Sunday, September 14, 2008

We're back!

Well, Leg 2 was supposed to be the Smith Point Marina to Lake Montauk. Sometimes, though, these things don't work out according to plan. Actual final stop - Georgica Pond.

Here, we're headed out to the Shinnecock Inlet on Saturday morning. Glass-calm, as promised. The forecast for Sunday degraded pretty badly between the one I posted the other day & the ones we listened to at 6:30 a.m. S Winds 10 - 20 in the morning, with a small craft advisory coming into effect sometime in the afternoon - not what a bunch of tired paddlers who've done 2 consecutive 20-mile-ish days really want to hear.

Add to that one of our number getting very ill on the water yesterday & still being far from up to snuff this morning, and we decided that we would pack it in at Georgica Pond this year. Instead, a few went back to Brooklyn after breakfast; the rest of us scouted our route for next year. Sightseeing with a purpose, you could say. It was a relief to see that further out on the South Fork, the surf goes from this brutal dumping shorebreak we've been launching & landing on (I made all of mine OK but we had a number of wipeouts & also cases where people thought they were in safe & popped their skirts only to have the wave that would rear up on the backwash from the wave they'd surfed in on get 'em) to a much pleasanter long, spilling surf. In fact I think today's most frustrating moment was our stop at Ditch Plains. Ditch Plains is a famous surfing beach, and aside from the fact that famous surfing beaches are usually famous for yikes, big waves, I'd also been warned that the board surfers there are particularly territorial & kayakers should assume that the unwelcome mat is out. So I've equated Ditch Plains with "scary place".

Well, today's S wind was sort of mushing the waves down in a way that doesn't work well for boards (John H. talked to one woman who'd just come off the water & that's what she said was going on - or at least that's the impression I got), so the gangs of surly board surfers we'd been told ran the place were completely not there - and the waves that they weren't surfing today looked just about perfect for some sea kayak surfing. Sea kayaks can have a fantastic time playing in surf that makes board surfers into bored surfers & that was exactly what Ditch Plains had to offer today. But alas, our boats were halfway back to Brooklyn, so all we could do was drool...

Anyways, we didn't get the mileage we'd hoped for, but for the most part I think we all had a good time. I was actually really happy to get to go climb the Montauk Point lighthouse, and my friends humored me with a stop at the super famous lobster roll "Lunch" place, and we stopped at a farm stand & just generally enjoyed playing tourist - none of which would've happened if we'd paddled. Getting a good close look at our potential launches, landings & emergency pullouts for next year was very reassuring, too. The charts tell you a lot, and we've got some sources of local knowledge out there, but there's nothing like actually going & seeing the arrangement with your own two eyes.

Next year's the big one, then - Georgica Pond to Orient Point. That includes rounding Montauk Point & the open-water crossing from the South Fork to the North Fork.

That will be exciting - hopefully in a good way!

More pictures to come!

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