Sunday, July 31, 2011

It must be summer because I went poling – July 31, 2011

The Blackstone has reached its summer level (1 foot, 150 cfs) so I decided to go down to Rivers Edge Park and pole up to River Island Park. There are five drops along the way – the power lines, the railroad bridge, the Court Street Bridge, the Bernon Bridge and River Island Park - but they don't look like much at this level. I made it up to the Woonsocket Falls without too much difficulty.  Back to work tomorrow.

Woonsocket Falls through the South Main Street Bridge
My pictures
August 21, 2010 Poling Trip on the same section
May 30, 2010 Poling Trip on the same section

Friday, July 29, 2011

Upper Point Judith Pond – July 29, 2011

This morning was cloudy with a little drizzle, but I was up early to paddle the Upper Point Judith Pond.

I put in at the boat ramp at Marina Bay and paddled around the west side of the pond toward Short Point and Harbor Island. As I rounded the end of Harbor Island, the wind picked up. It was my intention to paddle down to Ram Island, but I decided against it. This was my last day of vacation, and I didn’t want to work that hard.

Six days paddling – all on salt water. It’s has been a great vacation.

My pictures

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back to Pier 5 – July 28, 2011

Since a thunderstorm interrupted my attempt last Sunday, I headed back to Pier 5 (South Pier) this morning.  I launched at around 6:00 from the State Boat Ramp and paddled south toward Indian Rock.

Summer cotages
It was high tide with 1 to 2 foot swells. I stayed outside the break zone and enjoyed the view of Ocean Road’s turn-of-the-century summer cottages sitting high above Narragansett’s rocky shore. 

I had hoped to do some surfing, but the waves were breaking too close to shore, so I snapped a few pictures and headed back to the boat ramp.

My canoe at the boat ramp
My pictures
My website on Narragansett

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Around Great Island – July 27, 2011

I got up early and headed over to the Galilee Boat Ramp to paddle around Great Island in the Great Salt Pond. It was high tide as I arrived, and lots of power boats were putting in at the boat ramp as well.

Charter boats in Galilee
I stayed out of the traffic and paddled over toward Snug Harbor. From there, I got some great views of the fishing boats in Galilee, the Breachway, and the lighthouse at Snug Harbor. As I headed up the west side of Great Island, the wind was in my face kicking up small waves, but it was still easy going.

I paddled round the tip of Great Island, and pulled my boat out on to Ram Island to enjoy the view. As I paddled down the east side of Great Island into Bluff Hill Cove the wind died down. There were lots of houses along the shore, and I was surprised that no one was out to enjoy this beautiful morning.

Lighthouse at Snug Harbor
My pictures
My website on Galilee

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Harbor of Refuge – July 26, 2011

This morning I decided to put in at Camp Cronin and paddle around the Harbor of Refuge in Galilee. Construction of the harbor's seawall began in 1890, but wasn’t completed until 1914. It protects the Salt Pond Breachway and the Port of Galilee.

Cormorants on the seawall
There were a couple of fishermen on the east jetty, but otherwise everything was quiet. I was able to get a couple of pictures of the Point Judith Light (c. 1817/1857). It is now part of the Point Judith Coast Guard Station.

I put in around 6:30 at what appeared to be high tide. As I paddled into the passage between the east and center jetties, I was surprised how much bigger the waves became. Fortunately, my canoe handled the swells well, and I was soon behind the center jetty.

Break in the seawall
The center jetty was in much worse condition than the east or west. Huge boulders were pushed aside leaving large gaps in the seawall. I can’t imagine the power of the water that moved those rocks. As I paddled by, hundreds of cormorants and other shore birds rested on the wall, and a couple of sailboats bobbed in the water behind the seawall.

By the time I reached the west jetty, it was past 7:00 and the charter boats were pulling out. These boats created huge wakes as they pulled out of the breachway and sped out to the open water. I bobbed in the waves and waited for the parade to end before crossing the channel near the Salty Brine Beach. From there, it was a pleasant paddle back to Camp Cronin.

