wolftone (wolftone) wrote,

Minot Ledge, Den of Serpents

Minot Light

First off, it's not pronounced "min-oh" in the French style. The locals say something like "minnot". Either way, it's a spooky marvel of engineering. We approached Minot Light in heavy fog, relying mostly on GPS and compass readings to find it in the grey haze. Hidden by clouds, it suddenly appeared as if dropped into the open ocean by helicopter. youraverageninj and I had been warned about tides and chop, but decided to check it out anyway.

Though there is no island underneath the light, there is a shallow shelf. (In fact, the hazardous nature of Cohasset Bay is the reason this light was built. In the early days of the Republic, this rocky shelf was one of the most dangerous portions of the eastern seaboard.) Under more active seas, this shelf creates conditions rather like West Chop: 6 foot swells with crossing tides. We were favored by glassy seas, hence the nice reflection shots. But every once in a while an unpredictable motion of the sea would create a sudden breaking hump on the water at least as tall as our heads. We avoided these undersea landmines and enjoyed the view without any unwelcome capsizes.

Minot Light

Because our paddles are never complete without some strange technical mishap, we stopped for lunch on a rocky beach near the Little Harbor. A huge water volume enters and leaves the harbor through a small channel, creating a wicked 5-9kt tidal flow. As we ate our sandwiches, we watched the waves coursing over worn rocks and wondered how exactly we were going to escape. Eventually, a small lagoon off to the side of the main flow connected to the sea in a rising tide and we shot through some narrow channels. Mildly harrowing, but better than trying to fight the current.

route, 7.2 mi

Tags: kayak, lighthouse, south_shore
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