Sunday, December 9, 2018

To My Packraft

12/9/18  This trip is to welcome you, my new Alpacka Raft, into my family of outdoor toys. I bought you to be a dinghy to my dinghy but that doesn't sound very flattering. I want you to feel appreciated for who you are. You weigh less than nothing, pack down to the size of almost nothing, but you're as tough as toenails. Your special! Welcome.

Groton, Ma- I paddle about 3 miles downstream on the Squannacook River then 2 miles downstream on the Nashua River. These 2 rivers make a big U. Then I deflate the raft, break down the paddle, throw the whole mess in a backpack and walk back 1.5 miles to my starting point. Definitely a fun way to ride the rivers!

Put in- Squannacook River below dam on Rt 225. Take out- Nashua River at Rt 225 bridge. 4 hours including walk back. Plenty of rapids and downed trees on Squanna. Current flow was roughly 200 CF/second, about double normal for Dec. Temp was just above to just below freezing.

My next fun adventure is cataract surgery.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Snow Boating

11/16/18 - 11/18/18   A weekend exploring the Connecticut River- Old Saybrook, Essex, Gillette Castle.  2 nights, 2 days. 
I drove thru a snow flurry on my way to the boat ramp on Friday. Hey you can't scare me away that easily.

Snowy Anchorage near Gillette Castle
Friday Evening- I left the boat ramp at sunset, headed north, pulled into the Essex Yacht Club as the last light was fading from the sky. I just wanted to ask for directions to the town dock but the manager, Bob, was fascinated by my "floating tent". 

We had a friendly chat and he offered to let me tie up there for the night. Wow, does that make my boat a yacht?! I walked into town for dinner and I was careful to mention to anyone in earshot that my powerboat was docked at the Essex Yacht Club. Just saying that seemed to add roughly 20' to the length of my boat in my mind. I was very impressed with myself for owning such a big boat.

Essex Buoys
Saturday- Northbound, I took Selden creek, the scenic route around Selden Island. I had plenty of water at mid tide. This narrow, secluded channel felt like a secret passage through a beautiful landscape painting.

Selden Creek
Further north, I hiked all the hilly trails around Gillete Castle in the new snow. It must be beautiful here in the Fall foliage season. It would be fun to see the inside of this funky eccentric castle when it's open to the public. 

North again, I stopped at East Haddam, before the bridge, and got some ice cream, perfect refreshment for a cold Autumn day. There isn't much else here in the tiny hamlet of East Haddam.

North, the Salmon River was pretty shallow on mid tide. This is when I started having motor trouble. It wouldn't run over 3000 rpm. I turned south to Deep River Marina and tied up to a small floating dock in Pratt Creek. 

During the night I noticed that the view had changed. I knew my boat was firmly tied to the dock so that shouldn't happen. Then I saw that the entire dock had pivoted 180 degrees around it's single anchor pole! Probably due to a change in the tidal flow. My boat was now up against the shallows. I raised the motor, checked the tide chart, which showed high water in the the morning, and slid back into my sleeping bag. If I got beached overnight, no problem, I'd be floating when I woke up. Life is good.

Frosty the Windshield, Sunrise on Pratt Creek
The temp was down to 30F overnight with zero wind. I was cozy and happy in my synthetic mummy bag with long underwear and hat and my heavy winter jacket thrown over the foot of the bag. In the morning it took about 1 hour of motoring before the thick layer of frost melted and dried off the windshield enough for me to see through it.

Sunday- I headed south to the mouth of the Conn river mostly keeping my motor under 3000 rpm to keep it running. I checked out almost all of the Lieutenant River, paddled the marsh in the Great Island Wildlife Area in my new packraft, and found a nice kiting beach in Griswold Cove for a west wind day. The small channels in this area were deep enough for my boat on the mid tide but getting in and out of the channels was scratchy. The connection of the Back River to the Conn River was especially challenging to navigate even on shallow water drive where I draw less then 1 foot of water.

A Dinghy for my Dinghy
Packraft- This super lightweight inflatable raft worked great as a dinghy to get to shore or I can add a home made rudder and use it to go exploring. I found that I could half deflate it and put it behind my seat or leave it fully inflated, tied to the side of the boat and flipped up, if no wind.

My tiny boat is getting better and better for this kind of cruising and gunkholing but this was probably near my limit for having fun in cold temps in a boat with no heater. Now I have to get my almost new motor to run like an almost new motor.

Gillette Castle
40 miles, 5 gallons gas.

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.


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

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 plucked 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, then I plummet. I hit pretty hard but I'm in deep water, far enough from the beach. I'm O.K. just a little shocked and dazed.

If I was launching or landing at the moment that it hit I would have landed 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.

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 in extreme circumstances have caused following planes to crash. They can last for up to 3 minutes before dissipating.

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. I want to live to kite another day.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


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


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 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.

Note- I'm having some trouble with sore knees, hips and feet after hiking so this might be my last Winter hike for this season. My goal of hiking all 48 of the New Hampshire 4000 footers may be put on hold indefinitely.

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