Kayaking on Sunday

Maybe this should be titled “Silliness on Sunday.”

It began during the river trip on Saturday with this:

…a basketball floating down the Catawba river, like thousands of others have done in the past. After determining its species (Spaulding), I released it to continue its migration.


When I finished on Saturday, I didn’t take the kayak off of the Frontier, hoping I might have a chance to go again on Sunday after worship. And that’s the way it worked out. The upper body exercise from the paddle movement felt great, and the seasonal scenes again blessed my awareness.


Suddenly, there was this:


I don’t have a football, so I thought this might be a cool, free find. But when I picked it up, water squirted out along the laces; it was too far gone. It posed for this shot before jumping back in.


Very shortly after the football, there was this:



Yes, folks, that’s a Care Bears ball. I wonder how long that’s been waiting in the woods for a flood to set it afloat.

I continued into the river’s western curve around the big island, different from Saturday’s eastern route.



On the way back down the eastern bank, something caught my eye over by the grass.



Until the very end of 2008, I don’t think I ever had a soccer ball of my own. That’s when I found a nice one in the dunes at Ocracoke, while exploring with Debra, Bryan, and Laurie. Then, when kayaking with Debra on the Catawba River back in the summer, I found one that was in pretty good shape, and kept it. Now here was a solid blue one just waiting to be found, like a watermelon in a cotton field. I manuevered the kayak close to shore, between the two stumps and clump of roots, hoping the ball was not too waterlogged.


Now I have three!

And just before heading in to land, this floated by:


(Here’s an article that gives a little background of this phenomenon.)

(And this one has a related picture.)

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 1:24 am  Comments (4)  

Vicarious Delight

I have some friends who are now at the beach, renting a house on the marsh, actually. Just knowing they are there and what they are doing gives me a good sense of relaxed well-being. They had invited me to come along, but other obligations are involved here at home. Occupying them are some of the best things in life: watching the tide flood into the marsh grass, eating homemade chili on the screened porch, watching the tide go out, spending hours on the beach, sleeping, and watching storms. And that feels really nice.

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 3:33 pm  Comments (5)  

The Four-Day Weekend, Part 1

I picked up Debra at 3:55 AM on Friday morning, and we headed for Lugoff. Lex was waiting when we got there, and we started loading his car with all our equipment. We were on the road again before 5:00, heading to Florida. The three of us were taking our best shot to see the Greater Sandplover, a stray bird that normally lives in Asia and Africa. This individual is only the second ever recorded in North America, and we hoped it would still be there. Storms with gale-force winds and abundant rain earlier in the week had made finding the bird difficult for some other birders, and rainy, windy weather was still partly in the forecast.

At 10:15 we pulled into Hugenot Memorial Park and found a place to leave the car. (This is located east of Jacksonville, out on the coast of Duval County.) We grabbed our scopes, binoculars, raincoats, and started walking. Other birders were standing around a large group of mixed shorebirds, and we knew we were in the right spot. The bird had been cooperative all morning for those who were there earlier, so we had good hope. We didn’t have to wait. It was among several hundred plovers and sandpipers, but with a little pointing and scanning, we all picked it out and had leisurely, upclose scope views. That was nice. Here’s a picture of the scene (the Greater Sandplover is in this group, but too far for the camera to show detail):


We continued there for a few more hours, enjoying the bird and the people who came long distances to see it. One gentleman had just flown in from Rhode Island to see it; he liked watching the bird through the scope. As we stood there searching the birds for something different, a Red-necked Phalarope flew in, and we got great scope views of this normally pelagic species. That, also was a new one for me.



Lex and me

On the walk back to the car after noon, rain started, and wind pelted us with sand. We were gritty and soaked on the way to find something to eat. Not knowing the area, we solicited recommendations from the locals. Both people we asked said the Sandollar was the place to go. We did, and it was worth it. Debra tried the cashew-crusted curry grouper; Lex and I had grilled mahi with dill and caper sauce…all of it very good food!

I saw two guys come to the buffet line and recognized them as birders from Tampa who had shared part of the morning with us. I walked over to see what else they had found after we parted, and they told about finding Leach’s Storm-Petrels over the surf at Little Talbot State Park. That is another pelagic species not normally seen from land. So after finishing at the restaruant, we headed up A1A to Little Talbot.

I find it hard to take unblurred photos of armadillos; they’re deceptively quick.

If you are ever in the area, pay the small entrance fee and just drive through this unspoiled fragment of coastal Florida. It is a beautiful place. We parked and walked up onto one of the boardwalks so we could scan the ocean. After a little while I found dark slivers of movement cutting over the waves. As they came closer, even flying over the beach itself, we were able to get positive identification as Leach’s Storm-Petrels, my third new bird for the day. It has been a long time since I got three new birds in a single day east of Texas.

It was mid-afternoon, and we had seen what we came to see. So we drove back home. I only had two-and-a-half hours of sleep the previous night, but the adrenaline kept me going all day. We made the vehicle transfer back at Lex’s house, drove to Lancaster, dropped Debra off, transcribed my bird records, and I was in bed by 12:15. That was a great way to spend a Friday!

Published in: on May 28, 2009 at 10:02 am  Comments (1)  

Jeff’s Merlin XT


Friend and blog reader Jeff, of Michigan, recently acquired this handsome kayak and has begun to learn it. The Merlin XT is a thermoformed boat made by Eddyline, a family-owned company in Washington state. This particular model is 15 feet long. It’s a very cool kayak named after a very cool falcon.

I hope you have plenty of adventure and fitness building in it, Jeff. And I hope we can paddle together someday.

Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 9:38 pm  Comments (3)  



A lot of time has passed quickly. Writing has been difficult. Actually, time allotted for writing has been difficult; the writing itself has been little attempted. Several other good pursuits have been happening. I’m beginning to learn to play guitar, something once attempted in my very early teens. My Orange Crush bottle collection has been supplemented and reorganized. I’ve been distracted by prime numbers, having accidently discovered one (7,129) while doing some recreational math in my office one morning. Two consecutive weekends of cooking barbeque at the church and playing on the new softball team have also occupied me. The Carolina Bird Club meeting, over which I presided, was excellent in Williamston, NC. And plenty more, some of it lovely and some of it perfunctory, has naturally flecked the consist of 2009’s first quarter canvas.

I do love this blog community and have missed it. Thank you, again, for reading and for adding your comments and thoughts when you can. The weather is warm, now, and in some upcoming time off I hope to put the kayak in the water and bring back some photos of where I’m finding myself. Peace to you in the meantime, with sunshine and new leaves!

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm  Comments (6)  

Walking Through Early December








All this, and the company of friends, in South Carolina’s low country, anticipating Charleston food. It was a nice day.

Published in: on December 18, 2008 at 8:07 pm  Comments (4)  

Ten on the River.2

The paddlers:





White [New to the group!]

White, again, with her face visible

Elder [New to the group!]




Cranston, the river guide

The weather was about as good as it can get. Conversation floated like the boats that carried us. Being there, with good friends, on an October river, is something I hope to repeat as soon and often as possible.

Published in: on October 4, 2008 at 10:10 pm  Comments (1)