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  1. Somehow I don't think outrigger canoes or sprint canoes will become a popular sport in the ocean, although I might want to check out what the new store carries this fall. I still maintain that your average touring canoe where you sit on a bench doesn't belong in the ocean, and I just about never see canoes in the ocean.
  2. Canoes don't belong in the ocean. If you launch a canoe from their store just make sure you go upstream on the Parker River and not down toward Plum Island Sound. It's a funny location to be focusing on canoes. We'll see how it goes.
  3. Parking at Essex County Greenbelt headquarters is free for the public. I used it a few weeks ago. There is a one minute walk from where you unload your kayak, and a five minute walk from where you must park. It should be good to launch at all tides because you walk on rocks to get to the launch on the Essex River. I added the site to paddling.com.
  4. Yes, I have parked at Jeffrey's Neck Road several times. That part of the Great Marsh is a good paddling area. But that launch is more of a trip if you're trying to get out toward the Crane Beach and Sandy Point area instead of the Great Marsh, requiring you to traverse through a harbor area with many moored boats. It's still doable but just adds some time to a trip -- maybe a half hour paddle in each direction.
  5. That's sad about Conomo Point. It was good while it lasted. At least Long Wharf in Gloucester never changed – free parking for all boaters, resident or nonresident. How is Pavilion Beach in Ipswich?
  6. The paddling.com app is invaluable in that regard. You can use it to navigate to your parking destination and use it while you're away from home.
  7. I am resurrecting this thread now that the ocean is almost warm enough to paddle in it without a wet suit. (At 55 degrees don't do that yet!) I would like to know what the parking status is near the launches in the Great Marsh and Cape Ann. Especially Conomo Point - what's the status there? I will be trying the nearby Essex County Greenbelt headquarters to park for launching in Essex Bay instead of Farnham's. They are nearly next to each other. I recently found out about this launch site during the off-season and parking for kayakers is explicitly sanctioned by the reservation. But still, Conomo Point is the ultimate and I wish they'd reopen that to nonresidents.
  8. If you look at Google Street view, or actually check out the spaces in question along Route 133 directly across from Farnham's, you will see that those spaces aren't posted at all. But they are directly along Route 133 so they are not restaurant parking. Other people park there all the time and there is even a crosswalk there. Most of the rest of Route 133 is indeed posted for no parking. I've parked there twice this year, and that's how I know it's kosher. No tickets, no fuss. It's actually pretty funny because the diners see you pulling your kayak out of the water while they are eating or waiting for their food, and it makes for a good start for a conversation and adds to the atmosphere that the diners appreciate. Everyone who I've talked to so far thinks it's a pretty nifty idea. I've yet to see someone else launch there though. Should we discourage its use? Most years I'd say yes so people can park for dining. But there is no alternative now, so I think it's fair. You haven't heard about it because this is the first year that it's literally been the only public launch on Essex Bay that a non-resident can use. To make Essex Bay a shore accessible to residents only is an infuriating situation. I'm only letting it slide because of COVID-19, which is (hopefully) a temporary situation. And I've discovered an alternative that still allows me to launch. Next year if the entirety of Essex Bay is inaccessible to nonresidents to launch a kayak, you bet your patooie I'll be making a fuss. Like Joseph Berkowitz said, what if every town made their shore only accessible to their own residents? Goodbye, public beaches. I'm afraid that's where we appear to be headed and I'm keeping an eye on it.
  9. The last time I checked, Essex has not put up permanent signs around Conomo Point saying that it's resident-only parking. They have so far only used temporary barricades. So there is hope for my favorite launch to become usable again, but we'll have to see next year. Like you, I am pessimistic about the issue. Once town meeting votes for something and the residents get used to it, they don't want to go back. Town governments are not populated by citizens who advocate for the rights of nonresidents to use their land, and nonresidents have no say in their affairs. It's a sad situation. While there are bike advocacy organizations who are getting things done, the "boater advocacy" or "paddler advocacy" machine is either nonexistent or very weak. I suppose it could start with us next year if the situation doesn't improve next year and it's post-pandemic.
  10. I have not. There is a description page for that launch on https://paddling.com/paddle/locations/danvers-river/. The fee is $10 unless you live in Salem, and it seems good as long as the spaces don't fill up. If I were to try it and found the parking lot to be full, a free alternative for paddlers is Obear Park in Beverly, across the bridge. I haven't used either but I've used Dead Horse Beach in Salem nearby, which has plenty of free parking and is an easy approach. It's not as far up the river though.
  11. You can park across from Farnham's for free to launch; just make sure it's not a busy weekend mealtime if you do. I do have to warn you about the slippery embankment if you use that launch, and you can't use the launch within 1.5 hours of low tide. But otherwise, it's pretty good. About 3 weeks ago I used the main Manchester boat ramp (Church Street) for free. Parking for nonresidents is only two hours though, so you should park elsewhere. I parked at the nearby train station without incident. The Manchester boat ramp is further inside in the harbor than Tuck's Point, but it's still a good launch.
  12. Yes, I know about Long Wharf/Jones River landing. I use it all the time, probably over 6 times this summer so far. If you see me around with a blue fiberglass 14' kayak, that's me. I've relaxed at the boaters' side of Wingaersheek Beach before, but I've found that the extra effort to go a little beyond there to the next beach, Coffin's Beach, is worth it. Although it's a public beach, Coffin's Beach has no parking lot so it's a long, peaceful beach with nice water on Ipswich Bay. For some reason, there aren't a lot of boaters hanging out here. The boaters seem to prefer the nearby Crane or Wingaersheek Beaches. You will have plenty of space and the obnoxious boat partiers / coronavirus spreaders are nowhere to be found at Coffin's. Essex Bay is a bit of a far round-trip paddle from Long Wharf, but it's doable if you want a workout. Until they reopen Conomo Point to nonresidents (maybe next summer), I still prefer launching at Farnham's for Essex Bay. Downtown Essex is still closed to nonresidents who want to launch a boat. So far, Essex Bay is the most beautiful coastal area I've seen in Massachusetts; it's even better than what I've seen so far on the Cape.
  13. I am dredging this topic to remark on the Island Road launch in Essex. I was just there on Saturday. Although there appear to be about 12 spaces available around there, it's clearly posted as "sticker parking only" for Essex residents. So this is not a viable alternative for launching within Essex Bay and shouldn't be suggested. I continue to launch at Farnham's instead without incident.
  14. I will add that I just spent hours in Essex Bay and along Crane Beach on Saturday, August 1. I did not encounter a single greenhead until I attempted to kayak in 6-inch creeks during low tide, and I had to drag my kayak occasionally. This was due to my own poor timing and unwillingness to wake up very early to take advantage of the highest tides. (My kayak can actually float in as little as 3 inches of water.) During normal kayaking and beach, I did not see any greenheads. I was heartened by the good reports on the Twitter feed for Crane Beach about the greenheads, and they were right, there are barely any anymore this year. I encourage anyone who wants to kayak deep into the marshes to do so.
  15. Were you brave enough to kayak in Essex Bay, Annisquam, Hampton Harbor, Great Marsh, or other area salt marsh? If so then please give a report on the greenhead fly situation and when you went. Every year is different and their decline is supposed to start shortly.
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