The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Wells Harbor paddle

Posted by | June 21, 2007

Tin and I had been trying to find time for a paddle for months. Despite the threat of thunderstorms all day, yesterday was the day. We both showed up to work here at the Reserve, our cars each donning kayaks on racks.

The weather threatened all day but the storms never materialized. Four o'clock came and off we went.  Within a few short minutes we pulled into Wells Harbor, unloaded our boats and were afloat. How easy was that.

We had a most excellent paddle. We were the people on the water that I used to envy from shore. This was my third paddle since buying a kayak over the winter and my first one at sea. I had an excellent guide. Tin was in his element.

Tidal water is so much livelier than the flat water of ponds. There is so much more to be aware of besides just wind and other boats. This was a whole new neighborhood to explore, a whole new environment.

We paddled past the town dock, a place where I had spent many an hour helping to maintain a piece of research equipment. I remembered some bitter cold afternoons trying to attach minute pieces of tubing to an ornery piece of equipment with unfeeling fingers. It was a far cry from the perfect temperature of today. We passed the beaches and jetties where before I had only gazed out at the water from the landward side. It all looked wonderfully different from this perspective.

The tide was full, so Tin and I decided to head over to Drakes Island and poke around the marshes a bit. Everything is so much closer on the water. The cormorants are eye level and regard you as just another funny looking duck. Geese barely get out of your way as you pass and the willets actually walk to the edge of the marsh to get a closer look at you.

The weather was turning better by the moment, so after checking out the tide gate, we headed up a tidal creek to see how far we could go. We crossed under Drakes Island Road and edged around one dog-leg bend in the creek after another. The marsh edges moved closer in as the channel narrowed. We bumped ahead and I learned how to finesse the boat along instead of just power stroking it forward. It was a waltz instead of a foxtrot.

Here the marsh visit got very up close and personal. Most of the time the forward boat was out of sight around the next bend. The marsh was so close it seemed to be embracing me, enveloping me in a green blanket.

Tin continued to move forward until his boat could not longer make the turn. We paused to watch two jays harass a red tailed hawk trying to roost in their neighborhood. I felt bad for the hawk. I liked this neighborhood. We had to actually back paddle for awhile until we could find a place wide enough to turn around. Then we were heading back.

The sun broke out as we crossed under the road out into the open channel. The current was with us carrying us on its back as we headed toward the harbor. I am glad I had Tin as a guide, otherwise I would have spent hours trying to find the right way back.

As we neared the jetties, a mother harbor seal and her pup popped up and eyed us curiously. Then after several dives, the pup popped up not ten feet from our boats and began studying us earnestly. It looked confused, especially when Tin started meowing at it. "What were these things in my water?" it said with its mournful wet dark eyes. It decided we weren't a threat and eventually wandered off.

The seal pup was the frosting on top of a perfect paddle cake. Again with very little effort, we had our boats loaded on our cars and we left with hopes of trying to get back on the water at least once a week for the summer. Here's hoping it happens.

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