Now that I'm on Facebook, I've become quite vain, and paddling excursions have turned into little more than opportunities to get that perfect shot of my handsome mug, preferably that would also show a few things about me other than my negligent winter grooming. I've been working on the "hold the camera at arm's length and smile" shot. Try to get a little of the kayak in, some of the water or landscape behind you. Smile. Yesterday was beautiful and cold: 20 degrees, hardly any wind. I took a short, solitary paddle out around Little Camp and Green Islands. Yep, that shadow is mine.
Today I met Bill Baker over at Old Quarry Ocean Adventures and we headed out of Webb Cove. The wind and waves were picking up out of the southeast, so it seemed like a good idea to circumnavigate Whitmore Neck, the island (at high tide) we usually think of as Oceanville. We hoped to get around and back through Hatch Cove, which seemed like something we could do with the unusually high tide during the perigee full moon.
Once we got past Sheep Island and around the corner into Southeast Harbor, the conditions calmed down. Despite the cloudy weather, at 30 degrees, we were comfortable. We passed a few chunks of ice here and there and paddling was fine. Then we found where all the ice was coming from.
At first, the pack ice seemed impossible to get through, but we didn't want to backtrack, so we persevered. We could paddle atop the ice and get a fissure started as the kayaks rode up onto the ice and cracked it. Then, by paddling and pushing with our hands, we either progressed atop the ice or through the resulting chasms. It was tough going. Eskimos and Greenlanders must have to do this stuff all the time, probably pursued by polar bears, but the technique was new to us.
We passed through stretches of open water, only to encounter more stretches of shifting pack ice. I got my mug shot.
Finally, we ran out of water. Ahead lay a chaotic jumble of ice chunks. We portaged over an island, dragging and carrying our boats through the woods, crossing a sandbar, and making our way out to the road. Bill went for his truck and we did a motorized portage the rest of the way.