Five Down, Forty-five to Go
The vultures are pursuing a serious goal: kayak in all 50 states before we become too infirm, too confused or too big and creaky to get in and out of the kayak. As of today, we’ve conquered five mid-Atlantic states with 45 more to go.
Our latest adventure took us to the salty waters off Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland. We paddled alongside guides from Coastal Kayak Eco Tours who made sure we didn’t miss a willet, egret, tern or wild pony. Only one wild equine showed up during the paddle. He stood motionless as we approached the shore and then just…….stood there some more. I guess we were hoping for some wild pony giddy-up, but got major pony posing instead.
So we kept paddling. There were light, but stiff breezes on the water this week and for the first paddle of the season, the vultures had a serious two-hour workout. While the wind was behind us, the waters were calm and the scene picture postcard perfect: vivid blue skies, green marsh and trees, darker green water.
Sometimes we’d have to change direction to enter a small channel, and then the wind would transform tranquil water into a choppy soup. By the time we paddled back to the launch site, the persistent breeze stiffened the current with plenty of mini-white caps–a definite Horatio Hornblower moment. Had to keep a stiff upper lip because after a seven-month lay-off, it was a wake-up call. Novice kayakers like us have to always remind ourselves to focus, using the abs instead of our arms to paddle through the rough spots. It was a great challenge yet not overwhelming. In the back of our minds we knew that a bay-side lunch–with an evening chaser of gourmet cupcakes back in Rehoboth Beach–were awaiting.
No eco-tour company can ever guarantee wildlife sightings, but not seeing a pony at Assateague would be a rare trip. Sure we saw one lone guy out in the marsh grass, but all of us were hoping for more. We just never thought we’d see them at the beach-side grove once we landed. A small band of picnic-crashing ponies came univited to a family luncheon and just hunkered down for the goodies. In a way they were mares after our own hearts. We were hungry too and by early afternoon needed some sustenance. No doubt the sun and sea air made all us creatures a bit peckish.