Last paddle of Winter 2010-2011 - a breezy paddle to Breezy Point. I'd hoped for 15 miles. 14 was plenty when the wind speeds ended up being 15 - 20 gusting 25, with a LOT of gusts, and north, so the last three miles were pure busting into a headwind. Forgot to mention in the description - TQ & I had planned to do the Sunday morning paddle, but we changed our minds after Saturday's paddle.
Lunch break on Breezy Point. If you didn't know it was the beach, I would be tempted to call this "Tea in the Sahara"! With the strong currents caused by the proxigean tide, we just flew here - plenty of time for a walk on the beach and then a leisurely lunch break waiting for the 2:20 current turn. We had sandwiches, with extra emphasis on the sand - the sand on Breezy Point is powder-fine, the wind was keeping it flying & although we were sitting with our backs to the wind, the sand would actually "eddy out" in our lee, coming right in to land on our sandwiches! Still tasted good, just a little crunchy.
Last day of Winter. Not quite lamblike, but certainly lovely.
Crocuses are up at the club.
And then on Sunday, there were big doin's at the Sebago Canoe Club to welcome Spring. TQ and I decided our Saturday paddle was enough for one weekend, so we did NOT get the last paddle of winter & the first paddle of spring into the same weekend, but we did join in at the 12:30 brunch and then the day's very special event, a shorewalk right in the Paerdegat Basin!
We scrambled down the bank at the club
Our trip leaders were Commodore Emeritus John ( brown sweater) and Ranger John from Floyd Bennett Field (blue jacket, also a Sebago member), and we also had 2 excellent birders along. Great guides!
Heading north up the already wider-than-normal shore. Oh, see the little furry thing in the lower left-hand corner? That's Ms. Pooh. What color in Ms. Pooh, mostly? White, right? Hee hee. Was when we started!
About 40 minutes before low water.
That's a quahog shell. They have a deep purple spot on the shell, and that was what was used to make the most valuable variety of wampum. I have a sample later in the gallery.
Walking on up the shore. The riprap is at the mouth of an outlet from underground. Ms. Pooh is having a lovely time!
A lot of the restoration of the Paerdegat has involved getting rid of the horribly tough invasive phragmites (which John told us originally got to this country because it was used as packing material in China) and replacing them with beds of the native Spartina (that's a bed of spartina in the immediate background, in winter mode - we'll start seeing green along these shores before much longer.
We weren't sure what was being protected here, but there was cord strung between all the stakes, presumably to discourage the geese.
This was sad - just a gruesome amount of plastic bits along the shore.
Fran, John and Adele inspect a baby pin oak - a whole bunch had been planted in this area.
More tiny oaks in the lower right-hand corner; in the background, the section along Paerdegat Avenue North that's being turned from an impenetrable scrub forest into more open parkland. They're working carefully, preserving the healthier specimens of native species while clearing out the invasives & dense underbrush.
Another little pin oak. These must be very tough trees - they'll have their roots soaking in salt water a lot of the time!
Ms. Pooh having herself a great roll. Happy dog!
Here you can see the arrangement of the shoreline plantings nicely - spartina in the intertidal zones (marked by stakes - this is a relatively recent planting that hasn't filled in between the plugs yet), pin oaks further inland, and then the grown trees that are being thinned out for the new park.
More park in process
Here we've moved up into an area that's still pretty much scrub - I imagine they'll leave some brushier areas because the birds do like it for shelter. I think this is when a flicker was spotted.
Commodore Tony & a few others went to see if they could get out to the street - no exit from here though, these vacant areas have always been fenced off and will probably remain so until the park areas are ready for use. That should be a good day for the neighborhood.
High and dry.
uh oh...where's that little white dog going?
OH NO! Into the mud! She went in up to her chin. Gary tried to go help her & went in up to his knees. Here, she's getting out...
Dog saved, now it's Gary's turn --
Gary saves dog, John saves Gary, and all's well on the Paerdegat. Gary even got to keep his shoes.
Interesting find - an oyster! It was sealed up tight, too, although it was just lying loose on the mud, not attached to anything.
And here's a bit of that purple quahog shell. You can see why the beads made from this bit would be so prized - what a lovely color.
Muddy muddy Ms. Pooh! What a great afternoon she had getting filthy. Bathtime tonight!
And Ranger John was rather intrigued by my oyster find - decided to take it to show some of his more knowledgeable co-workers tomorrow. J-bay used to be full of oysters, but they can't handle pollution and died out. Restoration efforts have begun, but with a sewage containment plant at the end of the Paerdegat, we're not one of the spots that would have gotten oysters planted.
And that's it for our Proxigean Paerdegat Promenade. What a great way to greet the Spring.