Tuesday, September 22, 2009


And in the case of Fresh Pond that is especially true! This neat and picturesque body of water, no more than half a mile long and five hundred yards wide, lies to the north of Fresh Pond Road (hello!) which connects Amagansett to Gardiner’s bay. There are two “put-ins” or launch sites, but the one on the northern bank is tricky to say the least, and involves portage through a densely wooded area where branches leap out at the unsuspecting kayaker without any provocation. No, don’t use that one, but the one on the south bank instead. This one is delightfully easy, a dry-feet launch, and therefore I’m not going to tell you exactly where it is! If anyone wants to come and paddle Fresh Pond with me I will insist on a blindfold!

One of the beautiful aspects of Fresh Pond is that, unlike so many ponds and waters in this area, it has no waterfront development whatsoever. Not even a boathouse or shed. The entire bank is thick with forest growth, wetlands and tall rushes - a pondscape that has probably remained unchanged for hundreds of years. And it is teeming with birds, fish and colorful insect life, most notably the bright blue dragonflies that seem to like flying alongside the kayak and even landing on its bow.

I had looked at a satellite image of Fresh Pond, courtesy of Google Earth (incidentally the rough kayaker’s most important tool after boat and paddle) and spotted a very narrow creek running into the woods on the western edge of the lake, and after a few minutes of gentle paddling I found the opening.

The next few photographs were taken a various stages along the creek which is navigable for about a hundred and fifty yards. You can see that it becomes extremely narrow towards the end of the passage, and as I stroked and punted the boat forwards I was glad to be in the small Manatee kayak and nothing larger.

Time to turn around and head back to the pond. The emerging view ...

Various eastward views of Fresh Pond, which ends in wetlands and an osprey tower.

After returning to the car after only an hour’s paddling and exploring I need more, so threw the boat inside the car (it just fits) and drove the three hundred yards to the beach, launching into Gardiner’s Bay. A good half hour’s brisk paddle south had me returning via the Devon Yacht Club and the small, private harbor. It was then great to drift back on a gentle breeze and outgoing tide…

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