Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fort Weatherill and the Newport Bridge - July 28, 2016

West Cove at Fort Weatherill
I headed back to Jamestown today to paddle at Fort Wetherill. Like Fort Greble on Dutch Island, Fort Weatherill was coastal defense battery and training camp. It is located on 100-foot high granite cliffs on the East Passage of Narragansett Bay across from Newport and Fort Adams. 

I put in at the Fort Wetherill boat ramp at 7:30. As a paddled out of the West Cove into the East Passage the bay was dead flat with the only waves being an occasional boat wake. I paddled east around Bull Point and headed up to the Dumplings to get some pictures of the Newport Bridge.

Newport Bridge
The Newport Bridge was completed in 1969 and is the longest suspension bridge in New England.  It spans the East Passage of the Narragansett Bay from Newport to Jamestown.  The main span is over 1,600 feet long, and the road deck is more 200 feet above the water.  The towers themselves are over 400 feet tall.

I was surprised at all the birds gathered on the Dumplings - a grouping of rocks just off Bull Point.  The most prominent of the Dumplings is Clingstone or the "House on the Rock".  This massive post and beam home was built in 1905 and has been recently restored.


Clingstone - better known as the "House on the Rock"
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Trip Description from Rhode Island Blueways

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wickford Harbor – July 27, 2016

Smith's Castle
I was on the road again today – this time to the other side of the Verrazano Bridge at the Wickford Harbor.

I put in at Wilson Park and paddled along Rabbit Island to Smith’s Castle. The land on which this house was built was the site of Roger Williams' original trading post. Williams sold the land to Richard Smith who constructed a large fortified house on the site in 1637, giving the house its nickname the “Castle”. That house was burned, and the present structure was built in its place during the King Philip's War in 1678.

Verrazano Bridge from the breakwater
I paddled around Cornelius Island and out to the breakwater in Wickford Harbor.  Wickford Harbor is was one of the best-protected natural harbors in the northeast. In the eighteenth century, it grew to become a major port and ship building center. 

From there, I padded into Wickford Cove to check out the Beach Rose Café at the Brown Street Bridge and the Boston Neck Road Bridge.

Boston Neck Road Bridge
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Potter Pond - July 25, 2016

Boat at Snug Harbor
Yesterday, we went to Newport in the morning, and took my canoe out for a trip aound Potter Pond in the afternoon.  Potter Pond is located off the southwest corner of Point Judith Pond behind the behind the Matunuck barrier beach.  A short tidal inlet at Snug Harbor connects Point Judith Pond with Potter Pond. If you have eaten at the Matunuck Oyster Bar on Succotash Road, you were sitting along the inlet.

I paddled down the west side of Great Island into the Port of Galilee.  I sat at the top of the Breachway to watch the boats come and go before crossing over to Snug Harbor at the Snug Harbor Light. It was
Matunuck Oyster Bar
high tide so the sand flats along the short inlet into Potter Pond were covered with water, and you can see the beachhouse at East Matunuck.
  After paddling under the bridge at Succotash Road I entered into Potter Pond. 

The southern end of Potter Pond looks like a typical coastal salt pond with Jerusalem and Matunuck visible in the distance.  The Matunuck Oyster Farm operates in the shallows along the southern edge.  The northern end is a wooded kettle pond. 

East Matunick Beachhouse from the inlet
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Dutch Island – July 26, 2016

Verrazano Bridge from Dutch Harbor
I took a road trip over to Jamestown to paddle at Dutch Harbor. The wind was quiet, and the West Passage was dead flat, so I paddled out to Dutch Island to check out the Dutch Island Light. 

Dutch Island is located in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay and took its name from the Dutch East India Company that established a trading post here around 1636. In 1654 English colonists purchased the island from the Narragansett Indians.

Remnant of Fort Greble
For many years, the island was fortified to protect the West Passage from invasion by sea. During the Civil War, soldiers of the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, an African American regiment who later served in the Battle of New Orleans, constructed first earthwork defenses on the island.

In the 1890’s the Army established Fort Greble here. Like Fort Weatherill on the East Passage, Fort Greble was active through World War II and was part of a series of heavily fortified artillery placements that protected Narragansett Bay.

