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Portsmouth: Sunday April 29th


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This past weekend, two separate s&gs sort of merged to become a two day paddle in Portsmouth area & Gerrish island. Of the 9 paddlers on Saturday and ten on Sunday, six of us paddled both days.

This more standard trip report is intended to compliment Gail’s observations:

Sunday April 29th

On this quiet, overcast, far-from warm Sunday morning, ten paddlers showed up at Frisbee Wharf in Kittery, and soon enough there were:

6 Explorers (one strip-built)

2 Force 3’s

1 Aquanaut

1 Anas acuta:

all lined up at the public boat ramp at Frisbee wharf, ready for action at around 10AM.

The sky was a battleship gray, temps were about 45 degrees F for both the air and the water, and winds were from the SE

As a group, we agreed to paddle to Brave Boat Harbor through Chauncey Creek, assess the conditions there and decide whether to continue back on the exposed route around Gerrish Island, or return the way we came on the more protected route. We launched and made short work of Pepperrell Cove and Chauncey Creek, passed through the culvert under Seapoint Road, and formed into single file for the trip down the sinuous channel through the salt marsh to Brave Boat Harbor. Kevin and Joe looked to be practicing for the Gerrish Island race, and repeated Saturday’s speed metal rip down “Bow Rudder Alley” to Brave Boat, with the rest of us winding our way along at a more leisurely pace. Behind me I heard Gillian begin to grumble about our seemingly endless series of bow rudders , so I broke up the monotony with a couple of reverse high brace sweep turns. We entered Brave Boat Harbor , passed through the old railroad trellis, and did a reconnaissance around the mouth of Brave Boat. A few paddlers were not entirely comfortable with the conditions awaiting on the outside of Brave Boat (officially it’s a level four trip from here) , so we split into two groups: Team Bravo (three paddlers) headed out of the harbor for the outside passage, while Team Not-So-Bravo (the rest of us) returned the way we came. We figured that perhaps we would meet up again around Fort Foster, perhaps not. So, after a bit of surf play in the mouth of the harbor, we started back, once again resembling a bow rudder chorus line. At the culvert, we noticed that it was 12:30PM, two hours after high tide, and there was still plenty of water, revising my traditional assessment that this channel only has water for an hour on either side of high tide.

Once through the culvert, we rode the ebb current down Chauncey Creek and , entering Portsmouth Harbor and Pepperrell Cove , we briefly fanned out, and gathered again, landing on Fishing Island, a pleasant little affair of perhaps one acre, perhaps half a mile from our original put-in. We perched ourselves on the remnants of some old structure (probably a bunker or gun emplacement) and broke out lunch. Lisa became the the star of this phase of our operation ; her fabulous home made brownies and guacamole showed that she had made her food preparations that morning with more than just herself in mind, bless her heart.

Amidst pleasantries, we spied our three friends in the distance, emerging from underneath the pier at Fort Foster, returning from their outside passage and after some ribald vhf banter, we drew them to our location , where we they joined us for the remnants of our picnic. As things turned out, the conditions we saw at the mouth of Brave Boat had not materialized, so their trip was much tamer than expected.

By now is was around 1:45 ,so our group split in half, five of us returning to Frisbee wharf while the other half headed out to poke around the islands and reefs around Whaleback Lighthouse.

Among my own reflections for the day:

The mix of general quiet and gray skies added a contemplative air to our undertaking.I felt a somewhat rueful sense of pleasure at having these waters to ourselves, knowing that this will only last another short while.

I was overjoyed to be back in my Explorer, which had been in gestation, awaiting weather warm enough for me to repair a hole in the hull I had made about a month ago. I had also moved my seat forward an inch and a half during repairs , and found the results in both cockpit fit and handling to be extremely gratifying. The day before I was demo paddling a different boat that didn’t suit me, and I felt like I was paddling with one hand tied behind my back.

The Impex Force 3 is a cool boat. It's got little rocker and is a go straight machine, but it held its own with even the Anas acutas through all all the one-eighty turns in the salt marsh.

Over the weekend It was good to paddle with people of different skills , comfort levels, experience, all complimenting each other. The more experienced enjoyed their chance to teach, and the less experienced enjoyed the examples set and their own chance to learn. Thanks, everyone.

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Peter is no doubt too modest to note that one of the many pleasures over the two days was his sonorous rendition of the perfect lyrics for every occasion...wait a minute...need to rethink that regarding the "Only Eskimo"

Ed Lawson

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Yes, Lisa, Hero!!!!

Can you post the Guac recipe?

Thanks all! I got a great workout, although a little abrupt for someone who'd not been on the water that much the past month due to a nasty cold but the muscle soreness I feel today was worth it considering how much I'd been cooped up in doors over the past month. A day of rest today.... back on the water tomorrow.

Cheers, Joe

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Very nice write up, Peter.

Brave Boat Harbor surfing would be worth another visit sometime. It seems like a great place for me to learn how to surf in a more protected and safe area. The little bit of

experience I had there, was fun and I would like to be able to push the envelope a little more and that seems like a great place to do that.

I posted the Avocado Dip on the Message Board, if you are interested. I will bring the dip when we go to Jewell, since so many of you seemed to like it. Brownies too!!


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