Monday, September 26, 2005

Waquoit Bay

Waquoit Bay
Originally uploaded by KSCChef.

After some coaxing from Brommer I decided to join in on the KSC Waquoit Bay kayak expedition. I originally thought I'd do it as a day trip, but Advil convinced me that I should head down Friday night to ensure a full day of yaking fun on Saturday.

This was my first kayak trip requiring gear transportation. After cleaning out REI I loaded up my gear - only to discover that the large dry bag didn't fit in the boat. After repacking the car was loaded, the boat was loaded, the first panic attack (did I have enough food, too much food, would I be able to manuever the kayak with the extra weight ...) was calmed and I set off. My departure was later than originally planned but it looked like I could still make the 7PM scheduled put in. After stops at the grocery store to stock up on water, and the local pizza joint for dinner food I hit the highway and quickly came to a halt. The delayed departure put me on 128 during rush hour. Aaargh - now I started to worry that I wasn't going to make the scheduled departure. Traffic continued heavy in pockets until I got over the Sagamore Bridge. As I wended my way toward Waquoit Bay the clock continued to tick off the minutes. When it got to 6:30 I started to get anxious, at 6:45 I decided that I needed to contact Brommer. A call to the number on his email with directions connected me with Mary. Luckily Mary was able to provide me with his cell number. Called the cell - got his voice mail. Hit the road again after a pit stop. Arrived Edwards Boat Yard at 6:58pm. Street name doesn't match email. Hhm, am I in the correct place. Don't see any other KSCers. Did a short recon - determined this has to be the right place. Called Brommer again - voice mail again. Finally ask a man putting in a power boat, who reassures me that this is the place, and invites us to join EMS for a clinic on Saturday.

At this point I relax, mostly, find a spot in the parking lot and decide to eat dinner. Partway through my salad a car with kayaks on top pulls in - it's Slush and Steve. Another level of relaxation is achieved. And just then my cell phone rings - it's Skibody calling from Brommer's truck. They've gotten a later start than planned and at that point are 45 minutes away - preceeded by Fritz. Slush and Steve head off for food and a final pit stop in a real bathroom. Rain begins to fall while they're gone. They return followed shortly by Fritz, Brommer and Skibody, and Goat in quick succession.

We head down to the put in, unload boats from cars, and load our gear into the boats. Luckily the rain has ended. I feed Fritz the sub I'd picked up - which disappears quite quickly. Brommer provided each of us with a glow light for the back of our PFDs these prove quite useful as we head toward the island. It's a cloudy night which makes it hard to see each other as we spread out on the water. The Slush, Skibody Steve and I put in with help from Goat and Brommer. We huddle up together to wait for the rest of the crew. We wait, drift, wait some more. After a fairly lengthy wait we were off. Bromer took the lead with his high powered head lamp. The paddle was fairly easy - surprising to me given the amount of extra weight in my boat. I had a nice chat with Goat as we headed up the Seapit River. As we rounded the point of Washburn Island we hit a very shallow section requiring a fairly wide swing around the north end of the island. I caught up with Brommer who, minus his headlamp which had run out of juice, was trying to determine navigation around the sandbar which because it was low tide was quite extensive. He set off to find a navigable route, while I held back to wait for the result. Slush and Steve caught up and after unbeaching ourselves we follow in his wake with Slush hugging the edge of the sandbar.

Once around the sandbar we began the task of locating our campsites - in the dark. The signage was definitely not designed for late night arrivals. With some assistance from other campers we finally located our site - or at least what we thought was our site. In day light it was revealed that we were a good 10 yards or so closer to the water than our actual site. Upon arrival we set about the task of unpacking boats and setting up camp. My tent setup required the able assistance of Goat since it has been many years since it had been used and I couldn't remember how to do it. Thanks Goat! Next on the agenda was an ultimately fruitless attempt to locate the composting toilet (in the light of day it turned out that I was about 20 yards or so from it). I arrived back at camp to find the crew enjoying s'mores and popcorn provided by Brommer. The festivities quickly died down and we headed for our sleeping bags.

The moonlit bay as viewed on several late night tree watering sessions was beautiful, the sunrise as viewed from my tent (which has a side window) was stunning. I finally arose to the sounds of breakfast preparations. The highlight of breakfast were Fritz's stove assembly efforts. Most of us had eaten before he got started on his pancakes. Thanks to Slush's Mom and Slush for providing the tasty zuchini bread.

Post breakfast we headed out onto the bay - minus Fritz who was still cleaning up. Our morning's paddle took us North into the wind. After a brief stop at Bird Spit and a small amount of seaweed flinging we continued our journey. Our ultimate destination was the Waquoit Bay Estuary Visitor's Center, which despite the signs saying it was open from 10 -5 was closed. Lunch, sunbathing, and swimming were engaged in at the boathouse before we headed back onto the water.

We settled on another stop at Bird Spit to swim. Fritz was first to make land. I followed a little more quickly than planed when I ran aground requiring a rescue from Fritz. The image of Fritz flapping his way to and through the assembled seagulls on his way to assist me will stay with me for a long time. Fritz and Goat soon set about rearranging the spit eventually creating a channel big enough for a kayak to pass through. Despite the warm water at the spit, the wind made swimming less pleasant than I would have liked.

We soon headed back to camp in small groups. On the way back I decided to do a little more exploring and headed south. A brief paddle along the southern end of the bay brought wonderful images of two fellows out wind boarding.

After changing clothes - I was really cold and wet, snacks and sunning on the beach it was time to pack up. Despite the best efforts of the assembled KSCers I headed back to civilization about 4:30. The wind had died down so it was an easier paddle than it would have been earlier in the day. The sun was brutal on the Seapit River portion - which made it seem like it took forever. But I was soon back at the put in. I chatted briefly with some locals at the put in then set about packing up the car for the journey home. I arrived home tired (10 hours of sleep took care of that) and sore (I know, Goat, I need to drink more water) but extremely happy.


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Shelley said...

Super cool updated kayaking info... so glad there's a picture! My next content request? Maps! :-)