Monthly Archives: February 2015
I am creating a page for a very old book (1886) and will write excepts from it from time to time being that there are very few copies of this book floating around.
Nothing written in it today but will have something by the end of the week.
I feel much better now that my water quest is complete and manage the short trip back to Abbie B, carrying a little over thirty pounds of water back through the muck to get to her, Yuck! (again). She slips over the wet seaweed and back into the water with ease. The full bladders are stowed inside her. (It’s weird putting water inside my kayak but so far there have been no leaks.) I remove the stinky slime off my boots before squeezing into Abbie B’s cockpit. She won’t allow such filth within her domain. This brings back memories of home on the farm. All boots off on the porch. No exceptions! Believe me. You wouldn’t want to break that rule. Time to head back to Jewell Island.
I paddle into a light breeze and against the now rising tide but feel little resistance. I’m not in a hurry so Abbie B and me play hit with the waves by hitting them head on splitting them at the bow and then dropping into the little troughs. A lone lobster boat moves through the narrow channel between the islands. We pause to watch. The people here live such a different life from mine or have ever experienced.
We return to Cocktail Cove where the water is so still it looks like a mirror. Oops! I put the tent in the wrong spot for Abbie B. It’s high up, very high, above the cliffs. Gee Abbie B where ya gonna park? So, off we go to find a more suitable campsite. First stop is the far end of the cove where there are some stone steps and a gravel bar connecting to Little Jewell (Harbor Island). I exit Abbie B, scramble over the loose stones and tie her off. The site here is farther from the water than I want so I return to Abbie B where I find her afloat and being bumped into the cement retaining wall. [more about the history here in a later post]. Sorry! This sudden turn of events always amazes me. When the tide decides to roll in, it does so rather quickly. The gravel bar is completely underwater and there was a lot of it exposed when I hopped up the steps. I was gone about ten minutes and poof! Where did all the land go?
We head out of the cove and follow the western edge of Little Jewell continuing on a southern course. The site is over at the “Old Wharf.” It was built by the government to haul in trucks etc. during the WWII era of the island. There isn’t much left to it now. A decent sized beach runs below grassy cliffs covered with a dense stand of trees. The tide line leaves enough room for me to tie Abbie B off without worry of her being slammed into rocks and cliffs. Solidly built rock steps lead the way up to the campsite, nice. There is a bench, fire ring, what’s left of the dock, and a lovely view of the islands to the west. Yep, this is the place. Now, all I have to do is go get my tent and gear and haul it all the way over to this site.
I walk to the top of a steep trail to a height of land where I pick up the trail that leads to where I hastily set up my tent and dropped gear inside in the wee hours of the morning. The island is a mile long which means that the round trip from “The Wharf” to the site where my stuff is a half mile. Oh, boy! I walk and walk and walk. I grab two gear bags from inside the tent and walk some more. I spy a flotilla of kayaks through the trees and begin jogging. Now way. Now way, are they going to snap up my new home! I beat them there drop my stuff in the open and head back for more stuff growing hotter by the minute.
The weather forecast is just that, a forecast. The early morning craziness settled out and the leading edge of a front moved out to sea instead of making landfall. The sun was out in full force making the inside my paddling gear a warm place to be. The work of walking and carrying stuff from camp to camp stoked my body’s furnace as well. At least, I could leave my jacket behind but I still had on my wetsuit and long underwear beneath it. I was sweating more than “like a pig,” but stopping to change would take too much time and add another half mile of walking, walking and walking. I had to beat the flotilla. No more moving!
I completed my second trip upon arrival of the large group of kayaks. The leader came up the steps, hello. A somewhat dreary hi passes through my lips. I’m Scott and we are from Rippleffect which is located on Cow Island. I see your kayak and gear here so we’ll move to a different campsite. (My internal response, Whew!). Is it okay if the kids come up for lunch while I check the other two sites? Sure. Twelve kids and another adult, Emily, climb the steps with lunches in hand. I enjoy some time with them laughing and carrying on. Scott returns within fifteen minutes and has chosen the site I rejected. I walk away to walk, walk, walk, one more time back to my “old” campsite to bring back the tent. My, my, what a busy day!
The kids are still there when I return and watch me put up my tent. (Man, I gotta get out of the gear I’m wearing.) Wow, you can put up a tent fast. I explain that me and and my tent have been pals for many years. We’ve got the groove dudes. The kids laugh and have finished their lunch. I watch them head back down the steps, climb into their kayaks, and paddle out after Scott pushes each one through the surf. I’ll visit them later.
I walk down the steps after the group is out of sight and into the water, standing a moment before diving beneath the surface. I pop up quickly feeling the cold water inside my wetsuit, soaking me to the skin. Ah, that’s much better. Back up the steps, strip, do my spin move to get inside the tent to dry off and change. I lie down for a bit after drinking a bunch of water. It’s a good thing I tanked up on the stuff as this body is now dehydrated and I’m feeling the effects. One more job to do. Get it done and then rest and relax for the rest of the day.
I spin my way back out of the tent, walk down the steps, open up Abbie B and grab the water bladders. I place them on the steps to keep off the sand and then secure Abbie B for the duration.
Wow! It’s hard to believe that there have been so many days of high winds this year. That is, unless you live here. Today is no different from the rest. It’s a repeat of the previous ones. I guess the wind is living fancy free and I am at its mercy.
