Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bathed in Solitude

Bath, Maine- 2 nights on my boat on the Kennebec River.

Wild wind, surging currents, cold temps, rugged coastline. What's not to love?

Perkins Island


10/20/18, Saturday- I boat down the Kennebec river to kite at Popham Beach but it's too windy to cross the last half mile where the river widens into a small bay. The SW cross wind is gusting to 35MPH. I can see the fort where I was planning to anchor but I can't make it. How's that for irony?

I take a break from the wind and chop to dock in the lee of Perkins Island. Nice spot! Public dockage, small pine needle campsite, unmanned lighthouse. I have it completely to myself. Things seem a little quiet around here this time of year. I have no idea know why.

Perkins Dock



I have fun crossing Merrymeeting Bay where the Kennebec joins the Androscoggin. Fierce current and chop with 25MPH gusts. It's too shallow to hug the upwind shore. But I make it to Swan Island to tie up to their kayak dock overnight like you're not supposed too. No matter. I never see a ranger or even another person.

I see some friendly white tailed deer though. One comes right up to me and licks my hand. When I bend down it tries to lick my face. I'm pretty startled but I ask myself, am I really scared of Bambi? Maybe.

Beaver work
I also see some beavers slapping their tails for warning around my boat at night. Different from the usual fish jumping sound. Yes the river is fresh water, with 4' tides up here. Go figure.

Temp is down to 39F Sat night, plenty warm for my synthetic fill mummy sleeping bag with my long sleeve shirt and bathing suit. High temp of 45 Sunday is cold but doable as long as I stay out of the water. Falling in is not an option.



Beaver



On my way back on Sunday the howling NW wind is blowing with the ripping current, (luckily). It's gusting to 35 again. I turn off the motor and clock myself drifting/blowing at 5.8 MPH.

Places I wanted to visit but didn't-

Popham Beach State Park- Looks like a beautiful beach for kiting! And nearby hiking.
Maine Maritime Museum- $17 includes museum entrance, overnight dockage, shower.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens- Free dockage, mooring, complimentary dinghy, (seasonal?).
Bath Town Dock- 3 hours free dockage, (docks were pulled out already for the season).
Popham Fort- Might be interesting.

I've got to come back here! But not this year.

Swan Island


Itinerary-
Friday night- South launch boat ramp, near Maine Maritime Museum, south to Morse Cove, anchor for night.
Saturday- South to the beginning of Atkins Bay, north to Perkins Island, way north to Swan Island kayak dock.
Sunday- 9 mile hike on Swan, South to South launch boat ramp.

54 miles, 8 Gallons gas.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mahatten or Sink

Connecticut River, Old Saybrook, to 79th Street Boat Basin, Manhattan, and back. 361 Miles, 44 gallons gas, 16 nights, 2 dozen hard boiled eggs. Yeah some of them spoiled in the cooler.

Coming into New York Harbor with the Big Boys

I really loved this trip!!! I kited when it was windy, boated when it wasn't. Tried to stay dry when it rained 6 of the first 7 days. Not successful.

Enjoying a Break in the Rain

I kited 5 days in a row during the second week, mostly on Fire Island.

Airing my Laundry at Watch Hill Marina, Fire Island
 
I had a I nice visit with Ruth in Manhattan. I was super lucky to get 2 glassy days to make the run in and out of the city. Over the phone they told me that I couldn't get a slip at the Boat Basin because my boat was too small but when I showed up they relented. My boat may be small but it has a big personality.

Leaving the Big Apple in the Predawn Twilight





















In 2 weeks I was treated to a gale, dense fog, deluging rain, occasional sun, and a couple of small craft advisories, including the remnants of Hurricane Francis, which gave me some big wave kiting at Robert Moses Park on Fire Island.

Overall the very best moments were often when I was anchored for the night in some secluded cove, nestled in my sleeping bag, watching the lights winking across the bay, listening to crickets on shore, wind blowing through trees, waves gurgling and singing, loving life.

Coziness! That's my Toilet Hanging over the Steering Wheel




Saturday, June 23, 2018

Twister and Shout

6/23/18  Pleasure Bay, NE Wind, 11-16 MPH, Foiling, 10.4 Cloud Kite

I get lofted.

I'm foiling in light winds. A big lull hits and I'm working the kite to keep it up and stay on the board. I pull hard on the bar and I'm up about 20' in the air before I can blink. It's like I'm just ripped out of the water, right off my board, by some large invisible hand.

