Dammit, NO!

Pilot dead

A Snowbirds pilot has died. Their season only just started – I saw a story about their sign-off show only a week or so ago. Oh man, I know it’s terrible either way, but I selfishly hope it’s not one of the ones who signed my laptop.

Second paddle of the season. Overdid it a bit.

I went up the left branch of the creek after the weir, up to Old Browncroft Blvd. 4.4 miles round trip. The air was a little below 70 degrees and the water still a bit cold, and I wore my wet suit with no shirt underneath, and my PFD. The PFD isn’t very good, and it rides up above my fat stomach and ends up rubbing against my jaw as I paddle. The wet suit rubs a bit under the arms but I’m pretty sure it would be fine if I wore a t-shirt.

I tried hard to paddle with good technique, but I don’t think I did a very good job. My elbows are quite sore now. When I got to the turn around point, my left shoulder and right fore-arm were sore and I thought I’d have to take it easy on the way home, but with the current behind me I actually ended up doing some good hard paddling and I wasn’t sore when I got home.

If you look at the Google Maps Pedometer map on the link above, you’ll see that I went into a large area of open water. I think of it as “the lake”, but it’s not really one. The shores of “the lake” provide a lot of mud flats, and on the flats there were dozens of sandpipers. There seemed to be two types of them, some really tiny ones about the size of a goldfinch, and some about half way between that and a killdeer, but I wouldn’t swear to that. I also saw some highly aggressive red wing blackbirds – some attacking each other, and some chasing off some small falcon-form birds like a Merlin or a Kestrel. I guess the females are coming soon. This area also attracts vultures, which is not very encouraging when you’re struggling, and they were out today.

Speaking of birds, what is it about Great Blue Herons that make them so stupid? They see a boat coming upstream, so they “escape” by flying up further upstream, only to have to fly off again 5 minutes later as you get closer. Why is it so hard for them to figure out that they just have to fly around behind you? Bird brains!

On the trip back, I discovered a “gaggle” of young girls in kayaks harassing a swan. There were about 8 or 9 of them, and they had the swan surrounded and were sort of chasing it around. The poor thing had its wings up in a threat display, but there were too many for it to attack or get away from. I didn’t see an obvious leader, so I yelled at them to leave the damn swan alone before they killed it, and paddled on home. When I got to Bay Creek, I asked about this group and the guy working there said that they were supposed to be with an instructor, and he’d speak to them when they got back.