Monday, August 3, 2009

A Swell Trip to Cutty Chunk

I started watching the weather Monday. Not because the forecasters could give me the correct weather for the weekend but to start building a gestalt. It would be good to get a feeling for how the weekend would shape up.

I kept my week low key and healthy. A couple of endurance workouts at the gym to get my energy up along with meals of rice and beans and other healthy things (I was pleased with the curried chicken salad I made on Tuesday). As much sleep as I could manage with my schedule and the humidity. Building up to running the crossing trip gave me focus.

As Saturday closed in I began to worry about the weather, it was going to be a close thing with the storms moving through (I only found out this morning that there had been a micro-burst in Beverly on Friday afternoon). The seas were supposed to be high and the winds un-fun. I say un-fun…so far this summer when it hasn’t been raining it has been windy…usually windier than they predict. By Thursday the predictions were for WSW winds up to 12kts turning to SSE at 11kts with 3-4 foot seas in the bay and 4-5 outside. It was going to be interesting.

I’ve been wondering why more of the clubs don’t do the crossing. To be honest, I stopped reading the message boards a couple of years ago but my sources haven’t mentioned any trips like that…and they would know…I love my sources. (The amount of information I have watched them accumulate over the years impresses the hell out of me. When they speak on a topic, I listen…they know what they are talking about.) The clubs seem to stick to Wood’s Hole, occasionally the Vineyard, the Race and sometimes something in ME…but never the bay…oops, I’ve digressed…

Friday I get a call from Carl…he has everything organized and is wondering how I feel about the trip. The wind predictions have dropped to about 10kts and are favorable...the sea state is concerning but is predicted to drop to 3ft in the bay and 4ft outside. I have paddled before with one of the folks and know his skills, the others I have not but Carl has and has said they have met the criteria to be included in the trip. I am comfortable making the crossing. A quick check of the weather Saturday morning confirms the storms have moved through and that the seas are at or below the predicted levels…we are going.

We launch from Gooseberry. There was surf on the Horseneck side of the causeway…there were consistent sets of 2ft surf curling around the point. 1/3 of the way the swells came…first 2ft…then 3ft and for a brief period of time 4ft (and yes there were a couple of 5ft swells). As we got near Cuttyhunk the swells gave way to 1-2ft cross-chop with 1ft surf at the beach.

The journey was epic for swells can be. One paddler gained my deep respect for how she handled her odyssey. We hit the boat launch at Gooseberry tired. A RICKA surf trip to Allen’s Pond is coming in at the same time. That is fun as well but I still like doing the crossing a bit more. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I am finished.

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