Small dragon comes out of the outhouse. Becomes much bigger and rids Rockport of arm hair.
David Cox got after me at the Christmas party I was not posting enough and goodness, a month has practically gone by since my last photo. So instead of posting my annual analemma shot for Winter Solstice, and wish everyone a Happy Festivus, I’ll post some pics from the other end of the analemma. When Thacher Island is a hot paddle in July.
I quack myself up. OK, I’ll stick to photos. Here is the analemma. Today on the winter sostice we are the yellow ball. The blue ball of course denotes when certain people who do not chicken out jump into Gloucester Harbor.
Rubber Duck and the A01 Buoy both say it’s time to go for a swim!
The 80.1 F is just the seaweed warming up at low tide but that 53.8 F is a sensor three feet down and it’s real. Just Google “A01 Buoy” which is a couple miles off Gloucester Harbor and you get the exact same temp.
What’s it all mean? It means it’s time to go for a swim! It’s time to toss a few poppers because Mrs Striped Bass has arrived. She waits until it is 50 F. What are you waiting for?
Les Bartlett will give a talk on the quarries of Cape Ann this Saturday at 10 AM at the Cape Ann Museum Click here for details.
Last month Rubber Duck visited Profile Rock and posted on the Rockport Facebook page.
Les promised to explain what that circular dent was during his Saturday talk. He said, “RD is next to perhaps the most important spot on Cape Ann and along the Northeastern seaboard.”
RD tried to google the answer but came up dry so she is going to the talk this weekend.
After all the weather passing through now back to the standard gorgeous sunrises. Before the sun broke the horizon the backlit waves were gorgeous. But I was trying to keep baby stripers from chasing my popper so the iPhone stayed in the plastic bag. Then they were just babies in diapers, maybe 22 inches so I put the rod away and took a few shots.
Preliminary results posted on this page. It was a perfect day. Nice high tide in the Annisquam, flat water most of the way around, lovely breeze, choppiest water was the last two miles in Gloucester Harbor.
So Russ Cone and Tom Bohrer go around Cape Ann in a sliding seat double in 2 hours 26 minutes. Are you serious? 9 mph or around 7.8 knots! The harbormaster will give you a ticket in the “No Wake” zone going that fast. How is that possible to do for a hundred yards much less over 20 miles of bumpy water? It is possible because a majority of the contestants in the Blackburn seem to be only made out of leather and sinew and have likely run an Ironman triathlon in the past week. Conversations at the high school before we take off, “I only drink coconut milk and free range basil the day before so my potassium levels are high and I don’t get twitchy.” Well shit I wish someone had told me that before I had three martinis and pork ribs the night before because I sure got twitchy out there.
For the rest, you should really click on the Blackburn Challenge 2016 Results. Each posted time is a story. The SUP stand up paddles mostly made it under 5 hours. That is amazing. I always find the most amazing are the dories and work boats posting faster times than me. Rubber Duck is in a 30 pound kayak and they are in a quarter ton or much more boat. You could pile ten lobster traps in the stern and they might add a few seconds to their time.
So how did the Rubber Duck do? I finished. 5:22:07. My goal is to break 5 hours but I blew a seal at Lanes Cove. Maybe three seals. They jumped in my boat and wanted to party. No wait, wrong type of seal. I whip down the Annisquam and actually still see the leaders of SK kayaks at the river mouth. Which means I am going too fast and not pacing myself. And sure enough one elbow and one leg get a case of the twitchies and I have to take my feet off the pegs and straight arm paddle for 30 minutes while I dream of coconut milk. Sandy Bay is a stretched out nightmare that never ends and by Milk Island I am in survival mode. Just finish. By Good Harbor Beach I want to paddle in and throw myself onto the shore but I would scare the kids and the piping Plovers would run away. Being a local I know exactly where Brace Rock is and how long the Dogbar Breakwater is (over two thousand gruesome feet!) and Gloucester Harbor measures exactly two miles and every whale watch boat wants to kill me. I swear one missed me then backed up to try to finish me off, OK the mind goes after 5 hours of paddling.
Greasy pole, time is recorded, flip boat to lay in water for ten minutes then on up to pour two pints of cold Ipswich Summer Ale down my throat. That wasn’t so bad. Let’s do it again!
Lessons learned: Everyone else has a winged paddle in my group. They giggle at my Werner Cypress paddle. Who knew? Not me. Getting one of those. Coconut milk and basil. Yup, potassium next year I’ll have a case, no martinis for 24 hours. 2017 I break 5 hours. Nothing damaged, feel great, time for a nap, this typing is making my poor pruney fingers tired.
And last but not least, The Cape Ann Rowing Club pulls off another flawless race. An all volunteer army gets 300 contestants into the water with humor, keeps an eye on them for 20 miles with the safety boats all the way to the finish line and beyond including picking up the errant pulled pork plate on Pavilion Beach.
