Friendly rocks and faraway islands

N 4-7 knots becoming variable at less than E 5 knots with 2 ft seas. Water temperature a balmy 61 degrees. So was the forecast for the trip to the Isles of Shoals, 6 NM off the coast of Rye, NH. I tried this trip last year but succumbed to an injury before I could undertake it. I tried it last week but the forecast of 25 KN winds from the west and temps in the 90s led us along a different route that day. After much patience, I was able to complete it today and my patience was well rewarded.

I had been to the Isles in 2005 via mothership, but this would be the first attempt at the open crossing. Given the benign forecast, boredom on the way out was our only real concern. That being said, we played by the book, with a complete beach briefing, etc. Complacency would not be our enemy today. So it was with great anticipation that 6 of us (Chris, Leon, Scott, Sid, Ted and myself) left Rye harbor around 11am, bound for the Shoals. No one in the group had paddled to it before so it was a new experience for all. With the conditions as forecast, a quick 4 kn paddle led us to the Shoals in about 90 minutes. We lunched at Smuttynose, taking in the scenery and enjoyed the camaraderie. I snapped a few pics and immediately uploaded to Facebook to make G jealous (I love being a weasel sometimes;))

After a leisurely break, we headed between Appledore and Smuttynose for a little rock play. Even with the conditions such as they were, there were a few good spots to play in, leading to a little surfing off of refracting waves to a couple of inadvertent seal landings (ah, friendly, thick seaweed covered rocks). All smiles and no one worse for wear. We continued around back to Star Island, proceeding from there to the east side of Lunging Island and back towards Rye. A great trip overall with amazing scenery and lots of laughs along the way. About 15 NM overall.

(Pictures by Chris Mabon. For additional pics, please follow this link:
Kevin BeckwithComment