my oxygen at an accelerated pace and my head was starting to hurt. I opted for a wet exit.

Upon hitting the surface found myself choosing to hold onto my boat and let my paddle roam. With the next breaking wave I also had to let go of the boat. Then I bobbed in the water for a bit and realized my vision was blurred and I couldn't hear much of what must have been shouted at me. At this point I had the thought that two paddlers were around me and noone was coming to my aid. I floated there until the disorientation cleared and realized that I should head into shore, later that I could in fact stand up.

In fact, we were in the break and I was either to get back to my boat or head into shore and let those still upright conduct the yard sale. A couple times they tried to give me a ride in but before I could grab on, they zoomed off on a wave. From shore it might have seemed like they were teasing me, offering their bow only to zip off when I approached.

The good thing about all of this was that I was not at all cold in the 36 degree water. The breaking probably mixed in a bit of the 50 degree air and it was shallow here but the tide was still high. Even with my left arm soaking wet I was never cold. Still I sat on shore for several minutes and enjoyed warm tea while things stabilized.

From there, only the noticeable current leaving the Essex stood between us and an easy trip to Walter's back yard.

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