The big trip cross the Bay

In anticipation of a bigger trip this year, I’m commemorating my prior, if puny glory:

Finally, our trip from Marshfield to Provincetown via kayak is done, as of Sunday, September 21.  We picked a perfect day with an outgoing tide and a westerly wind.  We arrived in Marshfield at about 5 a.m. and it was hard to see where we were going and then assemble the kayak in the dark. It was also cold, and the prospect of paddling 24 or so miles wasn’t too appealing.

Nevertheless, this had required a commitment of time and money and there were other people depending on us, so sure enough we got the kayak inflated. As the sun rose, with pleasure boats one after the other being dropped off and launched at the dock, we managed to get in the floated kayak and start paddling.

There is nothing quite like being on the ocean early in the morning at sunrise. It is like entering a new life. As we came out of Green Harbor, one of the chase boat party noted we looked like the Union warship Monitor. A kayak puts you right on or under the surface of the water. The two of us in were in skirts making us appear to be attached permanently to the kayak, and evoking the ironclad’s low waterline and turrets.

Navigation was simple. We just kept paddling directly into the blinding sun, which left a shimmering reflective bar of white light for us as a guide. The outgoing tide and lack of an easterly wind worked strongly in our favor. A few times we were picked up in two foot waves, but that just served to help us along.

A two man kayak is a Siamese twin. We divide the functions: Ed, the Portuguese navigator, can see what’s ahead and perform checks with the compass. I stay in the back and check for landmarks, assess the wind and waves and monitor progress. You must have complete harmony with the partner or there are going to be problems fast.

We flew along at first, doing perhaps five to seven  knots with the tide. I presume we also had a favorable current. Once we sighted the thin needle of the Pilgrim monument on the horizon, I knew the destination would be ours. I won’t say it didn’t hurt, because it did. We were tired, sore, and cramped, but the taste of the finish was in our mouths. Regrettably, we saw no whales, as we had hoped. The chase boat also saw no fish, either.

By 2:30 p.m., we pulled up on the beach south of Race Point and got out to celebrate our trip. It was time to head into town for the victory round.

Incidentally, we had passed a few boats out in the deep 200 feet water in the middle of Massachusetts Bay. I’ve heard the lobstermen, from Marshfield, had seen an orange kayak passing them and were a bit incredulous. The fishermen didn’t have a high opinion of our intelligence, but that’s okay. Nobody trusts a visionary until they are proved right.

Special kudos to Captain Leo, who kept his crew ship shape and made it from Marina Bay, Quincy, to Green Harbor, in the dark. The voyage completely ended when we were in the blue lights on the windows of the ritzy apartments on Marina Bay.

Now it’s time to plan to sail from Cape Anne to Provincetown.

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