Monday, September 13, 2010

Here fishy fishy

Between launching renters and cleaning boats on Sunday I fished. In truth I didn't expect to catch anything, despite a few pictures I would starve if left to my fishing.

I caught this Shiner first. They have been feeding on huge schools of minnows and often get trapped in the grass after high tide. On the next cast after this picture was taken, something sucked this guy off my hook

I kept trying to catch the Perch that are all over the place but they would only strike the lure but not take it.

I caught this baby Bluefish a little later in the day.

Shortly after I caught a baby Striper and that was the last fish I caught though the river continued to be active well into the outgoing tide.

Monday, August 2, 2010

and a dog named Blue

Blearily we arrive at the shop shortly after 6am. The Coalition for Buzzards Bay is having their swim and we are safety boats. Adam meets us at the shop unexpectedly. He flew into Boston Friday night, took the train to Providence and a taxi to the shop. He has been waiting since 4. His day is going to be longer than ours.

The swim has gone well and we are moving on to the rest of our day. Rentals are strong and I have a private coastal instruction. We head to East Beach. The seas are up, Allen's Pond is emptying and the client is ready for the challenge. I love introducing people to 1-2 foot seas. It is all about decision making, alternatives and pushing boundaries/skills. The SUP team is competing in a race around Aquidneck at the same time (they finish in just under 12 hours).

Sunday Team OSKA is at it again. Renters and more are ready to get out and enjoy the day. Caffeinated, I am set for another class. Adam, the pro from Greenland is joining me for a Basic Strokes and Rescues class. It is supposed to be out front at the Gooseberries but the wind is a little high and people are fishing where I want to be so we switch to the harbor.

The water is clean, fresh and incoming. The students are excited and ready. We work on skills and experience as we travel to Canoe Rock for lunch. We are all having fun. Lunch is short and it is time for the rescues so we hop back into our boats briefly. The wind is up and changing direction, the harbor choice is proving perfect as is the sandbar we are training over. 

The class continues up the West Branch to Adamsville. The students are exhausted but happy when we get to the van. The tide has turned and with the wind they were able to see how it effects them and learn they are now capable of handling it. The shop has been active and of course there is a dog named Blue visiting for the day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Say It Aint So

White flickers in the sky over the highway picked out by the morning sun. Snowy Egrets are flocking, heading into the marsh to feed. A Plover flops around on the sand pretending injury. It draws our eyes from the ping pong ball sized fluff on stilts that are its young as they cruise across the beach to the safety of the dunes. A man and his children walk across the packed dirt soccer field as my train rumbles past. He sends his dog out after a flock of Canada Geese who freak as they scramble into the sky. Several other flocks of geese watch from the river. Great Blue Herons surround a marsh pool deciding which morsels will be their appetizers.

Migration is starting to happen. Hot as it may be and hard as it is to admit there are few weeks of summer left, one of the better times to be on the water is here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


8AM on a Sunday morning the tide is coming in and the sun is beating down. The river is brown with sediment kicked up by yesterday’s storms up river. Small fish and eels roil in the water as something larger comes calling, never quite breaking the surface itself. I am casting…hoping to catch whatever is cruising unseen. Luther eyes me as he wanders up, hugging the canal walls. He is looking for something easy to eat and watches me and my lure. He hops up on the granite ten feet away, examines my fishing technique for a bit then takes a nap, unimpressed. Cormorants are masters at fishing, I am not.

Luther’s sleep is deep, undisturbed by our setting out boats and prepping for a SUP class. He wakes again when the tide laps against his feet. He eyes us once more before settling back into the water for a final circuit of the landing and a mosey up river. He is an older, experienced bird sharing one last morning with us.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Run of the Charles and Herring Run Race

The Osprey Sea and Surf Team has officially throw their hats into the Stand Up Paddle Race scene. Will Rich and I did the 19 mile course with 6 portages through the streets of Boston Suburbs. Mimi did the 6 mile race and was the only woman to enter the paddleboard division. She beat 3 men to the finish and received 1st place womans. Will and I survived the 19 mile course finishing 1st and 2nd with awesome times! Mimi was only 20 min behind guys with displacement hull boards. Way to go girl! Hank and Marion Simpson met us at the finish with food and drink.

The Herring Run Race took place on the Mystic River. Will and I did the 12 mile course and Ami and Rachel joined the team with Mimi on the 3 mile course. All of us were real fast even with the stiff head wind.Way to go Ami and Rachel on your first race ever!

