Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bluff Point Paddle

Here's a trip report from Bill Hahn:

July 8
Bluff Point Park, Groton, CT.

My friend Mike and I arrived early, about 9 for a 10 am departure. Much to my surprise the parking lot, which is quite large, had quite a few vehicles in it, many with sea kayaks still on their roofs.
We parked and walked over to some activity at the beach. Karen Knight was doing a demonstration of paddle strokes for the ConnYak club. After the demonstration she would be giving a clinic for women for the remainder of the day. There was a large ConnYak contingent watching the demo. As the RICKA crew arrived for our paddle they joined the group watching from the beach.
I had never heard of Karen but her paddling skills were considerable. She was able to make a small one person canoe and a sea kayak do things I had only dreamt of. She used single bladed paddle as well as the standard two bladed paddle. She literally made the kayak dance.
The demo finally ended about 9:30 and we started to pull the paddle together. Because Karen was using the beach we prepared to launch at the far lower side of the parking lot. The remainder of the ConnYak group, guys and the ladies that were not taking Karen's class also started gearing up for their own paddle so it was a very crowded put in.
I noticed one of the ConnYak paddlers had a S&G Night Heron. As this is the boat I am also building I was anxious to talk to him about the construction as well as how the boat performed. After grilling him as long as I could I was happy to confirm that the boat was a good choice.
12 People arrived for the RICKA paddle including a couple of people from CT. We finally got off about 10:25 or so waiting for a late arrival but slightly ahead of the ConnYak group. They were doing about the same paddle and we agreed to try and meet for lunch.
The day was perfect with little wind and a good tide in the river. The plan, based on earlier paddles from Bluff Point at this level, was to go out the river, down the coast towards Mystic, pull into Mumford Cove, come back to the beach, have lunch and return.
The lack of wind and an energetic group got us to Mumford Cove way ahead of schedule. The near shore temperatures in the Cove were uncomfortable with the light winds and we decided to go further down the coast since everyone was doing fine. We passed Groton Long Point and went into Palmer Cove. At the head of the Cove was a small sandy area and we pulled in for lunch. Across the street from this location was a public beach with a concession stand and real restrooms, a great luxury on any paddle. We did not run into the ConnYak group and missed our lunch date.
After a leisurely lunch we headed back. The water level in the river was down but not enough to be a problem.
Karen's class was still going on in the beach area. She had the group on the grass going over some techniques. A number of our group watched from a distance. She then moved the group into the water. At this point I must commend Ray B. for exercising incredible self control while this women only class was taking place.

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