I had a painting to deliver to Duxbury, Massachusetts. I probably could have let UPS take it, but after reading a bit about paddling there, it seemed a perfect excuse to do it myself and spend a couple of days off the island. After six hours of driving, I delivered the painting and scoped-out the launch: Powder Point, right next to half-mile-long Powder Point Bridge. It was late in the day, and a bit windy so I took a long walk on the beach before heading back to camp at Wompatuck State Park.
The next day, I launched a couple of hours before high tide-- it was still a bit windy-- and headed up into Duxbury Marsh. We don't get much marsh paddling around Stonington, so it was a big adventure for me to take a random turn into a channel and lose myself for awhile in the maze-like passages through the grass. I came to a few dead-ends or turns I couldn't make and had to back-out-- all part of the fun.
As high tide approached though, I got serious and headed up the Cut River. It was unclear from charts and Google Earth if I could get through the river. I'd driven over a bridge a few hours earlier and seen only a dry, muddy creek. It seemed worth trying at high tide though, so I could circumnavigate Duxbury Beach and Gurnet Point. And if I could get through the creek, I didn't know how long it would be navigable, so I could be committed to paddling another 12 or so miles, much of it along the 7-mile stretch of Duxbury Beach; it would either be a short day in the marsh, or a long day going around the beach.
It turned-out to be a long day. I made it into Green Harbor and followed the breakwater past the beach out to open ocean. After a few bumps at the breakwater, it turned fairly calm. The beach even sheltered me from much of the southwest wind. The day had started-out rainy and the forecast was for more rain and wind, so there weren't many people. Duxbury residents can get a permit to drive on the sand, and on a nice day, hundreds of Jeeps and SUVs are usually lined-up side by side, tailgates lowered toward the open ocean. I had no problem finding a secluded stretch of sand to eat lunch.
At the end of the beach I passed around Gurnet Point, where a lighthouse rises above a small community of homes looking out to sea. It turned a bit bumpier out along the edge of Plymouth Bay, and I could see a big stretch of shoreline-- the power plant in Plymouth, wind turbines rising behind Duxbury. And as I rounded Saquish Neck, the tide had turned against the wind and I found myself briefly in a small tidal race.
I returned to Powder Point late in the day and drove straight home.