Monday, July 30, 2012

Our special boat

A friend of mine has a 39+’ foot boat. That’s a big boat, just under the 40’ that requires a special license. As I like to kid him, we have about that same amount of  boat, it’s just that ours are in the form of two canoes and our peddle/paddle boat.

I take the canoes out to study sites with students and sometimes our son and I get out for a canoe float. The peddle/paddle boat is our special boat, though, because one particular member of our household is not comfortable in a canoe (too tippy) or really any small craft in deep water. (She’s plenty comfortable on that 39+’ boat as are we all when we get to enjoy what we consider a luxury cruise.) The peddle/paddle boat is not at all tippy and draws only a few inches of water, so we can take it in shallow water.

It fits right into the bed of the pickup so it makes for a nice trip to a shallow embayment on the river. Yesterday, we took it out on Ashmun Bay. With the rains in Duluth, Lake Superior is not low this summer and so Ashmun Bay has enough water to put the peddle/paddle boat in.  Ashmun Bay is also a popular power boat launch. The power boaters use the dredged channel that runs to the west of the launch to get out onto the St. Marys River. We go to the east, into the shallow bay, follow the shoreline then cut across back to the boat launch area. We spend about 45 minutes or so on the water. It is great to get out on the water and to do so without making a lot of noise and a big wake.

One party launched their powerboat when we did and returned when we did. We traveled about a kilometer. They likely traveled much farther. But I think we had a more peaceful experience and by going so slowly over a short distance got to see things in detail. I wonder if they even noticed the bald eagle carrying a fish in its talons, being mobbed by gulls? We also noticed a few sprigs of purple loosestrife. I’ll have to take some students out there this fall and get it dug up. It’s the first I’ve seen and so few plants we can stop the invasion just with hand pulling. It would be good to keep the bay free of purple loosestrife. It’s a nice bay with the vast majority of the shoreline in natural bank and a great place for canoes, kayaks and even a peddle/paddle boat.

We topped the afternoon off with some of the best burgers in town from the burger shack immediately adjacent to the bay. It made for a nice afternoon to capitalize on what this great place has to offer. 

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