Wareham Mass – Portaged the Canal and I am 23!


May 25, 2009 by Bethany

We are in Wareham Mass with Brandon and Cathy from Portland. It was great to see familiar faces yesterday! We are taking the day off since its memorial day and it was a good excuse to take a break and hang out with some friends.

Since our last post at the library in Scituate a few fun and tiring things have happened. The next day we awoke to yet another windy day. Luckily the inn keeper gave us a great deal and told us to use her convertible for the day and go sightseeing. We had a fun drive and went to Plymouth. Plymouth rock is a scam. Bethany also bought a dress because it is warming up!

The next day the wind had shifted to the north east which makes for a choppy ride but at least its was not a 20knot headwind. The paddle from scituate was hard and one of those days where you had to concentrate all day. The waves where not huge just really steep wind swell. We had to be alert because every now and then you would be in the wrong place at the wrong time and a wave would break over you. We ended up not getting to our mark because it was such a lousy ocean day and ended up on a public beach. Great. Jack and Maye were walking  by and told us to give them a call if the ranger wouldent let us camp somewhere around the area.  We sat and waited and waited for someone official to show up. When he did show up he said “absolutely no camping” and he would not even let us leave our boats in the park. We gave jack a call and he came and picked us up and Maye cooked us some food then we went to sleep in our tent. They were the nicest strangers we have ever met and they had great timing too!

Jack drove us back the water the next morning and we slogged along inside Plymouth bay fighting the tide and only going about 1.5 miles an hour. After crossing the bay we made our way down the coast towards the Canal. At about 3:30 the weather got weird. We called Cathy and said we will paddle about an hour more and then lets portage. As soon as we got back on the water… BOOM! Lightening everywhere. We hopped out of our boats and headed to the trees to wait. After waiting a little while we realized that the thunder and lightening was not leaving so we called Cathy back and said that she should come pick us up there. So Brandon and Cathy came and saved us from the storm and took us back to their parents house for a relaxing evening.

So yes we did portage the Canal/Cape Cod. It was not what we wanted to do but we messed up. A few weeks ago we contacted the National Park service on Cape Cod about camping in the park and explained the entire situation, trying to be the nice people that we are and ask permission. I ended up talking with the director of the park and he said “no you cannot camp anywhere in the seashore… if people saw your tent they might think that camping was permitted.” So I sent him another email explaining more of our dilemma like “I don’t think we will be able to paddle through the canal… we can set up our tent after dark etc…” We got another no. So moral of the story: if you want to kayak around Cape Cod just do it. Once again the adage “its better to ask forgiveness than permission” is true.

Our other option was to paddle through the canal. After talking with many power and sail boaters we decided the best bet for getting through the canal would be to simply do it, so we would not run into the same problem we ran into with Cape Cod.  After thinking about it though, they are more serious around the canal than cape cod. You are dealing with Coast Guard, Army Corp, and people with guns and anti-terrorist mindsets because of all the important boat traffic through there.  A few days ago Mike Simpson of Osprey Sea Kayak in Mass contacted us and said it was “definitely a bad idea to poach the Canal.” He said some people make it through fine, others they stop and they don’t just give you a pat on the hand, they take boats, hold them, and will prosecute to the full extent of the law.  A bad time. He said he had friends who manage the canal and don’t do anything until we hear back from him because he would try to get us a escort through the Canal. Ok we could deal with that! He calls us back and said there was no way the Army Corp could do that for us because it is Memorial day weekend and the coast Guard is on the Highest Terror alert so all the boats and people are doing whatever they do and could not divert anything to us…

So we sat and thought about the situation and either way we would be breaking the law/rules… If we paddled around the Cape they would know we would be coming and we could not claim ignorance if we ran into a ranger. If we paddled through the canal we would surely get caught and who knows what would happen. The best option was just to portage. Brandon and Cathy were willing to pick us up where we were and now we sit below the Cape and ready to go!


2 thoughts on “Wareham Mass – Portaged the Canal and I am 23!

  1. Brandon and Cathy says:

    It was great to see you guys again. We hope you enjoyed your stay at chez Hartley.

  2. Susan Meares says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAN Love ya bunches, Susan

Comments are closed.


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