The next race is June 12 at home here on The Mighty Westport River East Branch. Following that Will and I are doing The Blackburn Challenge. That is a 20 mile race around Cape Ann. July brings the Aquidneck Island Circum-Navigation 38 miles. We are going to do that one as a relay. Last year I solo'd that one but I want to share the pain with friends...
We are also planning a down wind run from Block Island to Little Compton. A full moon run of the Elizabethan Islands. Also a Run from Westport to Nantucket Island. Stay tuned for our adventures.
Times:Charles River 19 mile
Mike~3:29:20 1st
Will~3:57:23 2nd
Time:Charles River 6 mile
Mimi~1:45:08 1st
Times:Mystic River 12 mile
Mike~2:24;43 1st
Will~2:54;00 2nd(un-official time)
Times:Mystic River
Mimi~1:09:37 1st
Rachel~1:19:00 2nd
Ami~ 1:19:00 2nd

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Races

In the next day ,be on the look out for an update on what the Crew has been doing out on the Stand Up Paddle Race scene. I'll post some times and a brief follow up on how we did.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

24 mile Osprey Biathlon

Just after 7 I stepped onto the paddleboard and headed towards the harbor. The sun had been above the horizon for a little bit and was still lower than the trees, the sky held the last colors of dawn. Birds were everywhere and fish swirled the water. There are very few ways to have a better start to the day.

I was starting a little earlier than planned and had to step towards the nose of the board to ensure the fin cleared the bottom until I reached the channel. A fisherman reeling in a Striper and I nodded to each other. The sun soared into the sky and I started hoping for a little wind.

The incoming tide slowed my progress but once I hit the harbor it pushed me along well enough. The North/East wind was strong enough to cool me down as I passed the 88 bridge on schedule. Music thumped in my ears. My iPod sat in my backpack piping out the tunes that kept me motivated. Hix Bridge soon passed as did my first wind. I dug for my second one and was thankful the breeze was light.

The shop came into sight and I breathed a sigh of relief. 12 miles finished and another 12 to go but it was time for lunch and a rest.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Into the surf with Brian

So there I was... just home from a day at the shop when into my driveway rolls Brian Day! He was cruising in the P&H/Pyranha rig looking something like a huge multicolored hedge hog, boats sticking out everywhere. We sat down to plan out the next few days. What do you want to do? says I. He comes back with, lets go boatin. The surf was up and so was the wind, Do you surf? I asked. not yet, he replied. Lets go! I think he might still be trying to figure out what just happened. He had a great time, going down the line and cutting back in no time, the waves were perfect. We stuck him in a Watertech 666 a fast forgiving IC boat and cut him loose. Mike was on scene coaching from his SUP, I was trying out a new to us surf ski, the Infinity Stinger, which was great fun and we had an incredible day. In the afternoon we changed locations and I got back into my Lucifer, love that boat! from the sound of it Brian is about to retire from river boating and take to the surf, he left here a changed man. Sorry Jim.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


They are predicting good weather and perfect tides for this weekend. It’s time for an Osprey Biathlon. I visualize getting on the paddleboard and grinding against the tide and wind to the harbor then swinging left to the bridge. I can see the sights and feel the morning sun even in my cubical. 3 hours to cover 12 miles…I pass under Hix Bridge my shoulders ache and my abs are a little sore. Pulling into the shop I nearly fall over. My body sways in my chair as I plant the paddle in the water and push my feet past it in my mind.

Having dropped food and gear at the shop I power through lunch and get my kayak ready for the return trip. Time and tide wait for no man. I’ll be fighting the wind on the way back and I’ll have another tight schedule. Muscles are tight and my shoulder complains at being pressed into service again. I can almost feel the twinge as the morning sun floods my office through the blinds. The kayak slices through the water faster than the board glided over it and I find my pace quickly.

I see Hix for the second time. The wind has swung to the SE so I am fighting it. I drop my head and dig in. Soon the 88 Bridge is passing over my head. My body is protesting. Static office life is not conducive to this effort but the gym is paying off. My breath is labored and my breaks are lasting a little longer than I prefer.

The outgoing tide makes getting into Adamsville a little more difficult. If I take too long there will be no water at the landing. Even so, I make it to my truck. Lifting the boat onto my roof will be a task, I’m tired.

This is the plan anyway. Perhaps I will actually be able to accomplish what I am setting out to but either way it will be me, music and the water. This time I will apply sunscreen to the backs of my hands.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Salem flows past my truck's windows, tunes blasting out of the speakers. I haven't taken this route since I went to college. I am conducting a postmortem on yesterday's class. It was the first time I have taught with Carl in a long time and I am recalling how much fun that is.

Turning onto a tree lined street, memories surface of racing through commuter traffic to my first class of the day music cranked on the tape deck. Yesterday one of the students taught skills in the fashion I experienced when I first started kayaking. Times have changed and the skills are approached differently but I smile in nostalgia. There is progress in my current teaching techniques. Carl's have advanced as well and there is more to respect about his abilities.

