I loaded my mouseboat on top of the
car this past Saturday and headed down to Penasquitos Lagoon,
a marshy, saltwater estuary on the coast of Del Mar, California.
It was 75 degrees, sunny and slack tide as I pushed off the
shore in my little boat. I paddled for about an hour and I learned
a lot on my little journey.
Here are some of the things I learned:
An inexpertly paddled mouseboat can average about 2.5 mph or
so pretty much indefinitely.
- The top speed of a mouseboat is about 5.2 mph no matter how
hard you paddle.
- That 5.2 mpg was probably wind-assisted.
- Big white egrets honk like a old "oogah" horn when
you sneak up on them.
- Little black spiders can scuttle right along on the surface
of smooth water. (But they can't outrun a mouseboat.)
- Sandpipers like to gather in little groups for lunch.
- Baby sandpipers are cute as the dickens.
- A mouseboat can float in practically no water at all. A fact
comes in handy when you decide to push your way through a grassy
patch to the next patch of open water.
- There is absolutely nothing wrong with paddling for hours
getting nowhere further than where you started.
During my paddle, I thought of the space
shuttle Columbia which had been lost that morning. I had seen
many interviews with the shuttle astronauts over the past two
weeks. Pilot Willie McCool was once a resident of San Diego.
From the words and images, you could tell that the astronauts
were having the time of their lives doing exactly what they
most wanted to do. Those images haunted me during my little
trip but unexpectedly I found
that I felt more gratitude for their accomplishments than I
did sadness at their loss.
Every journey has value. There's always something
new to learn. The costs and risks involved in my little journey
were't very high and the rewards weren't terribly great... but
they were worth it to me. I'm sure that the Columbia crew felt
exactly the same way about their journey. Greater risks but
greater rewards. Thank You Columbia. Journey onward.