Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Paddling the Eno River on a Fall day!

  Location: Eno River, Durham, NC Temperature: 67F Wind: Light Conditions: Cloudy

It was a Tuesday work day... but my thoughts were not on my tasks, but instead somewhere paddling out on a river! So, when the "siren call" of paddling beckons... I must follow it!  ;-)  It was a few minutes after 3 PM, and I found myself at the Eno River boat ramp. I "thought" the put in area would be fairly deserted mid-afternoon on a work day, but there were a number of trucks with trailers in the parking lot - fishermen taking advantage of the mild temperatures. A couple of "good old boys" were hanging out at the boat ramp and chuckled and nudged each other as I unloaded my kayak and prepared to put in. One of them asked me; "Are you fishing or exercising?" I replied; "Exercising, I need to be good at something." They laughed and watched as I put in, most likely wanting to see if I would flip out of the cockpit. I disappointed them as I climbed in and paddled SW on the Eno River. Click on the photos to enlarge.

 The Eno River water levels were low due to local dry conditions for the past week.

Red Mill Road bridge that spans the Eno River. Two fishing boats can be seen near the left bridge support. I had to paddle around (at least) 6 fishing boats with multiple fishing lines out, during my paddle. Always communicate with stationary or trolling fishing boats, as to your paddling intentions. For example, ask the fishermen what direction or side of their boats you may paddle, so that you do not unintentionally get fouled in their fishing lines.

A solitary and empty chair waits for its owner to return.

A close up photo of a half submerged tree trunk floating in the river.

Rachel's "Ent Person" shaking free of its summer foliage. On one of our earlier paddles on the Eno River, Rachel spotted this dead tree and thought it resembled one of the Ent tree creatures in Tolkien's fantasy world Middle-Earth.

The embodiment of Fall - fallen leaves drift in the sluggish river current.

Fall and a fitting quote. "“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Strange and twisted tree roots, victims of water and wind erosion.

I spotted a couple of small turtles during my paddle, but because of the boat motor noise and activity on the river today, wild life made itself scarce.

This turtle got "camera shy" as I paddled closer!

The scenery was not spectacular during my paddle this Fall day on the Eno River, but the trip was definitely necessary! Paddlers will understand my sentiments. I hope to get in several more paddling adventures before my season ends in late November. Remember, to always take life one stroke at a time! I do!  :-) - Mike, the Durhamblogger.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Return to St. Joseph Sound, Dunedin Florida!

Location: St. Joseph Sound, FL. Temperature: 82F Wind: Moderate Conditions: Partly cloudy

 Howdy everyone! It's been a long time between paddles, but I managed to get out for a morning excursion during a visit with family in Palm Harbor, Florida! Regular Durhamblogger readers may remember that my first visit to St. Joseph Sound in Dunedin, FL was back in March 2013. I was staying only 1 mile from a local kayak outfitter located on the Dunedin causeway (not by accident!) so... a short stroll over the causeway and the obligatory "exchange of money" and I was the proud "temporary" owner of a rental Expedition sit-in kayak! Click on the photos to enlarge.

 The local kayak outfitter had lots of sit-in, sit-on-top, SUPs, and sailboats for rent. The month of October is off season in Florida and I was his only customer that morning!

Preparing to put in at St. Joseph Sound. The launch area was sand with little to no waves or current - ideal for kayaks, sail boats and other small water craft. The kayak rental shop was located within 50 yards of the sound. My immediate destination was an island located approximately 1 mile from the put in area - that distant smug on the horizon.

I spotted this hawk enjoying a fish snack while perched on a mast top of a beached sail boat. Click on the photo to enlarge.

There was a slight chop and at times the breeze was stiff as I paddled out into St. Joseph Sound.

Always glad to see these types of signs! The water was also too shallow for deep draft boats this close in to the island.

These fishermen were chumming for large fish. The fellow on the flying bridge, with the binoculars, was on the lookout for fish schools while his buddy piloted the boat and threw chum into the water. I know that chum will attract large fish, including sharks, so I paddled away from this activity quickly. 

I encountered few large water craft during my paddle, unlike the heavy boat traffic during my March 2013 "in-season" adventure. It was nice to have most of St. Joseph Sound to myself.

Returning my rental kayak, I set out over the causeway on my return walk to the condo. Florida is built for outdoor adventures with lots of pedestrian walkways, parks, and nature trails.

It was great to visit with my younger brother again... and also to get in a much needed paddle! I hope to get in several more paddles closer to home in North Carolina before my paddling season ends in late November. Happy paddles everyone!  :-)

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