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On the Water

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[Yesterday: 6 trail miles in MoS]

Sunday afternoon we loaded our rowboat into the back of the van and went looking for a place to get in the water.

We checked out a landing area on a creek inside Mines of Spain park, but it was not a boat ramp, more of a carry-and-launch kayak type thing. And the parking lot was packed. So then we went south to Massey Marina and found a boat ramp there.

I could tell it’s been awhile since I wrangled this boat around. It is a workout just getting the thing in and out of the van. But we got it in the water and I parked the van while M loaded our stuff in. The put-in was a two lane thing with a very nice dock down the middle. We launched the boat on the right hand side which happened to be the downstream side.

So we set out. I was rowing. Our plan was to go upstream about half an hour or so and then switch places and she would row back down.

I could tell something was different as soon as we cleared the dock. I was pointed upstream and rowing, but we weren’t going anywhere. The current was a lot stronger than anything we had been in before.

There were quite a few boats out, from flat bottomed fishing boats, jet skis, to big luxury cruisers. Of course all of those guys had motors.

So I bent to work and we slowly made progress upstream. I rowed for 40 minutes and we did not quite get to the end of the island you see on the map. Along the shore it was a steep bank with houses high up (labeled Shawondasse on the map), steps or ladders down to private docks, and lots of flotsom, logs, remains of old docks, etc. on the bank.

With the obstacles and with some pesky gnats, we tried to stay out from shore a little but not be in the main flow of traffic.

We saw quite a few turtles sunning on various logs and bumps.

I rowed like crazy while M waved at the people in the boats. I estimate we had gotten about a quarter of a mile in 45 minutes so we switch places and turned around.

The trip downstream was pleasant but with a bit of a headwind.

About 10 minutes later things got very interesting as we very quickly approached the dock. We didn’t want to miss it and have to heave ourselves back upstream. But we banged into it and held on enough to claw ourselves to the upstream side where we tied up and then got ourselves out of the water and back in the van.

While we were loading up, a small speed boat came up and he had some similar troubles trying to time the approach and banged hard into the dock with his nice fiberglass boat. It gave me a puzzle: what would be the best way to approach a river dock? High side or low side? We didn’t stay around to see how various people tackled the problem. I think next time we might try turning around and rowing slowly upstream and try to slip in under the downstream side as we go past.

But we are not in a hurry to go back to that spot.

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May 26, 2020
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