Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A pond of two halves

Odd, isn’t it, how initial disappointment can occasionally turn into a gift? Certainly in small, perhaps trivial things. I had hoped and expected to put a kayak out onto Georgica Pond yesterday afternoon, but the water levels are still too low after the late April draining. Dragging a boat through two hundred feet of mud to reach the water is not much fun. So what to do? The wind was gusting out of the north-west so a southern shore venue was best. Mecox was too exposed, so what about Sagg Pond? Why not!

Sagg Pond is a glacial lake to the south and east of Bridgehampton, some two miles in length in a gentle ‘S’ shape, at its narrowest less than three hundred feet across, and is cut in half by the road bridge in (yes!) Bridge Lane. It’s really just a recreational paddle with no hazards or challenges, and is as safe as a body of water can be without being too complacent. I say that because people have drowned there through ill luck or judgment.

It really is a pond of two halves. Putting in at the bridge and paddling to the Atlantic Ocean is an effortless twenty minutes. Don’t expect spectacular natural scenery on the way however as almost every yard of bank space is occupied by rather monstrous houses, their perfectly manicured garden landscapes running down to the very water’s edge. It’s worth the trip though simply to hit the Atlantic beach and just sit there allowing the sight and sound of the surf to massage the soul. Oh, and to eat potato chips.

The Piping Plover rules this beach from a large, fenced-off, nesting colony from where they defend their eggs and young with a vengeance. Even as I waited three large gulls glided over the beach causing the plovers to scramble like fighter planes! About a hundred of them. The gulls abruptly turned and flew back out to sea.

Heading back and under the bridge it becomes clear that the scenery changes. The houses are smaller and more established. The west back is thick reed and a narrow wetland, and most of the east bank is farmland. Here the pond narrows, and funnels the wind in quite unpredictable ways. And the birds here are the gorgeous if noisy red-winged blackbirds, which seem to have taken over most of the reed beds for nesting. Turning around at the northern tip of the pond, where a culvert drains from the nature reserve, its back to the bridge and home. A round trip of about five miles, to include some meandering, in brilliant sunshine. Not a bad day and a gentle exercise.

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