Dutch Island Light
The first lighthouse was completed on the southern tip of Dutch Island in 1826.  The original tower was replaced with the current tower in 1857. The lighthouse remained in service until 1979 when it was replaced with a flashing buoy.  It then fell into disrepair until 2007 when it was restored by the Dutch Island Lighthouse Society.

I put in at Dutch Harbor, and paddled out into the calm water toward the Dutch Island Light.  After snapping a few pictures, I continued around the west side of island before retuning to the take out.

Dutch Island Light

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pier 5 - July 24, 2016

Shingle style cottages on the shore
It was high tide and the wind was still, so I decided to do some open water paddling over at Pier 5.  

Also known as South Pier, Pier 5 was part of a thriving resort community that grew up in Narragansett in the late 19th century.  At one time, ten hotels and many Victorian and Shingle style cottages lined the streets around the Narragansett Pier. The Towers is all that remains of the old hotels, but many summer cottages - old and new - can still be seen along the shore.

Fishermen offshore
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RICKA Trip at Point Judith - July 23, 2016

At 5:00, I was sitting at the marina boat ramp thinking that my evening RICKA trip on Point Judith Pond would be a bust. Just then Frank and his wife drove up, followed by Tina and her husband, and then Lowell paddled up from Harbor Island. Looks like we had a trip. 

We pretty much followed the loop shown in the Rhode Island Blueways paddle map. We didn’t make it to sunset, but the clouds were great, and we did get a rainbow at the end. I guess that’s what happens when a rain cloud follows you around.


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Friday, July 22, 2016

Upper Point Judith Pond – July 22, 2016

Justin
I knew we were going out for breakfast this morning, so I needed to stay close to the cottage.  I did a lap around the upper Salt Pond into a stiff wind with wind-swept waves – good practice.  After breakfast, I took the tandem canoe out with Michelle, and Justin took the kayak.  Unfortunately, it was too windy for us to get around the point, so we headed back to the cottage, and decided to try another time.

Michelle and Erik

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Around the Harbor of Refuge – July 21, 2016

Fishermen on the East Jetty
The winds were calm and the tide was low so I decided to do a trip around the Harbor of Refuge. 

The Harbor of Refuge is is located just west of Point Judith and is formed by three jetties that protect the Breachway and the Port of Galilee. The east and west jetties were completed in 1890 and have have been recently repaired. The center jetty was completed in 1910 and has a lot of breaks, which allow great views out into Block Island Sound.

View through the center jetty -
Block Island in the distance
I put-in at Camp Cronin, and paddled out into easy rolling waves. There were a few fishermen on the east jetty, but not as many as usual.  I hurried across the east passage to check out the center jetty - large gaps are revealed at low tide, and I could see through the gaps all the way to Block Island. 

I paddled the length of the center jetty to watch the boats leaving the Breachway and west passage before heading back to Camp Cronin.

Point Judith Light
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Narrow River – July 19, 2016

The cottage is falling down.
I took a road trip this morning over to the Narrow River.  I put in at the Sprague Bridge and paddled up into Pettaquamscutt Cove to check out the little cottage - it was in bad shape last year, and it’s even worse now. This section of the Narrow River is a tidal estuary. At low tide it attracts hundreds of birds looking for breakfast. 

I then paddled down to the Narrows to check out the waves.  I paddled out to Cormorant Point, and then turned around to head back in.  I’d love to come back with somebody so I could paddle out beyond the point.

Waves breaking on Bass Rock
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Point Judith Pond – July 18, 2016

Sailboats in the fog
Just like yesterday, the fog rolled in around 6:00 this morning, and rolled out around 8:00.  Today I decided not to wait, and paddled out into the fog at around 7:00.  I headed north along the west side of Ram Island and stayed close to the shore so I could see where I was going.  Visibility was 15 to 20 feet, and I would sometimes paddle very close to birds before they could even see me. 

