The other day I felt like going for a paddle. At the same time I was feeling flattened by oppressive humidity. Instead of hitching my kayak trailer up to my car I chose to throw my little red Perception Swifty into the suv. At 9.5′ it’s small enough to fit with the rear gate fully closed. This the first kayak I ever owned. Suzanne bought it for me used, at a Saco Bound end of rental season sale. I have had that kayak for almost 20 years. It’s pretty beat up but it’s indestructible, virtually unsinkable, and it’s light enough for me to carry down to a put in under one arm.
I’d love to take my Old Town Adventure with me everywhere but it always presents a bit of a problem. When I first bought it, over 15 years ago, I was younger, and in much better shape. It weighs in at 56lbs. I used to be able to clean and jerk that boat up into the Thule jay bars I had on top of my car. Over the years that movement gradually became more of a slide up over the rear windshield to get it into place. Eventually I had to use a stepladder and often I’d leave some scratch marks on the car. Then I bought a kayak trailer. I can easily load up and go but the trailer is very light and I don’t feel comfortable with it on the highway. It bounces around and catches air at highway speeds. So the swifty is convenient when I’m feeling lazy.
The only real down side to the swifty is that such a short length with a flatbottomed hull, it doesn’t have any real tracking ability. Every paddle stroke takes it in that directly. So basically you are either constantly paddling or you are moving into a turn.
All of this aside, I really wanted to get out on the water. I’ve been dipping my paddle in every nearby lake and pond that I never explored before. This day’s adventure was to to Tuxbury Pond, a little 120 acres of shallow water thick with lily pads. You literally have to paddle through a narrow open channel that snakes through the entire pond. The pond straddles the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border in both Amesbury, MA and Southampton, NH. There’s an rv camping resort on the eastern side of the pond, and a few private waterfront homes but also large swathes of unspoiled nature. The pond has a number of tiny islands in it. They seem like they’d be perfect for an overnight adventure but finding a place to land is difficult with all of the lily pads.
Surprisingly motor boating is allowed if you have a waterfront property. I don’t frankly know how you would keep your prop from getting tangled in all the plants but there are enough motor boats at docks to tell me they’ve figured that out.
Usually I get home from a pond or lake visit and smell like pond water, which isn’t a bad smell, but it’s not a good smell either. This pond, however, had such a powerful scent from the lilies that if you closed your eyes you could image yourself in a flower shop…or church. I say church because growing up catholic the church used a lot of lilies throughout the year. It was lovely and fragrant, and not at all like the other ponds nearby. The water was like glass and reflected the trees and sky above. It was incredibly quiet. I only saw one boat, a pontoon boat with about 8 people having fun on it, and one other kayaker. There’s a damn spillway on the southeastern side of the pond that provides the only steady sound of any kind.
I saw a huge great blue heron that flew away before I could get my camera out of its waterproof container. A little later I saw two adult mute swans sitting on berm with a juvenile between them. They never moved of appeared startled by my approach. They were lovely to watch as they each took turns grooming the juvenile. They were a complete family unit, unphased by my paddling.
I’m not a very good videographer, and it was my foolish first attempt at paddling and filming at the same time. I was only using my iPhone. Maybe I’ll invest in a go pro in the near future. Meanwhile check out my trip adventouring on Tuxbury Pond.