On Saturday I took my final kayak trip of the year. Once per season my friend Marshall organizes a trip to circumnavigate the island of Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge. It's about a ten mile trip, though if you poke up the creeks it can be longer. The southern end of the island is open to the Chesapeake Bay and so is usually the choppiest part. On this trip, even this part was like glass. Here's Marshall's post mortem of the trip:
"We expected rain with 15 to 20 mph yet thirteen paddlers came out to paddle the last of our Eastern Neck Series….and what did we get? Calm waters, sort of sunny, no winds and warm. How do you ever plan a paddle? I guess for us, it just does not matter, we are flexible and able to change our plans and love to paddle.
We have all done this paddle a number of times but I truly believe that each paddle is different. Each season brings something different to the paddle, the number of paddlers bring something different to the paddle, the weather brings something different to the paddle and Nature is ever present to bring her special touch to the paddle. The paddle is a little bit of a puzzle, never knowing what it will be like. Perhaps that is one of the reasons we keep coming back, a surprise and enjoyment each time, so precious for today.
Saturday was no exception. For me it started as a very quiet paddle, with old friends. But I think Nature played more of a role then usual. We heard and saw many loons with their call out in the Bay…to us, the weather was a little gray with fog in the distance. Our main event, the Tundra Swans, only graced us with a fly by of 8, so much for the 5,000. But the pot had other ingredients that we were treated to. Thousands of ducks, bobbing on the river, inlets and the Bay. Each time we got close they took off with the sound of honking and the light thunder of their wings flapping. We saw eagles watching us as we watched them and then flying away, a chance to see there white necks and tail. When we landed we saw prints in the sand of raccoons and deer. Nature was all around us and it was all ours to enjoy. We were all in a leisurely mood, paddling, eating and talking with each other, enjoying our time.
We seem to make it around the Island, a little faster then usual, not even trying and our lunch spot keeps changing to accommodate this. This is fine but it changes our appetite for after the paddle. But you all surprised me with a great alternative, dessert at the ice cream parlor, you know how I like that, thanks. And they were so accommodating to our group. Between there and the coffee shop, we have a nice winter choice."