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Merrimack River Paddle

A fun paddle up the historic Merrimack River and back down again with the tide change. We will launch from Cashman park at 1:00 pm, a couple hours before high tide, and paddle across to the Salisbury side of the river to explore Town Creek.

Town Creek is a salt marsh that twists and turns for quite a while. We'll see how far we can make it up the creek with the incoming tide that floods the marsh. When we reach the end, we'll stop for a few minutes in a shady area under some trees and take a water break while remaining in our boats.

After back tracking and exiting from Town Creek, we will continue paddling up river, passing Ram and Carr Islands, and eventually making our way towards the popular "High Rock" swimming area. If time and tide permits, we may continue up the river a bit further to Lowell's Boat House, a national historic place and the oldest wooden boat manufacturer in the U.S., before we settle down for 
some fun at "High Rock."

We will exit our boats at "High Rock" for some swimming, diving and general relaxation while we wait for the tide to change. Bring a snack and some extra water to have while we rest up for the return trip down river.

Note: The only difficult part of this paddle is the short crossing of the busy Merrimack River. We should expect to encounter a strong incoming cross current, some wind, and possibly a few boat wakes. Due to the river crossing, we need to restrict this paddle to sea kayaks (i.e., boats with water-tight bulkheads front and back) with a length of 12' or greater.

On the river crossings, we will assemble into two groups with a balanced mix of paddling skills and experience. We will launch in two waves and in tight formation to increase our visibility on the water. We will time our river crossing to avoid any boat traffic, and we will paddle quickly to get to the other side ASAP.

Put-in Time: 1:00 pm

Location: Cashman Park, Sally Snyder Way, Newburyport, MA

Parking: Lots of free parking at Cashman Park; no launch fee for kayakers

Rest Rooms: Porta-Potty at Cashman Park near motor boat ramp

After the Paddle: Dinner at Michael's Harborside, just a short walk down the river.

AS A CONDITION OF ATTENDING THIS MEETUP, YOU AGREE TO: Hold harmless, and indemnify the organizers and their relations and heirs, and all members and participants of the Meetup group from any and all claims for injury, illness, death, and/or property damage including those caused by negligence, ignorance, inexperience and other reasons. You also agree to assume all mental, physical, financial, and/or other risk associated with this meetup. Kayaking, camping, hiking, bicycling, and other activities pose inherent risks and dangers. Participation in these activities is voluntary and dependent upon your own personal judgment.

As organizers we make no claims regarding any expertise for this outing. This is not a guided tour.

In the interest of safety, consuming alcohol before or during any Casual Kayakers event is not allowed.  Lifejackets (PFD's) are required when paddling with this group.







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  • Deb W.

    Four stars for all rescuers, and the unsuspecting capsizing victims! Thank you all for making it a safe paddle and lessons !

    August 13, 2013

    • Debra S

      capsized victims, George who did you try to drown. Umm, maybe its a good thing I couldn't be there you may have made be the victim. LOL!

      August 13, 2013

  • John K

    A great time with great people and I wanted to jump in right after bubbles jumped I wish I could post the picture opportunity I saw on bubbles face "Priceless" got my camera working Wohoo thanks George for hosting had a great time. I thought the change in venue on our return trip was an interesting time for a rescue drill. thank you to everyone for the assistance.

    August 13, 2013

  • Barbara (Auntie B.

    Thank u Maggie and Fiona for getting me to jump ! Many thanks / hugs to George :)

    1 · August 11, 2013

    • Maggie

      Likewise! It was fun! And yes, thank you George!

      August 12, 2013

  • Diane A

    Had a great time! What a beautiful day it was to be on the water. Thanks George for hosting!

    August 11, 2013

  • Ed. O

    Exciting paddle. Great day. Learned to stay away from docks and bouys when the current is strong.

    1 · August 11, 2013

  • Fiona

    That was an action packed paddle :). Thanks George for leading this group - I'd a brilliant time and met some wonderful people!

    1 · August 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    What a fun time, great to meet everyone... Thank you George for organizing this : )

    August 11, 2013

  • Todd

    I really enjoyed the day, a bit of a workout at times but lots of fun. I'm glad everyone was all right. Thank you George for doing this for the group.

    1 · August 11, 2013

  • Richard F.

    Fun and exciting

    2 · August 10, 2013

  • Debra S

    Looks like the stupid drunk that smashed into me last week on rt128 has not only totalled my vehicle but ruined my summer. Hope its not too late for someone on the waiting list to join in and enjoy tomorrow's paddle in my place.

    August 9, 2013

  • Ed. O

    George, I think high tide is around 2:35 in Newburyport. Does that give us enough time to take advantage of the incoming tide before it reverses? If we get a late start, we can be fighting the current on the upstream segment. I suggest reminding people to get their early enough to get the boats ready to launch at 1:00.

    August 9, 2013

  • Arlene

    Sorry, I can't make this one after all. Have a great paddle, and hope to see everyone soon.

    August 9, 2013

  • irene c.

    Hi I'm Irene fairly new at kayaking so I little nervous that some of these trips maybe a little over my skill level , also wouldn't want to slow the group down. I do have a Trident 13 Fishing Kayak seems to me a very stable boat . Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts about this , thanks irene

    July 16, 2013

    • George P

      A sit-on, fishing kayak would unfortunately not be appropriate for this trip due to the river crossing. The wider, flat bottom on this type of kayak makes it more subject to the effects of choppy water, boat wakes and river current because of the bottom's larger surface area. Also, as you pointed out, these boats are inherently slower due to their increased weight and beam width.

      1 · July 16, 2013

    • irene c.

      thanks for the information

      July 16, 2013

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