Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Great Thaw

In the 40's today and the roads are almost clear of snow. This has been my longest stretch of 'not paddling' since I got my canoe. I put in at one of my two usual spots today, almost. The ice was too thick and I had tow, slide and pull the boat 50 yards to open water. It is a lousy ice as it snowed on top of a the 3/4 inch of good ice. So where the ice is thin enough to paddle through, it is soft and flexible, half slush, half ice. There is no cracking when it breaks, it just makes a shooshing sound as the canoe slides against the folding ice. The ducks are in larger than usual flocks out on the open water. The eagles were nowhere to be seen. Of note, there were five swan near the lunch counter. Sometimes swan have nested near there. These five took off when I got within 100 yards and their wings made a sound like that of a large flag flapping in a strong wind. They are so big! I picked trash from the north shore of the bay: Fourteen tennis balls (dog toys), a bocce ball, a childs play ball, some plastic and glass bottles, and some floatation foam. Tennis balls are the single most common and identifiable trash item that I see; they float (unlike most cans and bottles) and they don't biodegrade. I also hauled in a large inflatable lounge... it was a fight, yes, it was a fight to the finish, but the mighty beast was no match when I drew my well-honed Swiss Army knife and eviscerated the creature, dumping the gallons of water it had swallowed in an effort to defeat me. I'd like to take a moment to thank all the people of Switzerland... Thanks. In the photo - The marsh to the east of Foster Island, frozen over with rotten ice. By the end of todays trip, the light breeze had strengthened to a wind and it began to rain just as I left the water.

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