Thursday, March 21, 2013

Boat with a Heater

It's cloudy with a sun that barely burns through high clouds, an visual effect that becomes arctic with the cold dry snow that slowly falls seaward.  The wind is out of the north for the most part, but somewhat onshore and I paddle into it and the chop that is something less than a foot.  I dig into my pack and pull out my gloves, my fingers going uncomfortably cold in air that dangles just above freezing.  

At the first point, the one with numerous rock islets, I pause, protected from the wind.  There are few birds around today.  Gulls and brants for the most part.  None of the long tailed ducks that I've seen here before, and I know that things will begin to change as the migration comes on, but maybe that is a week or two off, yet.  I suppose that it has started for some.

The snow stops and then begins again.  I decide to continue on up to the Oyster River, which lies in the next cove.  As I round the point, I spot four swans in the distance.  We have the introduced mute swans in this area, but this is also a flyway and trumpeter swans migrate through at this time.  I close and see that with the obvious orange bills, these are mute swans.

As usual, in these winter conditions, I have the water to myself, and for that matter, I almost have the shoreline to myself, seeing just a couple people during the whole trip.  But farther out to sea, the clam boats are running their dredges.  I count seven within view.  I also count four loons, although they are too distant to determine their specie, and it is too cold to bother with paddling nearer.  But, low in the water with their big head held forward as if they were intent on going somewhere...they are loons.

I near the mouth of the Oyster River and find the water too low to enter without a portage.  The tide is about half height at this time, so the Oyster River will be a high tide trip much like my Indian River trips...entering as the tide nears high, and leaving within two hours on the ebb.  

I turn back.

Nothing happens except that a carpenter, working on one of the storm damaged houses, yells to me, "Does that boat have a heater in it?" 

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