Thursday, February 6, 2014

Experiencing Tuckahoe

I debated about getting into the water for a while. It was murky – only had a foot or so of visibility, and cold. A bunch of factors pushed towards getting into Tuckahoe Creek. I drove an hour and a half to get here, it was World Wetland Day and snorkeling would be a fitting celebration, I never snorkeled here before and last time I scouted here visibility was even worse. Maybe this is as good as it gets. But the driver in the decision was what looked like otter tracks on a sand bar. The possibility that I might see an otter, though very remote, tipped the decision. It was the anticipation of what I might see that got me into the water. The bottom was neatly sorted into piles of sand and like sized gravels. Piles of Asian clam shells gathered where either the raccoons or the currents placed them. There were a few freshwater mussel shells mixed in but I didn’t see anything live. An endangered mussel is known to live here and I hoped to see one but the closest I got on this trip was an empty shell. Tree trunks were embedded into the unconsolidated bottom and faded into the murk. A half dozen snails clung to the lee side of one. I searched through tangles of submerged branches and beaver chews hoping for a mussel or fish, any fish, but only watched swirls of detritus blow off the bottom. A crayfish halfheartedly tried to escape with a few sluggish flicks of its tail. I traveled a long way to not see any fish or mussels today, but this was still a memorable trip. It’s not always about seeing. Sometimes it’s about experiencing, and I got to experience Tuckahoe for the first time. It won’t be the last.

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