Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DAY 11 Late Arrival

 I was paddling well into the night on the 10th arriving at a great little place called Dyers Cove.  How I picked this place is what I will find on my other late night jaunts, it usually picks me.  I am paddling out there in the dark and when I have had it, I affix my bow on a light on shore and head for it.  It's that simple, and usually it ends up to be the brightest light.  So, Bayshore residents, if you do not want anymore crazy folks at your doorstep in the middle of the night, put in a less watt bulb!

I paddle into the shore looking for a high dry spot, and what I have been finding is those spots are generally near some level of developed shoreline, near homes, lighthouses, etc...  This evening finds me at the end of a road at Dyers Cove.  Now, I do not want to just set up my tent within the view of some residents to just make them more nervous, either that evening, or the next morning, so I approach the door and knock to say hello.  With the Mathis family, this means they are wondering who the ...... is knocking at the door at this hour (9 pm or so), and they also know they did not get there by car because the driveway alarm did not ding.

They slowly open the door and I begin to explain.  They tell me with caution that I can set up next door at a site that a neighbor once had but his place burned down recently.  I move over there, get out of my space suit, jot down www.hawkmountain.org, and take my laminated copy of the Morning Call article back over and knock again.  I ask them to take a look at this stuff so that they know I am not just a crazy guy in the middle of the night, I am a crazy guy in the middle of the night with a purpose!

They check me out and according to Joe the next day, Debbie was calling over from the deck to invite me in that evening.  I am very sorry Debbie for not hearing you over the wind, but thank you very much and for the fresh fruit, yogurt parfait, and hot coffee the next morning brought to me tent side with a very cheerful, "Good Morning!" About an hour or so later two younger folks, Sam Wolbert and Patrick Austin, stop by and ask me if I need anything.  Debbie, Sam's aunt, called them and wanted them to check on me.  How incredibly thoughtful!

This led to me spending sometime in the Mathis home getting caught up with a BLOG, having lunch with more extended family, learning quite a bit about the area, and preparing for my next paddle leg.  Now, when I say more extended family this was a big day for the Mathis home.  Debbie is working full time while earning her Masters degree.  Proud husband Joe is recovering from knee surgery and as we all know it is only two weeks before Christmas!  This extended family is over to surprise Debbie with a total house cleaning and tree set up!  Is that not the most thoughtful gesture ever!!!  Debbie, were you surprised?

Joe, needed to run to town to get the tree.  I had one spare camera which I picked up in Philadelphia. (I do not know what I was thinking about originally taking only one camera on a greater than 200 mile voyage by canoe in the winter).  I had the day before fried one camera and was now using my spare, with allot of bay to still cover.  I wanted two more cameras.  Joe, took down the model numbers, and picked me up two identical cameras with memory cards in town.  What another thoughtful act!

Joe is also an avid outdoors man, especially associated with his gorgeous surroundings.  He has an awesome collection of arrowheads and shark teeth, some dating back to dinosaur time!  He gave me several as gifts.

He tells me about the length of a shark tooth.  That for every inch of tooth the shark is 10 feet.  He has some teeth over two inches long!  That means sharks that are over 20 feet long!  Yikesssss!  This comes back through my mind later in the voyage.

The entire family is also very connected to their rich ecosystem and its cycles.  They spoke of the horseshoe crabs laying eggs and the arrival of shorebirds right in front of their home, of the sea turtles that visit, and of all the wildlife that abounds their beaches.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle

I also found someone with a Pepsi addiction.  Karen Wolbert, Debbie's sister is also a serious Pepsi drinker, possibly more so than I.  This worked in my favor because that meant there were several bottles available that day that I could indulge while working and prepping.

 Here is a photo of some kind of specimen found right in front of the house by Patrick.  Joe indicated it was some kind of egg sack?  Does anyone know what it is?  It was about 2 feet in length and fleshy.

I knew by putting it out there I could get an answer.  It is a whelk egg case.  Thank you the numerous folks that provided this information!

Patrick Austin; Sam Wolbert; Joe Mathis; Grandma; Karen Wolbert; and Andrew Wolbert
Me in middle racing in after setting timer, thankfully without a canoe on my head!

Here are the two photos of the Mathis group.  I included them both because Grandma Peggy Kline was hiding best she could and I wanted to make sure everyone got the best chance of viewing her.  She is the top of the head only just above mine in the top photo, and just peering over my left shoulder in the bottom photo.  We see you Grandma Peggy!

Debbie left me note in morning giving me updated weather forecasts and Joe went over maps with me prior to my departure.  All was about needing to get to Cape May soon, before weather rolled in and made it unnavigable by small craft such as a canoe.  Need to get going.

Thank you Mathis family for everything!  And, yes, that's right, their invited also!

I set out at the height of high tide so I can take full advantage of outgoing tides when they kick in.  I make some miles happen.  I also do my largest water crossing to date!  I am not exploring anymore, just wanting to get ahead of future weather and get to Cape May!  I get to Egg Island Point and set a course for East Point.  A 6.5 mile crossing which unfortunately cuts out exploring Maurice Cove and river inlet.

Here are a series of video I shot to document the rest of the evening.

I think in the above video clip the light makes my nose look extra BIG!  Don't you think?

The three fish like forms I speak of in this video clip did cause me to question some of my other Bay resident friends.  It is believed that they were probably sharks of some kind.  They lay just below the surface and never broke water which would be expected by a porpoise.  Like I mentioned, my canoe was larger than all of them but the one was very close to my canoe size, my canoe is 17 feet long.

Todd Bauman

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