Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Anna on the Chesapeake

Sunday was the first time I've been on the Chesapeake since last summer. Boy, did we choose an icky day to do the Bay. Due to the heavy rains, the Susquehanna River had overflowed, and the Conowingo Dam's floodgates had been opened. Sunday was a hot and humid day, and a fast ride and a dip were all but necessary to cool off. However, with debris ubiquitously floating by, a wide-open run was impossible. Never had I, nor Bay regulars, seen so many tree limbs in the water. Furthermore, we spotted paint cans, oil containers, tennis balls, and other trash both in the water and washed up on shorelines. Also, while granted that the Chesapeake is known to be dirty, its current condition is beyond muddy and into a whole new category of filth, presumably because of overflowed septic systems and erosion from the heavy storms. The Bay will probably need a couple weeks to clean itself, and the fishing and crabbing industries may take a major hit this season.

Fortunately, our captain knows the waters well. He managed to find a little back-water area that had enough bayward flow to have been spared the bulk of the contamination from the storms and flooding. The water there remained the normal brown rather than the disturbing brown of the Bay proper, and it was debris free.

Fortunately, I say, because I had decided that this was going to be the day that I was going to attempt to waterski for the first time in my life. Normally, I cannot stand water temperatures below 86 degrees at the coolest, and the thought of being wet and then being pulled along with the wind whipping over me at 30 mph or more just doesn't appeal to me. I get cold just thinking about it. But I had come prepared with a wet suit! I was ready!

They tossed me in the water and slapped skis on my feet with instructions on the how-tos of waterskiing. I got up easily, three times, but wasn't up very long, falling backwards after short stints. (At least, I never lost the skis.) Luckily, Hubby had noticed the problem and explained to me that I was trying to balance myself by pulling the rope handle in towards myself rather than bending my knees more. This was why I lost my balance and fell backwards.

At that point, I decided to let someone more experienced have a turn---not because I was altruistic, but because I wanted to watch someone closely to see their postioning. Clearly, that was the ticket. Next time in, I was up and skiing! Every time I wanted to pull my arms in, I talked myself out of it and lowered my center of gravity instead. Pretty cool! Quickly, I realized that to just allow myself to be pulled behind the boat was going to be about as exciting as para-sailing (ho-hum), so I started experimenting with steering. Although I was definitely not ready to hotdog it back and forth over the boat wake like the others, I did manuever myself back and forth within the confines of the wake. Next time, (I hope there's a next time!) maybe I'll jump the wake too.

Sadly, our outing was cut short. A storm was whipping up, and we needed to circumnavigate the debris in the Bay as quickly as possible and pull the boat--which we did just in time.

Figuring that the Bay's current illness would probably set someone to writing, I did a quick google search and found this article, if you're interested.


At 7/05/2006 5:42 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

The recent rains can only make things bad on the water table, but it cleans up pretty quickly. Sounds like you had a pretty good time :)


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