The schooner Brilliant moored in the harbor
My pictures
My website on Galilee

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Narrows – July 25, 2011

Egrets at Pettaquamscutt Cove
After getting a taste of ocean paddling yesterday, I got up early this morning and headed down to the Narrow River to paddle the Narrows. I put in at the concrete bridge on an outgoing tide. I was amazed at all the shore birds on the river – egrets, herons, cormorants, seagulls, and many others that I couldn’t identify.

As I approached the narrows, I could see a fisherman working the main channel. We exchanged greetings as I worked my way out into the surf. The waves appeared to break twice – once out by the rocks, and again closer to shore. I paddled hard to break through the waves, and filled up my boat in the process - good thing I brought my bailer.

Fisherman in the channel
The waves seemed good, so I decided to try some surfing.  I paddled hard to get on an approaching wave, only to catch my bow, get spun broadside and almost flip. Fortunately, a brace into the wave kept me upright.

It would be fun to come here again on one for the RICKA surf/play days.

Early morning waves at Cormorant Point
My pictures

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunrise at Pier 5 – July 24, 2011

Fishermen on the South Pier
I was anxious to try my canoe in the ocean, so I got up early and headed over to Pier 5 (South Pier) in Narragansett. There were lots of fishermen there, and I was lucky to get the last parking spot at State Boat Ramp.

It was just after sunrise, and the sky was streaked with pink and purple. Out on the water, I was paddling through 1 to 2 foot rollers. It was a little disconcerting at first, but my canoe rode the waves nicely.  I was no more that a quarter mile out when I saw lightning strike to the north. I knew I didn’t want to be out in a thunderstorm, so I snapped a couple of pictures of the sunrise, and headed back to shore.

Sunrise over Narragansett Bay
The downpour started just as I reached my van. I hung out under the open tailgate as the fishermen scrambled for cover. The rain stopped quickly, but the rumblers continued, so I know that my paddling was over for the morning. I decided to walk up to the Narragansett Pier to get some pictures of the Towers.

The Towers date to 1885 and Narragansett’s glory days as an exclusive summer resort. It was originally attached to the Narragansett Casino – the center of social life in late 19th century Narragansett. The Casino was destroyed by fire in 1900, and only the Towers remain.

The Towers at Narragansett Pier
My pictures
My Narragansett website

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Reconnaissance – July 23, 2011

It’s vacation week - no gym, no internet. I still wake up early, so after a cup of coffee, I decided to check out some potential paddling spots near our cottage in Narragansett.

Seawall at Camp Cronin
I started close to home at Camp Cronin at the tip of Point Judith. It has great views of the Point Judith Lighthouse and is at the east end of the seawall that forms Galilee’s Harbor of Refuge. From here, I could paddle around Sand Hill Cove, or out to Point Judith.

Next, I headed over to Pier 5 (South Pier). It was low tide and the water looked relatively calm. From here, I could paddle down to the Narragansett Town Beach and get some great views of the Towers.

Marina Bay on Point Judith Pond
Next, I headed up Route 1A to the Narrows. As I walked across the old Concrete Bridge, I was surprised to see Mike and Susan snapping pictures of an osprey nest near the bridge. They would be doing the Narrow River trip with RICKA latter in the morning. From here, I could paddle down the Narrows to the ocean, or up to the Narrow River and into Pettaquamscutt Cove.

My last stop was Great Salt Pond or Point Judith Pond. I could put in at the boat ramp in Galilee and explore the harbor, or put in at the boat ramp at Marina Bay and explore the upper end of the pond.

So many options, so little time.

