Saturday, January 23, 2010
Spruce Island, Hatch Cove
Air temp: mid-twenties, water still in the upper thirties, and the sun is nowhere to be seen. By most accounts, it looks like a gloomy, mid-winter day, but the fact that we’re out paddling takes away the gloom. It feels good to get out. We take a familiar route out around Spruce Island on very calm water, pausing, of course, to glide through the granite gateway just off Buckle Island
Back in at the launch by dusk, we don our thick neoprene Ninja masks, just to see how the the water feels. Cold on the face, but otherwise, not bad. I’m wearing two base layers, a fleece and a wool sweater beneath the drysuit.
It’s good to try out this stuff close to the launch. I discover that my Folbot needs some additional outfitting to really be safe out there. Nate, a glutton for the cold, rolls again and again
One trip I’ve held in reserve for a windy day “outside” is the trip around Whitmore Neck (Oceanville) which is actually an island connected to Deer Isle by a bridge spanning Hatch Cove. Oddly, the only time I’ve attempted this trip is in January, when not only do you have to get through Hatch Cove at high tide, but you can only hope that the ice won’t be too thick.
Rebecca and I get there a little after high tide, surprised at the current running beneath the bridge. Ahead, our way is blocked by a large patch of ice. It looks solid, but today I'm paddling my ice-breaking kayak, so I plunge-in, clearing a path. This is actually weirdly fun- something I have to do at least once every winter.
Ice paddling is time-consuming though, and hard work. So we don't have time to get around Whitmore Neck. It's good to have a few routes that remain elusive.