By the time I can think about punching out I've leveled off so I sine the kite to try to keep from plummeting. I drift for a second before dropping. I hit pretty hard but I'm in deep water and far enough from the beach. I'm O.K. just a little shocked and dazed by what could have happened.

Earlier in the day I had seen a mini twister of sand spin across the beach down near the lifeguard chairs. I'm guessing that what's picked me up. I was kiting down in that area when it hit.



Scuttlebutt says these mini cyclones are caused by planes that are routed low over P Bay in a NE wind coming in to land at Logan Airport. They're known as wake turbulence or wingtip vortices and have caused planes to crash. They can last for up to 3 minutes before dissipating.



What scares me is that if I was launching or landing at the moment that it hit I would have landed hard on the concrete wall, steps, flagpoles, sidewalk, or parking lot. None of those surfaces would feel soft and cushy from a 20' drop. It could be unpleasant. We'd have to change the name of the bay.

I kite for another 15 minutes but I can't get it out of my head. Every time I approach the rock wall or the beach I think about how I don't want to be a bug on that windshield. P Bay in NE is off my list. Sorry P Bay. I know it not your fault.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Cuttyhunked

6/10/2018  Sat- I boat Waquoit Bay to the Elizabeth Islands, exploring Cuttyhunk by water and foot.

Sat night- I meet up with Walter and Jeff in Cuttyhunk Harbor, tieing up to Walters 42' sailboat like a little toy boat next to the real thing. Jeff cooks up a gourmet dinner and we spend the evening talking about boating and kiting adventures past and future. Nice times!

Sunday- Heading back, I find a great gunkholing spot in the Elizabeth islands. It's a secluded little pond off of Northwest Gutter, not tide dependent (I think), SW of Uncatena Island, not far from Woods Hole. Maybe I'll be back. Watch out for crazy currents near Wood Hole.

Bathing Beauties on Nashawena Island on my way to Cuttyhunk
2 Days, 69 miles, totally glassy water, average boat speed about 18 to 20 MPH, 6 to 7 gallons of gas.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Foiled

2/10/2018  Alright, I've been trying to avoid being sucked into the foilboard craze. Anybody round here who can crash a kite is learning to foilboard. I thought maybe I was different. That I was special. That I could resist.

I'm not and I couldn't. Here goes nothing.























Kitesurfed, West Dennis, 12M Rally/Slingy Foilboard, with Frank, Sam, Andre, Phil, others.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Shimmy Like Your Life Depends on it



1/14/2018  There was some drama on the mountain today.

As I'm heading up the trail, groups of hikers are coming down saying the stream crossing isn't passable. What!?

The recent rain had melted the ice bridges. There was a downed tree but a hiker had just tried to shimmy across and fallen in. The fast water knocked her over, completely soaking her, and she didn't have a bathing suit on.

As I'm scouting out the crossing, an intrepid hiker approaches, takes one look and shimmies across. Then her friend does the same. That's how you do it. I rearrange my pack to be more waterproof, just in case, and follow. No problem.

I have a beautiful hike. No bathing suit needed.

Hiked, My Liberty and Mt Flume, 10.5 miles, 0 to 10 Farenheit, Solo.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lake W

Since kiting is prohibited for me for another month, I'm boating and exploring places where no sensible human would normally go to kite.

 

Lake Winnipesaukee- Boated Alton Bay to Stonedam Island for a little island hiking in Fall foliage. It's crowded up here! I thought people went to New Hampshire to get away from it all. Stonedam Island is the only island I can find in the lake that isn't privately owned and lined with boathouses and docks. I'll have to go back to Boston or The Cape to have a little elbow room. 

 

 

 

36 miles, 3 to 3.5 gallons gas, cruising around 20 to 24 MPH, no wind.  

 

I have a new prop on my outboard. The old one was attracted to sandbars. My max speed is back up to 26MPH, 5800 RPM. If I trim it out just right, no wind, no current, I can just hit 27 MPH. The boat feels a little skittish at about 25 MPH and up.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Casco Bay

Oct 3rd- My right eye develops 3 tears in the retina due to a vitreous detachment gone wrong. A little laser surgery mostly fixes it up but it needs time to heal. No kiting, jogging, mountain climbing, working out for 8 weeks. Ouch!

Oct 22nd- I'm cleared to boat and do easy hikes. I'm not asking twice.