Point Judith Lighthouse

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Great Summer Day on Fife Brook - July 17, 2011

Jim running Hangover Helper
Had a great day yesterday on the Fife Brook section of the Deerfield. We had six boats – 3 canoes (Jim, Ed and Erik) and 3 yaks (Andy, Hector and Elaine). Release was 900 cfs which is OK – maybe a little low. Weather was absolutely perfect – sunny and in the high 80’s. Great day for swimming.

We put in at around 11:30 and began working our way downstream. We ran Hangover Helper, and had a good time surfing at Carbis Bend and Freight Train before we stopped for lunch. Racers from the ACA Whitewater Downriver Nations came though after lunch. It wasn’t a big group, but they were moving. We played in Pinball for a while, but then had to pick up the pace after that so we didn’t run out of water.

Elaine at Freight Train
By the time we reached Zoar Gap the river was already down a couple of inches. Three of us took the sneak line to the right, including Elaine who had a great first run through the Gap. Ed blasted down the middle. Only Andy tried the more difficult line to the left. He flipped at the top and a bounced down the rest of the rapid. Oh well – it was a good day to swim.

We took out at around 4:30 – the last group on the river – as usual. I got to paddle a Blackfly Option at the take out. Now that is a cool boat.

That's me running Zoar Gap
My video
My pictures

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Albion to Ashton - July 9, 2011

I spent a couple of hours yesterday paddling a short, but pretty section of the Blackstone - Albion to Ashton.  This section of the river follows the bike path, but has very little development otherwise.  I was glad to see that a new put-in with nice granite steps has been installed below the Albion Dam.  This will make portages much easier. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blackstone Gorge with BVPC - July 5, 2011

I led the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club trip last night at the Blackstone Gorge. We had a good group with 20+ paddlers. It was suppose to be a joint trip with RI Blueways, but no one from Blueways showed up. That’s OK, they still do good work, and have a great website.

The Blackstone is dropping to its summer level with water just barely making it over the Rolling (definitely not Roaring) Dam. The river was 7 feet, 200 cfs on the Rt. 122 gage. I did a short talk on Blackstone Valley history along with the safety talk, and then we headed up stream. I was happy that about half the people actually got out to check out the old Millville Lock, and about a quarter actually made it up to the Millville Rapids. The night ended with ice cream at Sandy’s Softserve in Blackstone. Life if good.

Water trickles over the Rolling Dam
My Pictures
Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park

Monday, July 4, 2011

RICKA Flatwater Training - July 3, 2011

We had a nice group yesterday at RICKA's Flatwater Training - 8 students, 5 instructors.  As  usual, I had the only canoe, but I always make it a point to practice wet exits and recoveries.  It took me two attempts to get back in my own boat, but was able to get Tom back in his boat on the first try.

Bill demonstrates a brace
My Pictures

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Branch River - Forestdale to Slatersville - July 2, 2011

I decided to try something different this morning, so I headed over the Branch River to paddle the section from Forestdale to Slatersville.

1826 Slatersville Mill
I wasn’t sure where to put-in, but as I drove up School Street in Forestdale I saw two guys carrying a boat down the river at the old Forestdale Mill site, so I put-in there. The Forestdale Pond was dotted with white, pink and purple water lilies. Once I got past Village Haven, the river was too shallow (2 ft., 42 cfs) to paddle, so I hiked up the river to Slatersville. I should have brought my poling boat. Across from Village haven would be a good place to put-in for poling.

The Village of Slatersville was established in 1803 and became the model for industrial development in the Blackstone River Valley.  Unfortunately, you can’t see much of the village from the river.  There are some nice views of the 1826 Mill, the Providence Pike Bridge and the Lower Dam.  The short section from Slatersville to Village Haven would be a fun section to paddle in higher water.

Branch River from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

My Pictures
Slatersville from

Manville Dam – July 1, 2011

Yesterday was my birthday, which was nice because we got out of work early for the 4th of July weekend. I took my whitewater boat down to the Manville dam for a couple of hours. River was around 2ft., 500 cfs. – not bad.