Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Boats in the Water!

We've had great weather for kayaking, so we finally got our boats in the water!

We launched at low tide at Chapman's Landing in Stratham, NH and headed toward Great Bay along the Squamscott River, one of 5 tidal rivers that flows into Great Bay.

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NH Fish and Game maintains a parking area, boat ramp accessible at all tides, and rest room on the Stratham side of the Squamscott River off Route 108. Parking and launching are free.

The "accessible at all tides" feature of this launch is important because the tides in Great Bay change by 6.5 feet and the bay is shallow.....so even with a kayak it can sometimes be a long, mucky walk to shore if you try to land at low tide.

This area is also popular with birders because you can see an osprey nest and an expanse of salt marsh. In December, we watched large flocks of robins roosting from this parking area.

We decided to take a short paddle and head toward Great Bay. For a longer kayak, it's about 4.7 miles to Exeter along the Squamscott River. We usually try to time our trips with the tide, so that we can be going with the tide in both directions. Smart, eh?? (Wait, or lazy?)

I dangled my water thermometer in the water and got readings in the low 60's.....I would love to find an official online source of water temperatures in Great Bay!!! (In the spring the water is dangerously cold for longer than you'd expect.)

We kayaked past the osprey nest, but saw almost no activity there. We think there was a bird sitting low in the nest, which would be normal if they are incubating eggs.

The nest failed last year. I couldn't find data about this year. We didn't have binoculars with us, so it was hard to tell what was going on up so high.


The mouth of the Squamscott River is marked by this railroad bridge. It's about 1 mile from Chapman's Landing.

Sometimes we see cormorants sunning on the pilings next to the bridge.

Me - trying out my new hat

Poking our noses out into Great Bay

Great Bay is an important estuary in the northeast. At low tide, it can be extremely shallow - some parts are even too shallow for kayaks.

This is the new little waterproof bag we have for our camera. You operate the camera right through the bag. It's a little hard to work the buttons, and I was surprised that the pictures came out. But being such a dedicated blogger.....I needed to be able to capture pictures on the water without risking the camera!

We aren't skilled enough with it yet to photograph anything quickly. We saw but could not photograph a cormorant, great blue heron, hawks, turkey vultures, a possible osprey, and a mallard. Hopefully with practice we'll be able to show you some of the birds and wildlife we love to see when we kayak!


Penny-Wise People said...

Looks like an awesome trip!! And a beautiful day for pretty photos - this sunshine has been wonderful!

Jennifer said...

I'm so jealous! We don't have the option of the tide this far inland, so kayaking is work in both directions. In fact, we both are complaining of sore shoulders, so we've put it off. We've got a two passenger, so I can be attached. James would be bored with how slow I go otherwise! It was great to see your trip - I can live through you!

Sharon said...

I've only had the opportunity to take a trip like that just once, in Minnesota and right after HS graduation. I still remember it and think you are so fortunate to live where you are able to enjoy the environment at eye level. Boy, kayaks sure are close to the water - like inches!

Life Looms Large said...

Penny, it as been great to see the sun lately!! Plus lack of lightning makes for safer boating!

Jennifer, We are pretty lucky to have the tide to push us in both directions when we plan it right!! A 2-person kayak has its advantages for sure!!


bspinner said...

You are so lucky to live so close to a water way you can Kayak on!!!
What fun you must have.
Pictures are great. New hat looks good on you.

Deanna said...

What a fun life you have, filled with amazing adventures! It's such a treat to see what's up next on your blog!

Theresa said...

How fun! I've never kayaked! Canoe's aren't quite the same.

Lynnette said...

Looks like you had a blast! Beautiful scenery seems to abound.

Life Looms Large said...

Kayaking was really fun....although our dog Bailey totally wishes we went out in the canoe more often. Then there would be room for him!!

Blogging has made me appreciate how beautiful NH is.....it's easy to take really pretty pictures here!