Morning, Saturday February 22nd. First time my boat's seen the light of day since January First - what a winter it has been!
Have Mermaid, Will Travel (Vicky is the official club mermaid, and the lovely teal Sirocco is named Sirensong). Skoal! And off to Jones Beach!
Preparing to launch at Jones Beach, all in high spirits on a lovely lovely day.
Must be a Sebago paddle, the food's already out! Marc's got some extravagant caramel-chocolate popcorn stuff from Henri Bendel, and Vicky's brought her own special mermaid mix - almonds and M&M's, ratio about 7 candies to 3 nuts, just the way it should be, right?
Commodore Walter and sea kayak chair Tony, aka Pinky and the Brain, co-chairs of the Cruising Committee. Frank came to hike, wasn't able to get anybody else to come but went on a shorewalk on his own. Turned out that he may have had more of a chance of seeing seals than us in the boats - seals were spotted by other hikers, and then by Walter from the road on the way out, but this was the first seal paddle we did where we didn't see any seals from the water. Oh well, it was still a nice day out there.
Getting on the water. Frank's taking pictures from the pier, and I was particularly happy 'cause, look, there's my guy in the white boat out there! TQ's been working weekends so it was REALLY nice to paddle with him again.
Oops, blood. I hadn't even felt it but I sliced my pinky open on the coaming while wrestling on my winter-stiff sprayskirt. Ended up bleeding the entire paddle, it was a short one and we didn't stop so I didn't have time to do direct pressure. The theory was proposed that there were sharks following me the entire paddle and that's why the seals didn't want anything to do with us.
Reminded me of the campfire chiller from Girl Scouts - girl's babysitting; the phone rings; she picks it up -- ominous voice says "Bloody Finger is in your city"; rings again -- "Bloody Finger is in your neighborhood"; rings again -- "B.F. is on your street" -- "On your driveway" -- "Coming up the front steps" -- DING DONG! "Hi, I'm Bloody Finger. Have you got a Band-Aid"?
Anyways, I was Bloody Finger and I obviously lived to tell the tale.
Team Sebago heading west towards Jones Inlet.
Halfway to the bridge. Marc's having a little stretch!
Marc in the red, Vicky in the blue, TQ in white, Walter in orange black and white, and Tony in orange and gray. Approaching the bridge that turned out to be our turnaround point.
At the bridge. Sorry, camera got blobby!
Marc and Vicky under the bridge
Counterweight. We debated seeing if we could get them to lift for us but decided maybe we could make it - if we scrunched down and all.
Under the bridge. The current was strong under here.
The other side of the bridge. I was a little surprised when we didn't keep going from here - the bridge was going to be where the strongest current was and we might have found the seals down closer to the inlet, but it seemed like this was enough for some. There'd been something about single-malt scotch waiting for us back at the cars...hmm.
Whatever the reason - eastbound again. Whooshing along, too.
Back at the put-in.
Did somebody say single malt? Look at those happy faces!
Back on the beach - no seals, but evidence of a few mammals here.
I always like taking pictures of Tony when he's talking because he talks with his hands and it makes for fun pictures. I mentioned this -
and all the sudden everybody's talking with their hands! Well, hey, we all live in Brooklyn and Queens, why not? Love it!
It was so nice here, some of us were wondering why we'd even bothered with the boats - they're a bother to load and the clothes are a bother to put on and if we'd known the seals were going to be all shy today we could've saved ourselves a lot of time and just had a really nice picnic! Oh well.
Next stop Bigelow's, of course. The picnic was just nibbles, the main course was here (and if you saw the Bigelow's blog post, the rest of these pix were on that one). TQ actually suggested later that we should just call this paddle the Bigelow's Paddle - that way if the seals choose not to show, as they did for the first time in a lot of these paddles, nobody's disappointed. He might have something there, yes?
Dredgerman in action. I was actually sort of fascinated sitting here, he worked so fast and it seemed like each different variety of seafood got a slightly different treatment - hence the different trays and tubs.
Bigelow's New England clam chowder - absolutely delicious!
Chowing down on the chowder
My meal - I went whole hog, got the fried Ipswich belly clams and a Harpoon. Wasn't much left on this plate when I was finished. Yum.
The crew at Bigelow's.
Another dredging shot - I was trying to get the coating cascading off of the clams as he tossed them just-so - this was the best effort.
Leaving Bigelow's. Chowder fans all leave with tubs of chowder to go - I had one of course!
Back at Sebago. End of another very nice day - even without seals.