Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thacher Island Kayak Adventure


It’s been a true blessing to have grown up with a commanding view of Thacher Island. The twin lights. (due to circumstances somewhat beyond my control, I’ve had to return) Anyway, as a kid I drew endless pictures of it, the 2 lighthouses, each building & shed, the rocks, etc.

In college in VT, daydreaming in Logic class, I could draw a near perfect rendition of the island as seen from my house by memory. What better way to kill 50 minutes?

It fascinated me that the towers are on an exact north-south axis. The north tower was extinguished during WWII, it was such a land mark and Uncle Sam didn't want to make things any easier for the U-boats. Also, any U-boat kapitän worthy of his iron cross could (and did) true the boats compasses at night. After the war they never re lit it. Wild stuff for a 8 year old back then.

But before I bore you with yet another history lesson...

I went there once, in 1982, the last year of it being a Coast Guard Station. My friend Tim & I went there on his dad’s 14’ Boston Whaler, we pulled it up the ramp, walked through the garage/gatehouse, and were summarily asked to leave after a quick stay. The Coasties ware nice enough, just doing their job.


Since then the island has become a National Wildlife Refuge open to the public. Acres of bull brier and poison ivy have been cleared for footpaths. You can he North Tower. The boom in kayaking locally has made it a favorite destination for paddlers.

My brother who lives even closer to the island that me has a kayak, it was an impossibly hot day, so it hit me, I’ll take the Kayak out. As an extra Bonus, his (often) darling daughter miss K. joined me.



The paddle out went quickly, I can’t describe the excitement as the twin towers loomed closer and closer. The image of the island was stamped in my mind, from 40 years of seeing it from one distance; it seemed oddly different, as it got closer. Keep paddling!

We got there, having been there a few time before, miss K. knew what to do, which was good, since I sure didn’t. Kayaks go on the flat concrete slab, silly. We pulled it up the ramp, walked through the garage/gatehouse, and were summarily welcomed for an enjoyable stay. The keepers were nice enough, just doing their job.


Walking around the island, I learned a few things:

• Thacher Island More wooded than I thought, lots of my favorite tree, Wild Black Cherries - Prunus serotina, Sumac, and even an Apple Tree!
• Gulls are very aggressive – this is their house, don't go near the nest, difficult since they are everywhere.
• left point break on south tip – I’m, gonna surf that long, peeling low-tide break.
• The tower! Wow – a sacred experience.
• When I have my house I’m doing my kitchen floor like this, in honor of this special place, it should be simple:


• My Niece is growing up, she has poise beyond her years, she’s going places,
• I see the place differently now


See all my photos from that day:

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