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.
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.