Blackburn Challenge, July 16, 2016. Long range forecast shows partly cloudy 85 degrees for that Saturday. Tide chart shows high tide at 9:30AM so the boats will be flushed out of the Annisquam at the beginning. So, perfect weather, perfect tide.
And for the 30th running of the Blackburn most contestants will be tracked by GPS using RaceJoy. (Click here.) Even if you are just watching the race you should go download the app to your phone now. Besides clicking to see that the race starts in 11 days, 17 hours, 30 minutes, you will get to see a progress report of participants. Rubber Duck will be finding out more about this app in the next week so watch GMG for updates. If you want to try it out on Rubber Duck her “Bib Number” is 40. (RD needs a bib, she dribbles.)
Breaking news: Cape Ann Rowing Club Facebook page might be able to change Rubber duck into a shark!! She feels faster already!
Participants: if you want to be tracked by the unwashed masses of GMG just post your bib number in the comments. Then you will see Rubber Duck closing in on Jimmy T.
I have always been fascinated by this sign out on Route 128 (really now 95) in Wakefield. I grew up poor on the wrong Cape so never made it to Pleasure Island but the exit sign beckons. Driving to work fantasizing about what I would do on my Pleasure Island. 🙂 Finally turned in last week and it was no Twilight Zone episode. I was not transported back in time. I couldn’t even find “Pleasure Island Road”.
But this Sunday morning I can find out. The Friends of Pleasure Island will have a walking tour of the Island no more. Take that exit 42 (bring your towel of course), and pull into the Edgewater Office Park and park in the first lot on the left. 10AM. Rubber Duck will be on a leash.
Rubber Duck was ranting this morning. Went fishing off the rocks and all we caught was a dozen helium balloons with “Happy Birthday” on them. I tried to cast out to snag them before they headed off to Lisbon, Portugal, nailed them but they slipped off the hook. A Kayak fisherman paddled over and I hooked him and he then paddled out and hooked the balloons.
These balloons suck. It is not like they are going to float out there and kill a hundred fish. But eventually they break down in the water into shiny bits and fish eat them. Turtles eat them. Birds eat them. So yes, you could be killing quite a few aquatic animals. Could someone tell Supermarkets in Gloucester they shouldn’t sell them? Worcester? Fine, chances are slim they make it to the coast. But not in a coastal community.
ps. WAZZAT #38, although many good guesses, remains unsolved.
pps. OMG I just realized it is Donna’s Birthday today!! Happy Birthday Donna. I will bring over the slain birthday balloons to celebrate. Since you are the queen of the 1 Hour At A Time Gang you will appreciate that they are no longer fouling our ocean and we can unceremoniously stuff them in a Gloucester DPW Yellow Bag!
There is a perfectly good explanation. First to comment the full reason gets a rare original pink Good Morning Gloucester bumper sticker signed by RD.
 Adding Hint #1: This activity involved Rockport Police Radar. (It could have been any town but right now much easier in Rockport.)
OK, so the Blackburn Challenge has a new twist this year. After you register you get an electronic bib number mailed to you connected to RaceJoy. (Click for info) This software will track everyone in the race. Not sure exactly what “spectators” will see but likely you will be able to follow someone in real time around the course. You could follow Rubber Duck or even better, follow someone who is speedy.
We have 38 days to figure it out. Rubber Duck will post a test run on Facebook or here. Anyone out there who has experience with RaceJoy please speak up in comments. It would be cool to see all the contestants race around Cape Ann but that is a lot of dots. Ask your friends who race in triathlons. I bet they have used it.
Another fun Essex River Race was pulled off by the Cape Ann Rowing Club. This is a voluntary group that does an amazing job each year with the 6 mile Essex Race to begin the summer and the Blackburn Challenge all the way around Cape Ann in July.
In both races there is one certainty, if you are not super fast you pay for it. The wind always comes up quickly and is in your face at the finish while the winners are already eating the Woodman’s Clam Chowder.
Preliminary race results here. A couple of points. Travis Hayes on a paddleboard 1:04:10. Jimmy Tarantino and Joe Cominelli, Banks Dory Double 1:08:48. That’s pretty close to six miles an hour either standing up or rowing a hefty dory. That’s ridiculous.
But on to the Sea Kayaks. John Karoff who I think broke 60 minutes last year wins again. Looks and talks like a totally normal person, a tad skinny but he wins this every year. Before the race Rubber Duck checked the percent body fat of all sea kayak contestants both male and female. None measured higher than 7%. This is when rubber duck looks at who is paddling her boat and does a major SMH and FFS. But check out these numbers. These are preliminary but I’m taking them to the bank and signing up for the Blackburn tonight.