Saturday, July 20, 2013


A few days of too-hot-to-canoe weather have passed and I set my new canoe in the salt water out in front of the house with a steady SW wind and overcast skies.  A haze lays low on the water, the surface fog of very hot air against cool water.  An oysterman works his nearby allotment while a handful of sailboats bear NE farther out.  It is the industrious hour - far too early for the push button motorboat drivers, this is time when people who need to mind the weather or seek the refuge of quiet are about.  And it is quiet, except for the barely audible putting of a sailboat motor some two miles off.

I don't pause until I get to Gulf Pond.  The wind was steady in my face and rising in speed by the time I passed the last point.  Up until now, I have been programming myself to the canoe, feeling its yaws and pitches and rolls as the foot high chop passes under...coding what normal is.  The phrase, "child of nature" surfaces for no particular reason. 

It is part of a quote from Pierre Trudeau, "Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature".

Indian river

I paddle up Gulf Pond in a high and still flooding tide and then ride the current into the Indian River.  High tide is not best for birding here, the waders preferring the shallow low tide waters.  But, I see three black-crowned night herons, a few great egrets, a couple of snowy egrets, a kingfisher, a dozen sanderlings with a spotted sandpiper, and a mess of marsh wrens.  My passage is blocked a few hundred yards upstream of the footbridge by a tree that has fallen.  As I return back down the pond, I spot a kingfisher diving into the water at a reckless speed from a reckless height.  It comes my way...not a kingfisher at all, but a least tern.

Snowy Egret (smaller egret with a black bill)

Back in the salt water, the return trip is with 1 to 2 foot waves coming from the side, right quarter or behind.  The boat handles well enough, but better than how it behaves in the water, it behaves well in the wind drifting much less than my other canoe.


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