Canoeing in Maine

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We bought a canoe once spring arrived this year and the anticipation of all those endless trips around Egypt Pond forced us into it.  My wife, Donna, saw it for sale in the yard of a neighbor and we had to buy it.  With all the lakes, rivers, ponds and streams in Maine how could we not have a canoe? (My idea of a true boat is anything without a motor on the back end. I like to hear the world as I glide along, rather than ripping through it at a rock concert noise level...but just my opinion..)

Summer comes on fast here and this spring it seemed even faster with hardly any mud season to contend with. (A joy I have yet to face, here in Maine, but there's always next season...) Donna and I kept promising ourselves we were going to get out on Egypt Pond almost every weekend this summer, but when it wasn't raining (which was often) we always seemed too busy. Finally, toward the end of July, we cleared our calendars and just did it.

Now, we of the Mazda cars and no boat carrier to tow behind, had a bit of an issue: this canoe wasn't the lightest ever made. It's made of durable plastic and seats two with plenty of room for more people in the middle. But we were determined to go and the Pond boat launch is just a stone's throw from our house, so there was just one thing to do: flip it (gently) on top of the Protégé. Not an easy thing to do, but we managed it, after a struggle. Oddly enough, the canoe was longer than my car... Then we tied it on (OK, we bungeed it on with about a dozen cords stretched to the underside of the front and back bumpers...) and slowly drove the short distance to the boat launch.

It was early in the day on a Sunday morning, and we were the only ones on the Pond for a while. It was calm right at the launch area, and once my wife and I got our paddling method worked out, we set out to circumnavigate the Pond. We only ran aground once on one of the inlet shoals, which was pretty good for us.

As we rounded a corner of the Pond, there they were. We knew they were there since we could hear them at night, calling to each other. The loons were on the Pond.

It was a pair with their fuzzy offspring, still in its dark brown youthful feathers, great for camouflage while in the nest. But here they were, in the middle of the Pond, the mother and child close together, bobbing on the waves.

And then we heard the sound up close. The other-worldly call of the loon. What a haunting and beautiful sound. (Check out descriptions and loon recordings at Journey North Loon Migration.) Watching those loons from a distance made it a special day on the Pond. Mother and offspring stayed close together while the male swam and dived farther off, only occasionally joining the other two.

We continued our trip around the Pond, keeping an eye on the loon family, photographing them as best as possible from the inside of a bobbing canoe. All too soon it was time to head back to the boat launch, re-bungee the canoe to the top of the car, and head back to the farmhouse. We have yet to get the canoe out again the rest of this summer, but it was worth every minute, sharing the Pond with the loon family. But who knows, maybe a quick trip this fall...?


Loon Links:

Journey North Loon Migration
(good info about Loons as well as Teacher resource info)

Bird Note
(Public Radio show about birds)

The Maine Loon Project
(Conducted by Maine Audubon)

Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program
(lots of scientific info on loons in the Adirondacks)

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This page contains a single entry by JeffAdminist published on January 20, 2009 11:39 PM.

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