A great Martha’s Vineyard experience for your next Martha’s Vineyard vacation is Stand-Up paddle boarding (SUP) so I was duty bound to dive in head first, or not, and try it out for you. This day out on one of Martha’s Vineyard most beautiful water features did happen and no stunt doubles were used at any time.
Truth be told I’ve always preferred pursuing sports that involved a high percentage of sitting down; kayaking, biking, cricket, cards, Yahtzee obviously. So it was with a degree of trepidation that I agreed to my first outing in the field (well less field and more pond but I digress) of Stand Up Paddle-boarding (SUP).
We hooked up with the very cool people at Island Spirit Kayaking, with whom I had previously been kayaking many times, and had them kindly drop off paddle-boards at beautiful Edgartown Great Pond.
The Wilson’s Landing boat ramp on Edgartown Great Pond is an ideal location for SUPing or kayaking as it has, unusually for Martha’s Vineyard, plenty of parking! With Island Spirt Kayaks they will drop off the boards before your arrival and send you a photo of the boards so you know which ones to use.
Once on the board I set off paddling and inched my way tentatively out of Mashacket Cove and into the Edgartown Great Pond proper and then headed down the shore towards the barrier beach. I skirted along the shore in order to keep in shallow water in case of any novice board mishaps (cowards run in our family) and then crossed over Turkeyland Cove keeping an eye out for any water-borne Obamas. The day was foggy as you moved southward creating a very atmospheric mood as paddle boarders disappeared in front of me into the mist. The fog was to cause some hiccups on the return but more of that later. Edgartown Great Pond is an extremely large pond so there was plenty of space for all those out there boating, sailing, SUPing or kayaking and plenty of room for all the ducks paddling by. The size of the pond was to cause some hiccups on the return but more of that later.
Once past the Turkeyland headland I made one last cove traverse, this time Slough Cove, before deciding it was time to head back. If I had carried on past West Point I would have reached the beach, where there is a section that is public and only accessible via Edgartown Great Pond. I will save that for my next outing as this time around my arms were starting to feel the effects of paddling and I didn’t want to spend the night on the beach! With correct paddle-boarding technique I am reliably informed that the arms do less work and the “core” muscles do the majority. I have heard many people talk of these “core” muscles but I am yet to discover where mine are, and I can 100% attest that I have never experienced anyone uttering “cor!” when I have shown them my muscles.
So the journey back began and here’s where it got interesting. Let me say again Edgartown Great Pond is a very large pond and the shoreline looks remarkably constant and similar. Add that to the ghostly mist that was enveloping us and it may come as no surprise that we got lost. This is a serious point and a reminder to make sure to note identifiable points on the shoreline as markers for your return journey. The pond is 16 miles around its perimeter and 860 acres in size so be sure not to loose your bearings. We scooted right over Turkey Land Cove and then scooted right past our turning into Mashacket Cove and unknowingly kept heading northward toward the head of the pond. Fortunately we quickly realized that we were adrift of our route and then miraculously the mist lifted and bright blue skies helped us navigate back to Wilson’s Landing.
In total the 2 hour outing was absolutely perfect. My arms were tired but my ego was intact as I managed to avoid any falls from the board. That said I think I set an Olympic record for the slowest ever paddle boarder.