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Sunday Jan 4th


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Four of us converged on the parking lot at Fort Popham for a nice, low mileage Sunday paddle, arranged at short notice.

This was a glorious winter day, temperatures were in the high 20’s/ low 30’s, a brisk north wind, not a cloud in the sky, and seemingly infinite visibility. This was the first time I had been at Popham on the flood tide. Most paddles here are planned during the ebb,which provides the features (ebb currents, standing waves, crossing to Seguin Island etc) for which this area is so popular. With no surf or swell, this was a fitting day for a relaxed, enjoy-the outdoors paddle.

We launched from the beach next to the fort, and , casting our eyes to the islands and coves to the southeast, we ferried across the river past the green day marker, and threaded between Kennebec Point and Stage island, and , once in the lee of the mainland (Georgetown Island) , we were suddenly in calm waters. I’d never toured this lovely area before. Rounding the corner of Salter island, the beaches of Reid Park and the Sisters ledges became visible, and Damariscove was a hint on the horizon. We rock gardened our way along the seaward side of the island , passing through couple of slots, and , reaching the tip of the Salter , crossed back to familiar Pond island, about 2/3rds of a mile away . Rounding the southern tip of Pond , we landed at a small beach on its west side , climbed the grassy hill and lunched in the lee of the lighthouse. From here, the panorama was splendid : Damariscove was 8 miles away, long and low on the horizon , with that notch in the middle , Seguin Island was crystal clear almost 2 miles away ; the cliffs on its northern edge, maybe a dozen feet high, had a frosty grey color: too far away to see, but perhaps they were coated with ice from frozen sea spray.

We set off again and rounded Wood Island. In the shallows between the island and the beach there was a trace of the slashy zipper-y water for which that little spit is well known, so we messed around there for a while, and then disengaged for an easy ride with the current back to our beach. Having done so a week before, I passed on the dubious pleasure of joining two of the others in a final roll before landing , which elicited a reaction from a passerby on the beach. “Why did you do that?†she hollered.

Nice few hours on the water. Much of our talk was of protecting hands. Each of us were dealing differently: One pair of thin gloves under poagies (me), one pair of big blue dive gloves, one set of poagies with no gloves underneath, and one set of paddling gloves, quickly switching to dry fleecy gloves once off the water. No perfect solutions, but we all finished with working hands, to paddle another day.

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