Hooray, I went paddling for two weekends in a row in April! I'd organized last week's Opening Day paddle, which was just lovely, and the clubmate who lives on my block and gave me a ride that morning mentioned that she'd seen that it was supposed to get up to 80 and suggested that another paddle might work out well. As it happened, we ended up having 2, another clubmate called for a fairly longish paddle with an early start; I'd been thinking of a shorter one, and we thought that we would have takers for both if I sent out mine as well, and it worked out great.
Mine was just a five and a half mile spin around Canarsie Pol, the first island outside of the Paerdegat, Canarsie Pol ("pol" is the Dutch word for an artificial island), with a leisurely lunch on the western end of the island to catch the breezes. TQ had run up to CT for the day and we had dinner plans, so this got me back in plenty of time. It was kind of fun doing back-to-back short paddles like this, just for the different flavors they ended up having - last week's we did have a certain time we needed to be back to the club, but it was so beautiful and calm out that we were revelling in the smoothness of the water, and it was just nice getting out there for Opening Day and knowing there was all kinds of Sebago potluck deliciousness waiting for us back at the club; yesterday's was more leisurely, there was time for one of the participants to trade his europaddle for a greenland paddle for a while, I broke out my GP for a while too (I always carry one as my spare but I don't paddle with it that often so it was good to practice) and we had great birds; last week a visit to the Canarsie Pol osprey nest platform was the farthest point on the paddle, but we didn't see any activity there and one of the club's better birders said that some migrating birds had been delayed due to unfavorable winds, so maybe the ospreys were having the same problem.
This week I think we saw four of them, including one on the Pol nest platform, so that was neat; in addition, the oystercatchers that are always my favorite harbinger of Spring are back in force (usually I'm out on the bay enough in the spring that hearing the first "WHEET wheetwheetwheetwheet" of the season is so exciting - this year they got back while I was doing other things and they're all over the beaches already but still lovely to hear them), plus egrets in a marshy spot along the shore and some brants (who will be on their way north soon, they winter with us). In less-typical bird spottings, there was a pair of snow geese on the Pol, I've only ever seen those once in the bay, at West Pond so that was very cool. Later on, as Steve the Paddling Chef and I were just about back to the basin, a bit behind everyone else (we'd stopped for him to do a couple of rolls, he'd worn a drysuit with a ripped gasket and wanted to see how badly it would leak, plus it was warm for a drysuit so a little cooldown was probably nice), I spotted a loon in winter plumage who was swimming along just a few yards from Steve's boat. I said "Look at the loon!", he looked up in the sky because he thought I said moon, but he figured it out in time to get a good look before it dove. Didn't get a picture of that one but did get the others, plus a cormorant who was just posing too nicely on a piling in the basin to pass by!
Another fine paddle with Sebago, and I was home in plenty of time for a nap and a shower before dinner with the fella (he made oxtails and rice and beans for dinner, delicious). An excellent day, not a terribly ambitious paddle, but very pleasant!
Here are a dozen more pictures - click on the first one for a slide show view.