I launch from Bug Light Park, Portland. A sign says no overnight parking without prior approval. Oops. But I don't get ticketed, maybe because it's so late in the season. I cross Casco Bay in glassy water, hike, then anchor for the night in Long Cove, Harpswell Sound. I'm so glad to be back in the great big outdoors!

Hiking- Cliff Trail and Devils Back Trails in Harpswell. Devils Back Trails are really nice, pine forest with constant water views. But my favorite spot is the trails of golden bittersweet on Little Chebeague Island on the way back to Portland.

Kiting Spots- I see nothing enticing in my entire trip. It's mostly pine trees and rocks, hilly, rugged and beautiful, but very few sandy beaches. Lots of islands close to each other to disrupt the wind. Between Little and Great Chebeague Islands are some sand bars at dead low that could be fun in the right wind direction. Might be gusty though. Note- some areas in Casco Bay are completely filled with lobster pot buoys.

2 days, 50 miles round trip, 4 to 5 gallons of gas, averaging about 20 MPH, zero wind. I'm sure my gas milage would go down in rougher water because I would have to constantly adjust speed to smooth out the waves.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

260 Miles in a Bathtub



Fire Island Sunrise

Connecticut River to Fire Island NY

Friday
Old Saybrook, Baldwin Bridge Boat Ramp. Launched my bathtub at sunset. Anchored in a shallow cove near the mouth of the Conn river by moonlight. Was grounded on a sandbar for 4 hours in the morning. Oops.

Saturday
Crossed Long Island Sound to Orient Point, 8 miles open ocean. Kited on a sandbar near Gardiners Island until a security boat told me that the sandbar was private. Oops. Anchored in Montauk Harbor overnight.

Gardiner's Very Exclusive Sandbar




Sunday
Found a secluded Anchorage in Northwest Harbor for the night after a beautiful walk through the Walking Dunes in Napeague. They're called the Walking dunes because they walk right across trees and forests. I couldn't actually see them walking.

Napeague, Dunes Walking Across Trees
 
Monday
Kited on Cedar Island. Climbed some scenic cliffs. Went through Shinnecock canal and lock. My gas tank fitting broke, bilge pump malfunctioned and I found a slow leak on a seam of the boat under where I keep my tools. Oops. Anchored near the canal and a marina for evening.

Cedar Island Sunrise


I always like to dry clean my wardrobe before neatly folding and putting away



Tuesday
Tied up at Great Gun Marina for night. But first I bought a new bilge pump and gas fitting at that nice marina that I slept near. Then I celebrated making it to Fire Island! Had the whole public marina to myself. 52 slips, I was the only occupied boat. Took my first shower in 4 days. Scary cold shower.

Open Tent


Closed Tent



Wednesday
Anchored in a buggy marsh near the Smith Point Bridge for sleepytime after visits to the Sunken Forest and Cherry Grove. Cherry Grove is for hobbits.

Cherry Grove with Fire Island's Famous Boardwalks




Cherry Grove Ambulance



Thursday
Spent another peaceful night at Great Gun after spending the whole day lazing around the marina, waiting for wind so I could kite the ocean side point break (sandbar/point). Love this spot! Endless fine white sand dunes devoid of human activity. Jogged to Moriches inlet then took another scary cold shower. Had a chat with a local boater, Robin. Thanks for the beer, (or 2).

Great Gun Marina After 2 Beers



Friday
Snorkeled in north end of Shinnecock Bay. Lots of Blue Crabs. Made me hungry. Went through Locks again. Anchored in North Sea Harbor overnight, not my favorite anchorage.

Shinnecock Lock, Waiting for the Green



Saturday
Left the bathtub anchored in Majors Harbor, went for a soul satisfying 6 mile hike (round trip) through Mashomack Preserve to a general store for some fresh eats. Signs say NO BOAT LANDING but friendly Shelter Harbor Patrol boat told me just anchor offshore and swim in. Next time I'm doing the whole 10 mile hike! Or else. Anchored in Cocles Harbor, Shelter Island for bedtime, very nice cove.

Fields of Gold in Mashomack Preserve


Sun Morning
Motored to Orient point in intermittent dense fog. Waited 1 hour for fog to clear. It didn't. Crossed Long Island Sound in intermittent dense fog, One hand on my air horn, constantly scanning around me, slowing to 5 MPH at times. Couldn't count on a big boat seeing my little bathtub in the mist. Glad for a safe crossing but very sad for my adventure to be over. Now I'm trying to relive it here. It's not the same.

