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A Sunday jaunt...(not exactly)


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After a certain local paddler had called me on Saturday evening to say "come out with us tomorrow" I was pleased to say yes; but (you know these locals! and one southie) I never heard any more, so -- just as I was arriving at the High School -- who should call, but himself, saying they were going to put-in at the Greasy Pole at roughly ten-thirty (lazy creatures!) Well, sorry, mate: I'm ten minutes from getting on the water; but we'll pass somewhere around the Cape...

Had a very easy and quick paddle as far as Andrews Point, when I hit the first of the fog. It was thick enough that the seawall at Pidgeon Cove loomed overhead before I really knew exactly where I was -- then it opened up slightly off Rockport before thickening again at Straitsmouth where I saw but a mere shadow to indicate the rocky shoreline of the island. There was a large group being chaperoned out of Rockport ("We're going this way now" he said -- right into the thick stuff!) Thatcher's? Forget it -- saw nix, except the spare paddle on my foredeck and my compass.

All along the southeastern side of the cape I was obliged to hug the shore since I could hear occasional lobster boat engines -- I passed one or two occasional kayakers and saw swimmers off Long Beach and Good Harbour Beach and was looking out for the supposed threesome who were (I understood) coming the other way around.

Beyond Bass Rocks the "jumpy" water started as I hit the southerly swells -- and was thinking of the vulnerability of the solo paddler (as David Lewis writes, elsewhere). It often gets rough there near Gloucester Light where there is sudden, shallower water. Turning in at the dogbar, I was requested to retrieve a striper that some poor fisherman had let drop out of his hands into the rocks! Then it was a slow dawdle back up to Ten-Pound Island before the fog closed in again -- thicker than ever! I crossed the channel to the Greasy Pole with whistle in mouth -- and used it, twice, to alert first a surf-ski and then a small pleasure/fishing boat to my presence. Visibility was perhaps fifty yards at that point -- and by now it was lunchtime! However, it soon burned off after that.

A tiring and, at times, nerve-wracking trip; but great fun. I waited for the others but only saw them after they had retraced their steps, apparently, and arrived back from the same direction in which they had departed...(such wimps!) My mileage must have been in excess of the usual Blackburn stuff due to having hugged the coastline -- I'm not yet "into" GPS! Oh, and after all the storms of the past week/ten days the water is <very> cluttered with plastics, cardboard and floating detritus! To say nothing of used fireworks!

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