March 23, 2007 in Keepers Log

First paddle of the season

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Yesterday, I had an errand to run to the sloop Clearwater. By dusk, the tide turned and pushed the remaining ice out of the creek. A strong southerly wind eventually calmed, so I decided to put the canoe in the water and paddle up the creek to where the sloop is moored. In the dim light, I could hear but not see Canada geese honking and mallards quacking, unnerved by my presence. Today, Captain Dangerous paddled to the lighthouse from his riverside home. He needed to pick up a steel pin for the dock and drop off a jacket for me. He called ahead to make sure the “berg-y bits” of ice had cleared enough from the shoreline and channel. Hard to believe that we were ice boating on the frozen river as recently as two weeks ago. Talking to “River Dick” (as opposed to “Mountain Dick” of the men named Dick that I know), he said that St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 was the traditional date for resumption of river navigation in the years before ice-breakers. Typically, by then the ice had thawed and broken up enough to allow for ships to pass through without too much trouble. Still seems to hold true. For the lighthouse keeper, that meant resuming the routine of maintaining the light in the tower after a winter hiatus.

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