Friday off to a late start Karen and I are on our way by 9:30. The weekend is already off to a good start, with little traffic we were checked in at Nickerson State Park by a cheery park ranger with a delightfully pronounced New England accent (or was it we speaking with Jersey accents?)
After unloading all of our gear we are ready to set up camp when a car pulled into our site and the driver asked if this is site 114. Yes, said I pensively. I’m supposed to camp here says he. We compare paperwork and sadly realize that he is devastatingly correct. We are at the correct site number but in the wrong section of this huge park. We repack the car and head 2½ miles down the road from section 2 to our correct site in the section 6 extension.
We are supposed to meet up with Lee and Bob to circumnavigate Strong Island, launching from Round Cove, Pleasant Bay however by now it’s too late so I call Lee and tell him to launch without us.
After setting up camp Karen and I decide to paddle the perimeter of Cliff Lake, located within the park. It’s a quiet paddle, just right to start the process of unwinding after 6 hours in the car.
We meet Lee, Bob, Mo and his wife Ro at Skippers in West Yarmouth for dinner and to discuss the next day’s paddle. I hate tide charts when they become my master requiring me to open my eyes in the middle of the night at 5:00 while the sun and most beings, with the faculty of thought, have the wisdom to remain asleep. It is solely for this reason, I believe, a merciful G-d has distributed Dunkin Donuts in strategic locations throughout the civilized world.
We meet at Sears Point in Chatham, My eyes still barely open perceive big winds and big surf. Wishing not to be dead we agree to head for a more protected launch. After a second ocean launch proves no less turbulent we move to the protected environs of the Pamet River in Truro. A lovely quiet paddle through tall sea grass trails and then back to the bay, having lunch on a beach by the bays inlet we watch the white caps in the ocean beyond the bay then head back to the launch.
After dinner at the Lost Dog Pub in Orleans we decide to attempt launching from Sears Point in Chatham the next morning (Sunday). Blessedly the tides are running an hour later.
We launch to calmer seas. With the wind on our backs and a favorable tide we make the 8 mile trip to the lighthouse on Monomoy Island Federal Wildlife Preserve in two hours (record time).