I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Paddle Day 12: Speed Challenge, Drift challenge, Neoprene Rotary lunch and Gloucester harbor fun

Gloucester boys practicing for the greased pole event
My kayak had a nice rest on the dock at the Ipswich Bay Yacht Club.
I wanted to launch with the early morning outgoing tide, as the currents are strong and hard to paddle against.  I have to load the kayak on the dock, and then have several people help to gently lift it over the side of the dock.  Unfortunately the dock hands would not arrive early enough to help.  But Erica and Brad Fuller, my lovely hosts from the Ipswich Rotary Club, came up with the solution.  Put the empty kayak into the water from the dock, then paddle to the nearby boat ramp and load it from there.  Perfect!  It allowed me to get out quickly with the outgoing tide.

Once in the bay, I had both the current and the wind going in my direction, so I was making very good time.  The sand bars extend far into the bay, so I had lots of small surf to dance through as I headed to the Annisquam River for the short cut to Gloucester, avoiding the long, exposed paddle around Cape Ann.  The challenge was how fast I could go to get out of the surf quickly.

Once at the north end of the river, I had the incoming tide going with me.  The problem was that the tide also floods in from the south, through a small constriction at the cut, where the water rushes through faster than I can paddle against.  I needed to wait for the slack at high tide to get through the cut.  I had four hours to wait and only about four miles to paddle.  Hum.... My solution was a drift challenge.  Could I travel the next four miles without using a paddle?  Could I just drift along with the current and steer with my rudder?  I decided to try it.
Drifting on the Annisquam
The hard part was slowing down and relaxing, something I'm not very good at.  But once I got into the flow of just sitting, listening and watching the shores, it was wonderful.  I heard the birds, I felt the ripples, I smelled the marsh and the flowers.  Every time I was tempted to pick up the paddle, I managed to restrain myself, and remain in my meditative state.  After an hour it became easier, and the thought of picking up the paddle no longer tempted me.

In a thoroughly relaxed state, I reached the point where the currents arrived from both directions.  I found a little beach to land on to wait out the remaining two hours to high tide.  I wasn't there for more than a few minutes, when Anne Lewis, my host, surprised me by coming down through the grass to meet me!   Thanks to DeLorme's donation of an inReach Explorer,  people are able to follow my progress on the https://share.delorme.com/DebWalters website.  So Anne knew where I was!  "Want to go for lunch at the Gloucester Rotary Club?"  We unloaded the kayak, wheeled it up above the high tide line and made it to the lunch in time.  This was another first, attending a Rotary Club in my neoprene paddling clothes.  People were very polite in not backing away from the smell.
I am being hosted here by both the Gloucester and the Rockport Rotary Clubs.   Ann and I had to leave early so I could catch the tide.  But once back at the kayak I was surprised to find Ann's husband, Christopher, there in his kayak to lead me through the cut and for a short tour of Gloucester Harbor.
Christopher Lewis showing me the sights of Gloucester Harbor
We saw the local boys practicing climbing out to the end of the greased pole, getting ready for the competition in August.
Old paint factory
I learned that gloucester is the oldest fishing port in the US.  But the tour was short as we had a group of reporters to meet at 2:00 pm, waiting for us on Ann and Christopher's lawn.
Presidents of the Gloucester and the Rockport Rotary clubs with waiting reporters
These Rotarians are good at PR.  There was a front page story the next day in the local paper, and another will appear in the weekly paper.

Club members and friends - Gloucester and Rockland Rotary Clubs
Thank you Gloucester and Rockport clubs for your wonderful hospitality!

Paddle Day: 12                                              Date: July 29, 2014
Start: Ipswich                                                 End: Gloucester
Distance: 12.2 miles                                       Total distance: 134.84
Max speed: 6.4 mph                                       Moving ave.: 3.1 mph
Kayak storage: Rockport Rotary Club           Hosts: Gloucester and Rockport Rotary Clubs

1 comment:

  1. Deb, your entries every day are so interesting to read & I love the visuals...I'm impressed that you can get photos in the midst of all the other stuff going on! Kathy :o)