Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Finally went swimming, lost my glasses....

Yesterday I decided to jump in the Mon. It was around 90 degrees, and I went down to the marina quickly after work. There was a strong storm approaching, according the the Internet radar and also announcements on the radio. I was determined to get a quick swim in before it hit.

I could see the dark clouds as I arrived at my boat, changed in to swimming attire, put on my face mask (better to see the cool bubbles with) and jumped overboard. As I came out, I could hear a loud noise across the river on the west side, so I climbed out. The wind was really blowing and I thought "tornado!" Sure seemed like one was approaching. Very strange sound in the trees across the river and everything was blowing around. I tried to secure what I could and to get my clothes back on quickly so I could get off the boat and to safety. But where were my $80 prescription sunglasses. My conclusion is that they are on the bottom of the river now. They are pretty light, and I think they were first to go....


Monday, July 11, 2011

Mayfly attack!

Well, it wasn't an attack, but that headline is sensational, and readers like a good sensation. That's what Jason and Sebastian got, along with mate Chris and I, when we were cleaning litter off the west bank above the Morgantown Dam Sunday.

We were poking around the shore where the litter had drifted up from behind the dam, and we disturbed their resting area on the leaves of trees along the shore. (click the photo for a closer look).

To see the mayflies in the closeup below, click it.

These bugs don't bother people, except for leaving their carcasses all over the place when they die. The lifespan of an adult mayfly can vary from just 30 minutes to one day depending on the species, says the Wikipedia article on these insects. They are very important in feeding fish.

I think our crew will remember this experience. The young men did a great job with us on The Monongahela Monitor, our pontoon boat. They worked hard.

Litter above the dam, along the east shore in particular, is as bad as I've ever seen it.

If I had three boats with three crews, I could get that cleaned up in a week. As it was, we were only able to pull in seven big bags of litter before it was too hot to be working, and we headed back down through the lock (the crew insisted on pulling out litter as we locked), then to Walnut Street to drop off our "catch" and then to the marina.

At left, Sebastian and Jason in the lock.

Jason and Sebastian are freshmen at Morgantown High School and were fulfilling some public service requirements for school.

I don't know who it was that came up with the idea of requiring public service of students, but I'd like to shake his or her hand. Our crew had an impact on the community (we did a real good job along the shore at the Ruby McQuain park) and they learned a lot, too. An of course, they got to steer the boat.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Haven't been swimming yet

I haven't gone swimming in the river yet. Can't say why for sure. We've had 90 degree days already, and there have been lots of people out swimming (triathlon, etc.) I simply haven't gotten around to it. Anyone want to go? I like to dive off my boat into the deep parts. It's such a sensation, falling into the water, then watching the myriad bubbles climb to the surface, as I'm falling still, embraced and enclosed, enveloped, lost in silent water, going deeper, darker, down. At last, the momentum into the depths ends, and I follow the bubbles back up, through the green, and green-blue, into the sunlight. And there, on a branch over the west bank, in the brilliant brightness and blue sky, is a kingfisher.