There have been some beautiful sunsets on these days. I’d love to share one but you’ll have to settle for a slide show from last year as I feel no compunction to risk my hands and fingers to the sub-zero temperatures today.
The voyage out of the punchbowl from Jewell Island to what is now Cocktail Cove was certainly an exciting experience for Abbie B and me. Those walls of water looking down on me were quite a sight and a bit worrisome. But not too much as I am a highly skilled paddler. The question was how would Abbie B handle. Well, she probably had more fun than me! She climbed and crossed the high swells with ease. We are still getting to know each other. This little trip brought us a few steps closer to a more comfortable relationship.
[Cocktail Cove’s original name was Long Cove and I prefer this name. It makes more sense to me. However, I imagine there is a good story for the Cocktail Cove name and why it stuck. It may have to do with the military or previous history when during prohibition days some liquor smuggling was done. More on the latter in a later post.]
Three boats are at anchor in this perfectly placid cove. Two men are sitting on the deck of the first boat drinking coffee. (One of the boats that headed for safety during yesterday’s blow.) Abbie B received another compliment as to her beauty and seaworthiness. The men are cordial and I give them directions as to were to land their dory so they can explore the island.
I need water in order to wait out the weather for a couple more days. I only have one liter and I drink two plus a bit more a day. Cliff Island is across a small channel so I make my way over there. I decide to land in the first protected area which is a spit of land poking out to the east. My landing is on the south side and then haul Abbie B up the embankment due to the low tide. It was a bit of a walk to the three houses in view. Not a creature is stirring. Either everyone is a sleep or out on the sea working. I think about swiping water from the spigot of the first home and then decide that it would be rude to do so without asking. Oh, the water may not be potable either. Now what?
I’d seen what looked like a private docking area further in the corner where this narrow stretch of land meets a larger portion at a right angle. A lobster boat motored out of a narrow channel. Hmm, it must be a small working harbor. Next stop, over there. Abbie B is dragged back to the sea where I quickly paddle over to the area. A lot of rocks appear during my approach. No wonder it looked like a private anchorage. The channel really is very narrow, the harbor is small, and both are lined with rocks.
I weave my through seaweed and rock to the only boat left. It’s motor is running and two men are preparing to get underway. I paddle to the stern and look up, way up. Hello, no response. Hello much louder and longer. No response. Hellooooooo at the top of my lungs and the guy nearest me practically jumps out of his skin. He looks down at puny little me and Abbie B next to his boat. I ask, is there some place I can get some water? His reply comes in a very thick Down East accent. Yup, paddle up to the pier in that inlet (he points), walk straight, take a right and then a left. The tennis courts will be on the right at the end of the road. “And it’s good water too!” The pump there must be the only source of fresh water for the entire island. I thank him and head off once again. It didn’t take long to paddle up to the inlet which was devoid of water due to tide level.
Map of Paddle from Punch Bowl to Cocktail Cove to first landing on Cliff (blue line walk on land), to lobster boat, and then “park” for water (blue line walk on land and “W” is where water is).
I haul Abbie B up on seaweed covered rocks and then find myself sinking in muck to reach dry land. Gross! I make it up to the road and meet a woman walking her dog. She is pleasant and her mix breed dog is equally so. We walk together as far as the left turn as beyond that point, dogs must be on a leash. The woman doesn’t have one with her. I walk for about two minutes and find the pump by the tennis courts. There I fill all of my water bladders which hold six liters, providing twelve liters. My water backpack which holds another two liters is also filled. This should last more than a couple of days.
Now, I ask myself the question, where does the freshwater come from? I had some idea but not the full picture at the time and did some research here at home. I ended up turning to a friend who specializes in water “stuff.” This is the info he provided. It’s easy to understand with a great illustration.
“Fresh well water found on an island like Cliff Island in Casco bay comes from infiltration of precipitation directly on the island. Fresh water is less dense than sea water and in principal forms a lens-like body that floats on the saline water from intrusion of sea water. If too much fresh water is pumped from the ground, exceeding the rate of infiltration, the lens shrinks and wells start pumping brackish or saline water. Fresh water on and island is a fragile and limited resource.” (source is D. C.)
You can find more info from the site where the illustration is from. Click here to see it.
Oh, baby! The weather usurps a post for 21 days at sea. The wind has been a whippin’ by today. It actually started last night when a high pressure system built up out of western New York. Steep pressure gradients formed around the system went into flight mode heading to the Newfoundland Low. Cold arctic air is being funneled through these systems via the jet stream and other factors.
Mount Washington, New Hampshire reported sustained winds upward of 122 mph today. The Valley, Gorham and Berlin reported winds of 15 to 20 mph sustained for a few hours, winding down to 9 mph hour this evening. Click here to see an animated wind map (current view only).
“The Hill” of Randolph New Hampshire is the Mt. Washington of Mt. Washington Valley. Sugar Plum Farm, my home, is at the pinnacle of “The Hill.” The open fields create a great plain’s state feel with the added impact of weather created by mountains. Our sustained winds today reached upward of 38 mph with gusts to 55 mph to my knowledge. The windchill value as low as -40 degrees. That did it for here. It hasn’t snowed and the fields have been wind whipped clean of snow but Sugar Plum Farm is snowed in. Where does this snow come from? It’s being blown off the mountains where it blasts through open areas piling up against trees and downwind of drifts. We called in a giant loader to open up the driveway. We will also require a plow truck to open up the driveway again in the morning.
Loader at Work