Monday, September 26, 2005

Cherry Lake

I decided to take the Montauk to this nearby small lake this morning for a short paddle, since I still haven't had any quality time in it.

This lake employs someone to collect a $5 ramp fee Thurs.-Sunday; on the other days they use the honor system with a place to deposit the money outside a padlocked gate. The lock on this gate is very old. The combination to the lock can be obtained by calling the local number (Parks and Recreation Dept.) that is posted on a large sign on the gate; the combination is part of their outgoing voice mail message, so it is available to anyone who calls (and it hasn't been changed for a long time; possible ever). I'm not sure why, therefore, the gate is padlocked. I truly think that wildlife would be stymied by a simple latch, but in any event, the wildlife or any humans on foot can simply walk into the park area around the gate, which ends where the pavement ends. It took me 6 tries to get the padlock to open when I was going in. (It took me 15 minutes and dozens of tries to get it to release when I was coming out.) It has to be at least 20 years old, the numbers on the little wheels are all but worn off, as I imagine the inner workings are as well.

But, having passed that hindrance, I unloaded the boat. The wind had come up by that time, but only enough to create a very mild chop.

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Off I went. The boat, needless to say, performed wonderfully. After about 10 or 15 minutes, the wind died down and the lake went from choppy to ripply to almost completely smooth. A great test for the Montauk in a variety of lake conditions.

One feature of the Montauk that I hadn't considered but that became very obvious is its ability to glide for a great distance. The Mystic, in comparison, loses forward momentum fairly soon. This one, once the water and wind calmed, seemed to go on forever before slowing down.

About halfway around I came to the area where I knew a couple of swans hung out. And sure enough, they were there.

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They were in a small area surrounded by the shore, a couple of docks, and some reeds in the water. A great chance to see how the Montauk would behave when I needed to maneuver through some tight turns as I entered the small pool where the swans were but hugging the bend so I didn't get too close to them. It turned very well; it's longer than the Mystic so it might have required a little more room to clear the dock to the right as I swung left around the reeds, but it made it just fine and it turns well and easily.

There was another bird in the area, making a pitiful squawking noise, as if calling for a mate. The swans would chase this one away if it got too close. Not quite as attractive a bird, I'm afraid.

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It only takes 90 minutes to circle this whole lake, including the time spent with the swans. Since I hope to get back to Talquin again tomorrow, that was enough for today. The wind came back and the skies got overcast as I was leaving, so the timing was excellent.

Talquin tomorrow, or if not, soon, I hope. Stand by.


pineyflatwoodsgirl said...

I'm reading everything with pleasure, peggy. I think that darn duck is a cross between a swan and a muscovie duck. What do you think? I was so fascinated by the sturgeon in the Withlachoochee that I just have to go over there. I will be heading somewhere East this weekend for a paddle. Not sure where I will end up. Happy paddling, pineyflatwoodsgirl

Kim said...

Hiya Peggy & Pineyflatwoodsgirl! I think the bird in Peggy's photo is a Greater Whitefronted Goose (at least that's what it would be if it were hanging out here on the West Coast).