By the time I reached the Narrows at Upper Point Judith Pond, the fog was starting to lift.  I paddled west into Congdon Cove and Smelt Book Cove before crossing back to Ram Island at Gardner Island. There were a couple of baby osprey in the nest near Smelt Brook Cove, and a couple of adults hunting nearby.  They definitely didn’t like me hanging around.  I paddled back down the east side of Ram Island to the cottage.

Osprey in the nest at Smelt Brook Cove
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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Around Great Island - July 17, 2016

Franks Neck - looking back to Horseshoe Point
The day started off foggy, but it was starting to burn off by around 8:00, so I took my canoe out for a trip around Great Island.  It was still a little foggy and hazy as I headed south past Franck’s Neck and into Bluff Hill Cove.  By the time I reached the Port of Galilee, the skies were clearing.  There wasn't a lot of boat traffic, so I paddled down to the last buoy before you enter the Breachway.  From there, I paddled back up past the Snug Harbor Light.  I took a break in the middle of Point Judith Pond on one of the sandbars that appear at low tide before heading back to the cottage.

The last buoy before the Breakaway
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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Packing for Vacation July 16, 2016

What boat do you bring when you go on vacation?  I always bring my Yellowstone Solo, but this year I’ll bring the Wildfire. I also bring Julie’s kayak, but after paddling with Michelle a couple of weeks ago, I also wanted to bring my Spirit II tandem.  The trouble is, how do you fit three boats on 48-inch bars?  On edge of course!  It worked fine.

Boats loaded and ready to go

Monday, July 11, 2016

Bungay River - July 10, 2016

Bill in the stern
The rain held off, and I got out for a quick paddle with Bill Luther on the Bungay River in Attleboro.  The Bungay is a tributary of the Ten Mile River.  It arises in Foxborough, and flows south about 7 miles until it joins the Ten Mile River in Attleboro. 

We put in at the Bungay River Conservation Area (88-160 Holden Street, Attleboro) and paddled upstream into a beautiful red maple swamp. There were lots of flowers in bloom, and plenty of painted turtles sunning themselves on the banks. The river twists and turns, which was a bit of a challenge in Bill’s 18’ canoe, but we were up for the challenge.  We made it upstream about 2 miles before turning back.  Nice trip.

Paddling through the twists and turns
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Friday, July 8, 2016

Whitehall State Park - Hopkinton, MA - July 5, 2016

In the marsh
Michelle and I took the Spirit II out to paddle the Whitehall Reservoir with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club. 

At one time, Whitehall Reservoir was a water supply for areas west of Boston.  With the completion of the Quabbin Reservoir in 1939, drinking water from Whitehall was no longer needed, and the area eventually was turned into a state park. The park encompasses the 575-acre reservoir’s entire shoreline, giving it an isolated feel

By the dam
We put in at the boat ramp at the intersection of Wood Street (Route 135) and Dale Road in Hopkinton, and paddled through the marshy area at the northern end of the lake.  We then paddled to dam before returning to the boat ramp.  Blueberries are abundant along the shore, so it would be nice to come back in late July or early August.

There is also a 6-mile hiking trail that would be nice for snowshoeing.

Heading back to the take-out
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Monday, July 4, 2016

Pawcatuck – Lower Shannock Falls to Richmond – July 4, 2016

I had a nice trip today with Steve, Chuck, Sharron and Terri on the Pawcatuck. We put in below the Lower Shannock Falls and took out at the Richmond Dam. The river was low but runnable – 2 feet, 50 cfs on the Wood River Junction gage.  Nice way to spend the 4th.

July 4th Parade on the Pawcatcuck
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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lincoln Woods - July 2, 2016

It was a beautiful day, and I need to stay local, so I took my Wildfire down to Lincoln Woods to practice some freestyle moves. I spent a lot of time trying to “heel the rail to the water”.  With both knees in the chine I could get it down to the shoulder, but getting both knees into the chine and then back out again was tough.

I also spent a lot of time doing the wedge (bow pry) and cross wedge. Wow – what a great turn. I was pretty easily getting to 180°.   Lastly I was practicing in-water recoveries with the palm roll.  Can’t do that with a spooned paddle.  

Not many pictures of me, but I got a few of Joe and Benn teaching the EMS SUP class.

Benn and Joe teaching the EMS SUP class
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