Monday, May 5, 2008

Just shagging around

It's Sunday, flat calm and the sun is about to peek its nose over the east horizon.
Yesterday I managed to launch the floating dock and install the ramp.

Today is ripe for kayaking and anything else that the creator prompts me to do.
So off I go. I've got just 3 hours before church, so why not go for it... I stoked the fire and added a few chunks of birch and with a spring in my feet down to the dock I go.

It's high tide and all the elements are in my favour.

Getting into the kayak via the floating dock is like slipping into a pair of Crocs, it just feels right.

As I glide down through the Reach, a smell of smouldering birch permeates the air, most folks are still cuddled up to the misses or the feater pillow.

Thinking today would be a good day to go south, and spend a bit of time out around the islands, so south it was.

Within a few minutes, the town was far behind and the only company was that of a few shags drying their wings.

The Shag is the smaller of the two cormorants found round the coast. From a distance this is simply a black cormorant but seen close the bird is fantastic. The black is a really oily and glossy shade with green and purple overtones. There is a little yellow on the base of the bill and the eyes are bright green.

It does not lay its eggs in a tidy cliff nest, but in untidy nests low on a sea ledge. Most are found in coastal waters and they feed by diving from the surface to catch fish.

The difference between a kayak and a motor boat is that you can really be still and be a part of the colony.

As I ventured farther south between the islands, the chop prompted me to keep closer to the shore. It is also lobster season now, and the costal waters have little colorful floaters with numbers on them. Everything from a plastic javex jar to a piece of painted pine is used as markers for the pots.

It isn't a bad thing really, as it is a sustainable fishery and seems to be well managed. Each fisherman knows his own.

I can truly understand why the fishermen love what they do. To be out on the waters in an open boat is unexpainable, it's much like being in harmony with the universe, as your soul oozes with acceptance.

As I paddle by the western point of Hunts island, I always get this eery feeling.

You see, the graveyard hangs over the edge of the bluff, with only a few feet away from the cliff, much like a great old aunt Beatrice, with cheeks in the palms of her hands keeping an eye on things. The mind is a wonderful thing and each new experience can be just that, or it can prompt memories from the past.

Today's experience too me back to a time in my youth when Captain Sandy Payne of Ramea's sea cadet corp used to say to us," Lads be careful what you do and what you say, 'cause there are eyes and ears everywhere. Always be on your best behaviour, 'cause if the living don't see what you're doing the dead surely will."

At that point I realized that I hadn't brought a watch and knew that it would take an hour to get back home, church was yet to be had for the morning, and that would be a different spiritual experience than the one I now have.

So sprinting around the point, passing the ferry wharf, and under the Smalls island bridge in record time, I was home before first bell.

So later on today when my son Michael called from Manitoba, and asked what I had been up to today, I said "Not much, just shagging around", and he said "Oh I see."

Just another day @ Dorim' wharf!

1 comment:

Alison Dyer said...

great to see another NL kayaking blog. lucky you paddling in burgeo.