The oystercatchers are back, hooray!Nice little postscript to our paddle - as one of my friends was loading his boat onto his car after we got back, a couple of gentleman from the bay patrol, who were there in a car when we got back and may have watched us launch, too, drove up to him and asked - very nicely, he said - if we were all off the water now. Matt said yes and thanked them for keeping an eye out for us. They really would have been within their rights to quiz us before we launched - they had a boat there at the marina and they would've doubtless been the ones who would've had to come out to save our sorry behinds if anything had gone wrong. I like that they chose to trust us to make our own call, but were still clearly watching out for us. Thank you, Point Lookout Bay Patrol.
And I'll also take this opportunity to get in my first Spring safety plug. We're coming up on the first day of Spring here, the forecast does show a chance of more snow on Friday (noooo!) but we've had a heck of a nice little warm spell here and it's not going to be long before that first weekend when the sky is blue and the air is warm and the boaters who don't go out in the winter start itching to pull the kayak or the canoe out of the garage, sweep off the dust, and get out there. Please be careful if you do, this is actually a terrible time of year for boating accidents, the water here in the Northeast will stay treacherously cold for a couple more months - if a person goes out in jeans and a t-shirt on a nice warm day and doesn't fall in, which would be the more usual case, they'll never know they dodged a bullet, but on the off chance that they do, it can turn tragic far too easily. Here in New York State, the winter lifejacket rule is still in effect - anyone going out in a recreational vessel of 20' or less must be wearing one, no exceptions - and beyond that, proper immersion gear will buy you a lot of time in the event that something goes wrong.
For more information, follow any of the links in my Cold Water/Off-Season Boating Safety Sites list, over to the right. This is a lovely time of year to be on the water, the birds are starting to migrate through or return (I saw and heard my first oystercatchers of the season on Sunday, wheeet wheeet wheeetweetweetweetweetweetweet!) and the recreational traffic isn't up to full summer swing - let's just be safe out there, though, ok?