Boston Harbor Islands

Hi all. I was wondering if any of you has any experience paddling around this part of the world. My specific inquiry is weather or not it is feasible/safe for two Noobs with a 5 year old to get from Deer Island To Lovell Island in a couple of rec boats (12 and 14 foot Old Town Dirigos).

Bad idea, go Hingham Bay & World’s End

– Last Updated: Apr-07-15 12:25 PM EST –

The route you propose is tiotally unprotected and has you passing too close to major commercial shipping lines. A group of seasoned paddlers with sea kayaks and solid rescue skills would wait for good weather conditions for that trip. Your grouping is uttly inappropriate for that trip.

But Hingham Bay is extensively sheltered, and World's End keeps you away from the river mouth currents and boat traffic near Webb Park. Worth the drive towards Nantucket. There have to be launches over that way, municipal launches if not park docks.

Take the ferry
I agree with Celia - bad idea - very bad idea. If you really want to go out to Lovells, there is a ferry:

Local paddlers group

– Last Updated: Apr-07-15 12:38 PM EST –

Check out or if you're looking for local knowledge. Bumpkin or Grape Island, starting from somewhere in Hingham, would be better destinations until you get up to speed. Cohasset Harbor is a great place to paddle out of as well.

Thanks Guys
Yes, we are planning on taking the ferry over. We have a camp site on that particular island for a couple nights in June and it looks to be pretty close to Deer Island on the map. Things in the real world don’t usually look like they do on the computer though huh? Any real Ocean Paddling would be an adventure! I mostly paddle slow streams and ponds with an occasional outing onto Joppa Flats on my SOT. I can’t wait for the season to get under way!

Open water and long fetch

– Last Updated: Apr-08-15 9:58 PM EST –

Fetch as in the length of uninterrupted distance the wind has to blow and push water around with no barrier.

What the map shows is that there is nothing breaking up that wind for miles over the water before that crossing if you catch a wind coming in from a bad direction. And it has a shot at getting you going out and coming back, so the wind gets a double shot at being a problem. That is before considering an effect of tide - water can wrap around islands in an unpredictable way.

Measured distance is often not the most important factor in assessing the safety of an open water crossing.

Like Hull Gut !
or Bug Light Off Plymouth

Jack L

duly chastised

– Last Updated: Apr-08-15 12:02 PM EST –

To me it sounded like he was thankful of the warnings and was reconsidering his approach.

Interesting but not my thought process

– Last Updated: Apr-08-15 5:22 PM EST –

On what you seem to be chastising about, it is safe to say that you read the reply it with more certainty than me. But this time was not really the point. The awareness of other factors that can trump distance was. And while the posts higher up referred to there being risk factors associated with what the map shows, there was not much in the way of why for someone who doesn't already know.

I took out the last sentence...

celia, i did not take offense. Any knowledge is a good thing and you are correct: initially i was concerned mostly only with distance and was note akin things like tide and current or the “way the waves break both ways” or any of that (never even thought about it really). Thank you all for your advice. I’m sticking to my ponds and Joppa Flats!

Consider doing a tour
A tour may put you into a tandem which lacks the adventure aspect of a little single kayak, but it is a great way to see more open water in a supported way and get a sense of the “water’s eye” view of things. It can be surprising how much closer those little waves and swells from a motor boat look when you are at eye level. My husband and I got our feet wet that way, before deciding to get our own boats, and it was a totally worthwhile experience.

Your Next One…
Consider Grape Island. Launch form Avalon Ave beach/Quincy. Get you gear and boats ready at the beach, then pull you car into the MBTA Fore River Ferry parking lot, on the other side of the Route 3A rotary, where there are designated (paid) overnight slots. You have a fairly safe 3.5 mile paddle down Fore River (provided you stay out of the main channel, like you would at the Joppa Flats) to get to the tip of Webb Memorial Park (on a peninsula). From there, it’s quick dash across the relatively narrow Hingham Ferry Channel to get to Grape Island. Check the Hingham Ferry Schedule to make sure you don’t have a Ferry barreling down on you. Those ferries move fast and throw a pretty good (up 3’ high) wake. Grape island is a great launching pad to explore the different islands in Hingham Bay. The edge of the Hingham Channel and the channel between Grape and Slate islands can produce some nice stripers on the ebb and flow. (My first “Nantucket sleigh ride” was at the edge of the channel between Grape and Slate with a 36" striper hooked on with a tube and worm at dusk.)

The trip to and back from Grape can be made easier if you time it with the tide.