"Rough day for a canoe."
"Yeah, just getting in the water will be the hard part."
A 10 mph wind direct out of the east across 15 miles of open water is delivering 2 ft waves to the boulder shoreline that I launch from. I have prior knowledge that it is a tough place to swamp a canoe in wavy conditions. I load the canoe with my pack clipped to a lanyard. Then I put the canoe in the water broadside to the waves and stand helping it to roll over the larger steep faced ones. Then I start mentally recorded what the water looks like 50 yards out when it delivers large waves or relatively small waves. After a minute of this I time my move and hop quickly into the canoe dropping directly to my more stable kneeling position and paddle off. For the first half mile the waves come at my side. I glance over my left shoulder constantly watching for larger waves that might break over the gunwale. It all goes well, just a rolling ride. As I near Pond Point the waves start coming on the aft quarter. Then, at the point I swing just a bit into Calf Pen Bay and I am sheltered from the action. About halfway across the bay I start riding waves again, but the wave length is longer and easier to deal with. One last corner, Welches Point, where I get a few good long pushes from behind and then it is calm.
I wish I could write while in such waters, but I can't. As well, my camera remained in its waterproof box, having neither the time to take it out or to use it.
|The Railroad Bridge|
I ride a flood tide under the rusty decrepit (and closed) bridge into Gulf Pond. I have not been here since there was ice...much too long for my local water. The pond is calm enough and there isn't much to mention except that several great blue herons and egrets are up at the top of the lower pond. There is not much to add about the upper pond either. It is just nice plain paddling.
I duck the last road bridge and then ride the flood under the narrow railroad bridge. The opening is maybe 20 ft, so tide water backs up here creating a short stretch of rapids that changes direction with the tides. It is a foot drop in fifty feet, upriver. I've never seen anyone up here, which is probably due to the current or water level preventing easy passage for about 18 hours of the day. I slip through and am greeted by several egrets and several glossy ibises. Birds are often more numerous on this side of the bridge.
|Great egret and glossy ibis|
|Snowy egret and great egret|
This is the Indian River. It meanders at first through spartina, then through a mess of invasive phragmites. I flush birds at the bends...a yellow crowned night heron, then a least bittern. I'd never seen a least bittern and it surprised me because it had been perched up in the phragmites and not on the shore...which is a noted trait of that bird. When the trees begin to enclose the river I start spotting kingfishers, and some green herons and more egrets. I continue all of the way up to the fish ladder. I've not been here in more than a year.
|Nearing the fish ladder|
I take out at the railroad bridge and portage home. It's just a mile and I am fairly well certain that I would not be able to cleanly exit my canoe where I started. It is a nice walk.