I had mixed feelings as I prepared for our trip to Cuttyhunk I had not been out on the ocean much this year and I am not a great athlete, but on the other hand I was looking forward to my first overnight trip in my boat, I have a British Design boat which I am very comfortable with and had been in the pool during the winter practicing all sorts of new rolls.
The group Dave ,Drew , Nick, Ruth and myself have all paddled together many times and I felt that all planning had been meticulously carried out.
We all arrived at the launch site Eel Pond near Woods Hole and started trying to stuff an impossible amount of gear in our yaks my sleeping bag nearly got the better of me, refusing to go through the small hatches in my boat I wondered whether the bow would explode en-route with the pressure.
Boat was packed all the necessaries and un-necessaries, flares, vhf, spare clothes, pump, food for lunch, etc.
Just before we launch I check the national weather service "small craft advisory" so I listened carefully 20-25 knots with possible 1-2 mile visibility in light rain. I discussed this with Nick and decide we should be cautious and check this out. I also enjoy flying small airplanes and would have not taken some of my most enjoyable trips if I had taken the weather forecast at face value, it is good information to have but you can make safe trips in boats and airplanes in less than ideal weather by leaving yourself an out, or having an alternate plan, however you have to be careful that your alternate plan does not go the same way as your original. The only nagging doubt was that having paid deposit on our accommodation would their be pressure to complete the trip, I decided that $12.50 could be sacrificed, come to that I would pay the whole $50 if that was luring us into an unsafe situation.
We set off, this was going to be a long paddle, we went through Woods Hole no problem and down the lee side of the Naushon, I was beginning to enjoy myself I did not have to paddle hard, wind and current were at our back as we zoomed down towards Cuttyhunk. We stopped for lunch at a nice beach and I started discussing the differences between England and USA , I must stop doing this I have not lived in the UK for 9 years it's probably not like that anymore, but it seemed to interest the others. I ate Sardines for lunch I must make a note not to bring these again they leave a terrible taste.
We then continued past Robinsons Hole and to Quicks Hole the waves were a little bigger here with the wind and current in opposition and I had to break paddling rhythm occasionally to position my paddle on the best part of the wave, I was having fun the boat was coming alive I enjoy rough water. We had been joined by a cockpitless pilotless white kayak. I realized that our new group member was in fact Dave hiding beneath his kayak I maneuvered my boat and watched, Dave is a competent roller so I watch, I have noticed before that he has remarkable gills and can stay under for a long time. First roll is good but bad timing and the same type of wave that knocked him over in the first place bowls him over for a second time. The second roll was weak and I realized that he might be in trouble my boat was in a good spot to rescue. I watched. Dave's hand went up and I put my bow close, ramming Dave's boat pretty hard but not spearing him luckily, he pulled himself up and thanked me. The drama was over.
We continued on to Cuttyhunk Dave did one more combat roll for good measure and I nearly went over watching him no rescue this time. I was surprised Nick and I had fun in the waves but Drew ,Dave and Ruth had found it quite frightening. We have all played in much bigger waves but some combination of length of trip and or tiredness had unnerved Dave a little.
The entrance to Cuttyhunk Harbour was a pretty spectacular sight breaking waves and rather theatrical spindrift I was apprehensive and Nick chose a more sheltered route which felt good. Requiring a short portage this was a very wise implementation of the aforementioned alternate plan.
On arrival at Cuttyhunk we stored the boats and made ourselves at home. I mentioned earlier the meticulous planning that went into this trip I had carefully studied tide and current tables and the weather but missed one important item what were we going to eat I expected there to be food on the island, wrong. This bothered me more than the big waves in Quick's had bothered the others. I woke the lady at the store and got food, I have no remorse for doing this, I was a starving traveler.
Next day was beautiful, but a lousy paddle, upwind all the way flat seas just the kind of day for those crazy types who jog eat health food . I struggled on, my yak dead in the water .We made good time home although my arms were sore at the end. I tried a few rolls I had been disappointed that on a previous trip my roll had deserted me when I had tired arms but this time was OK. A few trick rolls with Nicks funny little Greenland paddle then I got dizzy and figured that was enough. The end of a lovely trip.
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