It was not as ambitious as Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition to find a route to the Spice Islands in 1522, and certainly not as dangerous. But Dana Gaines of Edgartown and his two friends, John Karoff from Milton and Tucker Lindquist from Ipswich can nevertheless be credited with plenty of pluck and explorers’ ambition for completing a circumnavigation of the Vineyard in kayaks in a single day last Saturday.
The three men began their adventure at the Eel Pond in Edgartown at 5:50 a.m. and paddled clockwise around the Island, finishing back at the Eel Pond at 5:30 p.m.
“With a 40-minute lunch break at Dogfish Bar (Lobsterville), our actual paddling time was 11 hours and four minutes,” Mr. Gaines wrote in an e-mail to the Gazette. A well-known Island graphic artist, Mr. Gaines is an experienced rower and kayaker. His log continued:
“The total distance on the GPS was exactly 55 miles, at an average speed of five miles per hour. Conditions were challenging for the first leg out to Cape Pogue at dawn, with a 10 to 15-knot north wind putting seas on the port bow, but once around the cape, it was a dream with tailwind, following seas and a favorable ebb current down to Wasque Point. By then, the wind had diminished to maybe five miles per hour north, which rendered the ocean calm enough to allow for a straight offshore shot to Squibnocket (as opposed to hugging the coastline, which would have added a full mile to the distance).
“We reached Squibnocket at 11, Aquinnah at noon, and took our break from 12:20 to 1 p.m. — as the clouds parted, sun came out, and the wind shifted to light southwest, giving us the ideal conditions up Vineyard Sound: tail wind, following seas and a roaring flood current. We were able to ride the flood beyond West Chop, reaching East Chop just after high slack. From there, our speed slowed as the current turned and we took the southwest wind over the starboard bow — but neither was that strong, so the final five miles were pretty easy!”
Mr. Gaines said according to his information he and his two friends were not the first to paddle around the Island; he said he spoke to David Duarte who made the journey solo sometime in the 1990s.
“He doesn’t remember his time, only that he ‘wasn’t in a hurry,’ ” Mr. Gaines wrote. “So while we are not the first to do this, we are no doubt the fastest!”