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There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot. - Steven Wright

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Author Topic: 15 Nov 2009 - Bay Campus to Rome Point  (Read 2154 times)

Rich Coupland

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15 Nov 2009 - Bay Campus to Rome Point
« on: November 15, 2009, 06:04:36 PM »

What a great paddle today: Great weather, a nautical scarecrow, loons, seals and a sea gull convention in the warm light of autumn.

We were a small group of five: myself, Cam, Tom, John S. and Rich R. The weather forcast was for improving conditions after a storm, with the possibility of fog. At the put-in we watched closely as the Jamestown Bridge was at the edge of visibility in distant fog. It looked like the fog might come down from the north. We decided to head north to avoid any chance of the fog following us south and blocking our return.

After crossing to Dutch Island we circled around the back side of the island and continued northeast to the Jamestown shore. Someone had built a scarecrow of old fishing floats and other beach debris, and had added a US flag for good measure. It was visible from a great distance, and we talked of the sirens on the shores of the ancient Mediterranean. I'm sure they were likely a lot more appealing than this odd construct.

As we headed north we heard at lead two loons calling off to our left, south of the bridge. We could see them, but they were just points on the water several hundred yards away.

The bridge was a convenient place to cross the west passage. We hadn't seen the high speed ferry, but didn't want to get caught in open water further north. There were several boats fishing at the lighthouse, but nothing was biting.

Rome Point at a distance is just a stretch of shoreline with no houses. As we approached we looked for seals on the offshore rocks, finally spotting one at a couple of hundred yards. We headed over to the point were there was a person with a tripod-mounted scope looking at the seals. "Wade" is there 50-60 times a year, documenting the seal activity and the condition of these mammals. As he explained, the top predators tell us a lot about the condition of the bay. This year they looked fat and healthy.

So Wade, how many seals are out there today?
Fifty Eight.
Fifty Eight? Can I have a look?
Sure. I've seen as many as 125 here at times.

Wade was a great guide to tell us about the seals - and the importance of staying well away from the rocks. We had seen two other groups of paddlers, and there were several Rome Point hikers while we were there. I suspect Wade tells a LOT of people about the seals. That's quite an effort on his part. (Thanks Wade!) He's even got a web site www.romepointseals.org. Check it out.

After lunch we rounded Fox Island and headed south. There were a few seals in the water that took an interest in us. Closer to the bridge a big seal had hauled-out on a flat rock at the water's surface - and only about 100 yards from shore. It looked like he was lying on the surface of the water! We were on the shore side when we saw him, and were able to pass quietly along the shore without disturbing his nap.

South of the bridge we again heard and say the loons. There must have been at least a half dozen of them, calling and occasionally diving for fish. One surfaced about 50 feet in front of our boats, then dove again. We thought we'd be right on top of him, but he surfaced at least 100 feet away. Great swimmer.

Finally, as we approached the Bay Campus area from the north there was a convention of seagulls along the shore - thousands of them. They must have weathered the storm there and had not yet dispersed. We were able to pass through without acquiring any 'gifts'.

We split up near the finish. Rich R. went ahead to practice some rolls. Tom and John S. found some good rock gardening at the last point. Cam and I took the middle path. As we approached the Bay Campus the sun and blue sky finally broke through to the west and teh water took on that warm light of the low fall sun. The water and wind were calm and still inviting. All said, it was a phenomenal fall paddle.

Best Wishes, Rich C.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2009, 07:56:16 PM by Rich C. »
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