It has been three weeks out of the canoe, iced out of the inland waters, blown out of the salt water and dealing with other obligations on the few calm days that happened. I think about the weight of the canoe and my gear more than I normally would. Infrequent use makes the weight grow. But, I suppose due to the anticipation of the trip, the canoe springs to my shoulders without any effort and I go.
I look briefly at the snow packed steps that lead down the sea wall and decide that it is walkable with the canoe on my shoulders. Halfway down, which is entirely the wrong place to make such decisions, I perch on a couple small footholds, roll the canoe off of my right shoulder, pirouette it around to my left hip, and set it on the snow and slide it in front of me the rest of the way down.
I set out down coast.
I spot my neighbor, K, walking along the top of the sea wall. Her walking silhouette identifies her as surely as the forms of the sea birds that I know. We wave to each other.
Two black backed gulls disapprove of my presence and fly off from their island boulder.
A lone duck flies off as I try to zoom in on it with my camera to make an identification. The rapid twerping sound from its wings does the deed. It is a golden eye. (Buffleheads make the same sound, but their patterning is different enough that they are hard to confuse).
I slide under the rusty bridge on a good flood tide, an hour to go before peak. Lower Gulf Pond is ice free except for a few scattered blocks and the shallows near shore.
Again, the tide propels me under the middle bridge into upper Gulf Pond. Ice swirls in the eddies on the far side of the bridge. A bit more than half of the upper pond is open. I only have to break through a thirty foot section of styrofoam ice to get to the the top of the pond. It is soft and by running the bow onto it a half dozen times a passage is opened.
I have not been in the Indian River for several months. The narrow passage through the railroad bridge has a substantial current when the tide is rising or falling and entering means staying until that current subsides some. I think about it. And then I go through thinking to myself, "curiosity killed the cat".
|Killdeer. Lots of killdeer in the Indian River|
The creepy dead baby doll is where I've always seen it, submerged and mired in the mud bottom. But, since it seems to be settled deeper than normal, I decide to retrieve it. I could have done this long ago in 70 degree water, but no. It will be an Indian River specimen. It is packed with mud and weighs a ton.
Then, it is time to return from where I came.