The Dresden Dolls are covering "Pretty in Pink". I barely passed Economics and Business Math twenty years ago at the South Campus not 200 yards to my right. There is a little more pride in how yesterday went. I can only find 2 times when what I said was more superfluous than I prefer. My poorest decision of the day was ignoring the little voice that said the back of my hands should get sunscreen. They are red with a burn.

Walking into Whole Foods, I hear Modern English singing "...I'll stop the world and melt with you."  I am happy with how my past and present are blending.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The singer howls, guitars thunder and I am hit by more wind. I see it coming, the dark catspaws running across the water at me. My forward momentum is stopped cold but I grit my teeth and add more crunch to the paddle stroke. Music urges me onward. The “breeze” is stronger than predicted and the runoff does not help against the incoming tide. Another song starts. My brain is filling with sound which translates into energy and I grind onward. When the endorphins kick in this will be one of the most fun days I have had on the water in a while.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The sun was out, there was a slight south west breeze and the tide was rising. Perfect for a Stand Up trip down the mighty Westport. A baby turtle, Osprey, Kingfisher, Red-winged Blackbirds and frolicking goats (it is the season for frolicking you know) were sighted. Rains and tides had scoured parts of the river and the landing will need a little cleanup...but the shop opens soon and the season is here!

Monday, March 8, 2010

SUP'n was up Sunday

I had been hoping for a day like this, one of those that remind us spring is around the corner, it’s time to shake off the hibernation and seek out of doors activities. 

Warm sun at the house didn’t quite prepare me for a sea breeze at The Landing but I should have known; it’s March. Surprisingly the water was not that cold all things considered as Carl and I jumped on the boards and headed out for some exercise. The breeze and chop didn’t slow us much as we headed over to the rocks off of Brigg’s, wind swell pushing through made for some fun close in. Small waves pushed us to shore. Carl ripping it up, me…I chose a more sedate course in. 

I need more days like this.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Carl, Sam and I are hanging out in the hallway before the pool session when this sticker is noticed. Apparently it is a real product...we have not tested it or even seen it, but there is a web site for it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Its Pool!

The music is thumping in the background but I am not paying any attention to it. There is a pool session in an hour in Providence. I need to organize, gather focus and drive at the same time.

Changing into trunks and walking into the hot, humid pool area doesn’t kick off any of the adrenalin I normally feel while teaching. That doesn’t hit until after Carl’s intro when my focus crystallizes on the task ahead. Someone is pushing their limits today and I get to be part of that. This is way too much fun.

"Why are you taking my picture Hugh?"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Emerging from hibernation

A long and busy 09' season followed by the holiday hubbub left Carl and I  drained and ready for some quality downtime so, we hunkered down in LC for some well deserved R&R. We have dubbed 2010 the year of the seal since, most days have included stand up paddle trips around Sakonnet to play with our sea dog buddies & cruise the coastline. We've also had some good sleddin', plenty of beach walks, and a couple of good ole fashion brush burnin' parties. The Ladd residence is getting some overdue maintenance and TLC that should keep us busy through the rest of the winter. 

Groundhogs Day is the signal for us too to crawl out of our winter den. Unlike Phil, we have to get going now to create another year of  paddling adventures and good vibes. February kicks off our 2010 season with Pool classes scheduled every Sunday afternoon in Providence. Be on the look out for The Rhode Island Surf Kayak (RISK) Session to happen on one weekend this month. We'll keep info posted on our website and you can also check out as wave forecasts will determine the specific day of the event. Even if your not a surfer this is a great event to watch from the beach. This years RISK session will be at South Shore beach in LC. Hope to see y'all there!

Sam Ladd 

Monday, January 11, 2010

um....It's cold

“Who’s up for SUP’n tomorrow?” Sam asked the crowd. Everyone’s hands went up. It was a winter gathering of the Osprey crew.

Morning came quickly when the house filled with people gearing up for the fun. We loaded the snow covered boards on David’s car and the Ladd truck. The plan, while we were warm and dry and drinking our coffee, was to put in at Lloyd’s, paddle around Sakonnet Point and take out at Surfers. That was the plan.

The wind trying to tug the boards out of our hands made the 13˚ temps a little less bearable. It was a toss up whether those of us in drysuits or winter wetsuits were colder. The put-in was suddenly callisthenic ground zero as attempts were made to warm up. Soon enough the 7 of us were on the water heading downwind at a fair clip. Small wind swell accompanied us…no seals were in sight…or birds for that matter.

Ice formed on my gloves and I was happy I had let my beard grow when we came around the point and faced the daunting task of heading upwind.