Saturday, May 17, 2014

Kayaking the Potomac!

On Sparky's last day visiting her daughter, Kelly had to pack for work after having a few days off to visit with her mother, (that's me, Sparky). So Kelly presented Sparky with a gift certificate for an early Mother's Day present, kayaking! Woo hoo! It was within walking distance so off Sparky set for the Key Bridge Boathouse where they rent kayaks. The boathouse is right under the Key Bridge in D.C., a very cool location under a very cool looking bridge.

The people at the boathouse were surprisingly not very helpful as far as what kind of current and which direction it was moving when Sparky asked. (!) Really? You are going to put a tourist in a boat and just send them off without any guiding information? They gave Sparky a Wilderness Tsunami, which was a lot slimmer profile and narrower cockpit than what she was used to, but it was very sleek and tracked very straight. Sparky was sort of glad she didn't have her regular point and shoot camera, as the boat felt a little tippy, and the wind was kicking up a bit. But the trip out and back was fine, and rewarding as you shall see.

Sparky had two hours to explore the Potomac….There are two ways you can set out…off to the right down the river, where a more quiet, nature like paddling excursion awaits, or you can paddle around Roosevelt Island and as you round the bend, you can see the Lincoln Memorial from the water--cool! It was a VERY dreary day and rain threatened…..

Sparky chose to go around Roosevelt Island. It was quite cool and a little bit windy, so she didn't stay out long. The island's edges are littered with trash, and the Potomac is a dirty looking river. Sparky was not impressed with how the government is maintaining its properties for visitors. More about that later…..It was unbelievable how much trash there was along the shores of Roosevelt Island all the way around. BUT---Sparky spotted wildlife! Birds….ducks….and specifically, a mallard taking a nap.

The coolest part of the mallard scene? There were FIVE beautiful wood ducks sitting on a log, just out of Sparky's camera phone range. If you look really really hard, they are sitting on the curved log, a little way above the mallard's head. Here is a photo from the internet showing just how beautiful they are…Sparky saw five males, all with the beautifully colored heads. Spectacular!

A little further along the island, Sparky spotted a BIG turtle. It was snoozing…..See? His eyes are closed.
turtle snoozing just before a rude awakening
Sparky decided to coast her kayak and not paddle…Uh-oh! The boat was heading for the log and was going to bump! At the point of contact, the turtle had been peacefully sleeping until the bump woke him up. BAM! He jumped right onto Sparky's kayak bow, and then PLOP! into the water! Sparky was totally startled at the path the turtle took, and she's sure the turtle was equally shocked at waking up and seeing the bright red kayak and the camera in his face! He was a beautiful turtle, have no idea what kind he was…..

Time to head back….

Sparky loved her kayaking trip out on the water today. She felt she was really blessed to see some nature in the midst of an urban environment…..

Tomorrow, it's time to head home, as in Bradenton, FL….Thank you, Kelly, for a wonderful time! She's a terrific host and it was so great to have some mother/daughter time together…..

Bye for now…….


  1. you're mighty brave. . .pretty sure I would need a guided tour BOAT to go out in the Potomac. . .but your pics were great!


  2. I have only been on the lower Potomac, I hear there lots of crazies in the northern end:) Great turtle picture.

  3. It's so sad how people litter anymore. Don't understand it at all. How did you manage to paddle upstream? I guess the Potomac doesn't flow very fast?

  4. What a terrific Mother's day gift for you. Kelly is certainly a thoughtful girl to pick something you would love. I think the park service has so little money they have trouble keeping up with what needs doing. Why are people SO trashy??

  5. Sounds like a real treat you had for Mother's Day.

  6. Oh that poor turtle! Can you imagine the story he is telling his buddies sitting at the turtle bar tonight over a few beers? The more he drinks , the bigger the kayak gets.. soon it will be a fishing trolley, then a steamship! Pretty soon the story will reach Titanic proportions!
    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard