Cape Ann Kayaking

July 24th, 2004

Our first trip as members of the Mass Miata Club began on a hopeful note, the forecast was for rain, but we were dry and the sky looked like it was brightening. We left our house near the Cape Cod Canal at 9 am with the top down, but 15 minutes later at the town line we raised it back up. We hit torrential rain showers and huge puddles on Rt. 93 through Boston.

It was still raining when we arrived at the Beverly Rest Stop. Dick and Jane were already there and warmly welcomed us. As the rest of the group arrived the atmosphere became more festive.

We began the road trip with our tops up. We were in Manchester when the sky brightened. The group all stopped and we all put the tops down. We continued along the shore through several towns with spectacular views, gorgeous homes and enviable landscaping. What a kick it was to have people on the streets stop and gape at all the Miatas’ driving by!

We stopped on Stacy Blvd. in Gloucester and strolled down the road and saw the Fisherman’s Wives Memorial and the Fisherman at the Wheel statue along with shoreline views. The perambulation allowed us to meet and talk with more of the group and we even got a group photo in front of the memorial.

Then back to the vehicles and on with the tour. Lots of winding, twisty roads with more beautiful views that we love to drive our Miatas’ on. One interesting highlight was a rather large puddle which stopped the group in its tracks. It was quite amusing that this fun-loving, adventurous group, which was going sea kayaking later in the day, was stymied by a 4- inch deep puddle! But, never fear Jim and Deb Gillis plowed through first and then Oliver and Sharon raced through sending up “fish-tail” sprays of water, and the group continued on.

Another interesting side note is that we became separated from the tour after losing sight of the cars in front of us and rescuers were dispatched immediately. What great and thoughtful organization this club has!

We stopped at the famous Woodman’s of Essex where we all ate hearty portions of delicious seafood and again enjoyed good camaraderie. Then off to Essex River Basin Adventures to work off our meal. It began with all of us getting fitted to kayaks, life vests and “skirts”. We had some vital instructions from Ozzie who informed us that one in eight will tip their boat and assured us that they would be safe with them.

By the time we reached the launching area, the sun was beginning to shine. We were really going to have a spectacular sunset cruise! It was an absolutely beautiful kayak tour. There were no bugs, a slight breeze and interesting twists and turns on the river. It was serene on the water and the group spotted a great egret, which is a large, stately and slender white heron and a kingfisher. The paddling was fun and not too strenuous and we heartily thanked our guides after the tour and several headed off to Periwinkles for a late snack and nightcap.

It was a memorable introduction to a great club and we look forward to sharing many more good times with this fun-loving and adventurous group. Special kudos to Jim and Deb Gillis and Rob and Rachel Smelstor for planning such a fun land and sea adventure!

Respectfully submitted by Jim & Marcia Hickey

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