Limited Visibility







Total- 9 days, 9 nights, 260 miles, 1 gas tank fitting, 1 bilge pump, 1 leak.










B

B




Kiting Spots:

The Inland Bays- Peconic, Gardiners, Shelter Island Sound, had places to kite but they weren't that exciting. Napeague was a stand out for- NW wind strength, a shallow safe spot in all wind directions, and secluded, scenic.

The Coastal Bays- Shinnecock, Moriches, Bellport, Great South Bay. I saw beautiful inviting spots all along the way. Great Gun Marina on Fire Island had the best wave spot I saw. Old Inlet in Bellport Bay had nice waves and slicks but watch for tides, and for sandbars boating in and out. Sandbars inside Shinnecock inlet looked enticing.

I couldn't actually try any of the really nice spots. Zero wind. That means I have to go back next year for two weeks. It's officially on my bucket list.





Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Chocoura With Ben

Hiked Mt Chocorua with Ben as a last hurrah before he heads back to Tufts on Sat. Ahh, it was nice. A perfect day for it. Sunny, with temp in upper 60's. Lively hike and livelier conversation.

Ben, Asleep on Top of the World
 Mt Chocorua, 3850 ft, Champney Falls Trail, Easy 7 miles, 4.5 hours.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Beached Whale

I take the bathtub out in Long Island Sound to test her out and explore some new kiting beaches. I'm on Flat Hammock Island when this beast beaches itself. Wow! And people say that my bathtub is a little unique. This is a boat that knows about unique.











Kitesurfed, Bluff Point, Groton, CT, 10-18, NW, 17M Fat Lady/Flx 138

Friday, August 18, 2017

Building a Better Bathtub

Hey I've got the new outboard working on my bathtub! I just had to raise the transom, install my home made steering console, steering wheel, steering cables, throttle and shift controls, battery, gauges, wiring. No problem. I work feverishly on it with almost every second of my spare time for 2 months.

Building my New Steering Console


Building my New Transom


Old Transom was Too Low


New Motor, New Transom, Gas Filter, Bilge Pump, Structural Bracing




New Console, Gauges, Chartplotter, Throttle, Forward Hatches (with Striped Padding)

My bathtub is much improved! But it's still a bathtub.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Birding for Kiting

Andre and I fill the back seat of his helicopter with kiting gear, take the bird to Martha's Vineyard for an after work session. This is the kind of birding I really enjoy! I wonder if I should feel guilty about flying at 100 MPH over the traffic jams below. I don't.


This is the scenic route. Getting there is as much fun as the kiting.

Charles River       
Boston Harbor


The Approach to Katama Bay  



Kitesurfed, Martha's Vineyard- Katama Bay, SW 12-18, 17M Fat Lady/Flex 138 with Andre.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Getting Down in Delaware

I make the short drive to Delaware for a little kiting in Rehobeth Bay. This is a pretty nice shallow water spot for kiting. It doesn't seem to have water that's over waist deep at low tide. Friendly crowd. Nice place to visit so they say.

Rehobeth Bay


Oh yeah, while I'm here I pick up a new/old motor for my boat that I bought online. On the way home I sleep in the back of my truck snuggled up next to my sleek motor in a New Jersey Turnpike rest area. Isn't that a cozy image? I have happy dreams.



Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Fog of Kiting

Fog. Nothing good is happening at Hardings.

I drive to Chatham light where the fog is a little thinner. The flag on the South Beach Flotsam Shack is stiff! The meter still says 5 mph. Yeah, somebody's lying.

Flotsam Shack


I walk out to the New Cut and  have a fine12 meter session in the mist. I'm overpowered. I'm underpowered. I kite to the Old New Cut and Stage Harbor. I'm lost in the fog. Some of the fog is lost in me. This is good. Fog goes into my brain, worries go out.

New Cut, High Tide, Small Pool in the Marsh






The New Cut has a tiny pool at high tide and some waves at the opening. It's a little Gusty in SW from the wind coming across Stage Island. It might be fun in a S to NE wind.

Waves at New Cut Opening, Side Off Wind
Chatham New Cut, Kitesurfed, SW, 12-28, 12M Rally/Flx 138, Solo.

Where else have I been kiting this Spring? Few times at Chapin, Nahant, Horseneck. I had an afterwork session at Dog with Andre. He's getting about 50% of his slide transitions. Yay!