► DOLPHINS in the Patuxent: September 1, 2012

Saturday 1 September 2012

Journey I: Triple L Estate – Solomons area – Solomons Yachting Center, Solomons Island – Solomons area bridge to base – Triple L Estate: DOLPHINS

Journey II: Triple L Estate – Solomons area – Triple L Estate with Martin, Eva, and kids

Journey III: Triple L Estate – Cuckold Creek – Patuxent River – Triple L Estate for tubing, kneeboarding, and ho-ing with Valinda, Britany, Martin, Eva, Ben, Lea, and Lori

Journey IV: Triple L Estate – Kingfishers, Solomons Island – Triple L Estate

Engine Hrs:Journey 1: 442.7 – 444.0, entire day: 442.7 – 446.3
Vessel: Chaparral 260 SSi Bowrider
Conditions: slightly overcast, hot and humid

We were LOW on fuel, too low. Had I realized just how low, I would have filled up on Friday. Since we had many people coming for the day, I had to fill. I left the house about 8:30 and headed to the island.

Just as I passed under the bridge I spotted a fin. This time I was SURE the fin I saw was a dolphin rather than a ray. I waited, watched, and again spotted more than just one dolphin! I was so very excited!!!! What luck. I turned off the engine to watch. I wanted to follow along side and hang out, but I didn’t have extra fuel to waste. Unfortunately, I knew I had to leave the Patuxent, and the dolphins.

As I rounded the tip of Solomons Island, my last look back I noted the dolphins had moved over more to the Calvert side of the river, and near to the Pier. My only hope – that I might see them when I returned after fueling.

Our 80 gallon tank took 69.3 gallons of fuel. Yikes! I really didn’t have much fuel left.

I returned as quickly as possible to the Patuxent, hoping beyond hope that I might again see the dolphins. I SLOWLY putted up river searching from shore to shore in search of any sign of the dolphins. I didn’t see anything all the way to the bridge. I had essentially given up hope and planned to head for home. I took one last look over my shoulder and to my delight I saw dolphin activity just south of the bridge. I quickly turned around and headed back towards the activity.

I followed along beside what I originally thought consisted of only a few dolphins. I then realized several pods had gathered. I saw at least two dozen dolphins.

There were times that the dolphins came so close to the boat I think some touched. I watched a few swim under my bow. Any time I realized how near I was to the dolphins I either immediately put the boat in neutral, so as not to hurt them on the prop, or I turned the boat off.

Finally, as the pods neared the base on the way to the bay, I forced myself to head for home since, after all, we did have company coming for the day. Martin and Eva arrived mid-morning with their two kids. Since we had an hour or so before others arrived I took them out for a short ride to give them a tour of the area. This included going towards Solomons Island. I had an ever so slight hope that we may again see the dolphins. No such luck. Oh well, we returned home shortly before Valinda arrived with her daughter.

We had a quick bite to eat, filled the tube with air, loaded up the water toys and took off for Cuckold Creek. Lori went first on the kneeboard, but only for a very short time. She cannot sit back on her knees and therefore quickly returned to the boat to allow others to learn how to kneeboard. Martin went first, we then taught Britany, and finally Eva had a go.

We then sent the kids out on the tube. Because of their age I towed them at a fairly gentle speed.

Once we had finished with the towing, we returned home. Sam and Kathy came over for drinks, as did Heather, in order to meet Sam and Kathy. Martin and Eva wanted to treat us to dinner so we decided to go to Kingfishers.

It was already dark when we left. The kids, of course, wore their vests as they boarded the boat. I handed Martin and Eva vests saying, “Technically, you don’t have to wear these, but, Lori and I have made it a habit to wear ours at night.” They did put their vests on also.

We arrived at Kingfishers around 8:30 pm and were told it would be a 35 minute wait. NO WAY did I want to wait that long. We got in the boat, put on our vests and took off. As we passed between Molly’s Leg and Tiki Bar area we noticed DNR had a boat pulled over. Hum. Smart. stake out people leaving the Tiki Bar on a Holiday Saturday. Fortunately since they were busy with them I knew I wouldn’t be stopped… not that it mattered. As Lori pointed out, DNR and Coast Guard love boaters like us, we have on vests and are responsible.

We returned home and ate what we had left over from lunch.

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