|Launching at sunset on Friday
night. This view is west into the inlet along which
area, Rocky Point Park, is located.
Picture by Kara Brown
selected site H1 even though I knew there’d be mosquitoes.
The wind at
the southern end of Hart would have kept the skeeters
down, but I
choose the bugs over the party noise floating over the
water from the
raft of power boats tied up off H10. I made sure to pack
the bug spray
right under the hatch and I needed it while I set up my
moonlight. I looked up at one point to see a fox sniffing
the kayak was beached. I wished I had something to feed
it. If the fox
is what the mosquitoes prey on when humans aren’t around,
it must have
to eat a lot to replenish it’s blood supply!
After breakfast on Saturday morning I took a swim and tried to unfreeze the rudder on the boat. When I pulled it I felt a snap, and it was free. But the snap was from breaking the cable to the left side footpeg. Great, I had no footpeg, no rudder, and an unwanted shop project. I paddled back to the park, loaded up and drove to Baltimore.
I volunteer at Artscape and my assignment was “floater.” I was assigned the upper half of Mt. Royal Street and my duty was to “booth sit” for any of the craft vendors that needed a break. Most vendors have at least two persons working the booth, and they can provide their own backups. It took me about an hour to figure out there were only about a half dozen vendors who were solo, introduce myself to them, see how they were doing, and promise to check back with them. For the most part my time was on my own.
The art cars paraded down Mt. Royal around noon. I had seen many of the art cars in years past, but had never seen them on the road, nor had I ever seen the zany characters driving them (presumably the creators), many in costume. That was fun. I spent some time listening to the music on the Saturn Stage (Annie Sidley, Stupid Hero, and Gary B & the Notions), and I spent a lot of time sitting on the “feed-back” display set up on the median of Mt. Royal. This was a set of four chairs made from plastic barrels like we see washed up along rivers and a crate-table-chest, all set under an interesting tarp made of plastic shopping bags that had somehow been fused into a tarp. It was 96 degrees, and I really appreciated the shade under the tarp! I booth sat a total of five times in four hours.
Kara met me when my shift was over and we spent the rest of the day listening to the music at the Saturn Stage. Back Door Slam played at 5:30. This trio from the Island of Mann looked really young and played an awesome blues/rock set. Even without the other charms of Artscape, for me, just hearing these guys made the trip to Artscape worthwhile. Next up was Mike Doughty, former front-man for Soul Coughing. Accompanied only be a cello his set was less than compelling, and his vocals frequently miss the mark, too. Rusted Root’s percussion-fueled, full and melodic sound made up for Doughty’s disappointing set. All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening of music.
I was tired driving back to the Park and wondered again about the wisdom of double-booking the weekend. But by eight-bells (midnight), I was back on the brightly moonlit water, one-side-oar paddling across that steadfast southeasterly wind. In the lee of Hart-Miller Island, we paddled lazily northward, past H1, towards the big beach area. There were 20 – 30 power boats anchored within a half-mile of the big beach, and the anchorage lights made it look like a small harbor. It was a beautiful night on the water, but when I’d stop paddling to drift and admire the scene, I was nodding off in the cockpit. So I had to ask Kara to turn around, and we went back to H1 and had a pitched, martial-arts battle with the mosquitoes. Kara left her screen unzipped while inflating her air mattress and I could hear her slapping mosquitoes and swearing as I quickly fell asleep.
Sunday morning I put the Sealution in the water and swam it out to chest deep. I flipped it over and tried to get in and roll it upright. I never realized how important foot pegs are. I couldn’t hold my hips in the seat, just twisted around in the cockpit and was unable to roll the boat up.
out and we paddled over to the big beach.
Kara poses beside the AE kayak. She is in front of site H1 on the Hart Island remnant. A few power boaters are camped out a bit down the beach, but most of them just anchor and stay on their boats.
has a level area that is
back off the beach. Each site has a table and fire
ranger comes by and accepts $6/day fee.
from "the front door".
picture by Kara Brown
counted 19 power boats anchored and 3 on the beach. One
“Fred,” a Pennsylvanian from Middle River, 35 years ago.
He and his
boys had set some crab traps in Middle River and then come
over here to
swim. After Fred gave me a dissertation in how to set up a
(are you listening, canoedancing?), they departed.
This picture is taken from a tower among the structures at Hart-Miller, on the Miller remnant of HMI. Most of the power boaters stay off the beach. Kara is chatting with Fred in this picture.
Kara up the
ramp. Kayaks on the beach. The fleet at anchor
I climbed up the tower and looked over the interior of the
which looks very much like what it is: an industrial site.
Viewed from the tower, State facilities include bathrooms. The two clumps of trees are the Miller and Hart island remnants. At image left is the containment wall for the dredge spoil storage, which is the main function of HMI.
interior of HMI is used to
store dredge spoils. I believe the spoil arrives and
distributed as a slurry. I'm wondering if there aren't
pools of standing water as a result of this, standing
water as in
mosquitoe breeding areas.