With a little planning the night before, we decided to go to the Pretty Marsh area of the island and paddle up the West side. I think we combined two different versions of directions and ended up targeting a launch somewhat North of the marsh itself (10). This lead to some confusion early on as we didn’t seem to be ‘leaving’ the harbor where we expected to start, but instead were just heading up the cost. Fortunately, this wasn’t a navigation test – we were just going to paddle up the coast a bit and then return. Also, there may have been some help from a phone GPS in determining what we were actually doing.
We paddled about 5 miles up the coast to Indian Point (11), but made about a 6 mile trip of it due to an exploratory run into Mill Cove (prior to realizing it went nowhere). Sightings for the day included a bunch of seals sunning themselves on Reef Island, a few other places and a few seals just randomly in the water. The first ones we spotted were actually before the island, but we didn’t really know what we were looking for so we’d keep squinting at their heads wondering if that was a seal or just the wave reflections. After identifying a few, it’s pretty sure the early sightings were indeed seals. The second most common animal were the Osprey that were often overhead and screeching in the trees. Crabs ranked third – we only spotted a few on the beach when we turned around. Our return run, as usual, was a bit more direct and also a bit more intentional, being into a slight wind. The West coast of the island was one of the more remote locations for the kayak tour companies on the island and we crossed paths with a few groups on their way North.
This was my first time ever paddling on salt water. My biggest concern was the tides. Tides in that area cause a change of about 12 feet, which sounded like a lot. Turns out, in that area of water, a 12 ft rise really didn’t amount to any appreciable current. The biggest giveaway of the current tide state was the docks which were all gangways to floating platforms which went from near flat at high tide to a steep drop to the water at low tide. The only notable impact on the paddling was the distance to and from the launch, though if the road weren’t so clear I can see how a swamped car could become a thing.
We had a bit of time left after the days planned paddle, so we tacked on a second little trip to The Ovens (somewhere around #1 up by the hotel). This was about a mile crossing from the mainland to the island. They were reported hard to get to from the land, but we did see a few other people there, so apparently there was a way. It was a pretty quick trip, with a bit of a race to get back before sunset – particularly since the launch area had some questionable footing in the light and worse in the dark.
The caves were neat to see and fun for a quick walk through. The paddle yielded two more animal sightings for the days list with the discovery of a large beached jellyfish and, just as we were leaving, a sea cucumber spotted by Janet. The sea cucumber was difficult to get pictures of in the low light and under water, but I tried. We saw a seagull pluck a sizeable crab from the water and start to eat it on shore, but I interfered and chased it off. Unfortunately, the crab would not show its appreciation and scuttle around for pictures.
I’m pretty sure we just went back to the hotel and slept after that. I think a 13 mile day was sufficient.