Date: May 6th, 2009
Launch Point: End of Scallop Pond Road (dirt track)
Weather: Bright. Gentle W breeze changing to strong SW wind later
Air Temp: 63F
Water Temp: Around 50F
Total Distance: Five miles, including two narrow creeks and 500 yards of portage!
This particular launch point is one of the simplest and most scenic, even if Scallop Pond is an unremarkable body of water. Although bordering Peconic Bay it doesn’t exit directly into open water but drains and floods along two major creeks: West Neck Creek and Little Sebonac Creek. And boy, does it drain! I hit the water on a strong ebbing tide and used the current to make fast time of the first stage of the journey. A few photos of the general scenery:
What did surprise me were the jellyfish so early in the season. Some four to six inches across, I must have passed (or hit!) over twenty of them in a particularly shallow stretch of water. Signs of a warm season to come? Who actually knows?!
After West Neck Creek I paddled into Little Sebonac, and was amazed at how much longer and wider it was compared to its shape on the chart.
On two occasions I explored some of the narrow creeks that are everywhere on the eastern side of this water. Although shallow they are often navigable for quite a distance, and full of small, freshly-hatched fish, bird life and, yes, jellyfish! And the waters are gin clear.
I had been paddling for well over an hour and was snooping around a shallow, sheltered bay when the wind suddenly changed direction and picked up. Rather than paddle the long way round through some seriously developing chop I climbed out onto the mud flat and pulled the boat behind me all the way back to the main channel – to return to Scallop Pond. Once back in the water the wind was behind me to push me along.
As said, Scallop Pond isn’t that exciting, but there was one thing I wanted to see. Back in the 1920s a wealthy businessman built the façade of a galleon’s stern on his waterfront property. Named “The Port of Missing Men” (now there’s a title used by many writers!) it survives to this day.