Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Lake Surveying

I've learned a lot of new plants, all aquatic, since signing up for a Zoom course with the Lake Stewards of Maine in 2020. I've also learned how to do comprehensive kayak surveys and to bring a handful of new 'tools' with me. I've increased my arm strength and paddling stamina enormously without even realizing it - I don't blink an eye at the imagined destination and distance I have to cover - I just get up and get on the water every day, without giving it a second thought (at least there're no ticks out there). There have only been a few occasions when arthritis in my shoulder has been tweaked. The hand surgery has freed me enormously.

When I set off on an aquatic expedition, I have lots of things stowed in my kayak, not least of which are my phone in a watertight bag, and my flotation device. In addition I bring weighted markers, a net, sometimes a shrub rake, a bucket, a pair of scissors (with which I cut and free up branches of fishing line and hooks), and a viewing scope (an adapted pistol-case) to enable me to see down into the water. I tether it to my kayak and let it float along next to me while I peer down through its transparent bottom:

It works pretty well, though it can sometimes get in the way of one's paddle, and offers only a very limited viewing area, but it does cut out the distortion from surface ripples, and the top gives one enough shade to cut out glare. I can see down to about 6 feet below me in good light conditions. I have become so adept at spotting naiads though, that I very seldom need the viewing scope to detect them now. They seem to jump out at me, as if they have a very special and particular spectral signature I'm inadvertently picking up on.

THIS is what I'm out there looking for - that very distinctive rusty colored canopy blooming just below the surface. It is very tiring on the eyes to survey so intently for hours on end, I must say, but it's actually exciting and worthwhile, in my mind, and I can't stop myself from doing it!

When I harvest a haul like this, I feel really good about hindering its efforts to disperse its seeds for the next year's growing cycle.


Wendy said...

I think you should have a new title..."The Guardian Angel of Arrowhead"or GAA for short...if we put of Limerick it would be the GAAL...

Debbie said...

Thanks, Wendy - I'm glad you didn't suggest GALL: Guardian Angel of the Lakes of Limerick!