Westport River - East Branch - April 28, 2012

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norm
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Location: Stoughton, MA

Westport River - East Branch - April 28, 2012

Postby norm » Thu May 10, 2012 10:30 pm

The weather had been pretty windy all week and Saturday's forecast seemed to be more of the same. Boston tides were low at mid day, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to paddle somewhere on the south coast, so I posted a trip for the Westport River. I wanted to do a good number of miles because there was a chance we might be trying a 20+ mile trip around Monomoy Island soon.

The East Branch of the Westport River is about 7.5 miles long measured from the Route 88 bridge up to the Osprey Sea Kayak shop, so a round-trip would be a nice 15 miles. The wind was supposed to be coming from the west all day, but that forecast proved to be wrong.

Sandy and Sue were planning to join me. Sue and I car-pooled from a park-n-ride lot and arrived at the state boat ramp very early. Thankfully, Sandy was very early also and we didn't have to wait long in the chilly morning breeze. While we started to get ready, about six more cars with kayaks on top rolled into the parking lot. A group of RICKA paddlers were planning to launch at Gooseberry Neck but changed their plans due to the weather and planned to launch from the ramp also. We said hellos and all continued to load our gear in the boats, but then a trailered power boat arrived and rushed things along. Sue, Sandy and I were ready to go so we left while the Ricka paddlers moved their boats aside so the power boat could launch.

Sue used her Greenland boat and paddle.

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Sandy impressively managed to get into her boat from the high dock. Notice the kayaks in the background on the ramp.

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The wind was supposed to be from the west all day, but we found that it was coming straight at us from the north making the first five miles quite a workout.

There is always bird wildlife on the Westport. The first nest we saw was occupied but the osprey was staying low and almost out of sight.

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There were plenty of swans around all day. None of them showed any aggression...

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Most of the trees were still leafless, but the dogwoods were blooming. I like dogwoods.

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Heading upriver there was enough water in the lower part of the river that we didn't have to follow the channels.

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There is still a good amount of farmland along the river as well as many beautiful houses. These houses have a nice horse pasture between them and the water.

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Another nice dogwood tree.

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After about 5 miles, the river thins and it got quite shallow. The marsh grass was high but still brown.

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I don't know much about birds but I haven't seen many cormorants till now.

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I love how those big swans run across the water as they take off.

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There were plenty of osprey circling around all day.

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This house caught my eye. I don't know if it was the color scheme or all the nooks and crannies in the architecture, but it seems like it could be a demo house for a window and door manufacturer.

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It was nice that the wind disappeared in the tight areas of the upper river, but it was replaced by shallows where each paddle stroke was kicking up mud from the bottom. My plan was that we'd be riding the tide up and back on this trip, but I didn't realize the tide in upper section is 2 1/2 to 3 hours behind the tide at the mouth of the river.

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Another nice house on a smaller scale.

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Farmland near the top of the river with an opening in the fence for access to the river.

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There was an animal scurrying around on a wall at the edge of the river. I think Sue said she thinks it was a woodchuck.

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I wonder if they made this fence out of stone to protect it from woodchucks...

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The small houses at the top of the river across from the Osprey Sea Kayak shop.

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We stopped at the landing behind OSK and took our lunch break there.

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We sat on the grass leaning against the rocks in the park area while eating lunch.

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Our lunch break lasted a full hour. The OSK shop was not busy at all, so I think all of us had coversations with Samantha Ladd at one time or another. Sam told us the water levels have been pretty low this year.

On our way back down-river, Sue followed a swan till it took off.

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The wind shifted again and was now from the west rather than from the north, so we tried hugging the western shore to get a little shading from the land. Sandy had a problem with her skeg, so Sue gave her some help getting it partially deployed manually.

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This power boat had quite a nice lift system at the dock, revealing a long keel in front of the propeller.

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Did I say I like dogwood trees?

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The perfect house for Bea and Russ...notice the tennis court in front of the indoor pool house...

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And a nice sandy beach in the sun for Bea.

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Also for Bea, I picked out the house I thought she would choose as the affordable Wild Turkey Paddler clubhouse.

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As we got to the open water at the bottom of the river near the route 88 bridge, the standard afternoon southwest wind was in our faces and the tide was flowing in the opposite direction kicking up a little wave action.

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I had read that there is a strong current near the boat ramp and we managed to find it on our way to the take-out. Sue got to find out how her Greenland boat handles with broadside waves washing over the deck and had no problem at all.

It was a good solid workout paddle most of the day. Originally I had thought about extending the paddle to more than 15 miles, but with the wind in our faces all day, 15 miles was plenty. I think I was asleep within an hour of arriving home.

Here is a topo map of the area with our track highlighted.

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A few specs from the trip:

Launch time: 10:24am
Lunch time: 12:50pm 7.86 miles
Take-out time: 4:26pm
Total Distance Paddled: 15.65 miles


Thank you Sue and Sandy for coming out for a good workout paddle.

Norm

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kayakerjnj
Posts: 2691
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:12 pm
Location: Randolph MA

Re: Westport River - East Branch - April 28, 2012

Postby kayakerjnj » Fri May 11, 2012 5:48 am

Great report Norm!

It's such a pretty route, but I can relate to slogging it out on the Westport on those days the wind and the tide didn't quite favor us.

Thanks for sharing!
Paddle with a big smile, its contagious :D


Jordan

NorwayLady
Posts: 1300
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:03 pm
Location: Marshfield, MA

Re: Westport River - East Branch - April 28, 2012

Postby NorwayLady » Fri May 11, 2012 7:46 am

Great report, Norm.

I like the Wild Turkey Club house you picked out, and the nice new home for Russ and me! Perfect!

Bea
Bea
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