Friday, January 15, 2016

Not Much to Say

I set out from the feral cat park, made the short crossing to the top of Pope's Flat, and a second short crossing to the top of Long Island (this one not so long as that Long Island) and then I made my way down the east shore of the big river to the sea.

I spotted a familiar wing beat as I started, and even at great distance, because it was well over where Peck's Mill once stood, the white head and tail confirmed it to be a mature bald eagle.  Crossing one of the small channels, I flushed six buffleheads, evenly split between sexes.

I ride the river current down as the tide is near its lowest point and the minor wind is of little consequence.  It is a pleasant march of two hours during which I pass 3 boats, all oystermen.  They are small boats with crews of two or three.  Oyster dredging within the river has to be done by hand; no winches permitted.

boat remains

With the tide low, the contemporary spartina roots are at head level and stratification of who knows how many years is exposed.  In places, I also find the remains of things from a time when people could abandon stuff in the water.  Trying to figure out what I am looking at keeps me busy.  I find the rusted carcass of an engine sitting in the collapsed remains of a wooden hull.  Most of the finds are large timbers...remains of boat launches and mooring facilities.

1926 map...there's more than mud and marsh

Near the mouth of the big river, I enter Wheeler Marsh, which is often a maze of channels equally divided between dead ends and actual passages.  I have few decisions at low tide and paddle up the only likely route.  There is a height of land in marshes...and it is the crux of passage at low water.  I continue in, the water getting shallower bit by bit.  For a couple hundred yards I paddle in six inches or less, and then, bit by bit, it becomes deeper.  The current starts to go against me until I am out of the marsh.  Then I can ride it upriver to where I came from.

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