Thursday, August 18, 2011
Return to Orient Point
Eddied out again (except I washed out while I was filming) - this time with a few friends!
Once we'd dropped off the dogs with Laurie, we headed on out to Orient Point, where the Sebago troops were gathering at our favorite "kamp"site out there, the Eastern Long Island Kampground.
There'd been discussion of an afternoon or evening paddle - but after all the packing up and getting ready to go, and the excitement of the shepherd instinct trial for Bella, and a couple of last-minute stopping shops, I found that the only thing I was particularly interested in doing once we'd made camp was testing out the Thermarest for leaks. It was functioning fine - and it was absolutely perfect weather for napping in a tent with the flaps open & the breeze passing through. Aaah. TQ had brought a book along, and then when I woke up, well, there was still time if anyone had really pushed for it, but somehow we were all quite happy with camaraderie and beer.
If we'd known what was coming on Sunday (recordbreaking rain), we might've gotten off our duffs & gotten out there, but I'm not going to lie - I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I spend entirely too much of my life running around doing stuff and I love it when there suddenly aren't any deadlines or places to go or things to do. There was discussion of dinner, but I was already getting peckish, and we'd stopped for corn, potatoes and tomatoes at a farm stand, and I decided to break out my camp stove and cook up an ear of corn for an appetizer, only it was my first fresh corn of the summer and I couldn't stop at one, and John had brought out his usual fantastic cheese, and Jake was suddenly passing around cheeseburgers, and somehow all the sudden I was full. Go figure! We talked about the various plans for the weekend, we sorted out more or less who was going on what, TQ & I brought out the chart and the Eldridge & talked about what we were going to find in Plum Gut on the following day, TQ gave a nice on-shore (more like on picnic table, really) lesson about ferry-gliding using his pocket knife as a model kayak, and there was more beer & more camaraderie and it got dark and the cicadas started to sing and then we all got sleepy and that was pretty much Day 1. Nice, huh?
Day 2 - Woke up psyched for the day after a good night's sleep. TQ knows me entirely too well, he'd brought Spam! Eggs and bread, too, and he cooked those up while I made coffee and packed up lunch. By ten o'clock or so, we were back at Orient Point!
Now, we had promised our little crew a real rough-water play-session, boils and eddies and waves oh my, and I had pored over my Eldridge carefully, and by gosh, look at the veritable MAELSTROM into which our...
No, no, no, we totally meant to do that. Ebb was starting at the Race right around noon, and Plum Gut really gets going before anything else does. We very intentionally set our launch time for about an hour and a half before that because that's when we figured things would be quietest - and I hate to brag but look, we nailed it. I'd wanted to start with some rolling and rescue practice, just to get warmed up; we did that, and TQ also came up with the great idea of going out & giving everyone a calm-water preview of the area we were going to be playing in as the current started picking up. We did that, caught a few boat wakes to practice surfing, it was all very nice --
and as we were out there, our bands of standing waves ever so gradually began standing up.
We went in for a lunch break, a little more discussion of using eddies and ferry angles, and another good look at the Gut from the point - things starting to move now, the waves still not very big, but you can see where they are shaping up, and where the eddies are forming, and all that good stuff:
And then after that, time to go give it a try!
Main hazard of the day:
We should have had helmets, but we had a pretty capable group and as long as we stayed downcurrent from the rocks, we thought we would be OK; water temperature was fantastic, air temperature likewise; there were motorboats around but we kept our eyes peeled & didn't have any problems with them - really, these lion's-mane jellyfish were the main issue. Fortunately, as you can see, they are big, easy to see, and while there were plenty of them, it wasn't anything like my first trip to the point a couple of years ago, when there was a bumper crop of smaller ones & you literally could not have capsized without running afoul of at least one. Stevie did get a little bit of a sting at one point, but these are also not the worst of the stinging beasties out there; he was able to keep going fine & by the end of the day the redness was gone.
We'd gotten back on the water at a good time - things were starting to pick up but we had some time for Luis & Derrick, our two takers who were trying this for the first time, to familiarize themselves with the feel of moving water before things got to max ebb.
Stevie already knows his way around moving water fine - that was nice, TQ and I were the "official" trip leaders on this one, we've done plenty of paddling on our own and with others in water this size, but this was our first trip where we were actually in charge & taking care of others (that was neat...there are SO many people out there who've taken me out in conditions that were at my outer limits, finally & officially doing the same for others felt like the start of paying back a longstanding debt -- great stuff) so a one-to-one ratio plus one extra totally competent person out there too was VERY nice.
Derrick working his way up an eddy -
Oops. Shore break while one of the trip leaders makes the aforementioned (aforeblogged?) emergency repair (SO disconcerting to look forward as you're careening about in waves & current & realize that you are looking INTO your hatch - I was just lucky I noticed it BEFORE I took anything over the bow - that was starting to happen, too)
Paddle flourish from Luis - Derrick & Luis both really got the hang of this fast & Luis even got a combat roll (not his first, really, but his first in moving water - that was VERY cool - "Boat over!" - "Boat back up, WOOHOO!")
This is actually right when the video at the start was taken - we'd been playing for a while, and we were about to strike out for the lighthouse, and there's a patch of large rocks right before you get out into the more open section, and that makes a nice spot for a group to take a bit of a breather.
TQ, having fun!
Stevie makes his break for the lighthouse -
And a minute later the rest of us followed & once we left the shelter of those rocks, no more pictures until --
Rest break at the lighthouse
Stevie, Luis, TQ & Derrick at the lighthouse
And the next pictures I took was of the purple potatoes I was cooking for dinner -
and a very shiny car.
Day 2 ended with an absolutely ridiculous amount of food (Sebago's notorious for eating well, but this was over the top - I swear you could've stocked a small butcher shop with the meat that was cooked!) and a thoroughly entertaining debate over whether marshmallows should be Gently Toasted, or set afire (I supplied the marshmallows that fueled the debate and I think that has to be one of the most entertaining contributions I have ever made to a Sebago repast), and some good stories.
Day 3 -
Stevie was the only one crazy enough to want to paddle in the deluge (with possible thunderstorms), so that didn't fly - but still -
spirits remained fairly high -
An extra tarp was set up -
Coffee was made -
and then TQ and I got the heck outta Dodge & back to the club, where I took advantage of the good soaking & the rain-every-day-for-the-whole-week forecast by planting some seeds - my beets had gotten strangled by weeds, and I hadn't planted enough basil seedlings, and I had some seeds in my bag and figured a wet week might make it worth trying again. We'll see!
Then home, to where the bathroom is still festooned with stuff hung up to dry.
Could've been more paddling - but on the whole, what a really fun weekend.