Feb 28, 2009

Jones Beach February 28, 2009

For the third time this year and the second Saturday in a row, members of the Sebago Canoe Club trekked to Jones Beach with the hope and expectation of seeing harbor seals. The trip was organized by Steve Heinzerlin. Tagging along were George Sullivan, Vicki Moss and John Harris.

Conditions were again windy but because the wind was blowing out of the north rather than the west (as it was the previous week) there was less fetch and so the water was not quite as choppy. Last week the trip circumnavigated the islands clockwise. On this trip we circumnavigated counter-clockwise.

Having crossed the channel and paddled into the marsh islands, as we approached an island I could see from a distance that something was on the shore. At first I thought it was sand or birds but it turned out to be seals, lots of seals. I would estimate between two and three dozen seals were sunning themselves. As we approached they started to climb into the water and disperse. Eventually the four of us found ourselves in their midst as they swam aroud us.

Afterward, trip organizer Steve Heinzerling wrote: “Today George Sullivan, John Harris, Vicki and myself went out to Jones Beach for a paddle with the seals. I was a little afraid that I may have missed them, and they'd already moved on to other waters. About twenty minutes out we spotted an island that was covered with seals. We counted at least 30 seals. We approached cautiously not to scare them in the water. After one went in most of them followed. Soon they were popping up all around us. It was a great experience and a very exhilarating paddle. When we returned to the cars I vowed that I'd come back and do this paddle every year. It's truly an awesome experience.“

For the record, we put in around 10:10 AM and took out two hours later, paddling 3 miles. Our average speed was reduced because once we encountered the seals we tended to paddle in place so that we could watch them. I have created a short slide show from the trip using original photgraphs.

Feb 24, 2009

Sebago Cookie Monster Club!

Pre-Trip Cookie Fuel-Up

When it's cold, it's wise to fuel up with cookies!

And it was COLD!

More photos from Tony & Walter's Seal Watching Paddle #2 with Special Bonus Snowy Owl Courtesy of Mary on my Flickr page! Same trip as John posted that nice writeup & pictures about in the last post.

No, I couldn't take a picture of the owl. Sorry!

Thanks everyone for another great paddle!

Feb 21, 2009

Jones Beach, February 21, 2009

Six hearty paddlers from the Sebago Canoe Club paddled at Jones Beach on Saturday, February 21, 2009, in search of the elusive seal. Led by Tony and Walter, also on the trip were Dottie, Mary, Bonnie and John. The six put in around 11:30 AM and immediately encountered a strong head wind with one to two foot standing waves. After crossing the channel and paddling into the marsh area the wind subsided and a few seals were spotted, but not nearly as many as on the January 10th trip.

Because the low tide exposed so many sandbars, four of the paddlers had to portage a short distance in order to paddle around Deep Creek Meadow and Snipe Islands. Once around Snipe Island the four encountered more head winds, standing waves, and also had to paddle against the tide. In spite of the cold head wind, standing waves, and paddling against the tide, as I paddled into the Sun with sunlight reflecting off the water, there were a few moments where I entered a Zen like state of steady paddling, aware of nothing but wind, water and waves.

All paddlers were out of the water by 2:00 PM. The total distance paddled was 4.5 miles.

On the way home we detoured to the Nature Center and Mary pointed out for us a Snowy Owl amongst the dunes.

Here is a slide show featuring original photograps from the trip,plus one previous photo.