Sunday , June 28, 2015
High – 88
Skies – Cloudy early with peaks of sunshine expected late. Stray shower or thunderstorm.
It sounded like a baby crying or a young girl moaning. It was happening in my dream, at least I thought it was until LaNae cracked me awake with the back of her hand. “Listen!” she whispered. I heard the sound but wasn’t sure what it was, so I simply explained to her that it was the ghost of Morganza Bend (where we were), who was a young mother whose child had been lost to the river and now roamed the banks moaning her lament. She didn’t buy it and now I had to pee, so I donned my headlamp and headed outside. That’s when the loud “somebody’s dropping large rocks in the river” sounds started. This was obviously the sound of a beaver slapping his tail in the water to show his displeasure with my presence. It was about this time that the moaning baby sound started again and it was getting closer. I rushed to the tent for LaNae’s headlamp and the extra light it would provide. Once I had both lamps aimed at the sound, I could see what it was. A large beaver swimming upstream along the bank. I followed him with the lights until he climbed out – looked at me – shook the water off himself and then got back into the water.
This was not the first encounter with seemingly fearless wildlife on this trip. There was the coyote, who walked to within 10 feet of us in camp in broad daylight to apparently just say hello. There was also the raccoon a few days ago, who, while I was getting things from my front hatch @ 4:00am, simply walked right past my feet and began sniffing the front of my boat. At that same location a deer, well aware of our presence, grazed nonchalantly about 100 yards away. Is it because of the remoteness of these areas? There is a lot of hunting and hunting camps along the river, so why the indifference towards us?
Oh well, time to get our day started. We cooked our usual hot breakfast while pairs of cardinals flew around and a beautiful sunrise broke the darkness (See Instagram @ separateboats).
We launched our boats and headed for Profit Island 27 miles downstream. It’s a large island that has a back chute nearly as large as the main channel and sits in the middle of the river. Because of its size and the Loess Bluffs on the left bank, we were hopeful that high waters had left some exposed shoreline where we could camp.
On our way, we passed under the new bridge at St. Francisville, Louisiana. (See Instagram @ separateboats). We had just passed under when LaNae noticed a tow approaching about two miles behind us. I normally would not have cared, but we were approaching St Maurice’s Towhead (island) and I wanted to be sure we stayed clear of him where the main channel narrowed. I raised him on the radio and learned it was the Laurie S. Johnston. After telling me we were crazy, he confirmed he saw us and our route was fine, and thanked us for carrying a VHF radio, noting many river paddlers fail to do so. He also mentioned that the Dennis C. Bottorff had taken advantage of the floodwaters and was coming north towards us through the chute on the backside of the island. Hmmm, that would put him on a collision course with us as he popped out from behind the island. It was then that the skipper of the Bottorff overheard the conversation and jumped in stating he would be hugging the head of the island. Perfect. LaNae and I would simply alter course, stay near the left bank descending, and go through the chute instead of the main channel. Everyone acknowledged and all was well.
We arrived at the head of Profit Island and with the binoculars, could confirm a nice piece of sandy shoreline about 1/2 mile down the back chute.
We arrived at our campsite and set about washing clothes and self before taking a break in the shade on the tarp. There were some small patches of rainstorms popping up on the radar but I guessed they would all miss us. Bad guess. The rain came and was monsoonal. All we could do was sit on the tarp in the horizontal rain while we stared at our laundry “drying” on the improvised clothesline. ( See Instagram @ separateboats).
Why were we sitting on the tarp through all of this? Well, since the rain was “going to miss us”, we didn’t bother to set up the tent. The rain finally stopped long enough for us to set up the tent, strip out of our saturated clothes, and sit inside dripping on the floor (sorry for the image) while the next downpour passed through. Oh well, this is the trip!
Hey, this is LaNae. I couldn’t help giving you a peek into a day with John. A common occurrence during our paddle each day is a visit from John’s alter egos “Paddling Edna” and/or “On the River with Uncle Louie.” (I told him he has so much ego some of it leaks out in other ways.) Sometimes he will provide his rendition of popular children stories, such as, “Little Red Riding Hood”. I can tell John has been on the river too long – today we had a rerun of “Little Red Riding Hood”. Life with John Abnet is never boring!
We decided since we had such an interesting day with the storms, we should reward ourselves. So we had coffee with our dinner. What a treat!
We are now in our tent at our usual 8:00 time to beat the mosquitos. However, tonight we are here to escape the bees! While we were enjoying our coffee, the first bee showed up. By the time we returned to the kayaks to put things away and check on our drying laundry, we were literally invaded by the buzzing creatures. However, as I sit here, I have noticed the buzzing of the bees is being replaced by the humming of mosquitos. Ah, nature!
Thanks for following our adventure. For photos and videos of the events mentioned in this daily journal, check us out on Instagram @ separateboats.
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