Completing the circle: Dana Gaines kayaks around the Island

On a perfect Vineyard day, he raises funds to save the Gay Head Light.

Dana Gaines off Squibnocket at 6 AM on Saturday, an hour after he launched his kayak off Aquinnah for his round the Island paddle. — Tad Thompson

On balance, having circled August 9th on the calendar back in early April based on the tidal currents and times, I could not have dreamed of getting better conditions overall. While the currents did not behave exactly as predicted early on, and put me a half-hour behind intended pace at Cape Poge (the half-way point), the strong ebb current later on from West Chop to Aquinnah more than made up for that deficit, upping my 5.5 mph average to 7.5 with no additional effort– that was a dream come true; due to the very light winds, the only thing lacking on that final 15-mile leg were following seas to surf, and kick the speed up even higher.

Final specs are: 52.48 miles, 9 hours 14 minutes start-to finish (including the 23-minute break ashore at Cape Poge), actual paddling time 8 hours 51 minutes. And mercifully, I was far enough offshore of the Summer White House not to be detoured further out into Vineyard Sound by the marine security detail!

Read more about the round-Island paddle.