|Chicks peaking out of their nest|
The osprey chicks, in nest built on top of the two navigation markers leading out of Delegal Creek, are maturing. As I leave the marina and paddle out of the creek with the falling tide, the parents do their usual dance. As I get closer, they begin to cry out and then stand tall on their nest and spread their wings before flying. At first they approach me in a threatening manner, then head to a tree in the marsh where they continued their cry as I paddle past. This happens every time there are eggs or chicks in the nest, only this time the young chicks are large enough to bop their heads up to see what’s happening. It won’t be long before they fledge and take off on their own.
|Approaching nest at mouth of Delegal Creek|
Last Friday, I took the late morning outgoing tide to Wassaw Beach. It’s a warm day, but not too hot and with enough of a sea breeze to keep me cool as I paddle. With the tide in my favor, I make the five mile paddle in just over an hour, pulling my boat up on the beach and enjoying lunch. Just up the beach from me are two families who’d made the trip in two powerboats. The two men have rods out in the water, which are sticking in the back of their boats while they sip on beer in the shade of beach umbrellas. They catch a few small sharks (thankfully they release them) but the sight of the sharks is enough to keep the children out of the water and for their wives to caution them about getting too close to the sharks’ mouth, warning they might bite off a finger.
|Approaching south end of Wassaw|
|Osawbaw is in the distance, to the left is open ocean|
After lunch, I pull my boat up higher on the beach and take my hammock, a book and journal, and head off for some privacy. I walked around the south end of the island. The high water mark is a graveyard of dead (and stinking) horseshoe crabs. At the southern tip of the island, and just far enough inland to avoid the stench, but not so far as to block the sea breeze, I find two pines where I can string my hammock. The site affords me a nice view of the water and Ossabaw Sound to the south. I plop myself in the hammock, enjoying the constant breeze, for some reading and an afternoon nap. The tide is turning around 3 PM, but I’m not in a hurry. After waking from a nap, I watch a pod of bottle-nosed dolphins play and fish in the water just feet from the shore. I’m sure the sharks, who tend to avoid dolphins and porpoises, have cleared out. Many times I have been fishing and, like the guys I’d seen earlier in the afternoon, and have been catching lots of what we called sand sharks, only to have dolphins show up and the sharks to clear out. I also notice that the humidity has dropped for Ossabaw Island, which is at least three miles away, appears a lot closer than when I fell asleep.
|Dead horseshoe crabs at high water mark|
At 5:30 PM, I pack up, stow everything in my kayak, and paddle back home. The breeze has picked up and waves are on the water, which makes for a more interesting paddle (and an easier one as I am often able to ride the waves). I make good time heading back. As I enter Delegal Creek, the Osprey again greet me with their usual dance as I pass the navigation markers.
As I am loading up my kayak on top of the car, a number of kayakers began arriving, planning for an evening paddle while watching the nearly full moon rise. I am tempted to join them.
|Adult osprey approaching nest|