Saturday, November 11, 2017

An Island Destination

This past Thursday morning saw much colder air than recently enjoyed and delayed my getting out on the water until the sun had a chance to warm things up.  At around 11 am I launched from Sherman's Bridge in Wayland and headed down the Sudbury River towards my destination, Brooks Island in Fairhaven Bay.  For me, the day marked the start of the season where more protection from the possibility of cold-water immersion is required.

Other paddlers were encountered making their way upriver...

After winding around Weir Hill it wasn't long before Lee's Bridge was reached...

Soon thereafter the river opened into Fairhaven Bay...
...and Brooks Island was approached...
...and there I landed...

A fairly new sign now welcomes paddlers...

While on the island and enjoying the season's first hot cocoa break, I watched as Chris powered his Van Dusen-built 'Mohican' across the bay...
Seemed fitting to see the 'Mohican' plying the waters of the town where it was born.

Saw a lone coot on the return trip to Sherman's Bridge...
...the first I've seen this year.

Very little in the way of trash was encountered...
...with most of this being found onshore at launching/landing spots.




Monday, November 6, 2017

Sunday Glide to Gleasondale

It was a peaceful Sunday morning on the Assabet River in Stow yesterday with some muted fall foliage still to be seen in places.  After launching from Magazu's Landing I paddled up to Gleasondale and back.

Along the way noticed a new duck blind at a bend in the river where a previous blind got washed away...

At the confluence with Fort Meadow Brook water was falling at a good clip over the obstruction in the box culvert...

...while the brook upstream of the culvert looked serene...

Nearby a doe was concerned at my presence...
...and her companion joined her in checking things out...
Note: the zoom on my camera decided to stop working so you have to look close to see them.

Closer to Gleasondale this chewed up limb looked like some beavers had a tree-eating contest...

Other wildlife seen today were a marsh hawk, a red-tailed hawk, a bittern, mute swans, Canada geese, mallards, and a pair of bluebirds.

Thanks to a still high water level the Assabet allowed my ascent beyond the Rt. 62 bridge and me to get fairly close to the footbridge which, long ago, allowed mill workers to cross the river...

Trash gathered-up along the way...

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November Right on Cue

Yesterday afternoon once the dust had settled from October's "Big Blow", I launched into the Concord River at Lowell Road. 

The boat launch there features a new kiosk...
..with brochures on the Sudbury River (provided by OARS), and the river confluence area (provided by the Town of Concord).

Before heading downriver, I paddled up to a very November-looking Egg Rock (opening photo) and checked the water level at the inscription...
...noting it was a good foot higher than it was just last Saturday.

The rapid rise of the river had caught some folks by surprise as this "ghost yak"...
...and outboard gasoline tank tethered to a wood pallet attest...


The afternoon's light fit well with the season at the Old Manse Boathouse...
...and approaching Great Meadows...

A fair amount of floating Styrofoam and plastic containers was gathered up along the way...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Finding a Lower Gear

Yesterday, out on the lower Assabet River, I discovered my paddling transmission had an even lower gear than I'd previously been aware of.   Better yet, I didn't even have to double-clutch when downshifting into it.  Perhaps this musk turtle played a role in helping me to find it...
...or maybe it was this stoic fellow...


Regardless, the day was a beauty.

Thanks to the week's very welcome rainstorm the river is, once again, on the rise...

There's still some glow from fall foliage in places...
...and this small cove provided an idyllic spot for taking a lunch break...


After paddling upriver I arrived at the MBTA bridge in West Concord where the Assabet chugged under the bridge while an outbound train chugged across it...

The trash encountered along the way...

Monday, October 23, 2017

Patience, Prudence, and Potowomut

Heading out into Narragansett Bay yesterday morning I was just about as happy as the cormorants pictured above.  An absolutely beautiful day was in the making and lucky was I to be in my boat and out on the water.

After launching from Oakland Beach Boat Launch in Warwick, RI, I headed south towards Warwick Light.  Along the way I paddled past several working boats, each with a crew member raking the bottom...
 ...for quahogs, I think?  I'd later find an informative article "Bullrakes to Clambakes" by Michael Bell on Quahog.org which gave me a new appreciation for the skilled work required of a Bullraker.

Soon I reached Warwick Light...
...where I left Greenwich Bay and headed towards Patience Island about a mile out in Narragansett Bay.  Once there I landed at the island's north end where trash was encountered at the high water mark...

A quick walk of this stretch of shoreline...
...produced this haul of mostly plastic flotsam...
That's a fair amount for only 60 yards or so of shoreline.  Several of the plastic containers were deteriorated to the point where they crumbled into pieces upon being picked up.  That's the most concerning thing about plastic trash...after enough time in the sun it breaks down into micro-bits which may enter the food chain and therefore eventually us.  One plastic gallon-jug still contained about half a quart of motor oil.  Fortunately, the jug's cap was on tight keeping the oil safe inside.

Back on the water I paddled east from Patience over to the nearby and much larger Prudence Island where a brief landing was made...


According to the Dictionary of American-Indian place and proper names in New England by R.A. Douglas-Lithgow the Narragansett people called Patience Island "Chibacoweda" and Prudence Island "Chibachuweset".  The islands are situated near the center of Narragansett Bay.

Reaching the south end of Patience my boat's bow pointed southward towards Conanicut Island and the Jamestown and Newport bridges...
  ...before I turned to the west and headed for Pojac Point and the Potowomut River.  After making the 2 mile crossing I entered the Potowomut River which seemed at first to be just another tidal inlet...

Once in about a mile, the inlet began to change in appearance and began to look more like a river...

Ospreys and cormorants were plentiful, as well as this egret...

At the Old Forge Road bridge I reached the end of navigation (without portaging)...

At this point the non-tidal Hunt River drops into the tidal Potowomut.  A fish ladder can be seen to the left.

Heading back down the Potowomut...

Where the river enters the bay at Marsh Point, I stopped for lunch at Marsh Point not realizing that across the inlet at Pojac Point there was formerly a 8' by 5' etched stone known as the Narragansett Runestone.

I paddled past Sandy Point and then crossed a very busy Greenwich Bay...was this October 22nd or July 4th?

Anyway, this morning I was still savoring my time on the bay when I read in the Boston Globe that three scientists from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were not allowed by EPA to speak at a conference discussing the effects global warming are having on Narragansett Bay, the largest estuary in New England. 





Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Real Fall Feel

Though the calendar told me fall arrived more than three weeks ago, it wasn't until yesterday that I really felt its presence.   No sooner had I launched into the Nashua River at the Oxbow in Still River than a cool breeze out of the north had me reaching for a warmer jacket and hat.

This now abandoned osprey nest will hopefully endure the coming winter and be ready to provide a safe haven for next spring's hatchlings...


One thing about paddling this stretch of the Nashua I particularly enjoy is how you can stop on the way home and look out upon Wachusett Mountain and the valley you just paddled through...



Trash encountered was the typical mix with 4 of the Nashua's signature quart-sized glass beer bottles..