Before the Freeze

Well, the weather is supposed to be varied in the next week. Snow tomorrow night then rain two days later. It is New England…….  My wife and I put our kayaks away today but on the 13th, we went out on the lake (wearing life jackets so if in the 1/1,000,000 chance we tipped over, we wouldn’t have to “find” the life jacket attached to the boat). We headed out to Cate Island and there was about 1/4 inch of ice  near the island and in a region up toward Bass Island, toward the Sisters and all along the east side of Stamp Act.  When we got there,  you could use your kayak as an ice breaker. The breaking ice caused little waves in the areas that weren’t frozen but also caused “waves” across the ice and I thought of the “ice road truckers” as they drive across the frozen lakes of northern Canada with a “wave” that they have to make sure that they don’t mess with and fall through. The noise as you broke the ice was wonderful, like breaking glass.

Kayak breaking the ice.

The lower part of the photo is the ice, the upper part is the waves caused by breaking the ice.

Today, two days later, the ice was basically melted everywhere where we could see because of winds and sunny days but there were ducks on the lake. They were in groups with about 2 dozen mallards in one “raft” but then a huge raft of 200+ Scaup. We think that they are Lesser Scaup (not Greater Scaup) because they are on an inland lake at this time of year but with Scaup, you can never tell. They would dive as a group so you would see hundreds on the surface and then none and then they would resurface. They must have been chasing some fish and would drive the fish to the surface because there were about 10 seagulls (assumed to be ring billed gulls, the normal ones we have on the lake) diving into the water near where the ducks dove. We first saw the Scaup north of 1st ledge they then came closer to near Brummitt and then headed north. Seeing a couple hundred ducks on the lake was a first for us. It was a “raft” of ducks, quite spectacular.

I will say that going out onto the lake when the water temperature is near freezing in a kayak is not something to be taken lightly. It may be that we should not have gone but we survived and all is well.

If you have stories or things that you want to share, please contact me at “info” at lwa. I would love to have other people writing things……