Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fresh Tracks

On Saturday in Bar Harbor, the water temperature was 83 degrees. We were in the pool at the YMCA, getting some instruction from Mark Schoon and Mel Rice at Carpe Diem Sea Kayaking. Monday morning, after yet another heavy snowfall, it was a different story. The chunks of ice floating in the water assured us that it was on the cold side, but it appeared to be a gorgeous day for a paddle. I met Brighid at Old Quarry and we headed out.

On Sunday night, while twenty inches of snow fell inland, our snow turned to rain for awhile, so we only had- I don't know, a foot or so. Maybe a little more. The toughest part of getting out was shoveling out the car, since my kayak was still on the roof rack from Saturday. And shoveling was tougher because I was still in pain from Saturday- those sculling braces (again and again) take some muscles I don't think I've used before.

We had all afternoon, bright sun and calm water. The air, in the mid-twenties, had that crispy, pure taste to it that makes you savor the luxury of breathing. Our surroundings brought that luxury into an even sharper focus: fresh snow on the spruce, granite boulders draped in pure white, and a clear, algae-free sea, uncorrupted by the detritus of warm weather humans.

We were kept company by eagles, zillions of ducks and a few startled seals.

We paddled out around Saddleback Island, past Phoebe, Enchanted and No Man's and on to Gooseberry, where we had a break and some lunch. We could have kept going if the sun weren't low in the sky.

We headed back in, arriving in Webb Cove at high tide, amid acres of ice, as the sky turned dark.

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