Wednesday, July 22, 2009

TACOS Bday Bumpkin Island Kayak trip

Pretty much everything that happened can be summarized by the map above. The red line signifies the first leg of our trip. This went reasonably well, and no one died. Then as we came around the corner into more of the open harbor the wind kicked up and we started the long open leg of the trip (Grey line, fun part; Pink Line, Treacherous Doom part). I ended up being about a half mile away from Lindsey because of the wind/wave direction. While she was yelling at waves and beating them back, I was pumping out water and struggling to stay above the waterline. My paddle-float ended up floating away (imagine that) and I scrambled to get to the nearest land, which happened to be hangman’s island. FML! I walked on shore to take a breather and flag down Lindsey, who came paddling over.

Apparently while I was off struggling on my own, a passing boater had a conversation with Lindsey and decided that she needed help, so he called the harbormaster. While the two of us were on this little tiny island taking a breather and being attacked by angry seagulls, the harbormaster and two of his assistants showed up. I swam out to meet him and explained the wind had kicked up and we were taking a breather. He offered to give us a lift the rest of the way. Since I was tired, I agreed to a ride. We pulled our kayaks up on his deck and he gave us a ride the last three miles or so (yellow Line). When we got to Bumpkin, we dumped the boats in the water and I jumped in after mine. This turned out to be a disastrous idea because about a half hour later I realized that my GPS was no longer attached to the clip in my PDF’s pocket, and was in fact probably at the bottom of the harbor just off shore from Bumpkin Island. FML again!

Steve got to the island just after we did. Thankfully we avoided taking our boats off the ferry with Steve and any other island campers standing there watching us. After being really pissed about loosing my $300 GPS unit for a while and setting up camp, and subsequently dragging all of our stuff to a different and much better campsite it was time for dinner.

Since we had thought ahead and had Steve bring Elise’s cooler with him on the ferry, we had some delicious chicken/pepper/onion kabobs marinating for us. The beach site we had moved to had two problems. It was insanely windy, and there was already an inhabitant. His name is Fred. To be able to cook dinner we needed to build a massive wall out of stones to block the wind from killing the fire. Once that was accomplished, we also found out that building a wall around your fire blocks the wind from removing the smoke from wherever you want to be at any moment in time, so cooking became more smoking, than grilling. It was delicious anyway.

Saturday we sat around and played with my new kayak sail that Lindsey bought me for my Bday and hung out at the beach skipping rocks. Steve decided that the park ranger was hot, so we should go on the nature walk she offered. The park ranger is also making wheelchairs out of vines all over the island. I think it’s mostly just for something to do, but there is a burned down hospital on the island so it has a little significance there. When we went over to find her, she was working on her wheelchair and in a rather intense phone conversation with her boyfriend (yes, there is cell service on the island) so we kept walking and did out own little exploration of the island. Steve found a dead body under a tarp just off one of the trails, so we just kept moving.

Anyway, the ranger and her friend who came out to visit on the island stopped by around dinnertime and told us about some plants we can eat, so we had a few. I added some to my pasta & meatballs, but I don’t think I added quite enough to get the spice taste in the meal.

Lindsey really wanted to go up to the point to look back at the city at sunset to get some pictures and be romantic and whatnot, so after dinner we ventured across the island again with wine and cameras in tow.

On our way back to camp we stopped by the ranger station to say hi and offer some wine & smores if they wanted to stop by our site. In sitting with them and shooting the breeze for a while, the ranger’s friend decided to inform us that she had been a ranger on the island the previous year, and told us all about this girl who came out to the island and was apparently on coke the whole time. She also got really excited about telling us how they wrestled on the beach, and she lifted the girl up and dropped her on the beach (head on rock) and it was crazy. We started to get the vibe that Steve didn’t really have a chance with this girl either….

Monday morning Steve hoped the ferry home to try to make it to work for the afternoon, and Lindsey and I packed camp and paddled over to hull. We decided we were lazy & tired and did not want to paddle 8 miles back to Boston, so we called my dad and asked him to pick us up after work. On my birthday my dad had to think about whether he would come pick us up after work, as it may interfere with his racquetball schedule. FML yet again! He made the right choice and came to get us.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TACOS - Lovell Island 6/20/09

It’s been way to long since I have done any BlogTACO-ing. Man, does spell check not like that word. A few weeks ago I managed to convince 5 unwitting souls to come out the Boston Harbor Islands Park with me. The park service claims there are 11 islands, but there are really 20+ Three of them allow camping; Lovell, Grape and Bumpkin. This trip we stayed on Lovell, and for my birthday weekend we were going to do Bumpkin and Grape.

We all managed to meet up for the ferry at a reasonable hour, and get out to the island without too much trouble considering the fact that Steve Li was wearing a snuggie for a period of time prior to out departure. We also met a lovely young gentleman named Bala, who was going to meet some of his friends out on Lovell for the weekend as well.

When we arrived at the island we were greeted by Chris and Kim, the park rangers who seemed very nice and were willing to put up with Ray Tong for the weekend. I had to book this site in February because in the summer of 08 I tried to book a site and the entire island was booked all summer, but due to the approximate 40 days and nights of rain leading up to our trip the only other campers on the island were Bala’s friends, and they were staying in the group site on the complete other side of the island. This meant we had our pick of the three sites on the beach. We chose to use all of them. Once became a seating area, one became a bocce court, and the third became our tent site. After setting up camp, Ray decided to claim a bladder of rum&coke and waste the afternoon drinking in his hammock or making weapons with me.

Please note that no matter what you may think at the time, a big brick tomb-looking-thing, three people and a bladder of wine does not constitute the building blocks for a fountain.

Around dinner time a few of Bala’s friends stopped by camp while surveying the island for a game of sardines that was to take place after sunset. After assuring them that we would not let Captain bring any weapons they invited us to play with them, and after a spirited debate we decided they had more booze so we could only win on this deal.

Elise and Jeremy stayed behind, and apparently one of them rolled around on the ground acting like a puppy of some kind while not speaking a word of English. (remember kids, boxed wine in moderation)

Sardiene’s was awesome. Exploring a fort in the middle of the night while drinking alcohol with very limited lighting, is a terrible idea, but also AWESOME!! Bala’s friends had also met up with Chris and Kim and all of us were enjoying a beverage by the fire on the beach as everyone wandered in. Once the wine was gone, and Cap’s bladder of rum and coke was destroyed, it was time to go back to our home site. Although we had done it in the daylight, walking a half mile, with inebriated friends, along a busted concrete pad on a beach in the middle of the harbor is a lot harder when one of you is practically dead to the world.

Just gimme a minute….

It is also worth noting that when reheating awesome chicken wings (thanks Elise) at 3am it is not nice to save the ones that get all ashy for Seamus because you don’t want to eat them. (thanks Lindsey and Ray)

At sunrise we were mostly all woken up by the wind blowing away our rain tarp and rain pelting the side of the tent. We just started to actually wake up and debate the ferry home, and decided that there was no way in hell we were making the 10AM which was to arrive momentarily, when Kim came wandering down the path in the “light mist” that had accompanied the whole morning and told us that the 10AM ferry would be the only ferry of the day, and it was sitting at the dock now waiting for us and that we had to go. NOW!

The only time I have packed a camp faster than that was when we camped on the Saco and our camp was so infested with Mosquito’s that we couldn’t leave the tent for the whole 12 hours or so we were camped.

Apparently the Ferry service was evacuating the
island at 10AM because the “light mist” was
building and was not supposed to get any better
all day. See graph, showing that wind built to
nearly 40MPH by that afternoon.

Short of some facebook stalking after we got home the trip ended rather uneventfully.